The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War

21 03 2009

pigIn the current issue of America’s Civil War magazine, I gave a rating of one-half can (not one full can, as has been reported) to H. W. Crocker III’s The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War.  At least one blogger didn’t like the review (thanks for taking the time to prove my point about the EP thing.  By the way, the claim that the EP did not free a single slave is repeated on page 39, and in fact is not refuted anywhere in the book’s text so far as I could see.) 

My Six-Pack reviews are brief, informational reviews, 100-150 words for each book.  They are meant to give the reader an idea of whether or not the book in question is one they might be interested in reading.  The folks at the magazine asked me to provide some indication of whether or not I think the book is worth my time (the actual graphics were their idea).  At the same time, I try to give enough info to let the reader know if, regardless of my rating, the book is worth their time.  If any one of the six reviews in this column did that, it was the PIG book.  Whatever flavor tea you prefer, you should be able to tell from the review whether you want this book in your cup.

Book covers and blurbs are meant to attract readers, as well as to give them an idea of what they can expect to find between them.  The bullets on the front cover of this book do a fantastic job in both cases – I found them consistent with the content:

You think you know about the Civil War, but did you know:

  • That secession was legal
  • That the Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave
  • That the South had the moral high ground in the war (and the editorial support of the Vatican’s own newspaper)
  • That Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis expected slavery to fade away naturally
  • That if the South had won, we might be able to enjoy holidays in the sunny Southern state of Cuba

What’s truly wonderful though are the praise quotes on the back cover (I don’t know who any of these people are, but my favorite is the one from Hays -  I’m not sure how the fairly neutral one at the end snuck in):

You can’t understand America until you understand the War of Northern Aggression, and Mr. Crocker tells the story in such a delightful, politically incorrect way that you can’t wait to get to the end of his book to see whether Marse Robert actually pulls out a stunning upset.  Great Scholarship, great story-telling, and great fun.

—Wesley Pruden, editor emeritus of the Washington Times and political columnist

In short order, Harry Crocker has lifted the modern veil of misinformation surrounding the major actors in the War.  In the process, he has rescued the character of Robert E. Lee and shown Union heroes such as Grant, Sherman, and Lincoln to be more human, complex, and in some cases loathsome than contemporary history texts suggest.  The South becomes more admirable and the North more contemptible.  Here is the war, warts and all, for everyone to see.

—Brion McClanahan, Ph.D. in American History, University of South Carolina

The only way this idiosyncratic take on the wa-wuh could be any better is if we’d won.  Even Harry Crocker couldn’t do that, but he has written a witty book full of history and insight.  If I’d ever gotten around to joining the United Daughters of the Confederacy, I bet my chapter would thank him.  Yankees will enjoy it too.

—Charlotte Hays, Southern gossip columnist and co-author (among other books) of Being Dead is No Excuse, The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral

I had supposed it wasn’t possible these days to talk reasonably, as well as informatively, about our great national cataclysm, the Civil War.  H. W. Crocker III brings off that extraordinary feat with style, verve, and wit.  Give that gentleman a medal for gallantry and public service.

—William Murchison, nationally syndicated columnist

OK, well there you have it.  I stand by my informational review.  The book isn’t necessarily chock full of misinformation.  But it has an agenda, for sure, and a slant, for sure.  It is bent on increasing the prestige of the Confederacy and its supporters, and on tearing down the Union cause and its proponents.  But it’s not like the author was acting surreptitiously – he is quite up front about it.  Such an agenda requires selectivity and nuance.

Bottom line – if this review pissed you off, buy this book.  It’s right up your alley.  I also recommend to you anything by James & Walter Kennedy or Thomas DiLorenzo.  And of course the original Confederate Catechism.

