December 06, 2006

Book Purchases: September to October 2006

It's been awhile since I catalogued my latest Civil War book purchases, so I'll throw this out in several parts.  The first is from September and October of 2006.  I've slowed down on the number of books for several reasons, but I still managed to pick up sixteen volumes over that two month period.

Louis J. Baltz. The Battle of Cold Harbor (Virginia Civil War Battles & Leaders). H.E. Howard (November 1994).
I already have the Cold Harbor campaign studies done by Ernest Furgurson and Gordon Rhea, so this is a bit of overkill.  With that said, I have become increasingly interested in the campaigns of 1864, not only in the East, but everywhere.  To be honest, I haven't heard anything about Baltz' interpretation of Cold Harbor, which is by all accounts a controversial battle.

Terry Lowry. The Battle of Scary Creek: Military Operations in the Kanawha Valley, April-July 1861. Quarrier Press; 2nd edition (April 1998).
By all accounts Terry Lowry produces solid, sought after battle studies of some of the obscure battles which occurred in the (future) state of West Virginia, including titles on Carnifex Ferry and Droop Mountain.  I found this particular volume on eBay, and it struck me as something I would be very interested in after reading several overviews of the early campaigns in the state.  The Kanawha Valley was the southern invasion route into West Virginia from Ohio, and Jacob Cox wound up facing several former Virginia governors turned general in Floyd and Wise, though I am not familiar enough with the operations to know if Wise plays a part or if he only arrived later (after July 1861). 

Gary C. Walker. Hunter's Fiery Raid Through Virginia Valleys. A & W Enterprise; Revised edition (July 1989).
This was another eBay purchase, and Hunter's Raid is an event occurring in that endlessly fascinating year of 1864.  With the removal of Breckinridge's Division from the Valley to reinforce Lee and the defeat of the remaining Confederate forces at the Battle of Piedmont, David Hunter's forces were free to move down the Shenandoah Valley virtually unimpeded.  They took advantage of this opportunity and started to burn vital Confederate supplies and buildings.  However, many believed Hunter went too far with his incendiary efforts.  Lee needed to do something about this threat, so he detached most of Early's veteran Second Corps from the Army of Northern Virginia in mid-June, and they managed to drive Hunter into the mountains of West Virginia after the Battle of Lynchburg.

Eric J. Wittenberg, J. David Petruzzi. Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart's Controversial Ride to Gettysburg. Savas Beatie (September 1, 2006).
In the interest of full disclosure I know both of the authors, read their Civil War blogs, and generally enjoy talking about the Civil War with them.  With that said, this particular book has been given five stars at Amazon.com by every single reviewer.  Amazon does seem to be known as a company that deletes too many bad reviews (bad for sales), but that seems to be far from the case with this particular book.  As the title suggests, Eric and J.D. take a look at Jeb Stuart's third ride around the Army of the Potomac, this time during the Gettysburg Campaign.  The ride is considered controversial in that Stuart lost contact with Lee during this time frame, essentially depriving the Army of Northern Virginia of most of its cavalry screen during the hazardous march north into Maryland and Pennsylvania.  After reading over the dust jacket blurbs and the index as well as listening to J.D.'s recent appearance on Civil War Talk Radio, it appears that the authors give a detailed tactical account of the ride and then dedicate three chapters at the end of the book to the controversy it generated.

Civil War Society. Civil War Society's Encyclopedia of the American Civil War. Gramercy (September 2, 1997).
I have one other Civil War Encyclopedia, but I figured it would be good to have several of these reference works around as insurance.  I don't plan to read this one straight through, but rather to simply use as a reference tool from time to time.  Let me know if you have a favorite Encyclopedia of the war, or if one is known to stand out above all others.

Garland A. Haas. To the Mountain of Fire & Beyond: The Fifty-Third Indiana Regiment from Shiloh to Glory (Great Lakes Connections: The Civil War). Guild Press of Indiana (February 1997).
My current MO is to pick up regimentals on eBay when and where I can.  If a book is going for less than typical value (as calculated by several used book web sites I use), I'll bid on it every time.  I don't know much about the 53rd Indiana, but obviously I hope to after reading the book.  This regiment served in the West, so this is not the typical regimentals I buy involving units which served in the Petersburg Campaign.

Philip Katcher. The Army of Northern Virginia (Men at Arms Series, 37). Osprey Publishing (April 30, 1975).
I use the various Osprey books as introductions to various topics.  I have found that the series tends to be less than detailed in many areas and really shouldn't be viewed as more than a primer.  To do otherwise would be a mistake.

G. Howard Gregory. 53rd Virginia Infantry and 5th Battalion Virginia Infantry (Virginia Regimental Histories Series). H.E. Howard; 1st ed edition (1999).
This series of books is growing increasingly rare and expensive, so when I see one going for less than face value you can be sure I'll be buying it.  A lot of 34 of these books recently went for almost $700 on eBay.  The seller should have sold these individually, as he/she would have gotten well over $1000 for them.  I guess the extra work wasn't worth it.

J. Britt McCarley. The Atlanta Campaign: A Civil War Driving Tour of Atlanta-Area Battlefields. Cherokee Publishing Company (GA); 1st ed edition (April 1989).
I enjoy taking a look at driving tours of Civil War battlefields, and of course I use them when I visit said places.  This one is doubly attractive due to the dearth of good titles focusing on the Atlanta Campaign.  I saw this one going for cheap and picked it up.  I knew of the title before it showed up on eBay, so this was a no-brainer.

Peter Cozzens. The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga. University of Illinois Press (September 1, 1994).
This was a case of upgrading a paperback book with the hardcover version.  Those of you who have gone through my Civil War Book Collection online probably know I am a big fan of Cozzens' work.  He has done quite a bit to further the knowledge of some of the largest battles fought in the West, including Iuka and Corinth, Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga.  I highly recommend this book and the others written by this author.

John T. Hubbell (Editor). Battles Lost and Won: Essays from Civil War History (Contributions in American History). Greenwood Press (January 20, 1976).
I'm afraid this book was a bit of a shot in the dark on my part.  I saw it going for very little on eBay and took a chance.  It is a collection of essays from various authors on a wide topic of Civil War subjects.  The one person who rated it at Amazon.com seemed to like it.  Is anyone else familiar with this title and its merits (or lack thereof)?.

Allen Salisbury. The Civil War and the American System: America's Battle With Britain, 1860-1876 (University Editions). New Benjamin Franklin House (June 1978).
This is also a complete shot in the dark, so see above.  A common complaint is that the Civil War is studied by Americans in a largely America-centric manner at the expense of what was happening in the rest of the world.  I was interested in the subject matter here, and the price was obscenely low, again on eBay (noticing a pattern here?).  If you've read it, let me know what you think.

