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Book notices.

Books sent the society from time to time will be briefly noticed in our Monthly.

We have recently received the following:

From Dr. H. T. Barnard, clerk in the War Department, sixteen volumes of Reports of the Secretary of war, from 1865 to 1875. While [47] not as valuable as the reports of the Secretary during the years of the war (a full set of which we are anxious to secure), they are still very important additions to our collection, as they mark the military history of “Reconstruction.”

Report of Major General J. G. Barnard, Colonel of engineers United States army, on the defences of Washington.

This book is gotten up in beautiful style; illustrated with maps, plans of fortifications, &c., and gives a very interesting description of the origin, progress, and detailed history of the defences of Washington.

There are, of course, some things in it which any intelligent Confederate will detect as mistakes, but it is evidently the work of an able soldier, and is a very valuable contribution to the history of those great campaigns which threatened the capture of Washington. General Barnard falls into the common error of all Federal writers in greatly overestimating the numbers of the several Confederate armies to which he has occasion to allude; but we have come to regard that as almost a necessity with both civilians and soldiers on that side.

This book completely refutes the popular idea of the defenceless condition of Washington at the time of General Early's advance on it in 1864, and shows that he acted with proper prudence in not making a more serious attack upon very formidable works which were defended by a force much larger than his own little army.

From Col. Wm. Allan, formerly chief of ordinance, Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, we have received Chancellorsville, by Major Jed. Hotchkiss and Colonel Wm. Allan. This is a very able and valuable contribution to the history of the Virginia battle fields. The narrative is clear, accurate and vigorous, and the maps are in every respect admirable. The book is gotten up in the best style of D. Van Nostrand, New York, and should have a place in the library of every military student.

The battle of Gettysburg. By Samuel P. Bates. Philadelphia: Davis & Co., 1875.

We are indebted to the publishers for a copy of this book, which has received the highest enconiums of Northern Military critics, and may be accepted as a standard work on the Federal side. Colonel John P. Nicholson, of Philadelphia, pronounces it “the fullest, fairest, and most accurate” account of the great battle yet published, and others are equally decided in its praise. A book thus recommended [48] must be worth reading in order to see a standard Northern history, if for no other reason. We have read it with interest, and may at some future time publish a full review of it. We can only say now that the author seems to have bestowed on it a great deal of labor, and has produced a book of historic value which will be widely read. It was not remarkable, perhaps, that Federal commanders during the war should have so egregiously overestimated our numbers; but it is entirely inexcusable that a historian at this day (with easy access to the official reports of the Confederate generals) should commit the same blunders. Mr. Bates puts Hill's corps at Fredericksburg at 30,000 men, Stuart's cavalry at Brandy Station at 12,000, the force which environed Milroy at Winchester at 60,000, and General Lee's entire force at Gettysburg at 107,000 men. Now the truth is that these figures are most inexcusable exaggerations. General Lee's entire force at Gettysburg was not quite 57,000 men. Ah! if our grand old chieftan had commanded the numbers which Northern generals and Northern writers attribute to him, then the story of Gettysburg and of the war would have been far different.

Sherman's Historical raid. By H. V. Boynton. Cincinnati: Wilstach, Baldwin & Co.

The author has kindly sent us a copy of this able and scathing review of Sherman's Memoirs, and we have read it with very great interest.

He shows most conclusively from the official records that Sherman has done great injustice to Grant, Buell, Rosecrans, Thomas, McPherson, Schofield, and almost every other officer to whom he alludes in his book, and he carries the war into Africa by severely criticising Sherman's generalship, upon some of his most important fields, and showing that he was actually saved from terrible disaster again and again by the very men whom he now disparages.

We cannot, of course, accept all that General Boynton has written; but we rejoice to see this well merited rebuke to “the General of the Army” who not only makes himself “the hero of his own story,” but oversteps all bounds of delicacy and propriety (not to say common decency), and well illustrates in his Memoirs the Proverb, “Oh! That mine enemy would write a book!”

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