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#77 – Col. Jubal A. Early

21 03 2009

Report of Col. Jubal A. Early, Twenty-fourth Virginia Infantry, of Action at Blackburn’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 463-465

HDQRS. SIXTH BRIGADE, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

July 31, 1861

COLONEL: I submit the following report of the operations of my brigade on the 18th instant in the engagement at Blackburn’s Ford on Ball Run, in which our troops were commanded by Brigadier-General Longstreet:

In the morning of that day I marched with my brigade, composed of the Seventh Virginia Volunteers, Colonel Kemper’s regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Williams; the Seventh Louisiana Volunteers, commanded by Col. Harry T. Hays; six companies of the Twenty-fourth Virginia Volunteers, my own, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hairston, and three pieces of artillery from the Washington Battalion of New Orleans, under the command of Lieutenant Squires, to Camp Walker, from whence it was moved by direction of General Beauregard into the road leading from Camp Walker to the gate in front of McLean’s farm, where it remained until about 12 o’clock, at which time a large cloud of dust was observed on the high ridge north of Blackburn’s Ford, at which General Longstreet’s brigade was stationed. This cloud of dust proved to be produced by the enemy’s columns moving in that direction, and in a few minutes the cannonading was commenced by the enemy, directed first upon General Bonham’s position at Mitchell’s Ford and subsequently upon the farm-house of McLean and the hospital in his barn, over which was floating the hospital flag.

As soon as the cannonading commenced my brigade was moved by order of the general to the cover of the pines to the left of the road leading from McLean’s house to Blackburn’s Ford, where it was joined by two more pieces of artillery from the Washington Battery, under Captain Eshleman. At this position it remained for the purpose of supporting either General Bonham at Mitchell’s Ford, General Longstreet at Blackburn’s Ford, or General Jones at McLean’s Ford, as occasion might require. After the first cannonading had ceased, and General Beauregard with his staff had passed towards Mitchell’s Ford, a fire of musketry began at Blackburn’s Ford, which became very animated, and was continued for some time, when one of General Longstreet’s aides came to inform me that he had repulsed the enemy’s charge, but desired re-enforcements. I immediately put my whole brigade in motion, including the five pieces of artillery, to which, by his own request, was joined Lieutenant Garnett, of the same battery, with two pieces that had been sent to the rear by General Longstreet before the action commenced.

After my column was put in motion I received an order from General Beauregard to support General Longstreet with two regiments and two pieces of artillery. I therefore proceeded with the Seventh Louisiana Regiment and Seventh Virginia Regiment and two pieces of artillery under charge of Captain Eshleman, to the support of General Longstreet. Upon arriving at Blackburn’s Ford I found the greater part of General Longstreet’s command under cover on the banks of the stream engaged with the enemy, who were under cover on the hill-sides on the opposite banks. Colonel Hays’ regiment, which was in advance, was then placed on the banks of the stream under cover to the right and left of the ford, relieving the Seventeenth Virginia Regiment, under Colonel Corse. This regiment proceeded to its position under quite a brisk fire of musketry.

The Seventh Virginia Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Williams, as it arrived, was formed to the right of the ford under a heavy fire of musketry from the enemy, evidently directed at the regiment. It was momentarily thrown into confusion by this fire, and discharged many of its own guns over a portion of our own troops in front; fortunately, however, doing them no damage, as I believe. The regiment was soon rallied, and proceeded to the banks of the stream, relieving the First Virginia Regiment. The two pieces of artillery under Captain Eshleman, which followed the Seventh Virginia Regiment, were moved down in the open field on the right of the road, so as to be concealed from view of the enemy’s artillery by the timber on the banks of the stream, where they opened a fire upon the enemy on the opposite side, directed only by the sound of their musketry. As soon as the Seventh Virginia Regiment advanced to the banks of the stream, as above stated, I sent back for the companies of the Twenty-fourth Regiment and the remainder of the pieces of artillery, and they were brought up; the companies of the Twenty-fourth were placed in position in good order to the left of the ford in a space not occupied by Colonel Hays’ regiment, and the remaining guns of the Washington Artillery (five in number) were unlimbered on a line with the first two pieces and to the right of the road. A scattering fire of musketry was kept up for some time, but the enemy finally ceased firing, and evidently retired to the hills, where their artillery guns were placed, having no doubt observed the position of our pieces of artillery, for a fire was soon commenced on them by the enemy’s artillery, which was responded to by ours, and the cannonading was continued for a considerable time with great briskness on both sides, the balls and shells from the enemy’s battery being directed with considerable accuracy upon ours, but the enemy finally ceased firing, and did not renew the attack with musketry. During all this firing, when the balls and shells were passing over the heads of the men on the banks of the stream, they remained at their posts, coolly awaiting the renewal of the attack with musketry.