Jamie Gillum. The Battle of Spring Hill ... Twenty-five Hours to Tragedy. Self-Published (2004).
I was contacted by Jamie while writing a multi-part blog entry on Eric Jacobson's book for Cause and for Country. Jamie and Eric had talked quite a bit about the Battle of Spring Hill.  He pointed out to me then that he had also written a book on the subject.  In 286 pages, it covers Spring Hill and the actions at on the Duck River and at Thompson's Station on November 29, 1864. It appears that the best place to order the book is directly from The Carter House. The Carter House Museum Shop's phone number is 615-791-1861. It is not listed on the Museum Shop web page, but the book is available if you call and inquire.  All of the books are signed by Mr. Gillum as well.  I hope to do a blog entry covering it as an addendum to Eric Jacobson's look at the battle, an incredible lost opportunity for Hood and his Army of Tennessee.

Robert F. Morrow, Jr. 77th New York Volunteers: "Sojering" in the VI Corps. White Mane Publishing Company (May 2004).
Here is another in the growing line of Petersburg-related regimentals I've been accumulating since this summer.  The book has the dreaded "White Mane" reputation of poor fact checking and editing, not to mention stealing of maps in several cases.  Despite this, I'm hoping the book is one of the better White Mane titles.

Stephen W. Sears. Landscape Turned Red: The Battle Of Antietam. Ticknor & Fields (1983).
This is another upgrade of a paperback.  In this case, that paperback holds special significance to me.  It was the first campaign or battle study I purchased with my own money.  I picked it up some time in the late 80's or very early 90's.  That puts me in 5th or 6th grade.  I even remember that I purchased the book at the Waldenbooks Bookstore in St. Clair Square, the mall located in Fairview Heights, Illinois.  Enough of the reminiscing.  The point is that I finally have a hardback version of the book, and I'm quite pleased at the price I got it for.  As long as you read Sears knowing he is not fond of McClellan, you can find some good information in here.

Eric J. Wittenberg. Little Phil: A Reassessment of the Civil War Leadership of Gen. Philip H. Sheridan. Potomac Books (January 1, 2003).
What can I say?  Eric W. writes books on subjects I'm very interested in.   He likes detailed tactical studies.  I like detailed tactical studies.   He likes many, many maps.  I like many, many maps.  He loves the cavalry, I...okay I won't go that far!  I've grown more interested in cavalry actions as I've gotten more and more into the 1864 campaigns.  Watching Civil War cavalry evolve into what were essentially mounted infantry by the end of the war is a fascinating thing.  As Eric has said on more than one occasion, this is NOT a biography of Sheridan.  Instead, Eric (a lawyer by profession) chose to treat this subject as if he were arguing a case.  Here is an excerpt from one of Eric's early blog entries:

There has been one very notable exception to this rule. My book Little Phil makes no attempt at objectivity. From the very beginning of the book, I tell the reader that I am serving as an advocate, that the book has been written as a lawyer’s brief. I lay out my case—as if I was trying it to a jury—with no pretense of objectivity. I’ve been criticized for that, but I think that it was important to be honest and up front about the approach. That approach was admittedly taken from the work of Alan Nolan, and I have always freely acknowledged that his book Lee Considered was very much the model for my Sheridan book. It bears noting, though, that the Sheridan book was probably a once in a lifetime thing—while I try never to say never again for the most part, I can’t envision myself undertaking such a project again. My subsequent work has gone back to an objective telling of the story, punctuated by my take on events, and that’s how I expect to proceed as time passes.

I guess you could say that Eric is to Little Phil as Stephen Sears is to Little Mac.  ;-)
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November 29, 2006

Scott Mingus' Human Interest Stories of the Gettysburg Campaign Now Available


Award winning Johnny Reb III scenario designer Scott Mingus has a new book coming out entitled Human Interest Stories of the Gettysburg Campaign.  It weighs in at 104 pages and was released by Colecraft Industries on November 21, 2006. 

I believe this is Scott's first non-wargaming effort, as he has released scenario books for Antietam (Undying Courage: The Antietam Campaign in Miniature) and Gettysburg (Enduring Valor: Gettysburg in Miniature, 2 volumes) in the past as well.  The following is a press release on the new book.

Headline: York area resident releases new book on Gettysburg campaign

Area resident, Scott L. Mingus, Sr. has just released his new book Human Interest Stories of the Gettysburg Campaign. This 104-page work presents an extraordinary collection of human interest stories covering the Gettysburg campaign as witnessed by the soldiers and civilians. The influences which create emotional bonds between us, today, Mingus explained, and those in the past are human interest stories. Such stories allow us to understand the hardships and deprivations endured from this event. They connect and endear us in ways we can relate to the participants. They instill in us respect by their commitment to duty and they amaze us with tales of lighter, sometimes humorous, moments amidst tragic circumstances. This unique blend of stories, arranged in chronological order to enhance the reader's experience, was taken from primary sources, including, diaries, pension records, historical collections, official records, as well as newspapers, journals, and books. Here are just a few samples:
***
An unusual group of volunteers responded in Harrisburg to Governor Curtin’s plea. Capt. Charles C. Carson and a company of 17 men, the youngest being 68 years old, came forward and presented themselves for military service. Each senior citizen was a veteran of the War of 1812, and they wanted to again serve their state and country in a time of need. A color bearer proudly carried a historic relic, a highly tattered battle flag that had once been borne at the Battle of Trenton by Pennsylvanians serving under George Washington.
***
In one case, some members of the 3rd Michigan found that the most threatening enemy was not the Confederates they were pursuing. The Wolverines, hungry for some honey, raided some beehives in a nearby garden, initially driving off the bees. However, as the men reached the hives, the bees counterattacked en masse, repeatedly stinging the men as they struggled to get away from the prolonged assault. An amused onlooker, Color Sgt. Daniel Crotty, later wrote that the slashing and darting bees made some men “turn such somersaulting on the ground as to put to shame a lot of Japanese acrobat performers in a circus ring.” The soldiers made an inglorious retreat, their swollen heads and faces now resembling huge mortar shells.
***
A massive thunderstorm on the evening of July 4 drenched the armies, creating untold misery and torture for the thousands of wounded that still dotted the fields and woods surrounding Gettysburg. Creeks and streams, already swollen from days of rain before the Battle of Gettysburg, swiftly overflowed their banks, and flash floods claimed the lives of scores of unfortunate wounded men. The hospital of Clark’s Battery was in a field near Rock Creek east of Taneytown Road. The attendants and orderlies frantically worked to move the injured soldiers to higher ground. However, the water rose so quickly that not all could be moved. Artilleryman Dick Price held himself up above the torrent with his elbows draped over the branch of a dogwood tree. The lower extremities of both arms had been amputated, so Price’s agony must have been excruciating. Still, he held his composure...Price would soon die from complications resulting from his wounds. He is buried in the National Cemetery.

Human Interest Stories of the Gettysburg Campaign is published by Colecraft Industries, Orrtanna, PA 17353 and is now available for ordering online at colecraftbooks@aol.com, amazon.com, and barnes&noble.com. It will be available soon at Gettysburg area bookstores.
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September 18, 2006

Book Purchases: August 2006

I managed to pick up an interesting though smaller list of books last month.  These range from fiction, to biography and semi-biography, to a tour guide, and finally to my typical battle and campaign studies.  I am particularly excited to finally get my hands on Forrest at Brice's Crossroads for a good price.  I've already read Eric Wittenberg's book on Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions, and I'll have a review up within the next few weeks.

