I suspect there are a few of you out there who will be happy to hear that today I finished my book project on the history of Confederate camp slaves and the evolution of the myth of the black Confederate soldier for the University of North Carolina Press’s. Searching for Black Confederate Soldiers: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth is just under 70,000 words and 300 double-spaced pages.
To be completely honest, I am at a loss for words right now. This project should have been completed much earlier. As many of you know, I have set this project aside more times than I care to acknowledge. On the other hand, the delay has given me the opportunity to explore the black Confederate myth in connection to the ongoing debate about Confederate iconography. There turned out to be a good deal of material to work with. One of things that kept me going is that in the end I knew that I would regret not finishing this book.
We are still a long way from an actual book. The good people at UNC Press must decide if they even want it. Assuming it gets through the front gate, the manuscript will then go out to an independent reader(s) and will be returned with extensive comments. I am very much looking forward to this process. One of the things that I desperately need is a set of new eyes to review what I have done. I benefited from my book group here in Boston with the earlier chapters, but I need people to look at the manuscript in its entirety and to point out things that I missed and where the argument and narrative can be improved.
I have heard nothing but great things about the editorial staff at UNC Press. I am also looking forward to working with the editors of the Civil War America series. Peter Carmichael, Caroline Janney, and Aaron Sheehan-Dean are all talented historians and I have been the beneficiary of their advice and editorial review on previous projects.
Thanks to all of you for your continued patience. I will certainly keep you up to date as we move through the next stages.