The affair closed late in the afternoon, and about dusk General Longstreet, by direction of General Beauregard, retired with the two regiments of his brigade that had been engaged in the early part of the action to the pines from which I had gone to re-enforce him, leaving my brigade on the ground for the night.

When I first arrived on the ground I joined General Longstreet, being actively engaged in the thickest of the fire in directing and encouraging the men under his command, and I am satisfied he contributed very largely to the repulse of the enemy by his own personal exertions.

The officers and men belonging to the Washington Battery behaved very handsomely indeed under a well-directed and galling fire of the enemy, displaying great coolness and skill in the management of their pieces. The regiments of my brigade came for the first time under fire, and while one regiment was thrown for a few minutes into confusion, without retiring it rallied under fire on the same ground, and took the position assigned it and retained it. Some parties sent across the stream after the close of the fight reported about forty of the enemy found dead on the ground occupied by their infantry during the fight. We were not able to examine the ground occupied by their battery and the regiments of infantry supporting it, because it was evident that a large force was in the neighborhood, and the whole of next day the men were engaged in throwing up embankments to strengthen our position, which was on ground lower than that occupied by the enemy. About one hundred muskets were picked up on the hill-sides, with a large number of hats and other articles. From all indications the enemy’s loss must have been much larger than our own. The ranks of the Seventh and Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiments were much thinned by sickness, and the whole number of my brigade did not exceed fifteen hundred men. I have already furnished Brigadier-General Longstreet with a list of the killed and wounded. Capt. Fleming Gardner, my aide and acting assistant adjutant-general, and Capt. George E. Dennis, assistant commissary to the Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiment, who acted as aide during the engagement, discharged their duties to my entire satisfaction.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. A. EARLY,

Colonel, Comdg. Sixth Brigade, First Corps, Army of Potomac

Col. THOMAS JORDAN,

A. A. Gen., First Corps, Army of Potomac





#76 – Brig. Gen. James Longstreet

20 03 2009

Report of Brig. Gen. James Longstreet, C. S. Army, of Action at Blackburn’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 461-463

SIR: I have the honor to report that in obedience to the orders of the general commanding I took my position at this ford on the 17th instant, my brigade being composed of the First, Eleventh, and Seventeenth Regiments of Virginia Volunteers. My line of defense being quite extended, I threw out a line of skirmishers to the water’s edge, covering my entire front, holding strong reserves in readiness to defend with the bayonet any point that might be violently attacked.

At 11.30 o’clock a.m. on the 18th my pickets reported the enemy advancing upon the ford in heavy columns of infantry and a strong artillery force. At 12 m. the pickets retired without firing. My artillery (two pieces) were placed in convenient position, with orders to retire the moment it was ascertained that our pieces were commanded by those of the enemy. The first shot from his battery discovered the advantage of his position, and our artillery was properly withdrawn. A fire from the artillery of the enemy was kept up about half an hour, when their infantry was advanced to the attack. He made an assault with a column of three or four thousand of his infantry, which, with a comparatively small force of fresh troops, was with some difficulty repelled. A second and more determined attack was made after a few minutes, which was driven back by the skirmishers, and the companies of the reserve thrown in at the most threatened and weakest points. I then sent a staff officer to Colonel Early for one of the reserve regiments of his brigade. Before the arrival of that regiment a third, though not so severe, attack was made and repulsed. Colonel Hays, Seventh Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, came in and promptly took position in time to assist in driving back the enemy the fourth time, when I ordered the advance, and called on Colonel Early for the balance of his brigade. The passage of the stream was so narrow and difficult, however, that I soon found it would be impossible to make a simultaneous movement, and ordered the troops that had succeeded in crossing to return to their positions. A few small parties, under command of Captain Marye, Seventeenth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, who behaved with great gallantry, met parties of the enemy on the other side of the stream with the bayonet, and drove them back. Colonel Early, with the balance of his brigade, Seventh Regiment Virginia Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Williams, and the Twenty-fourth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hairston, arrived in time to receive the fire of the last attack, but had not been placed in a position where they could fire with effect upon the enemy.

