Clipped From The Progress-Index
the u r e is as e y of party for on his our than present not The Idler's Column This is not. a book review but a commentary commentary on a man, Edward Boykin, and his book, Beefsteak Raid. Â· . ^ Coming to our desk recently from the publishers, Funk and Wagnalls, the book immediately aroused our interest, partly because it was written by a Petersburger, an interest which increased as we turned the pages. ,. In his acknowledgments the a u t h o r pays high tribute to "my lifelong friend Walter McCandlish -- stating "he is perhaps perhaps without a peer in his intimate knowledge knowledge of Petersburg battlefields." Naturally after reading this, we went to Mr. McCandlish McCandlish for information about his boyhood friend we are passing on to anyone who may read this * * * * * . Edward Boykin was born in the home of his grandfather, Samuel Woodson Venable, which still stands houses, with an addition, the Petersburg Public The house was built by John Dodson, mayor of Petersburg, on land purchased in 1856 from Robert Buckner Boiling. On this land there was a burying ground about where the office of Dr. James "H. Powell today, but, before selling, Boiling had the bodies disinterred disinterred and placed in a vault in Blandford.' Part land was sold to Reuben Ragland who built on his portion of the property two houses between the home and Pink Alley (Surrey Lane). It is interesting read that upon, the "completion of these two houses 1859 the event was celebrated .with a banquet for workmen. In recent years the houses heve been converted into apartment houses. Samuel Venable was an interesting character early in life, rounded the Horn in a sailing ^vessel reached California during the Gold Rush. Returning home with sufficient of the precious metal to go business he chose' tobacco manufacturing which paid him well. Mr. Venable's daughter, Salie (correct spelling) married Robert Hill Boykin, and our author was the children of this marriage. Robert Boykin was a tobacconist, a member of the firm, Boykin and whose factory stood on the southeast corner of Washington and Guarantee Streets. Edward Boykin moved to Richmond with his when he was twelve. In Petersburg he attended Eliza Newsom's school, in Richmond he was a at "McGuires" and his college years were spent at Hampden-Sydney from which he 'graduated, and at West Point. His friendship with Walter McCandlish, begun in their boyhood when they visited each other the use of a ladder over the back fence, has been maintained to this day. * * * * * Little space is left for the discussion of a book which deserves a great deal. The center of interest in this book lies in that section which tells the story of the daring and successful raid in which Wade Hampton's cavalry captured 3000 beef cattle and drove them from under the the Yankee troops into the Confederate lines. The of course derives its name from this incident. Another outstanding feature, preceding the raid story, is the description of Grant's army crossing the James River on its march toward Petersburg. The writing has a tremendous impact on the reader him feel that the fate of Petersburg* if not of the Confederacy, was sealed when this army like an force advanced inexorably against the defenses of Petersburg. ...,....,: Â· t..^v ,...., The adventure stories of the "Iron Scouts" appeal to anyone who has read about Mosby's men. Mosby's men were, of course, more in number more daring than Shadbourne and other scouts mentioned. We can go farther and say that the reader enthralled in his youth by the garbled but interesting history written by G. A. Henty will be equally interested-in his adulthood by the accurately written Raid. * * * * * Look at these places mentioned--Beechwood, Coggins Coggins Point, Fleun De Hundred, Neblitt's Pond, Blackwater Swamp; consider these names--Edmund Ruff Anthony M. Kieley, Colonel Fletcher H. Archer; of these events and actions--Kautz's cavalry raids, defense of Petersburg on June 9, 1864,'the driving the captured cattle through the streets of the city it can be seen that a book which contains all be of interest to Petersburgers. This book should interest others than Petersburg- ers since it is published on the eve of the year Civil War Centenial will be celebrated, a time when interest in any feature of that conflict will be at its Although the author, like Homer, nodded when he attributed the giving of the name "Cockade City", to rather than Madison, Beefsteak Raid is an accurate, documented historical narrative. In addition to accurate the story reads like a novel and will many who are not. particularly desirous of informing themselves about historical facts. We predict that narrative will not only be read widely but that it be seen on the moving picture screen and television the near future. Â·Lincoln said of the cattle raid "It was the piece of cattle stealing 1 ever heard of." We can of this book about the raid that it is one of the interesting descriptions of a war incident that hea published in a long time.