Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link Weider History Group RSS feed Weider Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Book Review: LEE'S MISERABLES (J. Tracy Power) : AH

Originally published by American History magazine. Published Online: August 11, 2001 
Print Friendly
0 comments FONT +  FONT -


LEE'S MISERABLES, by J. Tracy Power, University of North Carolina Press, 463 pages, $34.95.

With grim humor they called themselves "Lee's Miserables," adopting their name from a mispronunciation of Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables, which was published in the Confederacy in 1863. They were the survivors of hard campaigns, bitter losses, and extraordinary victories against incredible odds. Yet, for all the studies of the Southern soldier and Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, until now there has been no social history devoted solely to the day-to-day experiences and hardships endured by the South's most famous military force.

J. Tracy Power's study of the army's last campaigns is thus a landmark book. For this chronological examination of the army's final year, Power relied primarily on the testimony of the participants–"still the best authorities on the war they fought." He examined thousands of officers' and enlisted men's diaries, letters, and other materials, covering nearly every artillery battalion and cavalry and infantry brigade in the army.

By 1864, the men of the Army of Northern Virginia had seen "so much of Blood and death" that they could "hardly be said to act & feel like Men." Nevertheless, the army kept a close grip on its remarkable confidence; an artillery captain, for example, remarked that "most armies would have been whipped" by then, "but the Army of N. Va. is of extraordinary quality, tho' we say it ourselves." But, as desertions climbed, food and ammunition disappeared, and the enemy seemed to be everywhere, even stalwarts of four years' campaigning had to admit that, as one sergeant remarked, "I cannot for my life see how we can hold out with them much Longer."

When the end came, the men of the Army of Northern Virginia passed into legend. Power's important study brings a large measure of reality back to their story.

Edward D.C. Campbell, Jr. writes about Southern history.





Subscribe Today

Subscribe to American History magazine




Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Related Articles


History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer
HISTORYNET READERS' POLL

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
STAY CONNECTED WITH US
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet?

The HistoryNet.com is brought to you by the Weider History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
Weider History Group

Weider History Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer! | StreamHistory.com
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2013 Weider History Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy