America’s Civil War July 2009

8 05 2009

ACW July 2009This issue features a couple of fellow bloggers.  John Hoptak has an article (p. 54) on Colonel Andrew Jackson Grigsby of the 27th VA, who was passed over for command of the Stonewall Brigade by General Jackson, in favor of his staffer Frank Paxton, a major.  Was this the result of Grigsby’s support of Richard Garnett in the wake of the Battle of Kernstown and Garnett’s humiliation at the hands of Jackson?

Robert Moore gets some good pub, too.  Most prominently, Cenantua’s Blog is the subject of this issue’s Web Watch (p.66), which dubs Robert as “the hardest-blogging blogger in the Civil War blogosphere”, and with about six separate blogs to his credit it’s hard to argue with that.  Robert’s Southern Unionists Chronicles also gets a plug in my Smeltzer’s Six-Pack column on page 70.  This may require some explanation.

Smeltzer’s Six-Pack, as I think I’ve described before, is meant to give potential book buyers an idea of a book’s content and help them decide if it is indeed something they are interested in.  These “reviews” are not critical, beyond giving an indication – via a one to four can rating system – of whether or not it is something that appeals to me.  (By the way, the reason for a four can rating system in a column titled Six-Pack has something to do with layout space and graphics.)  I have one page to provide sketches of six books.  That doesn’t leave a whole lot of words for each book, and I think every one of the sketches so far has been cut from what I submitted.  It’s the cold, hard facts of words and defined space, unlike the web.  While I pride myself on literary economy, clearly I have a ways to go in my quest for Hemingway-esque thrift.  So, sometimes the tone of a sketch loses something in the editing process.  In the case of the sketch of Tom C. McKenney’s Jack Hinson’s One-Man War, what got lost was my reason for referencing Robert’s blog.  One of the central elements of McKenney’s book is an incident that led to Jack Hinson turning from neutral observer (think Jimmy Stewart in Shenandoah) to revenge-seeking Confederate sniper.  The section of the book that covers the killing and mutilation of Hinson’s sons by Union soldiers is lightly footnoted, and relies heavily on personal interviews and local lore.  My point was that, while this is something that in general concerns me, in the case of these incidents a dearth of formal documentation is not uncommon, as evidenced by some of the examples detailed on Robert’s site.

Here are the pairs of books that made up this issue’s Six-Pack:

Fitz-John Porter, Scapegoat of Second Manassas, Donald R. Jermann, and Injustice on Trial, Curt Anders

Jack Hinson’s One-Man War, Tom C. McKenney, and Berry Benson’s Civil War Book, Susan Williams Benson (ed.)

Stealing Lincoln’s Body (paperback), Thomas J. Craughwell, and Assassination Vacation, Sarah Vowell

There’s other good stuff in this issue (topics include Dan Sickles, Stephen Douglas, Lincoln and the Sioux, and Witness Trees), so head on out to your local newsstand if you don’t already subscribe.








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