David Detzer. Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861. Harcourt (September 1, 2004).
I have heard both good (possibly the best narrative of the battle) and bad (no maps) things about this one, and I've got several other studies of First Bull Run, but I've remained intrigued by this title.  I've purchased this one for a reasonable price and I'll give it a look despite the complete lack of maps, which to me still seems to be an incredible shortcoming.

Jack Coombe. Gunfire Around the Gulf: The Last Major Naval Campaigns of the Civil War. Bantam (August 17, 1999).
This was a blind eBay buy, and it appears that this one might be a mistake.  The Amazon reviews are harsh, and amazon is unfortunately well known as a web site which routinely seeks to erase too many bad reviews.  I have only a few books on the naval aspects of the war, so the bad reviews are disappointing.  I'm going into this with an open mind, but I do not expect much.

Clint Johnson. Touring the Carolina's Civil War Sites (Touring the Backroads Series). John F. Blair Publisher (April 1996).
Happily, this is another blind eBay buy that turned out quite well.  As the title indicates, this one is a tour guide of some of the prominent and not so prominent Civil War related sites in North and South Carolina.

Stephen Crane. The Red Badge of Courage.
I'm not at home at the moment so I can't tell you exactly which edition of this classic I have, but not much needs to be said about Stephen Crane's fictionalized account of one man's fight (in an account loosely based on the battle of Chancellorsville).  I've seen the movie, but incredibly I've never read the book.  I look forward to this one in the same way as a horror fan I looked forward to reading Bram Stoker's famous novel Dracula when I first purchased it.

Ethan Sepp Rafuse. McClellan's War: The Failure Of Moderation In The Struggle For The Union. Indiana University Press (June 2005).
McClellan has long been painted in a very unfavorable light, but some recent scholarship has suggested a bit of a reversal of this trend.  McClellan seems to be a polarizing figure.  Most people seem to either love the man or hate him.  I have tried to keep an open mind, but reading Sears' portrayal (negative) and reading Dimitri Rotov's portrayal (positive) makes me wonder sometimes if I am reading about the same person!  Guest blogger Johnny Whitewater has already taken the time on this blog to discuss McClellan's War in a multi-part blog entry.  I encourage you to check it out, as I may not get around to reading the book for quite some time.

Stephen W. Sears. Controversies & Commanders: Dispatches From Army Of The Potomac. Houghton Mifflin (February 25, 1999).
Controversies & Commanders is a set of essays by Stephen Sears concerning the generals of the Union's foremost army and some of the controversial situations that occurred during its existence.  I managed to find a nice hardback copy in excellent condition.

Patrick Abbazia. Chickamauga Campaign: Great Military Campaigns of History (The Great Military Campaigns of History). Gallery Books (November 1988).
Abbazia wrote the Chickamauga volume in "The Great Military Campaigns of History" series, and I bought the book more to come closer to completing my set of these books rather than learn more about the battle.  Peter Cozzens' work is the definitive study of that battle if you do happen to be looking for an exhaustive study.  This set is a great way to introduce newcomers to the study of the Civil War.  Numerous sidebars cover some of the main leaders, units, events, and other items dealing with a given battle.

Eric J. Wittenberg. Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions. Thomas Publications (PA); 1st edition (January 1998).
I already read this one and I should have a review out shortly, so I'll save any discussion for that blog entry.

Stephen A. Townsend. The Yankee Invasion of Texas. Texas A&M University Press (March 20, 2006).
In what is rapidly becoming a trend, I first learned of this book at Drew Wagenhoffer's Civil War Books and Authors blog.  This book covers the attempts of the Federal Army of the Gulf to gain toeholds in the Lone Star state, specifically dealing with the Rio Grande Expedition of late 1863.  I believe that it will provide a fine complement to David Edmonds' book Yankee Autumn in Acadiana, covering the failed Great Texas Overland Expedition of the same time period.

Jeffry D. Wert. General James Longstreet: The Confederacy's Most Controversial Soldier - A Biography. Simon + Schuster Pub. (1993).
I've only recently become interested in biographies of Civil War personalities, and Wert's book on Longstreet (hardback sans dustjacket) showed up for an incredibly good price on eBay.  Needless to say, I picked it up and look forward to reading about one of the Confederacy's most controversial leaders.

Edwin Bearss. Forrest at Brice's Crossroads and in North Mississippi in 1864. Morningside Bookshop (August 1987).
I've wanted this book for a long time both because I am a big fan of Ed Bearss and also because I do not yet have anything covering Brice's Crossroads.  I was pleased to find a book in brand new condition recently, and I am eagerly looking forward to reading this one.

Posted by bschulte at 04:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 02, 2006

Book Purchases: July 1 - July 31, 2006

Books Purchased: July 1-July 31:

Richard S. Shue. Morning at Willoughby Run: The Opening Battle at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863. Thomas Publications (PA); Revised edition (January 1995).
I don't know too much about this one other than that it depicts the fighting between Heth's Division and Buford's Cavalry Division, with the later arrival of the Union I Corps.  If anyone has any other info I would appreciate hearing about it.

Mark W. Johnson. That Body of Brave Men: The U.S. Regular Infantry and the Civil War in the West. Da Capo Press, September 2, 2003.
I've had my eye on this one for a long time, but it is a pretty hefty book, weighing in at almost 800 pages, and the price had to drop for me to seriously consider buying it.  Ebay came through again this month when I picked it up for far less than the listed price of $45.  Apparently the author, Mark Johnson, is also a wargamer.  He is the designer of Critical Hit's upcoming Civil War board game entitled ATS Gettysburg, due for a September release.  This book covers "the Regular Brigade of the Army of the Cumberland, the 15th 16th, 18th and 19th United States Infantry Regiments", at least according to one of the reviews at Amazon.  It looks like the author covered them in great detail, and I look forward to reading this one.

Herbert M. Schiller. Sumter Is Avenged!: The Siege and Reduction of Fort Pulaski. White Mane Publishing Company, December 1995.
Regular readers of this blog are probably thinking "uh oh, another White Mane offering", but I've been assured by several people, among them Drew Wagenhoffer, that this is a solid book.  I just recently finished a book covering the end of the war a far as Savannah, Georgia was concerned, and this one will make a nice change of pace by focusing on the beginning of the war in Savannah.

Richard M. McMurry. The Fourth Battle of Winchester: Toward a New Civil War Paradigm. Kent State University Press, March 2002.
I was intrigued by this title after Dr. McMurry mentioned it in his appearance on Civil War Talk Radio.   The book starts with a counter-factual scenario involving Early's 1864 Raid on Washington, but it is really about the author's belief that the decisive theater of the Civil War was the west.  I enjoyed the author's extended essay Two Great Rebel Armies, and I am eagerly looking forward to reading this one, most likely in one sitting.

