Military Memoirs of a Confederate: A Critical Narrative

Front Cover
First published in 1907, Military Memoirs of a Confederate is regarded by many historians as one of the most important and dispassionate first-hand general accounts of the American Civil War. Unlike some other Confederate memoirists, General Edward Porter Alexander had no use for bitter “Lost Cause” theories to explain the South’s defeat. Alexander was willing to objectively evaluate and criticize prominent Confederate officers, including Robert E. Lee. The result is a clear-eyed assessment of the long, bloody conflict that forged a nation.

The memoir opens with Alexander, recently graduated from West Point, heading to Utah to tamp down the hostile actions of Mormons who had refused to receive a territorial governor appointed by President Buchanan. A few years later, Alexander finds himself on the opposite side of a much larger rebellion—this time aligned with Confederates bent on secession from the Union. In the years that follow, he is involved in most of the major battles of the East, including Manassas, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga. Alexander describes each battle and battlefield in sharp detail.

Few wartime narratives offer the insight and objectivity of Alexander’s Military Memoirs of a Confederate . Civil war buffs and students of American history have much to learn from this superb personal narrative.

Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Arcade, Good Books, Sports Publishing, and Yucca imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Our list includes biographies on well-known historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela, and Alexander Graham Bell, as well as villains from history, such as Heinrich Himmler, John Wayne Gacy, and O. J. Simpson. We have also published survivor stories of World War II, memoirs about overcoming adversity, first-hand tales of adventure, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RobertP - LibraryThing

Terrific memoir of a respected middle-ranking officer of the Army of Northern Virginia. Colonel Alexander has produced a good story, relatively balanced, of what he experienced, which was the battles ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - platodurham - LibraryThing

This is certainly the best study of the Army of Northern Virginia from the viewpoint of a participant. Unlike others, Alexander doesn't hesitate to criticize; nor does he waste time trying to defend ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 577 - This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the President-elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration ; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterwards.
Page 611 - The arms, artillery, and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to his home, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.
Page 601 - States' forces under my command, and tend to the restoration of peace, I should be pleased to meet you at 10 A. M. to-morrow, on the old stage road to Richmond, between the picket lines of the two armies.
Page 601 - GENERAL: Your note of last evening, in reply to mine of same date, asking the condition on which I will accept the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, is just received. In reply I would say that, peace being my great desire, there is but one condition I would insist upon, namely: That the men and officers surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms again against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged.
Page 611 - Head-Quarters, Army of Northern Virginia, April 9, 1865. " GENERAL : I received your letter of this date containing the terms of the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, as proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the 8th instant, they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect. " RE LEE, General.
Page 601 - I will meet you, or designate officers to meet any officers you may name for the same purpose, at any point agreeable to you, for the purpose of arranging definitely the terms upon which the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia will be received.
Page 603 - Yes, I know they will say hard things of us; they will not understand how we are overwhelmed by numbers. But that is not the question, colonel; the question is, " Is it right to surrender this army!" If it is right, then I will take all the responsibility !' " * Presently General Lee called to have me ride forward to him.
Page 177 - Let us discard such ideas. The strongest position a soldier should desire to occupy is one from which he can most easily advance against the enemy.
Page 601 - I received at a late hour your note of today. In mine of yesterday I did not intend to propose the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, but to ask the terms of your proposition. To be frank, I do not think the emergency has arisen to call for the surrender of this army...
Page 601 - GENERAL: I received, at a late hour, your note of to-day, in answer to mine of yesterday. I did not intend to propose the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, but to ask the terms of your proposition.

About the author (1907)

General Edward Porter Alexander (1835-1910) was Robert E. Lee's artillery commander for most of the Civil War. After the Confederate surrender, he served as an executive at various railroad companies and became a respected author. He died in Savannah, Georgia.

Bibliographic information