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

Book Review: Sabres and Pistols: The Civil War Career of Colonel Harry Gilmor, C.S.A (Timothy Ackinclose) : ACW

Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: August 11, 2001 
Print Friendly
0 comments FONT +  FONT -


Sabres and Pistols: The Civil War Career of Colonel Harry Gilmor, C.S.A, by Timothy Ackinclose, Stan Clark Military Books, Gettysburg, Pa., $25.

The Civil War introduced more colorful and romantic figures to the military history of the United States than any other war. Some of them, such as Lee, Jackson, Custer and Stuart, have acquired such legendary status that they are instantly recognized by their last names alone. There are many others who, while they have never achieved the same stature, are quickly remembered for their dashing deeds. Still other individuals, while not recognizable as major figures of the war, have gained something approaching cult status.

Harry Gilmor, the subject of a new biography by Tim Ackinclose, falls into the last category. Although he never received the acclaim and recognition that his fellow partisan ranger John S. Mosby did, Gilmor is well-known to students of the war in and around Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. A native of Baltimore, Gilmor cast his lot with the Confederacy in early September 1861 after being imprisoned for a short time in Maryland's Fort McHenry as a suspected Southern sympathizer.

Upon his release, the 23-year-old Gilmor joined thousands of other Marylanders who were slipping across the border into Virginia to offer their services to the South. He made his way to Charlestown, where he met and joined the command of another Shenandoah Valley legend, Turner Ashby. For nearly four years, until his capture on February 6, 1865, Gilmor roamed the valley, becoming a household name in the process.

In 1866, Gilmor published his own account of his war years, Four Years in the Saddle. Many modern historians have discredited Gilmor's accounts as glory-seeking at best and pure fabrication at worst. As a result, Gilmor has been largely ignored by the general public.

Until now, that is. In the first full-length biography of the partisan cavalryman, Ackinclose re-examines Gilmor's career by drawing heavily on Four Years In the Saddle and a variety of other sources as well. Ackinclose finds that while Gilmor might have embellished a few tales, his memoir was a fairly accurate depiction of his military career. The author does a good job of making a convincing case that Gilmor's book was no less accurate than most, and a good deal more truthful than some.

Sabres and Pistols is a well-researched, even-handed biography of one of the lesser known but most colorful characters of the war. For anyone wishing to know more about Harry Gilmor, the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley or partisan warfare in general, Sabres and Pistols is well worth a read.

B. Keith Toney

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to America's Civil War 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