Mary Alice Wills. The Confederate Blockade of Washington, D.C. 1861-1862. White Mane Publishing Company, January 1998.
White Mane is prolific if nothing else.  Luckily, Drew Wagenhoffer also has this one covered.  According to Drew, White Mane was only superficially involved since they only printed the third edition of this book.  It was originally published by Burd Street Press, and Drew included it in his "Best of White Mane" series, so this should be a pretty interesting book.  The book doesn't have as many maps as I would have liked, but depending on the focus of the book, this may end up being a minor issue.  This is probably a good time to mention that I find a lot of books to keep an eye out for from Drew's site.  Many of the books that have been appearing in my "Book Purchases" entries have been books already reviews by Drew at one time or another.  If you haven't done so, make sure you go through his archives for some very good stuff.

William Garrett Piston & Richard W. Hatcher, III. Wilson's Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It. The University of North Carolina Press, March 27, 2000.
I have the other major works on Wilson's Creek (books by Bearss and Brooksher), but I've heard this is probably the best of the bunch.  Drew Wagenhoffer rated it at #11 in his list of best books on the Trans-Mississippi early this year, and pointed to it as one of the better campaign studies to attempt to include social aspects of the campaign as well.

J. Tracy Power. Lee's Miserables: Life in the Army of Northern Virginia from the Wilderness to Appomattox. The University of North Carolina Press, April 27, 1998.
This book has intrigued me for several years, mainly I think due to the interesting title.  According to Kevin Levin, this one is an excellent look at the fighting men of the Army of Northern Virginia in the last year of the war, covering their thoughts and feelings on the war, and how they managed to persevere through the large casualties and then the siege around Petersburg.  I am especially interested in the Petersburg portion of the book.

Doris Rich. Fort Morgan and the Battle of Mobile Bay. Baldwin Times, January 1, 1972.
Doris Rich's pamphlet on Fort Morgan is one of those intriguing titles that pops up on Ebay from time to time at a reasonable price (i.e. I paid so little for it that even if it stinks no harm is done).  This one is a completely blind buy, and I also managed to get a signed copy which is always pretty cool.  If anyone has this pamphlet and wants to give me some ideas of its worth, I'd love to hear from you.

Posted by bschulte at 06:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 14, 2006

Through The Howling Wilderness:The 1864 Red River Campaign and Union Failure in the West by Gary D. Joiner

I did a search for books on the Red River Campaign today, and I was surprised to find that Gary Joiner, already an author of one book on that campaign, has decided to do another through the University of Tennessee Press. By the look of things, this book seems to be much more detailed than One Damn Blunder, weighing in at over 300 pages and apparently sporting some excellent maps. If the map part is true, it would be a departure from most books on Banks' failed attempt to take Shreveport. Perhaps this is the Red River book many of us have been not so patiently waiting for. I'm sure Drew Wagenhoffer is salivating while reading this if he hasn't already learned of this study. Through the Howling Wilderness is scheduled to be released on October 1, 2006 and will retail for $39.95 in the cloth edition. Here are the details:


“This work will have strong appeal across the spectrum of students and be of equal benefit to the casual reader as well as the scholar. His maps are excellent and will aid readers in their study.”—Terrence J. Winschel, co-author of Vicksburg is the Key: The Struggle for the Mississippi River and author of Triumph and Defeat: The Vicksburg Campaign.

The Red River Campaign of 1864 was a bold attempt to send large Union army and navy forces deep into the interior of Louisiana, seize the Rebel capital of the state, and defeat the Confederate army guarding the region enabling uninhibited access to Texas to the west. Through the Howling Wilderness emphasizes the Confederate defensive measures and the hostile attitudes of commanders toward each other as well as toward their enemies.

Gary D. Joiner contends that the campaign was important to both the Union army and navy in the course of the war and afterward, altering the political landscape in the fall presidential elections in 1864. The campaign redirected troops originally assigned to operate in Georgia during the pivotal Atlanta campaign, thus delaying the end of the war by weeks or even months, and it forced the navy to refocus its inland or “brown water” naval tactics. The Red River Campaign ushered in deep resentment toward the repatriation of the State of Louisiana after the war ended. Profound consequences included legal, political, and sociological issues that surfaced in Congressional hearings as a result of the Union defeat.

The efforts of the Confederates to defend northern Louisiana have been largely ignored. Their efforts at building an army and preparations to trap the union naval forces before the campaign began have been all but lost in the literature of the Civil War. Joiner’s book will remedy this lack of historical attention.

Replete with in-depth coverage on the geography of the region, the Congressional hearings after the Campaign, and the Confederate defenses in the Red River Valley, Through the Howling Wilderness will appeal to Civil War historians and buffs alike.

Gary D. Joiner is assistant professor of history at Louisiana State University in Shreveport where he is director of the Red River Regional Studies Center. He is also owner of Precision Cartographics in Shreveport. Dr. Joiner is the co-editor of No Pardons to Ask, nor Apologies to Make and the author of One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864, winner of the 2004 Albert Castel Award and the 2005 A.M. Pate, Jr., Award.

Posted by bschulte at 04:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2006

Book Purchases: June 6 - July 1

Books Purchased: June 6-July 1:

Steven E. Woodworth. Civil War Generals in Defeat (Modern War Studies). University Press of Kansas, April 1999.
I do not know too much about this one other than that it is a collection of essays dealing with defeated generals on both sides and their place in history.  Some generals included in this volume are Albert Sidney Johnston, Joe Hooker, and George McClellan, among others.

Phillip Thomas Tucker. Burnside's Bridge : The Climatic Struggle of the 2nd & 20th Georgia at Antietam Creek. Stackpole Books; 1st ed edition (February 2000).
This is one of those specialized looks at a part of a battle that are nice to have, but honestly they are luxuries that I rarely go after.  In this case, the price was right, and I was able to pick this up on the cheap.  As is usually the case in micro-studies of parts of a major battle, the maps are very detailed and go down to the regimental level.  This one looks like a good buy for wargamers interested in Antietam.  I did note some fairly negative reviews as far as research goes on this one, however.

Curt Johnson & Richard C. Anderson. Artillery Hell The Employment of Artillery at Antietam. Texas A&M University Press, May 1995.
I believe I had this one listed earlier as a purchased book, but a mailing SNAFU prevented me from getting my hands on it at that time.  Here is another excellent buy for wargamers.  It looks like the authors have attempted to catalog exactly what numbers and types of gun tubes each artillery unit at Antietam possessed.  Artillery played a large role at Antietam, especially for the Confederates, so this is an interesting one that I'm looking forward to reading.. 

Richard M. McMurry. Two Great Rebel Armies : An Essay in Confederate Military History. University of North Carolina Press, January 1989.
I have had my eye on this one for a long time.  The Army of Northern Virginia so overshadows all other Confederate armies, including what you might call the number two army in the Army of Tennessee, that there must be some reasons why this is happening, right?  In the North, the Army of the Potomac is famous, sure, but the Army of the Tennessee and the Army of the Cumberland also get their fair share of coverage.  Richard McMurry sets out to explain the reasons for the success of one of the South's two major armies and the failure of the other in what is essentially a rather extended essay.

Angus Konstam. Seven Days Battles 1862 (Campaign 133). Osprey Publishing, August 20, 2004.
I admit that I have a soft spot for the Osprey titles although they are really meant more as a primer on a given campaign than as an in-depth study.  I am more than familiar with the basics of the Seven Days, considering it is one of my favorite campaigns to study.  With that said, this is more of the completist in me making sure that I own all of the Osprey titles covering Civil War campaigns than anything else.