The presence of these regiments probably intimidated the enemy as much as the fire of the troops that met him.  Immediately after this attack the enemy’s infantry retired, and his artillery was opened upon us. The battery under Captain Eshleman was called for, and flew into position–four 6-pounders and three rifled guns. The action was thus continued for one hour, when the enemy fell back upon Centreville, some three miles. I am pleased to say that our young artillerists proved themselves equal, if not superior, to the boasted artillerists of the enemy.

Captain Eshleman was severely wounded early in the action. We lost under their artillery six–one killed, five wounded, and one horse wounded; whilst we have reason to believe that the loss of the enemy during the same fire was very much greater. Our loss from the various attacks of the infantry columns was sixty-three killed and wounded. We have no means of learning positively the probable loss of the enemy. Prisoners taken then and since report it from nine hundred to two thousand. These statements were made to myself and members of my staff by the prisoners–the first estimate by a private, the latter by a lieutenant.

I have had command of the brigade so short a time, and have been so busily occupied during that time, that I have been able to make the acquaintance of but few of the officers; I am, therefore, unable to mention them by name, as I would like to do, and must refer you to the detailed reports of the regimental commanders. The officers seemed to spring in a body to my assistance at the only critical moment. To discriminate in such a body may seem a little unjust, yet I feel that I should be doing injustice to my acquaintances were I to fail to mention their names–not that I know them to be more distinguished than some others, but that I know what I owe them. Colonel Moore, First Regiment Virginia Volunteers, severely wounded; Colonel Garland, Eleventh Regiment Virginia Volunteers, and Colonel Corse, Seventeenth Regiment Virginia Volunteers; Lieutenant-Colonels Fry, Funsten, and Munford; Majors Harrison (twice shot and mortally wounded), Brent, and Skinner, displayed more coolness and energy than is usual amongst veterans of the old service. I am particularly indebted to Lieutenant-Colonel Munford and Major Brent, who having a spare moment and seeing my great need of staff officers at a particular juncture, offered their assistance. Surgeons Cullen, Thornhill, and Davis, Assistant Surgeons Murray, Snowden, and Chalmers, were in the heat of the action much oftener than their duties required, and were exceedingly active and energetic. Lieut. F. S. Armistead, acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieut. P. T. Manning, aide-de-camp, were very active and gallant in the discharge of their duties. Capt. Thomas Walton and Capt. Macon Thompson, volunteer aids, under their first fire and in their first service, are worthy of their newly-adopted profession. Under a terrific fire these staff officers seemed to take peculiar delight in having occasion to show to those around them their great confidence in our cause and our success.

I inclose the reports of the different commanders, and refer to them for the names of the killed and wounded of their commands.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

JAMES LONGSTREET,

Brigadier-General

Col. THOMAS JORDAN,

Assistant Adjutant-General





#75 – Brig. Gen. David R. Jones

20 03 2009

Report of Brig. Gen. David R. Jones, C. S. Army, of Operations at McClean’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p. 461

HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE,

Camp Pettus, August 3, 1861

In obedience to instructions conveyed by circular of the 1st of August, instant, I have the honor to submit the following report of my brigade, at that time composed of the Fifth South Carolina Regiment and Seventeenth and Eighteenth Regiments of Mississippi Volunteers, for the 18th day of July, during the battle fought on that day at Blackburn’s Ford, on Bull Run:

