Books on all aspects of the Civil War abound at library

  • Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013 12:01 a.m.

SALISBURY — The Edith M. Clark History Room has a very solid collection of books pertaining to the American Civil War. There are many resources that allow folks interested in their Confederate or Union forebears, to find the regiment and company to which their ancestor belonged. They can also find where the regiment was stationed during a certain campaign and what the movements of a specific company were.

We have materials on the big players of the Civil War, including “Born to Battle: Grant and Forrest,” a look at two brilliant combatants who each became renowned for intelligence, resourcefulness and grit. Stonewall Jackson’s military career and his personal life are portrayed in books titled “Lost Victories” and “They Married Confederate Officers,” the story of Anna Jackson, Stonewall’s wife and her five sisters, all of whom married Confederates.


Many lesser-known greats are in the collection as well. Anecdotes and personal narratives from Civil War participants — soldiers and civilians alike — make this frightening time come alive. “Tales from the North and the South” is an anthology full of tales of compassion, bravery, betrayal and imprisonment from all sides of the war. “Junius and Albert’s Adventures in the Confederacy” is an exciting tale of the escape of two newspapermen from our own Salisbury Confederate Prison and their flight to safety and the North.

Role of sharpshooters

Some more specialized topics of which the average reader might be unaware are also represented in the collection. Sharpshooters, for instance, were prevalent on both sides and instrumental in the Civil War. Berry Benson’s Civil War book, “Memoirs of a Confederate Scout and Sharpshooter,” relates the experiences of one specific marksman.

“Shock Troops of the Confederacy,” by Fred L. Ray, speaks expressly about the development of precision marksmanship in the years before the American Civil War. He elucidates the forgotten role of the sharpshooter battalions of the Army of Northern Virginia in the war and in the development of modern tactics. The book describes the participation of sharpshooters in certain battles as well as identifying specific weapons, why each was used and by whom. For instance, Whitworth rifles appear on the ship manifests for blockade runners, but were rare in the Confederate army as they were extremely costly at $100, up to $1,000 if equipped with a telescope, full kit and 1,000 rounds. Most Confederate sharpshooters used the two-band Enfield at a much more reasonable cost of $12-$25 each.

Aldo S. Perry’s book, “Civil War Courts-Martial of North Carolina Troops,” is a melancholy but fascinating read. He relates the court martial and in many cases the executions of soldiers who, after joining or being conscripted into the army, deserted. Particularly amusing is the story of one deserter whose wife was made of sterner stuff. She told him plainly that he could not live with her if he did not go back to his company and further said he would get not even a drink of water from her. He returned to duty and survived the war.

Perry’s narrative includes the execution of two brothers who deserted in order to search for food as they were starving. Upon their return a week later, they discovered they had been court-martialed and sentenced to death. Writing sanguinely to their father before sentence was carried out, one brother remarked that they must serve as an example to other soldiers.

Pull up a chair and read a story or two about the remarkable experiences of these earlier Americans. Who knows, they might be related.

Library events

Summer movie series — Headquarters, Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday, “All the President’s Men” (PG); July 9, “How to Eat Fried Worms” (PG); July 16, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (PG); July 23, “Calendar Girls” (PG-13); July 30, “The Neverending Story” (PG).

East branch, Mondays, 4 p.m.; July 8, “How to Eat Fried Worms” (PG); July 15, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (PG); July 22, “Holes” (PG); July 29, “The Neverending Story” (PG).

South Regional, Wednesdays, 2 p.m.; July 10, “How to Eat Fried Worms” (PG); July 17, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (PG); July 24, “Holes” (PG); July 31, “The Neverending Story” (PG).

Movies are free and all ages are welcome. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Movies run through Aug. 20. Free popcorn and lemonade. In keeping with summer reading program themes, children’s movies will “Dig Into Reading” and teen films will look “Beneath the Surface.” The lineup also includes “groundbreaking” films for adults.

Children’s summer reading program — Rowan Public Library’s “Dig Into Reading” weekly programs run through Aug. 1 for children ages 12 months to rising fifth-graders. Children will be able to earn prizes by reading throughout the summer. Those who complete their Treasure Map can pick out a free book.

Tiny Treasures: 12- to 24-month-olds, each program lasts about 30 minutes and runs for four weeks. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East Branch, Mondays, 10 a.m.; South Branch, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

Little Diggers: 2-year-olds, Each program lasts about 30 minutes and runs for four weeks. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; South, Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.

Fossil Finders: 3- to 5-year-olds, each program lasts 30-45 minutes and runs for seven weeks. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; South, Mondays, 10:30 a.m.

Paleontologists: Rising first- through fifth-graders, programs about 45 minutes run for seven weeks. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 2 p.m.; East, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.; South, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m. Cleveland Town Hall, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

July 1-5: Due to the 4th of July holiday on Thursday, the program will be held on Friday, July 5. Ro & Mo, Stories, Songs and Silliness.

July 8-11: Flows Circus show.

July 22-25: Discovery Place Science Reach, A Matter of Science.

July 29-Aug. 1: Blue Moon Puppets, Pea Pickin’ Tales.

Beneath the Surface teen summer reading: Teens can look forward to participating in the Beneath the Surface Summer Reading Program at RPL. Rising sixth- through 12th-graders will explore the underground through fun events, activities and reading.

All teen programs are through July 25 for sixth- through 12th-graders. Programs will be 3:30-5 p.m. at all locations: Tuesday, Headquarters; Wednesday, East; Thursday, South.

Each week events will focus on exploring the underground world including mummies, gems and cities below the surface. After registering, each teen will receive a booklet to keep track of the library dollars they earn. Those dollars are then used to enter various raffles for great prizes provided by the Friends of RPL and other local sponsors. Winners will be announced at the end-of-summer Masked Ball at South Branch on Aug. 1, 3:30-5 p.m.

Upcoming programs include:

Game Show Challenge: July 2-3, 5. How much do you know about bugs, mummies and all things housed “Beneath the Surface”?

Skill Toys Workshop: July 9-11. Learn how to use flower sticks, a Chinese yo-yo and more.

Scratch the Surface: July 16-18. Scratch crafts and more.

Beneath Your Feet: July 24-26. Underground cities and tunnels.

For more information, check the library website at www.rowanpubliclibrary.org or call your closest RPL location — Headquarters, 704-216-8234; South, 704-216-7728; East, 704-216-7842.

Book Bites Club: South (only), July 30, 6:30 p.m., “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. Book discussion groups for adults and children. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.

Closings: Thursday, all locations will be closed. Normal hours resume Friday.

Displays for June: headquarters, Fiber Guild; South, water colors by Rowan Doll Society; East, photo display by Bonnie Cagle.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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