“A NECESSARY, PRIMARY SOURCE… IT SHOULD BE READ CAREFULLY AND OFTEN”: JOHNSON’S CLASSIC BATTLES AND LEADERS OF THE CIVIL WAR, A SOURCE FOR THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
JOHNSON, Robert Underwood, and BUEL, Clarence Clough. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. New York: Century (De Vinne Press), (1887-88). Four volumes. Quarto, modern three-quarter green morocco gilt, raised bands, top edges gilt.
First edition of this essential Civil War reference, composed of narratives of leading military “survivors” (many generals), with hundreds of in-text illustrations (including those of Winslow Homer), maps, plans, and facsimiles. Handsomely bound.
Robert Underwood Johnson, associate editor of Century magazine, "shepherded leading military survivors of the Civil War through the celebrated series of Century articles, 1884-87, which he then amplified into Battles and Leaders of the Civil War… [Johnson] coaxed recalcitrant generals to take up the pen… The enterprise was a landmark on the long road to reconciliation" (DAB). "The 388 articles by 226 authors are accompanied by 197 well-drawn maps, nearly 1500 engraved illustrations, statistical summaries, orders of battle, and editorial notes… The engravings are among the best relating to Civil War history and were done by a team of artists and illustrators [including Winslow Homer]… Numerous accounts by general officers make this work a necessary, primary source for all Civil War libraries… It should be read carefully and often" (Eicher 743). So vivid are the accounts in Battles and Leaders that Stephen Crane, who had never seen a battle, based his classic Red Badge of Courage largely on his reading of this landmark work. Nicholson, 428.