My command was placed in position at McLean’s Ford, on Bull Run, and did not participate in the engagement of that date. The enemy in some force occupied a position on Rocky Run, about one mile and a half in front and to the left of my position, and were prevented from making a nearer reconnaissance of our lines by the vigilance of my pickets, which were kept well in advance.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. R. JONES,

Brigadier-General, Commanding

Col. THOMAS JORDAN

Act. Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Corps, Army of the Potomac





Family Ties – Kilpatrick Part VI

19 03 2009

I received a couple of notes today from a reader who is a living Kirkpatrick family tie.  She’s also descended from a Bull Run participant, among others (reader SusanSweet take note).  I’ve received a few other notes from descendants of participants, and I’m going to see if I can get permission to post them here.  The following is stitched from a couple of notes.

Hello,

I just found your bull runnings website, and really enjoyed reading the history, some of which I was already aware, in connection with Philip Hicky Morgan, and his descendants (Harry Hays, Consuelo, Thelma and Gloria, etc.).

I dabble in genealogy.  I am a descendant of Philips’ father, Judge Thomas Gibbes Morgan of Baton Rouge, which is why I enjoyed your web site.  Judge Morgan had 8 more children after he married his second wife, Sarah Fowler Morgan.  Their first born child was Lavinia Marie Morgan, born 1832.  Lavinia was my great-great grandmother.  Lavinia is not as well known as her youngest sister, Sarah, the civil war diarist, or her youngest brother, James Morris Morgan.  But Lavinia’s influence may have been one of the reasons why she and her husband, General Richard Coulter Drum, spent the civil war years at the Presidio in San Francisco, keeping the peace in California, since the state had strong Confederate sympathizers.  A cousin of mine told me that Lavinia reportedly told her husband’s superiors, “I don’t want mah husband killin’ my relatives.”

Sincerely,

Robyn L. Hunt

Desert Hot Springs, California

(originally from Washington, D.C. – Bethesda, Maryland)

P.S.:  Another great-great grandfather of mine was General Henry Jackson Hunt, Chief of Artillery, Army of the Potomac

———–

Unfortunately, my family does not have any letters or papers of Lavinia’s or Gen. Drum’s.  Most of their belongings and possessions were destroyed when their home in Chevy Chase, Maryland burned in February 1901.  All I have are a few photos of Lavinia and Gen. Drum with their two grandsons, circa 1886), and one of their only daughter, Henrietta Drum, who everyone referred to as “Blossom.”  I also have one piece of furniture that belonged to Blossom.  It is a small mahogany table that opens up to store silverware.  Even though I don’t know for sure, I believe that this table may have been a wedding gift from President Chester Arthur to Blossom when she married Henry J. Hunt, Jr. in Washington in 1882.  (President Arthur was a personal friend of General Drum.)  I know for a fact that Pres. Arthur attended the wedding.  The table was made by Louis Comfort Tiffany.  Also in 1881 or 1882, Pres. Arthur did not like the existing antiques in the White House, so he got rid of much of the old furniture and commissioned Louis Tiffany to redecorate the public rooms of the White House.  Louis Tiffany’s company designed and made furniture several years before he became famous for his beautiful stained glass work.

I know some of the folks at the Drum Barracks museum also – Kathy Ralston and Susan Ogle, the Director.  Its location is only about a 2 hour drive from my home. 

Thank goodness for the people who wanted to preserve it and not let it be torn down in the 1960s, and also thank goodness for the City of Los Angeles for maintaining it.

Robyn





#74 – Col. R. E. Rodes

17 03 2009

Report of Col. R. E. Rodes, Fifth Alabama Infantry, of Skirmish at Fairfax Court-House

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 459-461

UNION MILLS STATION, Fairfax County, Va., July 24, 1861

CAPTAIN: In obedience to General Ewell’s instructions, I have the honor to present herein a statement in relation to the skirmish which occurred between a portion of my command and the enemy on the morning of the retreat of the advance guard of our Army to Bull Run and in relation to the retreat of this regiment.

