The Confederate Navy Medical Corps; The Old War Horse; Treasure and Empire in the Civil War

Being there . . . to revel, i.e., take great or intense delight and satisfaction in the recent, almost
simultaneous, publication of three new American Civil War history books buffetiers and
bufferettes yearn for – – peculiar nonfiction subjects so unusual, singular, strange, and hitherto
unresearched that other publishing houses reject out-of-hand. “No money to be made trying to
sell reading subjects deviating from the center,” owners, most editors, and their boards claim.
Hence, the huge success of one of this reviewer’s favorite presses, McFarland & Company, Inc.,
Publishers which seems to be organized around the unofficial, unannounced, rarely tried
practice, “Look our way, historical researcher and author, if your submission is considered too
elliptic, eccentric or idiosyncratic. Can’t promise a thing. But we’ll decide if the topic, and its
explanation, continues the reading public’s respect and admiration we’ve garnered over the
past six decades.” For example, whether aficionado of America’s sad War Between the States,
Civil War buff club initiate, or plain old-fashioned Novice of Nothing, how do the three following
McFarlandnite titles grab your intended, NAY, wandering curiosity?
“THE CONFEDERATE NAVY MEDICAL CORPS – – – Organization, Personnel and Actions”, by Guy R.
Hasegawa, Foreword by Gary McQuarrie. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson,
North Carolina, 28640: 2024, 239 pages, 6”x 9”, softcover, illustrated with original Civil War
drawings and photos, $39.95. Visit,
“THE OLD WAR HORSE – – The USS Benton on Western Waters, 1853 – 1865”, by Myron J.
Smith, Jr. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, North Carolina, 28640: 2024, 256
pages, 7” x 10”, softcover, well-illustrated with photos and maps, $49.95. Visit,
“TREASURE and EMPIRE in the CIVIL WAR – – The Panama Route, the West and the Campaigns
to Control America’s Mineral Wealth”, by Neil P. Chatelain. McFarland & Company, Inc.,
Publishers, Jefferson, North Carolina, 28640: 2024: 276 pages, 7” x 10”, softcover, well-
illustrated with original drawings, photos, and maps, $49.95. Visit,
Why are these three titles, and virtually all the other hundred on the American Civil War that
McFarland & Company published, so important? Anyone who has read ANY history can easily
answer that important question. Simply put, in so far as possible, to put us in the heart of it
“lest we forget“ the sacrifices our fellow Americans made many, many, many years ago that are
now considered gifts. Since it’s impossible to recreate history, reenactment. But even good
choreography hardly hints the reality. Read, and then more, with a quality magnifier to better
peruse, and study, rare photographs, placing you even closer. We, then, are capable of “being
there” to experience it first-hand. We need not ever again worry about forgetting the studied.
Making the literary even more important is that no book has ever been written on Southern
Navy medicine, the newly formed Confederate medical corps, its personnel, actions, and
organization. In short, one less unifying thread woven indelibly throughout the “fabric of
America”, writes James G. Barber, Editorial Consultant, DK Smithsonian’s “The Civil War – – A
Visual History”, the best-ever compiled photographic encounter ever published.

In “The Old War Horse – The USS Benton on Western Waters, 1853 – 1865, Morton J. Smith,
Jr., provides us with an enthralling story, a book-length profile of the flagship, originally a pre-
Civil War snagboat, later a refurbished, converted boat of critical importance in America’s
western rivers’ navy. From Island No. 10 through the Vicksburg and Red River campaigns, the
revolutionary ironclad participated in both combat and administrative activities, earning a
prominent place in nautical legend and literature. BUFFS, a 33-page bibliography? Never saw
that before, on any subject!
What a 42-page reference of Chapter Notes and Bibliography Neil P. Chatelain offers the
reader who seeks almost all that’s known on the routes to our nation’s mineral wealth. As Gary
McQuarrie, Managing Editor of “Civil War Navy – The Magazine”, says, “A must-read for Civil
War naval history enthusiasts!”. Agreed! Especially since unknown, overlooked, or deliberately
ignored campaigns are introduced and described as to who, the U.S. or Confederacy, would
dominate lands, mines and seaborne transportation networks of North America’s mineral
wealth. Neil examines the campaigns to control North America’s mineral wealth, linking the
Civil War’s military, naval, political, diplomatic and economic elements.
When Managing Editor of “Emerging Civil War”, Sarah Kay Bierle endorsed Neil’s effort, she
wrote, “A needed and readable adventure into the international politics and financially-inspired
intrigues that evolved as Confederates and Federals maneuvered for pieces of victory”, she was
commingling financial tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt; Admiral and explorer Charles Wilkes;
renowned sea captain Raphael Semmes; General Henry Sibley, cowboy and mountain man Kit
Carson, Apache indigenous leaders, Mangas Coloradas and Geronimo; writer and miner, Mark
Twain; and Mormon leader, Brigham Young. Another splendid book McFarland & Company can
be proud of!

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