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Two Months in the Confederate States: An Englishman's Travels Through the South

Two Months in the Confederate States

An Englishman's Travels Through the South

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ISBN10: 0807123358 ISBN13: 9780807123355 Contributors: Corsan, Wc; Trask, Benjamin H. (Editor) Publisher: Louisiana State Univ Pr Published: Sep 1 1998 Pages: 184 Weight: 0.55lbs. Height: 9.55" Width: 6.00" Depth: 0.50" Language: English

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In the fall of 1862 W. C. Corsan, an English steel merchant and manufacturer from Sheffield, visited the Confederacy to judge the impact of the American Civil War, especially the blockade, on his business prospects. Upon his return to Britain, Corsan penned his observations about the South and its Cause, and his memoir was published in London the following year. With the author identified in the book only as an "English Merchant," Corsan remained obscure for more than 125 years.

In this new edition, Benjamin H. Trask's marvelous research identifies Corsan as the heretofore anonymous merchant and tracks his course from New York to New Orleans and across the Deep South. Trask's introduction gives the first published information about Corsan's life and firm, and also ably places the merchant's visit in the context of England's possible intervention on the side of the Confederacy.

In a clear, lively, and at times humorous style, Corsan details his experiences, which include nearly being drafted into the Rebel army. He also records southerners' attitudes toward the war and, as was natural given his background and mission, economic and financial matters. Trask's footnotes provide welcome commentary on the text.

A rosy view of the Confederacy emerges from Corsan's narrative. Everywhere he went, the Englishman found southern morale very high. As he traveled, he analyzed the relative strengths of the opposing sides and concluded that the South would easily win the war. Although Corsan was opposed to slavery, he adamantly believed blacks incapable of rising in rebellion against their masters or of engaging in combat against southern troops.

Corsan's accurate descriptions of his surroundings reveal much about the Confederacy; his inaccuracies disclose much about himself and the British merchant class. With Trask's notes illuminating the distinction, Two Months in the Confederate States is an invaluable resource for students of both the Civil War and the Victorian era.
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