John W. Schildt. Roads to Antietam. White Mane Publishing Company, May 1997.
I wasn't necessarily looking for this one when I saw it one day last month on eBay.  Despite the questionable White Mane origins, this one at least looks like it takes an interesting slant on the Maryland Campaign, taking the reader down the roads the armies covered in the fall of 1862.

Richard P. Weinert, Jr. The Confederate Regular Army. White Mane Pub, March 1991.
This is another White Mane book, but in this case we have a reference work covering, as the title implies, units which served in the Confederate Regular Army.  The book, like the Confederate Regular Army, is not all that large.  I do not know how good this one is, and there seems to be little information online in the way of reviews.  If anyone can send links to these my way I would appreciate it. 

Paul Branch. Jr. Siege of Fort Macon. Self-Published; 1st edition (1997).
Here's an interesting little pamphlet on a little known action.  I managed to pick up a signed edition on eBay.

David Swinfen. Ruggles' Regiment. University Press of New England, July 1982.
Here's an oversized regimental covering the story of the 122nd New York Infantry.  I don't know much more about it than that, though the fact that the 122nd New York was in the Petersburg Campaign was a plus.

Marion Vince Armstrong. Disaster In The West Woods: General Edwin V. Sumner and the II Corps at Antietam. Western Maryland Interpretive Association, Sharpsburg, MD, 2002.
As the title indicates, this book covers Sumner's rather disastrous attack with Sedgwick's Division in the West Woods at Antietam.  In case you couldn't already tell, I am also very interested in the Battle of Antietam.

David Shultz and David Wieck. The Battle Between the Farmlanes: Hancock Saves the Union Center; Gettysburg, July 2, 1863. Ironclad Publishing, 2006.
I preordered this one from Ironclad.  It's the latest volume in "The Discovering Civil War America Series" that includes titles on the Carolinas in 1865, Ball's Bluff, and Cavalry actions at Gettysburg.  The focus is on providing a closer look at lesser known combat along with a detailed tour at the back of the book.

David M. Jordan. "Happiness Is Not My Companion": The Life of General G. K. Warren. Indiana University Press, May 1, 2001.
I finished up this biography of Warren recently, so look for a review coming soon on the blog.  I felt that this was a solid if not great look at the life of one of the Corps commanders of the Army of the Potomac during the 1864 Campaigns in the east.  There may still be a clearance sale going on at the Indiana Press University web site for those of you interested.

Jack K. Overmyer. A Stupendous Effort: The 87th Indiana in the War of the Rebellion. Indiana University Press, October 1997.
This one was on sale at the Indiana University Press web site for very little, so I scooped it up as an interesting looking regimental.

Thomas A. Lewis. The Guns of Cedar Creek. Heritage Associates; 2nd edition (August 15, 1997).
Here's a book hat takes a look at the last major battle of the 1864 Shenandoah Campaign. Early's Valley Army surprised the unprepared Union Army of the shenandoah along the banks of Cedar Creek, but Sheridan made his famous ride back to his army to save the day and drive the Confederates from the field.

Edward G. Longacre. The Cavalry at Appomattox: A Tactical Study of Mounted Operations During the Civil War's Climactic Campaign, March 27-April 9, 1865. Stackpole Books; 1st edition (July 2003).
Despite the subtitle, I have heard that this is anything but a tactical study of the cavalry of both sides during the campaign.  The main complaint on this one is that it seems to barely touch the surface, simply regurgitating what we already know of the campaign.  I was able to pick this one up on eBay for a small amount, so I decided to give it a shot anyway.

Posted by bschulte at 06:57 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

June 27, 2006

New Gallagher "Essay" Book to focus on Petersburg

I found out recently over at the Civil War Discussion Group that Gary Gallagher's popular series of essay books which focus on a certain campaign in each volume will be FINALLY moving to Petersburg. The details are at the bottom of the post by "Unionrep". In his post, he/she states:


As to the question about a Gallagher book, one is planned that will cover the Petersburg campaign. This year's tour covered Cold Harbor and the Petersburg campaign up through the Crater and next year will cover the action up to the fall of Petersburg and Richmond. After next year's conference, the essays will be compiled and that would put publication no earlier than spring 2008.

This is GREAT news if true, and I see no reason not to believe the poster.

Posted by bschulte at 08:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 13, 2006

Book Purchases: May 23 to June 5, 2006

Michael A. Palmer. Lee Moves North : Robert E. Lee on the Offensive. Wiley, March 19, 1998.
I've heard some good and some bad things about this one. The author apparently argues that Lee was at his best on the strategic defensive, and that the Confederacy had no need for a strategic offensive. He also says that Lee was a poor offensive strategist and that he was too secretive before each of his three major offensives (Antietam, Gettysburg, and Bristoe Station). I honestly bought this one mainly for its content on Bristoe Station.

Robert Krick. 30th Virginia Infantry (Virginia Regimental Hist Series). H E Howard; 4th ed edition (October 1983).
Any time I see these Virginia Regiments books from H.E. Howard being sold for less than their list price of $25, I scoop them up. They are of uneven quality, but I suspect this Krick-authored book is one of the better books in the bunch.

Lee A. Wallace Jr. First Virginia Infantry (Virginia Regimental Histories Series). H E Howard; 3rd ed edition (September 1984).
See the entry above. I saw this one going cheaply and bought it, no questions asked. I only recently became interested in regimentals, but I'm beginning to collect unit histories for those regiments, battalions, and batteries that participated in the Petersburg Campaign.

Jack Zinn. The Battle of Rich Mountain. McClain Print. Co (1971).
I recently saw this little 51-page pamphlet being sold on eBay for a very low price, and I am always looking for books on campaigns of which I have little knowledge. I recently completed two overview books of the 1861 West Virginia Campaign by Newell and Lesser (look for reviews of these books and a "Back-to-Back Books" entry over the next two weeks), and I was looking for some titles that concentrated on individual battles in more detail. This book isn't great (see Drew Wagenhoffer's recent blog entry), but for the price I paid I'll take it. Plus, it's WAY more available than Zinn's book on Cheat Mountain.

Craig S. Chapman. More Terrible Than Victory: North Carolina's Bloody Bethel Regiment, 1861-1865. Potomac Books (December 1997).
Here's another quality regimental (hardback edition) with ties to the Petersburg Campaign. The 1st North Carolina was involved literally from the beginning of the war, participating in the battle of Big Bethel, as the title indicates.

Richard M. McMurry. Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy. University of Nebraska Press (November 2000).
I had been meaning to pick up Richard McMurry's Atlanta title for awhile, but the thing that finally pushed me over the edge was a Civil War Talk Radio interview Dr. McMurry did this past January entitled "Richard M. McMurry: Toward A New Civil War Paradigm". In the talk, Dr. McMurry reiterates his opinion that the Civil War was won in the West, and that no matter what Lee did in the East, it wouldn't matter. For those of you wondering "what if Lee had taken Washington?", McMurry argues that this simply wasn't possible.

