Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review: An Illustrated Guide to Virginia's Confederate Monuments by Timothy S. Sedore

By Timothy S. Sedore

Guide books are always nice additions to the library of any student of the American Civil War, especially those who like to travel to the historic sites or areas of particular interest.  Guide books can be broad in scope, such as Frances H. Kennedy’s “The Civil War Battlefield Guide” or narrowly focused, as Timothy S. Sedore’s, “An Illustrated Guide to Virginia’s Confederate Monuments.”  They can take you to well known places such as Gettysburg National Military Park and Richmond, Virginia’s Monument Avenue, or they can take you to lesser known sites often overlooked and unvisited by others, such as Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tennessee or the Little Fork Rangers monument located at 16461 Oak Shade Road, Rixeyville, Virginia.

As the United States was torn apart by the Civil War, the Southern states closest to the territory held or occupied by the Federal forces were destined to see the bulk of the war’s hardest fighting. Positioned on the northern border of the Confederacy and containing the Confederate capitol located at Richmond, just one hundred miles from Washington, D. C., Virginia became the most fought over soil in the country.  No other state, Union or Confederate bore the brunt of war more than Virginia.

It should come as no surprise then that Virginia would have a plethora of monuments dedicated to the war and its legacy, to Virginia’s soldier sons and Confederate heroes, as well as the battles and smaller engagements fought on its soil.

Timothy S. Sedore has written a guidebook of Virginia’s Confederate monuments, appropriately titled, “An Illustrated Guide To Virginia’s Confederate Monuments.”  He has located and photographed all of Virginia’s Confederate monuments, transcribed the inscriptions written on them, and where possible provided a brief history of each monument.

Dividing Virginia into five parts the chapters in Mr. Sedore’s book covers the width and breadth of Virginia from north to south, and moving from west to east, progressing from the Shenandoah Valley and northwest Virginia, through Southwest Virginia; Richmond, Northern Virginia and the Piedmont; The Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula, Eastern shore and Eastern Southside; to Petersburg, the Southside West of Petersburg, and Central Virginia West of Richmond.

Locating and photographing Virginia’s Confederate Monuments and transcribing the inscriptions on them was a Herculean task, and compiling all of the information in a single volume to be easily pulled off a shelf and taken on the road, was a monumental undertaking of which the author was gloriously successful.  Students of the Civil War in Virginia and tourists alike are sure to find Mr. Sedore’s book extremely useful.

ISBN 978-0809330324, Southern Illinois University Press, © 2011, Hardcover, 10 x 7.3 x 1.3 inches, 336 pages, Maps, Photographs, Appendix & Index. $39.95

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