On the night before the retreat referred to I sent Captain Shelley’s company (E) armed with rifled muskets, to sustain my advance guard.

This company had remained at the outpost on Braddock’s old road, some three and one-half miles from the regiment, until 7 a.m. on the morning of the 17th instant, when they returned towards camp to get provisions, having been sent off in such a hurry as to prevent their making preparations for breakfast, and had gotten within three-fourths of a mile of camp before the approach of the enemy was announced to them by one of my couriers coming in with a prisoner, who had been taken by a sentinel (Private Wethered, of Company H). The outpost and guard fell back fighting, not very severely, but killing several of the enemy. One of the guard (Kennedy, of Company H) killed two, having taken two deliberate musket-shots from the same spot at four of the Federalists, all of whom fired at him.

Shelley’s company, having advanced again to sustain the guard, had a sharp skirmish with them. This skirmish took place four hundred yards in advance of our breastworks, which are three-quarters of a mile east of our encampment, and which were by this time occupied by the main body of my command. Our skirmishers, being completely outflanked, retired in good order to their station in the barricades. The enemy did not follow them then, nor had they followed them twenty minutes after, when an officer of the regiment, Captain Fowler, returned to the breastworks.

They had outflanked my position to the right during the skirmish, for they could be seen crossing the clearing along the edge of which we were posted in large numbers. Up to and after the close of the skirmish I had received no definite orders to retreat, but had learned that General Bonham’s command was retreating, and that the troops at Fairfax Station were about to retreat. I had sent a courier to General Ewell for instructions, and an officer, Capt. J. D. Webb, to General Bonham, with orders to remain with him until his troops began to fall back. Captain Webb found the general’s command had already evacuated  their positions at the Court-House, and were on the Centreville road, and, upon telling General Bonham his instructions from me, received from him the reply, “Tell Colonel Rodes to commence his retreat immediately, and inform General Ewell of it.” General Ewell had already advised me, but after Captain Webb left me, of General Bonham’s movements.

As soon after the message from General Bonham as I could assemble the companies on the center of our line of defenses our retreat began. We retreated without molestation and in good order to McLean’s Ford, where I reported to General Jones, marching the regiment, except one company, across Bull Run. Just before sunset I was ordered by General Beauregard, through Colonel Chisolm, to move down to Union Mills. In obedience to this order, the regiment at once recrossed the run, and joined the main body of General Ewell’s command at the mills.

The result of the skirmish may be summed up thus: On our side two men wounded slightly–one in the leg, the other in the ear; on the side of the enemy, one prisoner and at least twenty killed and wounded. This estimate I consider safe. Two prisoners taken in the battle of the 21st, who state that they were in the column which advanced along Braddock’s road, stated the loss as much heavier–one, fifty killed and wounded; the other, seventy. These reports come to me from men of this regiment who conversed with said prisoners. In our retreat we lost eight or ten tents and two barrels of crackers; but this, in the case of the tents, was because the tents were thrown out of one wagon in order to give room for the many sick men we had.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. RODES,

Colonel, Commanding Fifth Regiment Alabama Volunteers

Capt. FITZHUGH LEE,

Act. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Brigade, Army of the Potomac





A Publisher’s Perspective on Notes

17 03 2009

Ted Savas tried to leave a comment on this post, but for some reason it never showed up.  Ted is the managing director of Savas Beatie publishing, which puts out a number a fine books on the Civil War and other military topics every year.  He sent me the following:

Hello Harry
 
My personal preference: footnotes, for all the obvious reasons. My professional (would like to see in all our titles) preference: footnotes, for all the obvious reasons.
 