Frances H. Casstevens. Clingman's Brigade in the Confederacy, 1862-1865. McFarland & Company (September 15, 2002).
I was excited about this particular title for several reasons. First, Clingman's Brigade was heavily involved in the operations in the defense of Petersburg, including the actions at Bermuda Hundred in May 1864. Widely disparaged after the war, Clingman's Brigade gets a second chance from the author. Casstevens acknowledges the shortcomings of the unit, but she shows that they fought bravely in many cases as well. Second, this is a McFarland book, which as many of you know offers its books only at ridiculously overinflated prices. I've never seen so many 200 page books go for over $40. The reason for the high cost is that McFarland sells primarily to libraries, who are willing to pay higher prices than most individuals. In any case, I managed to procure this one for less than half of its listed price, and I couldn't be happier!

Roger H. Harrell. The 2nd North Carolina Cavalry. McFarland & Company (April 28, 2004).
Here's another McFarland book, this one a little larger than the title above. The 2nd performed poorly early on in the war, and for a time Confederate leaders wanted to disband the unit. However, the officers and men recovered nicely and fought through to the end of the war, mostly in Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. As is usually the case in regimentals I purchase, this regiment was present for the Siege of Petersburg.

Frank A O'Reilly. "Stonewall" Jackson at Fredericksburg: The Battle of Prospect Hill, December 13, 1862 : the Fredericksburg Campaign (Virginia Civil War Battles and Leaders series). H.E. Howard; 1st ed edition (1993).
Here's another H.E. Howard entry, this time in the Virginia Battles & Leaders series. I already have O'Reilly's book The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock, and I suspect that this book covers Prospect Hill in an ealrier version of O'Reilly's interpretation of the Prospect Hill part of the fighting on the southern end of the battlefield. The maps are excellent, much more so than usual in your typical Howard entry, and the book itself is fatter than normal. If this one is anything like O'Reilly's book above, it will have been a good purchase. He's a very good author and knows his stuff when commenting on the Fredericksburg Campaign, having served at that National Battlefield for quite some time.

Lawrence L Hewitt. Port Hudson, Confederate Bastion on the Mississippi. Louisiana State University Press (1987).
Can you believe it? This is the second "smoked-out" book I've received in less than a month, and again the smell was not listed in the description. I honestly don't mind the smell too much, and it goes away after a week or so of airing out, but c'mon! I'm not a smoker, but some of my friends are, and I'm around smokers in bars on the weekends (hey, I'm still only 27!), but IMHO smoking around your books is one of the worst things you can possibly do. Come to think of it, at least smoking around your books is better than smoking around your kids! If I were a smoker, I'd probably have an airproof library. On second thought, I'd probably just give up smoking. It'd be cheaper. Anyway, now that my little rant is over, let's talk about the book. I already own David C. Edmonds' two-volume work on Port Hudson, and more than one person has said it is the definitive account. In addition, I reviewed Edward Cunningham's The Port Hudson Campaign, 1862-1863 several months ago. What I wanted, though, before I dove head-first into Edmonds' massive work was a modern overview with hopefully more maps than Cunningham provides (only two!). Unfortunately, I'm only going to get a modern overview. Hewitt's book also only has two maps, and these are even worse than Cunningham's. I'll probably have Edmonds' books handy and just use those maps.

Michael C. Hardy. Battle of Hanover Court House: Turning Point of the Peninsula Campaign, May 27, 1862. McFarland & Company (May 16, 2006).
In this particular set of book purchases, I've saved the best for last. As many of you know, I'm a fan of the Petersburg Campaign. What some of you may not know is that my second-favorite campaign is the Peninsula Campaign of 1862. In this particular McFarland book (which I picked up for less than half of the retail price even with shipping thrown in), Michael C. Hardy covers the small battle of Hanover Court House (aka Slash Church). McClellan had sent part of Fitz-John Porter's V Corps north to link up with McDowell's I Corps, which was supposed to be moving south from Fredericksburg, but also to protect McClellan's vulnerable right flank. The Yankees ran into Lawrence O'Bryan Branch's Confederate Brigade and a short, sharp fight ensued. The Confederates were defeated, but Jackson's victories in the Shenandoah Valley caused Lincoln to recall McDowell. I am ecstatic that a book has come out on this battle. No prior work on the battle existed, as far as I know. I'm also delighted that I was able to get a brand new version of this brand new book cheaply. I would have broken down and bought it from McFarland directly soon anyway, so my discovery of this one was fortuitous, to say the least!

Posted by bschulte at 12:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 23, 2006

Book Purchases: May 7 to May 16, 2006

Rod Gragg. Confederate Goliath: The Battle of Fort Fisher. Harpercollins; 1st edition, January 1991.
After having purchased a primarily naval account of Fort Fisher, I decided to pick up Rod Gragg's book as well. I'm not all that familiar with the Fort Fisher Campaign, but this hardback looks pretty well done, aside from the smoky smell when I pulled it out of the package!

Chris E., Jr. Fonvielle. Fort Anderson: Battle for Wilmington. Da Capo Press, March 1999.
For whatever reason the coastal operations along the Carolinas is another area I've neglected for far too long. In an effort to rectify my ignorance, I've purchased quite a few books recently on the subject. This particular book looks at the fall of Wilmington, North Carolina late in the war. Wilmington was the last Southern port open to blockade runners, so its capture was important in that regard.

Gary W. Gallagher and Alan T. Nolan, Editors. The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History. Indiana University Press, November 2000.
Discussion of the Lost Cause inevitably leads to conflict between those criticizing post-war Southern manipulation of the historical record and some native Southerners. This fact can plainly be seen in the widely divergent ratings for this book at Amazon. The Lost Cause is controversial, and controversy sells. When I saw this one on sale at Indiana University Press, I snatched it up immediately. It's definitely different from my usual campaign studies, but after reading Kevin Levin's work on how the facts of the Crater were changed or obscured after the war, I have a feeling this one will be pretty interesting.

Alan T. Nolan, Editor. Giants in Their Tall Black Hats: Essays on the Iron Brigade. Indiana University Press, October 1998.
The Iron Brigade, from the moment I first learned of the unit, has held a special fascination for me. This all-Western Brigade, first led by the by-the-book John Gibbon, was widely regarded as the best combat unit in the Army of the Potomac at least through Gettysburg. Their post-Gettysburg record is spotty due to the large number of conscripts they received. Nevertheless, it should be a lot of fun sitting down and reading these essays covering this well-known group. As an aside, I also picked this book up from Indiana University press at 75% off.

Jim Leeke, Editor. A Hundred Days to Richmond: Ohio's "Hundred Days" Men in the Civil War. Indiana University Press, November 1999.
This unit history, told almost entirely in the words of the soldiers who were there, holds particular interest for me. Some of the Ohio Hundred Days men were formed into an ad hoc division on Bermuda Hundred during the Petersburg Campaign, and I had some difficulty figuring out just when this happened. In just scanning through the notes of the book, I found that this division was created on June 19, 1864, thus helping to clarify the whole-scale changes in the Army of the James from the middle to the end of June, 1864. This was the third book that I picked up from the Indiana Press University sale.

