Fire and Thunder

R. Thomas Campbell, Author White Mane Publishing Company $24.95 (308p) ISBN 978-1-57249-067-3
Completing Cambell's history of the Confederate Navy (Gray Thunder, etc.), this fourth volume continues to provide the generous helpings of original quotes that drove the other books, lending an immediacy to the actions described. Chapters on privateers, the North Carolina ""Mosquito Fleet"" and the commerce raiders Tallahassee and Chickamauga, ironclads built at New Orleans, the defense of Galveston harbor and blockade runners comprise much of the book. Most compelling are the remaining 80 or so pages, where Campbell adroitly tells the tale of the last Confederate commerce raider, CSS Shenandoah, which sailed north into Arctic waters to burn American whaling ships with impunity. Its skipper, James I. Waddell, did not receive concrete information that the Civil War was over until August 1865, four months after the end of hostilities. Readers share Waddell's anguish over where to go to surrender--Australia, England, France or the U.S. Nine appendices provide lists of ships and officers; maps and illustrations show the scenes and men described in the text. Along with its predecessors, this book furnishes accurate and engaging accounts of the outmanned Southern navy's deeds of daring, victories and defeats during the Civil War. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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