Sir Henry Morton Stanley: Confederate

Article excerpt

Sir Henry Morton Stanley: Confederate. Edited, with an introduction, by Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2000. Pp. xiii, 173. Acknowledgments, introduction, illustrations, selected bibliography, index. $28.95.)

This is a well researched and documented account of Sir Henry Morton Stanley's participation in the U.S. Civil War. Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes wisely uses Stanley's own words to describe how he came to America and became a Confederate. Of special note to readers interested in Arkansas history, the account contains Stanley's description of his visit to two places in the state.

Stanley became a Confederate when he enlisted in the "Dixie Greys," the Sixth Arkansas Regiment of Volunteers, in July of 1861. At that time he was residing at Isaac Altschul's general store at Cypress Bend on the Arkansas River a few miles southeast of Pine Bluff. Prior to his arrival at Altschul's store in the fall of 1860, he had spent a few weeks on Major Ingham's plantation in South Arkanss in the vicinity of Bradley County. Stanley, who was born John Rowlands in Wales on January 18, 1841, arrived in New Orleans in 1859, and was befriended by Henry Hope Stanley who became his mentor. Rowlands took Henry Hope Stanley's surname as his own, adding "Morton" several years later.

Stanley's depiction of his life as a soldier in the Confederate Army is vivid, especially his gripping account of the battle of Shiloh. The question arises, however, as to whether he was a "real" Confederate. Was he an ardent believer in the southern cause, or was his involvement the result of circumstances? …