Gary Loderhose. Far, Far From Home: The Ninth Florida Regiment in the Confederate Army. Guild Press of Indiana; 1 edition, May 1999.
This is another unit history I picked up due to the unit's involvement in the Petersburg Campaign. Looking at the National Park Service's Petersburg units page, the 9th Florida was engaged at Globe Tavern (the Weldon Railroad) on August 18, 1864.

Darrell L. Collins. General William Averell's Salem Raid: Breaking the Knoxville Supply Line. Burd Street Press, January 1999.
I just recently finished Eric Wittenberg's book The Union Cavalry Comes of Age: From Hartwood Church to Brandy Station, 1863, which concludes with the sacking of Averell. Eric mentioned Averell's future pursuits, one of which was this raid on Salem in the southwestern portion of Virginia. Apparently Averell's men crossed mountainous terrain in the dead of winter to pull off a spectacular success. It was fortuitous, then, when this book showed up on eBay just as I was reading the concluding chapter of Eric's book.

Duane P. Schultz. The Dahlgren Affair: Terror and Conspiracy in the Civil War. W W Norton & Co Inc; 1st ed edition, September 1998.
Oddly enough, this is another Eric Wittenberg inspired purchase. Eric, as readers of his blog know, is fascinated by Ulric Dahlgren. Reading Eric's continuing blog entries got me interested as well.

Marion V. Armstrong. Disaster in the West Woods: General Edwin V. Sumner and the II Corps at Antietam. Western Maryland Interpretive Association, Sharpsburg, MD, 2002.
Dimitri Rotov's friend had a book sale recently due to his need for increased shelf space, and I benefited greatly. The first book I picked up was this one. Armstrong's book covering Sumner's II Corps in the West Woods is pretty scarce today apparently. I couldn't find it at Amazon, and only one copy is at the Abebooks link above. I know very little about the book, so we'll see when it arrives.

Kim B. Holien. Battle at Ball's Bluff. Moss Publications, July 1996.
Edit: Oops! I didn't get the H.E. Howard book, but rather the one written by Kim Holien. I don't have these five in my possession yet, so it's an honest mistake... The second book of five from Dimitri's friend is the H.E. Howard volume on Ball's Bluff. This is admittedly overkill on my part since I already have James Morgan's excellent book A Little Short of Boats.

Curt Johnson, Richard C. Anderson, Joseph Mills Hanson. Artillery Hell: The Employment of Artillery at Antietam. Texas A&M University Press; 1st ed edition, May 1995.
The third book in this haul was this one covering the artillery at Antietam. This is another book I've heard good things about but which I haven't been able to purchase up until now.

Dennis Kelly. Kennesaw Mountain and the Atlanta Campaign, A Tour Guide. Kennesaw Mountain, May 1990.
I've always been interested in the Atlanta Campaign for almost as far back as I can remember. I first read Albert Castel's book Decision In The West in 8th grade, and the rest is history. With that in mind, I also picked this one up from Dimitri's friend. There is one book I know of concentrating on Kennesaw Mountain specifically, but it's more of a coffee table book than a serious tactical look at the battle. I have no illusions that this is the tactical study I'm looking for. Instead, since there isn't a definitive work, I'm looking to collect as many of the existing books as possible.

George R. Stewart. Pickett’s Charge: A Microhistory of the Final Attack at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. Mariner Books; Reissue edition, October 18, 1991.
The last book I picked up of five is this one on Pickett's Charge. Regular readers of this blog are probably asking themselves, "Isn't this the guy who thinks there ARE too many books on Gettysburg?" My answer would be, yes I am, but detailed tactical studies are my bread and butter, so I couldn't resist.

Martin Graham, George F. Skoch. Mine Run: A Campaign of Lost Opportunities October 21. 1863-May 1, 1864. H E Howard; 2nd edition, June 1987.
I've recently become interested in the post-Gettysburg 1863 Campaigns in the east, Bristoe Station and Mine Run. Although no major battles occurred, the campaigns still featured a lot of movement and decision-making on the part of Lee and Meade. Recently, Brooks Simpson was mulling over the possibility of writing a campaign study covering these actions. Prior to reading that blog entry, I picked up this H.E. Howard book on Mine Run. While I would have liked to get the Howard entry on Bristoe Station and read them in order, I was so excited I jumped right in. By the time you've read this, I will probably already have this book finished, and you can be sure a Review in Brief blog entry will follow. The maps in this one look a LOT better than most of the entries in the Virginia Battles and Leaders series. This may be due to mapmaker extraordinaire George Skoch's presence as co-author. Needless to say, I would welcome a study that combines the two campaigns and gives this neglected time period its due in Civil War literature.

Posted by bschulte at 10:08 AM | Comments (2)

May 17, 2006

Russel "Cap" Beatie's Army of the Potomac Volume 3

I've been eagerly awaiting the third installment of Cap Beatie's monumental Army of the Potomac, a study of the leadership of that famous Northern fighting unit. Mr. Beatie had previously been working with Da Capo, but it looks like Savas Beatie LLC will handle the third (and most likely future) volumes. This latest book is entitled McClellan's First Campaign, March 1862 - May 1862, and will presumably cover the period of McClellan's Peninsula Campaign up to the Battle of Williamsburg in early May. The information page for McClellan's First Campaign, March 1862 - May 1862 contains the following description:

ARMY OF THE POTOMAC. Vol. 3 McClellan's First Campaign

Russel H. Beatie

ISBN: 1-932714-25-1; photos, 30 original maps by George Skoch, extensive notes, bibliography, index. Hardcover, dust jacket, 864 pages.

$45.00

McClellan’s First Campaign, the third volume of Russel Beatie’s masterful series, covers the pivotal early months of General George McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign through the siege of Yorktown, the pursuit toward Richmond, and the fighting at Williamsburg. As he did in his first two volumes, Beatie tells the story largely through the eyes and from the perspective of high ranking officers, staff officers, and politicians. This study is based upon extensive firsthand research (including many previously unused and unpublished sources) that rewrites the history of Little Mac’s inaugural effort to push his way up the peninsula and capture Richmond in one bold campaign.

In meticulous fashion, Beatie examines many heretofore unknown, ignored, or misunderstood facts and events and uses them to evaluate the campaign in the most balanced historical context to date. Every aspect of these critically important weeks is examined, from how McClellan’s Urbanna plan unraveled and led to the birth of the expedition that debarked at Fort Monroe in Mach 1862, to the aftermath of Williamsburg. There were many reasons why the march to Richmond did not move as expeditiously as many hoped it would, though until now, few of these reasons have been satisfactorily (or even fairly) explored. President Abraham Lincoln’s interference, both politically and militarily, argues the author, lengthened considerably McClellan’s odds of success. Just one example was the president’s tampering with the corps command structure. Lincoln’s experiment undermined his army commander by elevating the wrong men to positions of importance, a sad fact amply demonstrated by the inept leadership displayed before Yorktown and during the important fighting at Williamsburg. Beatie is the first author to deeply investigate and expose the role of the Navy in the Yorktown episode. His sweeping and convincing conclusion is that if the Navy had done what it promised it would do—what it could have done, but refused to do—Yorktown would have fallen weeks sooner than it did.

