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Death's High Carnival

August 13, 1995

Good to see your review of Winston Groom's latest, "Shrouds of Glory" (June 11), though some of the facts were fiction. John Bell Hood's lost love, for example, the enchanting, intoxicating beauty Sarah Buchannan Preston (nicknamed "Buck"), was from Richmond, not Charleston. Mary Chestnut recorded the details of their pathetic romance in her excellent diary.

Hood's Army of Tennessee won every skirmish on the march from Florence, Alabama to Columbia, Tennessee, and, actually won the Battle of Franklin, though at a terrible cost. Then there was spring Hill.

Six, not five, Confederate generals died from wounds suffered at Franklin. They were Patrick Cleburne, John Adams, O. F. Strahl, John C. Carter and Hiram Granbury, "the bravest men the world has ever know."

And, there was no "big autumn moon" over the battlefield that bloody Wednesday night, November 30th, 1864. Death held high carnival under a new moon-not visible.

But these mistakes are typical when good writers attempt good history, and Groom's book is good because the subject is so rich and worthy. Readers also might consider "Embrace An Angry Wind" by historian Wiley Sword. Or better yet, try company "Aytch" by Sam R. Watkins.

RHYS THOMAS, VAN NUYS

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