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The Fremantle Diary: A Journal of the Confederacy

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  103 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
This is a fascinating primary document of the Civil War, the diary of English Colonel James Fremantle, who kept this engaging account of his tour of the Confederacy in 1863. He met a who's-who of the South: Lee, Davis, Stuart, Johnston, Longstreet, and many others, his descriptions culminating at Gettysburg, a battle which Fremantle viewed practically at Lee's elbow. Histo ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 6th 2001 by Burford Books (first published 1863)
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Aaron Crofut
Jul 08, 2014 Aaron Crofut rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, civil-war
A short, interesting, and very readable account of Fremantle's travels throughout the Confederacy during the year 1863. I like books written by first hand eyewitnesses to the Civil War, and this one is even more interesting due to the fact that it was published while the war was still going on. Fremantle ends the work predicting a Confederate victory, so one would be hard pressed to accuse him of revisionism or hindsight.

A nice feature of his excursion is that he traveled to so many different p
...more
Mahlon
Oct 22, 2009 Mahlon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Civil War buffs, fans of great travel writing
Recommended to Mahlon by: Saw the movie Gettysburg
Shelves: read-2009
Written in a witty, engaging style, Three Months in the Southern States came out of the diary kept by British Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Freemantle as he traveled across the Confederacy from April-mid July 1863, culminating in his presence at the battle of Gettysburg. Along the way he has many keen insights to offer on the cruelty of slavery, the character of the southern foot soldier and officer corps, tactics used by both armies, and the hardships faced by the ordinary southern citizen. Three M ...more
Andrew
Jan 06, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a travelogue by an English officer, on leave from the Coldstream Guards, about his travels through the Confederacy in 1863. Fremantle started in Mexico, then traveled north from Texas, through Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and then finally accompanying the Army of Northern Virginia on it's campaign into Pennsylvania.

Fremantle was a keen observer, and was present for many important events, and met many of the prominent men of the Confederacy. His ob
...more
Elizabeth
May 29, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, history
I find it fascinating reading observations on the Civil War that were made before it was over. The conclusions that seem obvious now (if so and so had done this, this outcome was that person's fault) were not obvious at all at the time. In fact, they very often seem to be opposites of what we would suppose. Which leads to all sorts of interesting questions. How reliable is my understanding of past events? How reliable was my narrator at dealing with current ones? Did he see what was there, or wh ...more
Alec Gray
Jun 21, 2014 Alec Gray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic-frequently quoted in civil war histories, Fremantle managed to be present for the key months of 1863, and interacted with all the major southerners,including Lee. His outsiders view is unique and fascinating.
Henry Chavez
Jul 02, 2013 Henry Chavez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the civil war.
Freemantle's diary is a must read for anyone interested in the civil war and more specifically the time leading up to the battle at Gettysburg. His first hand account, albeit somewhat partisan, does at least try to document all he saw during his travels across the south. I enjoyed his English officer and gentlemen's perspective throughout. The book is an easy read, but I would recommend a map to follow his adventures more closely. As a Texan, I especially liked his time in Texas. His crossing of ...more
Joel Manuel
Jul 09, 2012 Joel Manuel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fans of the film "Gettysburg" and casual Civil War readers may be disappointed by Fremantle's journal of his travels through the Confederacy in 1863 (his Gettysburg experiences don't begin until page 250, and only last about 50 pages), but this is an excellent book, charting Fremantle's journey into Texas over the Rio Grande, through the entire South, meeting every major Confederate army and commander, and ending in New York City during the draft riots of 1863. A quick, easy, and informative rea ...more
Alix
Jan 17, 2012 Alix rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a treaure! A British officer travels the Southern States
during the middle of the Civil War as a tourist. While he claims to
be an unbiased observer, there is definitely a sympathetic view of the
Southern culture and experience. For history buffs (and especially Civil War
enthusiasts) this is a must-read. The narrative is, essentially, a published
travel diary.
Suzie
Jan 06, 2010 Suzie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzie by: my father leant it to me
amazing first person account of an english officer's experience of the amercian civil war. he came in through the blockade in texas, traveled throughout the south and met many of the main players of the confederacy, witnessed the bloodbath of gettysburg...quite an insight into the most momentous events of our country.
Tom
Aug 16, 2013 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This slice of first person history is lucid and gripping. I found that Lt Col Fremantle's narrative brought me into the reality of the Civil War as no other book of non-fiction on the war has to date for me. It brings the human condition across the Southern states into clear focus.
Art
Sep 10, 2013 Art rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war
I've always liked this book but honestly this time around I thought the strongest part of it was his travels through Mexico and Texas heading east. A interesting account by a British officer playing tourist in the middle of the Civil War.
Josh Bradham
An absolutely amazing book. It gives so much more perspective and context to things that written now just cannot materialize. The book is a treasure for any civil war buff
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