Monograph Evaulation

The Battle of New Market Heights has been neglected by history. Fought on September 29th, 1864, almost 150 years ago, it has one book written exclusively about it. That book, The Battle of New Market Heights: Freedom Will be Theirs by the Sword, by James S. Price, was published last year, 2011.

The whole book, including index, is 125 pages long. While some people may scoff at that length, the book’s value comes in its extensive bibliography. Price lists unpublished diaries, primary accounts, and such that are priceless in writing a paper about the battle.

The Battle of New Market Heights was published by The History Press and their Sesquicentennial Series. Each book in the series is short and gives an overview of the engagement they are titled after. However, unlike many of the other battles covered, Price’s book is the only treatment of the September 29th action. Go on Amazon, type in “New Market Heights”, and you’ll get one result for the battle. The other results are economic books that have the word ‘Heights’ somewhere in their title.

What does that tell us of the battle and Price’s work? It tells us that no matter how long, Price is leading the charge in coverage. The battle has been covered in essays, or chapters in titles of the Petersburg Siege, but never as its own subject.

Price has worked at many Civil War parks, and the influence of Richard Sommers can be seen in his work. Sommers wrote the definitive book of the 5th Offensive, which New Market Heights was apart, Richmond Redeemed.

The Battle of New Markets will prove the greatest importance for my paper because of its focus on the United States Colored Troops involvement in the battle. Price highlights Charles Paine’s division in the battle, and discusses the different regiments from which Medal of Honor winners came from.

All in all, no matter the length, Price’s New Market Heights is a great source for many details of a much forgotten battle.

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