Book Review: The Civil War Lover's Guide to New York City


by Bill Morgan

El Dorado Hills, Ca.: Savas Beatie, 2013. Pp. x, 198. Illus., append., biblio., index. $18.95. ISBN: 1611211220

The Civil War and the Big Apple

As archivist, librarian, and guidebook author Morgan points out in his introduction, while New York’s role in the Civil War was considerable, yet it is today largely overlooked in accounts of the war save for the infamous “Draft Riots”.  His interest in the subject, resulted in this excellent handbook to the city’s Civil War-related sites. 

Morgan covers a wide variety of locations, the homes of abolitionists, generals, politicians, publishers, and even Mrs. Jefferson Davis, cemeteries (more Confederate generals are buried in New York City than in most Southern States), shipyards and munitions works, hotels and museums, fortifications and prisons, and more, some of which have long since disappeared, such as Fort Lafayette, the harbor installation that housed many prominent Confederate prisoners or sypathizers. 

Morgan has organized the book is geographically, with sites grouped by neighborhood and borough. This approach makes it particularly helpful as a guidebook for a walking tour in some parts of the city, but not in others, where the sites are too far apart for convenience. 

While Morgan has missed the sites of important to certain people or incidents (e.g., the Peugnot Brothers’ School, where future generals Pierre G.T. Beauregard, Rufus King, and Henry Heth crammed for West Point, which still stands in Greenwich Village), some of the city’s hotels that played a role in the war, or some of the locals prominent at the time, such as the famed mixologist Jerry Thomas, this is a valuable book for anyone interested in the history of New York City and its role in the great national struggle.


Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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