Warfare in the Age of Steam

16 01 2011

I’m currently reading Crimea by Trevor Royle.  I have limited knowledge of the 1854-1856 war and, recognizing the limitations of a comprehensive study such as this, am learning a lot, not the least of which being that many of what I’ve always heard were “firsts” in our Civil War were, at best, seconds.  Not that Royle points these things out: while the United States does play a role in his history of the war, he doesn’t draw comparisons between the two conflicts.

I thought this would be a good time to point you towards a blog I’ve been following for a while, Warfare in the Age of Steam.  Run by someone named Ralphus, it puts the Civil War into a larger context, though that’s not its specific focus.  Lots of cool stuff – Ralphus uses a variety of media including plenty of video clips, and he has a penchant for Zouaves, art, film, and miniatures.  But he’s looking at the world in general during the period.  Check it out.  I’ve added it to the blogroll and it will show up on the page when next I update.





New Page: Welcome!

14 01 2011

Willkommen!

There’s been a noticeable spike in readership here the past couple of months, and it’s not a spike that I can attribute to any one particular anomaly as has happened in the past.  I suspect it has something to do with the sesquicentennial and the accompanying interest in events that occurred in the first year of the war.  So, for the benefit of visitors who may be coming to Bull Runnings for the first time, I’ve added a new page to the masthead above, Welcome!, explaining what we’re all about.  Check it out.





What’s In a Name?

13 01 2011

I know some folks who get hacked off when they’re referred to as “buffs”.  I guess I have a different take on it.  I think anyone with more than a passing interest in the Civil War is a “Civil War Buff”.  Think sets and subsets.  “Buff” is a general term to me.  Kind of like “Asian” or “Oriental”.  To paraphrase Jane Curtin as Pat Nixon, “Not all Asians are Chinese, but all Chinese are Asians”.  So we can start with the universe of Civil War Buff and break it down further from there.  I think I fall into the universe, but in the subset of “student” I guess, or maybe just “studier” as “student” might imply I have some definite goal in mind.  Other subsets might include “historian” – as I’ve said before in my mind that’s someone with an advanced history degree.  And of course you may fall into more than one subset – “author” is one I place myself in because I do write about Civil War subjects, both here and for compensation elsewhere.  So in my mind James McPherson is a Civil War historian, former teacher, author and yes, buff.  So for all of you who rail against being called a buff, just say “don’t lump me in with guys like McPherson, Catton, Freeman, and Harsh.  I’m SERIOUS!”

See here for image source.





Oh, That Ulysses!

12 01 2011

Monday evening saw the airing of U. S. Grant: Warrior on American Experience.  I was sent a copy for review, but since this is an abridgement of an earlier two-part program I couldn’t make time for it.  Regardless, I was watching a football game.  If I get a chance to view it in the coming weeks, I’ll post thoughts here.

Check out this series of videos that will give you new insight into U. S. Grant.  Hat tip to Crossroads.

There’s a fourth one (actually the third in the series) that’s hilarious, but quite ummm…ribald.  If you’re resourceful, you’ll find it.

On the third side of the coin we have this post on Beyond the Crater by guest Bryce Suderow, sure to elicit a different emotion from Grant fans.





The Jacob Weikert Farm

11 01 2011

The February 2011 edition of Civil War Times magazine (previewed here) includes my Collateral Damage article on the Jacob Weikert farm south of Gettysburg, just outside the park boundaries on the Taneytown Rd and the back of Little Round Top.  I had visited the property and toured the house twice over the years prior to my return this past summer.  Friends Gerry and Beth Hoffman bought the place in 2002 and are wonderful stewards – they also run an antiques business from spring to fall each year in the barn (Tillie’s Treasures).  Unfortunately I had left my camera on a low res setting when taking my photos to accompany the article, and none could be used in the magazine.  So I’m displaying them here, along with some I shot on an earlier visit in 2006.  Click the thumbs for larger images – it might be a good idea to have my article handy.

Keep in mind that the Weikert farm is private property.  The Hoffman’s are “finest kind”, but please respect their privacy.

First the low res photos from my most recent visit:

  

The house from southwest, south and southeast.  

  

The carriage house and corn-crib; the barn from Taneytown Rd; the barn from the rear.

  

The dining room was used as an operating theater; bloodstains are still evident on the dining room floor; the site of the wartime well and the Weikert’s enduring legacy.

These are from 2006:

  

General Stephen Weed died here in the basement, where the washer and dryer sit today; rough-hewn beams in basement; the basement fireplace and oven where the Weikert’s and Tillie Pierce baked bread for hospital staff and wounded – note the charred beam above the oven.





America’s Civil War March 2011

9 01 2011

Inside this issue:

Letters

  • It turns out that newly elected Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is the great-grandson of Union Captain Andrew Hickenlooper, who commanded an Ohio battery at Shiloh and is depicted in the famous Thomas Corwin Lindsay painting of The Hornet’s Nest.

5 Questions

Cease Fire

  • Harold Holzer looks at current Virginia Civil War controversies brewing, and brings up an old one by yet again mentioning the governor’s proclamation from earlier last year.  He seems to have a little trouble letting go.

Legends

  • Ron Soodalter discusses David Twiggs’s choice between loyalty and, well, not-loyalty.

Features

  • A Shot in the Dark by Winston Groom – The Crisis of Fort Sumter
  • Lee, Grant and Their Steadfast Steeds by Ron Soodalter – Self explanatory
  • The Teenage Terrorist of Roane County by H. Donald Winkler – Rebel guide and scout Nancy Hart
  • Survival in an Alabama Slammer by Peter Cozzens – The Confederacy’s Cahaba Federal Prison was pretty well managed, all things considered
  • The One-Way Voyage of the Stone Fleet by Greg Bailey – A fleet of old ships, mostly whalers past their prime, set out from New Bedford, CT in November 1861 to become an integral, if stationary, part of the southern blockade.

Reviews

  • The New York Time Complete Civil War, 1861-1865, Harold Holzer & Craig Symonds, eds.
  • Into the Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg, Earl J. Hess
  • Shadow of Shiloh: Major General Lew Wallace in the Civil War, Gail Stephens
  • Roughshod Through Dixie: Grierson’s Raid, 1863, Mark Lardas
  • Wicked Spring (Film from 2003)

And I was Just Wild About (or maybe I wasn’t)… 

  • The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The “Great Truth” About the “Lost Cause”, James Loewen & Edward Sebesta, eds.
  • Sacred Ties: From West Point Brothers to Battlefield Rivals: A True Story from the Civil War, Tom Carhart
  • The Mechanical Fuze and the Advance of Artillery in the Civil War, Edward B. McCaul, Jr.
  • The First Assassin, John J. Miller (novel)




Great, But Not Good

7 01 2011

Check out this thoughtful “teaser” essay by Keith Harris of Cosmic America about the pluses and a pretty big minus of David Blight’s seminal Civil War memory study Race and Reunion.  Hat tip to Kevin Levin for pointing this out.

I’ve added Keith to the blogroll – he’ll show up next time I update the page.  He has some great stuff up and uses some unique angles of approach, so check it out.  I like his style – sort of the Anthony Bourdain of the Civil War blogosphere.








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