Three Months in the Southern States

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Applewood Books, 2008 - History - 312 pages
The author of this book, Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, has, perhaps, achieved more renown in recent years than at any time since the publication of his literary efforts. Those familiar with the film Gettysburg will recall the unusual figure of a British Guards officer attired (inaccurately) in his full dress Guardsman's scarlet uniform among the ranks of the Virginians at the famous and pivotal battle. The cinema may have taken its usual liberties, but the character was firmly based in fact and was none other than the Fremantle himself. The British Empire felt no need to come down strongly on either side of the conflict between the States, but its support for the Confederacy was both implicit and occasionally obvious. Fremantle wanted to see the war at first hand and so he traveled to America and accompanied the Confederate forces--actually unglamorously in mufti--in the field. His experiences brought him to the collision of Gettysburg, and history is indebted to Fremantle for the observations of a comparatively impartial military man on these monumental times and events.

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You should read this book if you are interested in the Civil War: it is free and it won't take more than an afternoon of your time. Freemantle's account of coming upon the immediate aftermath of Pickett's Charge (he misses the main event while struggling to find a relatively safe vantage point), is very moving - as he describes moving forward through a crowd of retiring wounded; then encountering Generals Longstreet and Lee as they try to contain the consequences of defeat. Within days of Gettysburg he is enjoying the comforts of New York before that city is engulfed in the draft/race riots. Finally, most poignant, is his confidence in eventual Confederate success. A perfect lesson, if one were needed, to be cautious of the opinions of military experts - indeed of any 'experts.' Freemantle is a man of his time, profession and class, but, for all that, he has a sense of humour. He is an unusual and stimulating guide through the madness of war.  

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About the author (2008)

Arthur James Lyon Fremantle (1835-1901) was a British soldier, a member of the Coldstream Guards, and a notable British witness to the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War.
Michael Page has been recording audiobooks since 1984 and has over two hundred titles to his credit. He has won several "AudioFile" Earphones Awards, including for "The War That Killed Achilles" by Caroline Alexander and "The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch.

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