Book Review: The Civil War on Pensacola Bay


by John K. Driscoll

Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2007. Pp. iv, 234. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $55.00. ISBN: 978-0-7864-3175-5

Now largely overlooked due to the firing on Ft. Sumter in Charleston Harbor, in early 1861 the naval base at Pensacola and Ft. Pickens, offshore, also drew the attention of politicians, soldiers, and citizens. 

In this work, John Driscoll, author of several work on the Civil War, including the highly amusing Rogue: A Biography of Civil War General Justus McKinstry (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2005), provides a detailed account of the events in and around Pensacola Bay during the "Secession Winter" and the first year of the Civil War.   It's populated by the obscure, such as the brave 1st Lt. Adam Slemmer, who held the fort with a handful of men, and the famous, such as Braxton Bragg, who would command Confederate forces in the area for a time, and many more. These men, and the events in which they participated are set the framework of the larger crisis that was engulfing the nation, and demonstrates how conflicting decisions on both sides, as well as the sheer dynamics of the moment, decided that the war would begin at Sumter rather than Pickens. 

A good book on an otherwise obscure corner of the war.

Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review editor   

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