“Work goes slow and well, particularly on little-known events, like Roanoke Island, whose neglect I cannot understand…. Loss of that island lost the Confederacy the whole NC coast, both Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds and Norfolk to the north.
“Also it began the career of Ambrose Burnside — so perhaps it was a Southern gain after all, collectable at Fredericksburg.”
— Shelby Foote in a letter to best friend forever (and fellow UNC Chapel Hill alumnus) Walker Percy, Jan. 31, 1955
Foote, who had just marshaled his fountain pens and ink blotters to undertake the three-volume “The Civil War: A Narrative,” was referring to Gen. Burnside’s mismanagement of Union troops in a failed attempt to take the Confederate capital of Richmond.