The cost of laying out a book with footnotes is significantly more because it is much more difficult to properly space and match up notes and text (and then proof), especially if the notes are explanatory in nature and flow onto subsequent pages. As odd as it sounds, publishing software remains problematic in its handling of footnotes. Programs often lock and crash, text/notes can still flow page to page when chapters are opened, and so forth. (I remember having this discussion with Bob Younger of Morningside a decade ago. “That’s why we use hot-type,” was his reply, or something like that. I miss old Bob; he helped me a lot in learning the trade.)
 
There is another reason, less commonly discussed. We have had buyers for chain stores look at what they consider “general book trade” history titles with footnotes (our Shiloh book by Cunningham is one example) and call them “too academic-looking,” or “so scholarly looking it will turn off general buyers,” that sort of thing. These comments are jaw-droppingly ignorant, in my opinion, but they place the national buy orders. If the result is selling hundreds of copies to spread around nationwide, as opposed to thousands of copies it is a serious issue to consider. (We don’t commonly meet with this objection/observation, and it depends on the specific wholesale buyer, but we have seen this on more than one occasion; we work to fight through the ignorance.)
 
I know neither of these examples is very satisfying, but together they form the foundation upon which the current publishing edifice re: notes has been erected.
 
As to running a tab at the end with sources: I do not think it is intended to be misleading. It might be lazy on the part of the author, or it might be dictated by the publisher, but I have yet to see proof that a book was crafted this way to mislead readers.
 
Thank you for asking me to comment.
 
Theodore P. Savas
Managing Director, Savas Beatie LLC

Ted also hosts a blog on publishing, A Publisher’s Perspective.  It’s on my blogroll.





#73 – Capt. Del. Kemper

16 03 2009

Report of Capt. Del. Kemper, Alexandria/Light Artillery, of Retreat from Fairfax Court-House and Skirmish at Mitchell’s Ford

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 458-459

ARTILLERY QUARTERS ADVANCED FORCES:

FIRST BRIG., FIRST CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Vienna, July 25, 1861

GENERAL: On the morning of Wednesday, the 17th instant, while in camp at Fairfax Court-House, about 7 a.m. I received information from you of the approach of the enemy, and a reiteration of orders previously given in regard to the disposition of my guns. Two were at once placed in battery in front of Colonel Williams’ regiment, on the Alexandria turnpike, and two in front of Colonel Kershaw’s position, on the Falls Church road. At 8 o’clock the enemy came in sight on the Flint Hill road, and orders were received to fall back. In conjunction with Colonel Kershaw’s regiment and Captain Wickham’s troop I enjoyed the privilege of covering this retreat, the rear guard being under Colonel Kershaw’s command, to whose report [No. 67] I beg to refer for any additional details. The enemy seemed not disposed to press us closely, and we reached Centreville without incident worthy of note about 12 m., and rested until midnight, when the march was resumed to Bull Run.

We arrived at Mitchell’s Ford a little before daybreak on the morning of the 18th. Two of my guns were posted on the hill in front of the trenches at Mitchell’s Ford; the others in the trenches. At 12 m. (Thursday, 18th) the enemy opened fire from one or more rifled guns in front of our position at a distance of one and one-half miles. This firing was completely at random until 12.30 o’clock, when they obtained the range of my position and fired many rounds of case and solid shot at us, but without  injury to us, while a light battery moved up toward us. I then opened fire upon the latter, firing six solid shot, and had the satisfaction of driving back the battery and its supports. I have since understood that this was Sherman’s battery, and that the amount of damage done them was considerable. We at once retired to the trenches in obedience to your orders.

Late in the evening, about 4 o’clock, I was ordered to accompany, with one gun, Colonel Kershaw’s regiment to the hill which we had before occupied, in front of Mitchell’s Ford, for the purpose of driving a body of infantry and cavalry from the cover of the hills beyond. Two solid shot and three spherical case having accomplished this object to Colonel Kershaw’s satisfaction, we returned to our respective positions in and behind the trenches. We were inactive listeners to the heavy firing on our right, and about dusk were ordered to move with Colonel Kershaw’s regiment to the left of the intrenchments.

I am glad to be able to add that no member of my command suffered any injury during these operations.

