Portraits of Conflict: Alabama


A Photographic History of Alabama in the Civil War
Ben H. Severance
978-1-55728-989-6 (cloth)
November 2012


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Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Alabama in the Civil War is the tenth volume in this acclaimed series showing the human side of the country’s great national conflict. Over 230 photographs of soldiers and civilians from Alabama, many never seen before, are accompanied by their personal stories and woven into the larger narrative of the war both on the battlefield and the home front.

Alabama is unusual among the Rebel states in that, while its people saw little fighting inside its boundaries, nearly one hundred thousand Alabamians served with Confederate units throughout the South. This volume chronicles their experiences in almost every battle east of the Mississippi River—especially at Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg under the legendary Robert E. Lee; at Murfreesboro and Chickamauga as part of the ill-fated Army of Tennessee; and at the famous siege of Vicksburg. Ultimately Union soldiers did invade the state, and Alabamians defended their homeland against enemy cavalry raiders at Selma and against Federal warships in the fight for Mobile Bay. The volume also includes accounts of some of Alabama’s leading politicians as well as several of its more ordinary citizens.

This new volume contains the same quality of photography and storytelling that has attracted Civil War enthusiasts since the first volume was published in 1987, making it another welcome addition to the series Civil War History called “a sensibly priced, beautifully produced photographic history.”

Ben H. Severance is an associate professor of history at Auburn University Montgomery and a former officer in the United States Army. He is the author of Tennessee’s Radical Army: The State Guard and Its Role in Reconstruction, 1867–1869.

“Readers are fortunate to have this book during the Civil War sesquicentennial, and fortunate that Severance was called to write it. Once again, the man and the hour have met. Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Alabama in the Civil War is a solid contribution to the scholarly literature on the war.”
The Journal of Southern History, May 2014

“Should appeal to all Civil War buffs, as well as to all those who are interested in Alabama history.”
—Roger D. Cunningham, The Journal of America’s Military Past, Fall 2013

“A first rate scholarly work that Civil War historians will find invaluable for understanding the inner workings of an army both in combat and in camp. As a rare example of a general officer’s diary that covers the entire span of the conflict, this book is an important contribution to the field.”
—Kim Allen Scott in Arkansas Historical Quarterly, winter 2012

“Reynolds began his diary on May 25, 1861, the day his company left home. Though some entries are brief, there is one for almost every day through June 15, 1865. His comments on battles are extensive, his opinions of Confederate generals and their interactions insightful, and his travels through nine states informative. Reynolds’ record is a valuable addition to confederate literature dealing with both the Trans-Mississippi and Western theaters, and Robert Bender has significantly enhanced it with 98 pages of detailed editorial notes.”
—Larry Hewitt in Blue & Gray Magazine, 2012

“After 25 years, the project is still going strong, unwavering in its commitment to quality …. Students of Civil War photography will appreciate this book, as well those with a more specialized interest in Alabama’s people and their war.”
Civil War Books and Authors

“The series, from its beginning, had a specific purpose—an emphasis upon the individual’s experience of war. The first volume made its authors aware that behind the larger stories of war are the thousands of individuals who lived through or died as a result. The series makes no pretense at providing a comprehensive history of the war in each state covered, but we do hope that it brings home the human aspect of this conflict.”

—Carl Moneyhon and Bobby Roberts, in the preface to POC: Alabama