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This is the archive for August 2006

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I know I promised a review or two on some the books that I have been reading before picking up any others – but I have to say that I just got “Generals in Bronze” by James Kelly and edited by William Styple and I am can’t put it down.

Kelly was an artist (see this post about a bronze of General Joseph Hayes) who interviewed many leaders of the Civil War and then later captured their likeness.

Often I find myself picking up a book just for the paragraph or two that pertain to the 18th or one of her sister units, never to read the rest of the book. The interviews that I have read so far are amazing and could very well change the way we look at certain well known points in the war.

We’ve chosen not to provide a complete list, but there are interviews with Phillip Sheridan, William T. Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant, Joseph Hooker, Abner Doubleday, Judson Kilpatrick, Daniel Butterfield, Gouverneur K. Warren, Daniel E. Sickles, Alfred Pleasonton, Oliver O. Howard, Joshua L. Chamberlain, and, of course, Joseph Hayes. There are additional interviews with non-combatants such as Professor Thaddeus C. Lowe, Matthew Brady, and William J. Ferguson, who was performing onstage in Our American Cousin and had a close up view of John Wilkes Booth leaping to the stage at Ford’s Theater.

Normally, I provide a link to Amazon but I want to specifically point out that if you go to the publisher, you can get a signed copy by Styple AND $10 will go towards creating a marker for Kelly.

Although he gave the world so much art and beauty, his grave remains unmarked. You can make a difference by purchasing here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Drew over at Civil War Books and Authors scored the table of contents for "The Earth Reeled and the Trees Trembled - Civil War Arkansas, 1863-1864". It gives great insight to what the book is all about.

Two chapters in particular really stand out because of their titles:
Tom Wing-- A Sink of Iniquity and Corruption: The Civil War in Fort Smith and Indian Territory
Mark K. Christ-- “The Queen City Was a Helpless Wreck”: J.O. Shelby’s Summer of ’64

Iniquity, corruption and a helpless wreck – sounds like a winning combination to me! Be sure to check out Civil War Books and Authors for the complete listing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Rantings of a Civil War Historian Eric Wittenberg has co-Authored a book with J. David Petruzzi that looks really interesting – “Plenty of Blame to Go Around: JEB Stuart's Controversial Ride to Gettysburg" which looks to be released on September 4th. Eric’s site is one that I visit on a daily basis and one that I would suggest that you go read right now. It is always interesting and very thoughtful and to be honest, something I aspire to be like.

If you act now, you may be able to get your hands on a limited edition copy that is signed by the authors (limited to 100) by preordering with the publisher, Savas Beatie. Since I already have my copy purchased, I have no problem telling others that they too can get a copy!

The authors have also launched a site for the book which you can view here.

If you are waiting for a review, once I get my copy, I will be sure to post one. Until then – here is the publisher’s summary –

June 1863. The Gettysburg Campaign is in its opening hours. Harness jingles and hoofs pound as Confederate cavalryman James Ewell Brown (JEB) Stuart leads his three brigades of veteran troopers on a ride that triggers one of the Civil War’s most bitter and enduring controversies. Instead of finding glory and victory—two objectives with which he was intimately familiar—Stuart reaped stinging criticism and substantial blame for one of the Confederacy’s most stunning and unexpected battlefield defeats. In Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg, Eric J. Wittenberg and J. David Petruzzi objectively investigate the role Stuart’s horsemen played in the disastrous campaign. It is the most comprehensive and thoughtful book ever written on this important and endlessly fascinating subject.

Stuart left Virginia under acting on General Robert E. Lee’s discretionary orders to advance into Maryland and Pennsylvania, where he was to screen Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell’s marching infantry corps and report on enemy activity. The mission jumped off its tracks from virtually the moment it began when one unexpected event after another unfolded across Stuart's path. For days, neither Lee nor Stuart had any idea where the other was, and the enemy blocked the horseman’s direct route back to the Confederate army, which was advancing nearly blind north into Pennsylvania. By the time Stuart reached Lee on the afternoon of July 2, the armies had unexpectedly collided at Gettysburg, the second day's fighting was underway, and one of the campaign’s greatest controversies was born.

Did the plumed cavalier disobey Lee’s orders by stripping the army of its “eyes and ears?” Was Stuart to blame for the unexpected combat the broke out at Gettysburg on July 1? Authors Wittenberg and Petruzzi, widely recognized for their study and expertise of Civil War cavalry operations, have drawn upon a massive array of primary sources, many heretofore untapped, to fully explore Stuart’s ride, its consequences, and the intense debate among participants shortly after the battle, through early post-war commentators, and among modern scholars.

The result is a richly detailed study jammed with incisive tactical commentary, new perspectives on the strategic role of the Southern cavalry, and fresh insights on every horse engagement, large and small, fought during the campaign.

About the Authors:
Ohio Attorney Eric J. Wittenberg is a noted Civil War cavalry historian and the author of some dozen books and two dozens articles on the Civil War. His first book, Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions, won the 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award. His most recent book is The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and the Civil War's Final Campaign (Savas Beatie LLC, 2005)

J. David Petruzzi
is the author of many magazine articles on Eastern Theater cavalry operations, conducts tours of cavalry sites of the Gettysburg Campaign, and is the author of the popular “Buford’s Boys” website at Petruzzi lives in Brockway, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Last month I reviewed Tom Wing’s book "A Rough Introduction to This Sunny Land: The Civil War Diary of Private Henry A. Strong, Co. K, Twelfth Kansas Infantry” and then followed it up with an interview of him.

During the interview, Mr. Wing announced that his next project had him working with Mark Christ of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program on a book titled “The Earth Reeled and the Trees Trembled - Civil War Arkansas, 1863-1866.” Mr. Wing has a chapter in the book titled “The Sink of Iniquity and Corruption”: The Civil War in Fort Smith and Indian Territory.

Severally people followed up and asked if I could get some more information and I contacted Mr. Christ and got just that!

The book will be published in the November/December time frame by The Old State House Museum and is a compilation of papers presented at seminars at the Museum in 2003 and 2004. It will be available for purchase at the Museum’s bookstore.

As the book approaches press time, expect more news and a full review