Respectfully, general, your obedient servant

DEL. KEMPER,

Captain, Comdg. Battery of Light Artillery from Alexandria

Brigadier-General BONHAM,

Commanding. First Brigade, &c.





How Do You Like Your Notes?

15 03 2009

A current discussion of one of the email groups to which I subscribe concerns citations/notes: where do you like them, at the bottom of each page (footnotes) or at the end of the book (endnotes)?  The overwhelming preference is for footnotes.  Also overwhelming is a preference for real, live, traceable citations as opposed to the general, incomprehensible notes that are all the rage today, even in university presses.  So, if there are any publishers out there reading this, please don’t feed us any crap about endnotes being preferable to footnotes, and especially don’t tell us that footnotes “break up” the book.  Endnotes force the reader to flip back and forth, and if the publisher compounds his endnote decision with the even more egregious error of not heading the note pages with the applicable text pages, the whole process is insufferable.   I suspect that the reason for endnotes over footnotes is cost-based.

And while we’re on the subject, I’ll once again register my displeasure with the trend toward useless notes that are impossible to correlate to text and hence are worthless when it comes to tracking things down (i.e. one note for three or four long paragraphs).  I don’t think this trend is cost-based, however, but is rather a reflection of poor or deliberately misleading scholarship.





#72 – Col. R. C. W. Radford

15 03 2009

Report of Col. R. C. W. Radford, Thirtieth Virginia Cavalry, of Operations of Cavalry Brigade, July 17 to 20

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 457-458

CAMP GREGG, VIENNA, July 27, 1861

CAPTAIN: In accordance with special order dated headquarters First Brigade, Camp Beauregard, Army of Potomac, July 23, 1861, I have the honor to report that at early dawn on the 17th instant I was informed of the approach of the enemy on Fairfax Court-House. Captain Ball’s company was sent out to watch their movements, and remained out until the main body of our forces had taken up the line of retreat, in consequence of which he was compelled to abandon a portion of his baggage. A squadron, composed of the companies of Captains Wickham and Flood, was ordered to report to Colonel Kershaw, to form a part of the rear guard of the advanced forces.

A squadron under Colonel Munford and three companies under my own command were stationed in central positions, so as to operate as might be deemed necessary. Lieutenant-Colonel Munford acted during the retreat with Colonel Bacon’s regiment, and the companies under my own command with Colonel Cash’s regiment.

The only loss sustained by the cavalry during the retreat was of Privates William Mallow and John Mays, of the company under Captain Pitzer, who were on picket duty on a very advanced post, and are supposed to have been taken prisoners by the enemy. The retreat was conducted in perfect order and to my entire satisfaction, bringing off everything, with the exception of the articles left by Captain Ball. At Centreville a halt of several hours was made, when Captains Payne and Powell were ordered with their companies to watch the movements of the enemy. Two strong pickets, under command of Lieutenants Halsey and Brocker, were also sent on the roads occupied by the enemy. A detail of five men was also made to go, during the night of the 17th instant, with Colonel Lipscomb to reconnoiter on the cross-roads leading into the Braddock road.

While making the reconnaissance this party was fired into by a scouting party of the enemy, and Private William Walton’s horse shot under him, in consequence of which he was forced to leave him with all his equipage. The party returned without further accident, and my command left Centreville at midnight for Mitchell’s Ford, on Bull Run, and took a position immediately in rear of General Bonham’s headquarters.

On the 18th instant the cavalry under my command were under fire from the enemy’s cannon for two hours, and were then ordered to occupy the position between the brigades of Generals Cocke and Bonham. After the firing had ceased I was ordered, with my command, to examine all of the fords on Bull Run and to scour the country. We continued to watch the fords until the morning of the 21st instant.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. C. W. RADFORD,

Colonel Virginia Volunteers, Comdg. Cavalry, First Brigade

Captain STEVENS,

Asst. Adjt. Gen., First Brigade, Army of the Potomac








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