RUSTICS IN REBELLION: A Yankee Reporter on the Road to Richmond:- 1861-65 by George Alfred Townsend

RUSTICS IN REBELLION: A Yankee Reporter on the Road to Richmond:- 1861-65

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Certain phases of the Civil War, as seen through the eyes of the reporter, Town-send, the Ernie Pyle of his day in the hearts of those newspaper readers who looked for the by-line ""Oath"", by which he as known from 1864 on. That this vigorous, colorful reporting should have been forgotten today may be due to the fact that his book, Campaigns of a Non-combatant, published in 1866, came too close to the tensions of the war to be accepted by either side. To some Northerners, his warm appreciation of the people behind the lines in Virginia, where he served, and his recognition of the abilities of the Confederate leaders, the fighting powers of the Rebels, seemed betrayal of the Union cause. To Southerners, he was ""that Yankee reporter"" -- and thereby suspect. Today, while his name means something to the old timers in journalism, his value as an on-the-scene-reporter has been inadequately recognized. Sandburg quotes from his columns now and again in his Lincoln: The War Years. But the reissue of his war story, under this new title, should provide some intimate closeups of personnel, an ear-to-the ground record of the men in the line, and a vivid, first hand picture of the grim thing that war was, a panorama of battles, a personal experience story of the towns, the villages, the people he knew during those months when he marched with the Army. He covered the McClellan and Pope campaigns for the New York Herald; he reported for the New York World after 1864. He went through the horrors of the Seven Days battles of the peninsula, was with Pope's Army of Virginia at Cedar Mountain, with Sheridan at Five Forks, and was one of the first correspondents who went into captured Richmond. Here's a book which Civil War first-hand-material collectors will find fascinating reading, North and South. It should reach a wider market than Blackford's Letters from Lee's Army which went reasonably well in 1947. Don't overlook it.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1950
Publisher: Chapel Hill