Ink, Dirt and Powder Smoke: The Civil War Letters of William F. Keeler, Paymaster on the USS Monitor

Ink, Dirt and Powder Smoke: The Civil War Letters of William F. Keeler, Paymaster on the USS Monitor

by Charles W McLandress
Ink, Dirt and Powder Smoke: The Civil War Letters of William F. Keeler, Paymaster on the USS Monitor

Ink, Dirt and Powder Smoke: The Civil War Letters of William F. Keeler, Paymaster on the USS Monitor

by Charles W McLandress

Hardcover

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Overview

William F. Keeler's superbly vivid letters from the USS Monitor and USS Florida are essential classics for Civil War scholars and amateurs alike. His letters from the Monitor provide the most complete picture of life on board a Civil War ironclad. His riveting accounts of the battle with the CSS Virginia, naval expeditions up the James River, the Peninsula Campaign, and the sinking of the Monitor off Cape Hatteras on December 31, 1862 bring an immediacy to events that makes the 21st century reader feel part of the action. Keeler also plays a starring role at the USS Monitor Center in Newport News, Virginia where a life-size model of the be-spectacled Paymaster can be seen seated in his cabin writing a letter to his "Dear Anna," while in another part of the museum he can be overheard reading from his nail-biting last letter as the clank of chains, the crash of waves, and the frantic cries of sailors can be heard in an exhibit depicting the sinking of the ironclad. His equally colorful letters from the Florida provide one of the most compelling pictures of life on board a vessel on the Union blockade, a hugely important, but largely overlooked, chapter of the war.

Up to now readers have relied upon Robert Daly's two volumes of Keeler's letters published in the 1960s. However, due to space constraints substantial portions of Keeler's letters were edited out. Not only does this render the letters disjointed and difficult to read, it also leaves the reader with an incomplete picture of William Keeler - husband, father and friend. With his focus on naval aspects, Daly also paid scant attention to many of the people mentioned in the letters. These include not only Keeler's family and friends, but also navy and army officers he encountered along the way, many of whom were unsung heroes of Civil War. Daly also provided little contextual information about the military situation, making it difficult for all but the expert reader to easily follow the letters. All of this is remedied in Ink, Dirt and Powder Smoke, which is a complete and unabridged version of Keeler's letters from the Monitor and the Florida. With more attention paid to the people mentioned in the letters and a more in-depth account of Keeler's fascinating and eclectic life (dry goods merchant, iron founder, Forty-Niner, orange grower, newspaper correspondent and more) this new edition makes his letters accessible to a new generation of readers.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781738726912
Publisher: Seal River Publishing
Publication date: 09/21/2023
Pages: 696
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Charles W. McLandress is a great-great-grandson of William F. Keeler. A life-long American Civil War enthusiast, he has read extensively on the subject. He received his PhD in Meteorology from McGill University in 1988 and has been an atmospheric scientist for more than 30 years, with over 60 publications in peer-reviewed journals (27 of which he was first author). Charles lives in Toronto, Ontario with his wife and two children. More information about William F. Keeler can be found on Charles' webpage: www.sealriverpublishing.com.
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