America’s Civil War November 2010

30 09 2010

Sorry to be so late with this.  Inside this issue:

Letters

Everybody’s mad at Harold Holzer because as we all know Slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War and if it hadn’t ever existed in the first place there still would have been a war because of, ummm, er, ah, TARIFFS – yeah, that’s the ticket!

News

  • Segways on the battlefield and other high-tech touring trends.
  • Gettysburg Casino debate.
  • Interview with Gettysburg College Civil War Institute’s Pete Carmichael (which put the kibosh on one that was in the works for Bull Runnings).  Read it online here.

Features

  • Dateline: Gettysburg (Richard Pyle) – a reporter on the Gettysburg Address.
  • Shooting Above the Clouds – Photos at Lookout Mountain
  • Uncivil Action (Jonathan Turley) – The legality (or not) of Secession.
  • Bring Out the Big Guns – Pros and cons of siege guns
  • The Tactical Genius of Bloody Bill Anderson (Sean McLachlan) – Hunh?
  • Twilight at the White House (David Selby) – The actor who portrayed Quentin Collins on Dark Shadows weighs in on Abe and Nosferatu.  I’ve written a bit on that here.

Reviews

  • The Confederate Alamo: Bloodbath at Petersburg’s Fort Gregg on April 2, 1865, John J. Fox, III
  • Indiana’s War: The Civil War in Documents, Richard Nation and Stephen Towne, eds.
  • Union Combined Operations in the Civil War, Craig L. Symonds, ed. (this review is notable because Symonds is quoted as criticising Rowena Reed’s similarly titled book not because of methodology or handling of evidence or inaccuracies, but because  of what some perceive as the author’s “determination to portray [George] McClellan as a military genius of war.”  Very curious criticism indeed – I wonder how this determination is proven.)
  • The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of  1864, Jack H. Lepa
  • Libby Prison Breakout: The Daring Escape From the Notorious Civil War Prison, Joseph Wheelan.
  • Jews and the Civil War: A Reader, Jonathan D. Sarna and Adam Mendelsohn, eds.
  • An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge, Robert Enrico, Director.  View the film as presented on The Twilight Zone here.
  • In this issue, I was Just Wild About:
    • Breckinridge: Statesman, Soldier, Symbol, William C. Davis (reissue).
    • Lincoln and McClellan: The Troubled Partnership Between a President and His General, John C. Waugh.
    • Louisianans in the Western Confederacy: The Adams-Gibson Brigade in the Civil War, Stuart Salling.  See Stuart’s blog here.
    • A Friendly Little War, John Sherman.  Fiction by a descendant of Cump’s brother.




First Bull Run Tour

26 09 2010

Here’s an interesting recap of a recent tour at Manassas NBP with the students of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College, led by Jim Burgess of the NPS.





A Public Appearance

25 09 2010

Don’t miss it!  I will be speaking to  – and hopefully with – the good folks of the Loudoun Valley Civil War Roundtable in Leesburg, VA on June 14, 2011.  This will be a program on the twisted tale of Peter Conover Hains, who fired the opening salvo of the First Battle of Bull Run with his 30-pdr Parrott gun, “Long Tom”.  This is my second confirmed speaking gig for next year.  I have two others which I’m pretty sure are go, one at the end of June and one at the end of September.  I don’t know if any more are in the offing, but I’ll keep the Book Me, Danno page updated for my fans, both of you.





A Giant Passing

13 09 2010

Tom Clemens called me this evening with the sad news of the passing of historian Joseph L. Harsh.  Read his tribute here and here, and read an obituary here.  Dr. Harsh will be laid to rest, fittingly, on September 17, the 148th anniversary of the event that was so central to his career.

Joe Harsh had a huge impact on how I read and research.  I first met him about eleven years ago, at one of Carol Reardon’s Mont Alto Civil War conferences.  Joe’s mantra was “chronology, chronology, chronology”, or “what did they know, and when did they know it”.  It sounds simple, but especially when it comes to Dr. Harsh’s particular area of expertise, the 1862 Maryland Campaign, it’s surprising the number of folks who seem incapable of keeping those things in mind.

Joe was a wonderful conversationalist, and I have fond memories of sipping scotch into the wee hours in the gazebo outside Mont Alto’s dorm listening to his stentorian tones (think Charles Kuralt) as he opined on a variety of CW topics.  (I took the photo above in the gazebo in 2001 – that’s Keith Alexander on Joe’s right, and my nearly empty bottle of 12-year-old Macallan in the foreground.)  I remember how proud I was to stump him with his own book, Sounding the Shallows, the last installment of his three-volume legacy, asking how the regimental commanders of  Hood’s Texas Brigade managed to make it all the way through the Maryland Campaign without a scratch.  I felt pretty smug for a few seconds, until I remembered the magnitude of his work and mentally put myself in my place.  Joe was considerate enough not to do it for me.

A giant has passed – we may see his like again, but I doubt it.  Rest in peace.





What If…Spartacus Had a Piper Cub?

13 09 2010

Jonathan Soffe has this interesting item, raising the question: What if McDowell had an observation balloon at Bull Run?





My Apologies…

10 09 2010

…for the paucity of posts of late.  Work is really hectic with no signs of letting up any time soon.  I recently submitted my portion of a forum article for an academic journal.  I have to submit my previews for Harry’s Just Wild About… for America’s Civil War by Monday, and next weekend I’ll be heading back to Gettysburg to finish up the field work for my next Collateral Damage article (two Civil War Times issues from now).  I hope to make a quick trip to Sharpsburg on Saturday for the anniversary – even if my knees are telling me hiking is not likely.

I am sorry for this but I have to pay the bills.  The next posts will be a preview of Men of Color to Arms (which is not technically a Civil War book) and an interview with author Joe Reinhart who’s been doing some really interesting stuff on German soldiers in the Union army.  I also owe you a look at the current issue of America’s Civil War.  I should be in my office all day tomorrow (until the Nittany Lions square off against the minions of  Satan Saban), so maybe I’ll have some time to make some headway on these three things at least.





Civil War Mobile Museum Coming to Manassas

7 09 2010

The Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission’s Mobile Museum will be in Manassas on July 21, 2011.  See details here.








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