Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

A Confederate Englishman: The Civil War Letters of Henry Wemyss Feilden

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

A Confederate Englishman: The Civil War Letters of Henry Wemyss Feilden

Article excerpt

A Confederate Englishman: The Civil War Letters of Henry Wemyss Feilden. Edited by W. Eric Emerson and Karen Stokes. (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2013. Pp. xviii, 187, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-61117-135-8.)

This edition of the Civil War letters of an English aristocrat who resigned his commission in the British army, ran the Union blockade, and joined the Confederate forces in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1863 is a valuable contribution to understanding that conflict. Editors W. Eric Emerson and Karen Stokes present the letters of Henry Wemyss Feilden, the second son of the baronet of Feniscowles, a soldier-adventurer who had served with British forces in the Indian Mutiny of 1857-1858. Feilden fell in love while serving the Confederacy in South Carolina and married Julia McCord, the daughter of lawyer David J. McCord and his first wife. Southern historians know well McCord and his second wife, Louisa S. Cheves McCord, the noted writer and intellectual. Feilden's service as a staff officer for P. G. T. Beauregard kept him primarily in the Charleston area, although duty sometimes took him to other states across the South. The editors provide a brief but useful overview of Feilden's life and career in the introduction. Feilden's letters survived because his wife kept them safe over decades of travel. Shortly before his death in 1921, Feilden annotated them, and the editors wisely chose to include his notations, a choice that allows the reader to see the interplay of memory and primary sources.

The reader looks through Feilden's eyes at the world of the Confederacy, as the Englishman admires Thomas J. …

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