Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Soldier of Tennessee: General Alexander P. Stewart and the Civil War in the West

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Soldier of Tennessee: General Alexander P. Stewart and the Civil War in the West

Article excerpt

Soldier of Tennessee: General Alexander P. Stewart and the Civil War in the West. By Sam Davis Elliott. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, c. 1999. Pp. xx, 339. $34.95, ISBN 0-8071-2340-4.)

Alexander P. Stewart--the professor turned Confederate general--is the subject of Sam Davis Elliott's Soldier of Tennessee. Stewart fought in virtually every major battle of the Army of Tennessee and ultimately rose to command a corps. The fact that he has attracted little attention is perhaps due to the fact that he lacked the colorful characteristics of his brother officers, such as Frank Cheatham's flamboyance, Patrick Cleburne's charisma, or Leonidas Polk's political intrigue. Stewart's sobriquet "Old Straight" was revealing of his character: he was competent but not flashy. Stewart became chancellor of the University of Mississippi after the war, and he also made a significant contribution to the interpretation of the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park. His heart, however, was always in the classroom.

Stewart left few personal papers in the form of letters and diaries. Elliott labored under the same difficulty that has vexed other biographers of the western theater Confederates, including Michael Ballard on John C. Pemberton, Christopher Losson on Frank Cheatham, and Marshall T. Wingfield in his own biography on Stewart. Two problems thus arise. …

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