Book Review: The Last Battle of the Civil War: United States Versus Lee, 1861-1883


by Anthony Gaughan

Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2011. Pp. xiv, 24872. Illus., biblio., index. $42.50. ISBN: 080713774X

Every war raises its share of legal questions, and the Civil War was no exception.  One interesting legal issue that arose concerned the property owned by Confederates that came under Federal occupation.

Gaughan’s book begins with the original confiscation of the Lee estate at Arlington in 1861 and how it was done.  His main focus, however, is the suit launched by Custis Lee seeking compensation from the federal government for the illegal seizure of the property.  Gaughan follows the twists and turns in the case from the initial filing of the suit by Custis Lee in 1877 until a decision in his favor was rendered by a bitterly divided Supreme Court. 

Holding degrees both in history and in law, Gaughan is able to rather complex legal matters to readers in a style that is both readable and erudite.  This book is a valuable addition to the literature on Reconstruction.


Our Reviewer: Richard L. DiNardo holds a doctorate in military history.  The author of a number of notable works, among them Breakthrough: The Gorlice-Tarnow Campaign, 1915 and Germany and the Axis Powers: From Coalition to Collapse, Prof. DiNardo teaches at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

Reviewer: Richard L. DiNardo   

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