Goofs & Gaffes

Civil War Blunders” follows the path blazed by William C. Davis by offering bite-sized stories built around a central theme. In this case, it’s the goofs, gaffes and out-and-out errors performed by officers and leaders on both sides, stories that would be funny if they did not have such tragic outcomes.

But Clint Johnson, a journalist living in Winston-Salem, N.C., does not take the easy path. He lets the stories tell themselves, keeping editorial comment to a necessary minimum. He also recognizes that not all blunders were unnecessary, as in the case of the Hunley, the submarine design that that drowned three crews, including the designer. In that story, Johnson found the courage (especially in the volunteers who made up the third crew) exhibited in their willingness to be guinea pigs for the war effort.

“Civil War Blunders” offers full-bodied tales of tragedy, humor and heroism, and that makes it a readable addition to the library of any Civil War buff.