McClellan’s First Campaign is a story about the men in command—their knowledge, intentions, successes, and failures. To capture the full flavor of their experiences, Beatie employs the “fog of war” technique, which puts the reader in the position of the men who led the Union army. The Confederate adversaries are always present but often only in shadowy forms that achieve firm reality only when we meet them face-to-face on the battlefield.

Well written, judiciously reasoned, and extensively footnoted, McClellan’s First Campaign will be heralded as the seminal work on this topic. Civil War readers may not always agree with Beatie’s conclusions, but they will concur that his account offers an original examination of the Army of the Potomac’s role on the Virginia peninsula.

About the Author: Russel H. "Cap" Beatie graduated from Princeton University and Columbia Law School and has been a trial lawyer in New York City for more than three decades. He is the author of several articles and books, including "Road to Manassas" (Cooper Square, 1961), and the first two volumes of his bestselling Army of the Potomac Series, "Birth of Command (2002) and "McClellan Takes Command" (2004). His interest first began at a young age when he read Douglas Southall Freeman's "Lee's Lieutenants." A Kansas native and former lieutenant in the field artillery and infantry, Cap has lived in the New York City area most of his life. He is currently hard at work on the fourth volume of this series.

Posted by bschulte at 01:31 PM | Comments (1)

May 11, 2006

Book Purchases: April 21 to May 5, 2006

Mary Alice Wills. The Confederate Blockade of Washington, D.C. 1861-1862. White Mane Publishing Company, January 1998.
As usual, I'm taking a chance by purchasing a White Mane book. They're known unfortunately for factual errors cropping up much more than your average Civil War publisher. With that said, there are good White Mane books out there. One that comes to mind immediately is Paul Taylor's book on the Battle of Chantilly. The Confederate blockade of Washington is a subject which I know very little about, so I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Charles M. Robinson III. Hurricane of Fire: The Union Assault on Fort Fisher. Naval Institute Press, May 1998.
I had initially believed this to be a book focusing on the amphibious assault on Fort Fisher from the Army perspective, but after reading the book jacket, it appears that Charles Robinson III gives us the naval view of the campaign.

Martin Hardwick Hall. Sibley's New Mexico Campaign. University of New Mexico Press, September 2000
In what is a bit of a theme in this edition of Book Purchases, I've purchased a book focusing on the Civil War in the southwest. This is another area of the Civil War of which I have very little knowledge. The book was first published in 1960, and this is a recent reprint edition. It looks like there is only one map, but I'm hoping this one gives me a good introduction to Sibley's Campaign.

Gary Livingston. Among the Best Men the South Could Boast, The Fall of Fort McAllister, December 13, 1864. Caisson Press, February 1, 1997.
As of today, I don't yet have this one in my possession. I know Fort McAllister, a guardian of Savannah, Georgia, fell near the end of Sherman's March to the Sea in December 1864. Other than that, this is another one I'm looking forward to reading the book to fill in a gap in my knowledge.

Jay Luvaas & Harold W. Nelson. The U.S. Army War College Guide to the Battles of Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg. South Mountain Press, 1988.
I'm quite familiar with the two battles covered in this version of the U.S. Army War College Guide series of books, but I wanted to pick this one up to further complete my collection of these books. I own copies on Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and Antietam at this point, and I'll eventually get the others as well.

Eric J. Wittenberg. The Union Cavalry Comes of Age: Hartwood Church to Brandy Station, 1863. Potomac Books; 1st edition, September 2003.
I'm involved with a group of computer game modders of Mad Minute Games' new Civil war game, Take Command 2nd Manassas. We call ourselves The SkunkWorks, and our first project is to create a mod featuring the Battle of Brandy Station. I was going to pick up Eric's book eventually anyway, but this project allowed me to justify the need to have it NOW.

Jack Friend. West Wind, Flood Tide: The Battle of Mobile Bay. Naval Institute Press, March 2004.
I picked this one up on Amazon recently, and the Battle of Mobile Bay is another area I've heard very little about other than Admiral Farragut's famous exclamation.

John McLellan Taylor. Bloody Valverde: A Civil War Battle on the Rio Grande. Univ of New Mexico Pr; 1st ed edition, October 1995.
I wanted to pick up the hardcover version of the book, but I've got to skimp somewhere, and this was one of those cases. With that said, the paperback version is fine as well. In any case, I need to learn more about the Civil War in the southwest, and this is another of those books I need to help make that happen.

John D. Billings. The History of the Tenth Massachusetts Battery of Light Artillery in the War of the Rebellion. Stan Clark Military Books; Reprint edition, April 1987.
I picked up this book and the one just below on eBay recently. As I mentioned several months ago, I've started to get into collecting regimentals and other unit histories. These two books were going for below market value on eBay so I snatched them up. Both units particiapted in the Petersburg Campaign as well, so the combination of pluses involved made these purchases two no-brainers.

Isaac Best. History of the 121st New York State Infantry. Stan Clark Military Books, July 1996.
I picked up this book and the one just above on eBay recently. As I mentioned several months ago, I've started to get into collecting regimentals and other unit histories. These two books were going for below market value on eBay so I snatched them up. Both units particiapted in the Petersburg Campaign as well, so the combination of pluses involved made these purchases two no-brainers.

Steven E. Woodworth. Nothing but Victory : The Army of the Tennessee, 1861-1865. Knopf, October 25, 2005.
I've heard both good and bad things about this one, but I've had my eye on it from the first time I heard of it. Being a native of Illinois, I identify more with The Army of the Tennessee than any other Civil War army. I was pleasantly surprised when I managed to pick a great copy of this up off of eBay for less than $10.

Don E. Alberts. The Battle of Glorieta: Union Victory in the West. Texas A&M University Press (July 2000).
This is the last book on the Civil War in the southwest that I picked up in time to appear in this edition of Book Purchases. Believe it or not, fellow blogger Drew Wagenhoffer and I, among others, were both bidding on this one on eBay. I had no idea what Drew's eBay handle was until he made me aware of the fact that I had outbid him for this one. I felt bad, but at least he's had the chance to read the book previously. I have not, and I hope to get a decent grasp on what happened at Glorietta by reading this one.

Posted by bschulte at 06:06 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2005

Shock Troops of the Confederacy

Shock Troops of the Confederacy:The Sharpshooter Battalions of the Army of Northern Virginia
by Fred L. Ray

I came across this book recently after reading about it over at Drew Wagenhoffer's Civil War Books and Authors blog. It deals with the Sharpshooter Battalions formed in each brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia. The idea originated with Robert Rodes, who organized a sharpshooter battalion in his brigade in 1863, and later that year, after promotion to division command, he created one for each brigade in the division. Lee liked the idea so much that he ordered its adoption among the other brigades of the ANV in the spring of 1864. Author Fred Ray argues that these units played an important and sometimes decisive role in the late-war engagements of 1864-1865. The book is currently being offered at a pre-order price of $25 plus $4 S&H, with an option to have the author sign the book at no extra cost. For further information on this groundbreaking study, see http://sharpshooters.cfspress.com/.
Posted by bschulte at 12:00 PM