Three Months in the Southern States: April-June, 1863 – Audio
By Arthur James Lyon Fremantle
Narrated by Michael Page
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Reviewed by J. Keith Jones
I have long been familiar with the memoirs of Arthur Fremantle of his time observing the Confederate army in 1863. I have used various parts for research, but had not read the whole thing, so when I ran across this audio version, I jumped on it and wasn’t disappointed.
The narration by Michael Page is smooth and clean; British accent, but quite easily understood by American listeners.
The Fremantle diary is most commonly referenced for the Gettysburg portion, but that is only a scant part of the narrative. I many ways the most interesting and vivid parts come earlier in the book. Fremantle’s entry into the Confederate States of America through Texas and his observations of matters with its border with Mexico are fascinating. The author’s talent for understatement provides a great amount of amusement along with the detailed description of the state of affairs in that remote corner of the newly founded country.
To have just shown up unannounced with little more to speak for him than his pedigree in the British army, Fremantle manages to witness several events of great historical significance and meet many notables in both the South and the north. Like most British, Fremantle was avidly anti-slavery, but like many Europeans who found themselves in the South, he quickly decided that the situation was not nearly as two-dimensional as he was led to believe. His observations are startling.
“Three Months in the Southern States” is a valuable resource and an eye-opening read. Page’s wonderful narration makes the visualization all the more powerful.