Recap of Hennessy at Manassas Museum

31 03 2011

See here for a recap of John Hennessy’s recent talk on myths and legends of the First Battle of Bull Run at the Manassas Museum.





Fairfax County in the Civil War – Part II

31 03 2011

This installment features First Bull Run and friend of Bull Runnings Jim Burgess of Manassas National Battlefield Park!

From Fairfax Civil War on Facebook.

They have their own YouTube page, too.





Interview: Glessner and Lindblade, Ten Roads Publishing

30 03 2011

Jim Glessner and Eric Lindblade are two Gettysburg residents who hope to build a business based on their love of Civil War history. Together they form Ten Roads Publishing, and as you can see in the photo below one of them is a fan of the greatest professional football team known to man. I asked if they could take some time and answer a few questions for you and they graciously complied.

Lindblade (L) and Glessner (R)

BR: Ten Roads is a new company and may be unfamiliar to some of our readers. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

EL: I was born and raised in North Carolina, attended East Carolina University and have been fascinated by the Civil War since my first visit to Gettysburg in 1989 when I was six years old. I had previously worked in politics in North Carolina and in August of 2008 I moved to Gettysburg mainly to focus more on my research and writing.

JG: Originally I’m from Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and went to school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. After that I worked for Clear Channel Entertainment in Pittsburgh for a number of years before moving with my family to Gettysburg in 2007.  Along with being a co-owner of Ten Roads Publishing, I also manage The American History Store, in terms of titles carried the largest bookstore in Gettysburg.

BR: How did the two of you meet?

EL: To be honest it was pretty random how we met. In December of 2008, I was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping at The American History Store where Jim was working.

JG: It was a pretty slow day so we started talking a bit and ended up talking for around an hour. After that we saw each other around town and soon became good friends.

BR: What made you decide to go into business together?

EL: I never really thought I would ultimately make a career out of publishing and in a way just sort of fell into it.  Before we formed the company, I had been looking for a publisher for my book Fight As Long As Possible: The Battle of Newport Barracks, North Carolina, February 2, 1864, and had not really found any options I felt comfortable with. I first looked into self-publishing, but knew from a marketing standpoint that would cause some difficulty. I remember talking to Jim about it and really from that conversation what became Ten Roads Publishing developed.

JG: When we talked about it more we decided to look into starting a small publishing house to do mostly reprints of out of print titles, along with a few new titles. Once we realized how feasible it was from a financial standpoint we formed Ten Roads in May of 2009. One of the advantages of being at The American History Store was gaining a pretty good feel of the Civil War book market, along with getting to know a wide range of authors who signed at the store. This has certainly been a great asset for us as a company moving forward and many of those authors have released books through us, or will in the future.

EL: I handle the operations side of the company, along with public relations; Jim is in charge of marketing and our distribution in Gettysburg. Often Jim’s contacts lead to new manuscripts coming in to the company. I think our roles in the company play to our strengths and it works very well.

BR: Why Ten Roads?

JG: We wanted a name that would be unique and have some relation to Gettysburg where our company is based.  But at the same time we didn’t want a name that would be too Gettysburg related, like Devil’s DenHigh Water Mark, or Round Tops – we didn’t and don’t intend to publish only Gettysburg titles.  I think Ten Roads reflects our love of the Gettysburg area and pays homage to the history here as well.

EL: During the time we were thinking of names I was looking at a reprint of an 1858 map of Adams County, where Gettysburg is located, and noticed that ten roads intersect in the town. The light bulb just went on so I called Jim and we realized we had found our name. I think it gives us a great brand identification as a company.

BR: What is the mission, or niche, of Ten Roads?

JG: Our company mission from the beginning was to publish quality books in terms of historical scholarship, along with making them affordable and enjoyable for the reader.

EL: In terms of a niche, books that relate to Gettysburg will always be our bread and butter so to speak, but in the past two years we have been very pleased with our efforts to branch out into other aspects of the war.

JG: Gettysburg is certainly big for us and always will be, and many of our current and upcoming titles reflect that. However, we want to be more than just a publisher of Gettysburg related titles and many of our upcoming titles are indicative of that.

BR: What was your first title, and how many do you have now?

JG: Our first title was Gettysburg Glimpses:  True Stories from the Battlefield by Scott Mingus released in August of 2009. After that in October of 2009 we published The Alexander Dobbin House in Gettysburg: A Short History by Dr. Walter Powell.  Following the Dobbin House book, we released The Gettysburg Bicentennial Album by William Frassanito, which was a thrill for us because we both have long been fans of Bill’s work and consider him a good friend. Along with the books we published we also distributed John Hoptak’s Our Boys Did Nobly: Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, Soldiers at the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam. We only had one release in 2010, Eric’s Fight As Long As Possible.

EL:  For most of 2010 we focused primarily on bringing in new manuscripts in addition to expanding market share. In many ways we were setting the stage for 2011, since it is the first of the sesquicentennial years, and we have a very aggressive release schedule lined up. Once all of our spring releases are out we will have 10 titles published by Ten Roads, by the end of 2011 we will have 5 more releases bringing us to 15. Our business model is set up for us to publish around 10 titles a year, and by 2015 to have 55 or so titles as part of Ten Roads Publishing.

BR: How do you assess your success thus far – what have you learned, good and bad?

EL: I think the question has to consider in terms of success at this stage in a start-up company is are you still in business and thriving? We certainly are. We’re right on pace for our goals as a company and I feel we’re set up well for the long-term from a publishing and financial standpoint. I don’t really think in terms of failure, since I don’t think there is an area where as a company we have failed per se, but we have learned quite a bit from the missteps of the past two years, and we are definitely a better company because of them and what we learned. There’s always a learning curve with any new venture; at times it’s been tough, but adversity can either break you or make you stronger and with a sense of pride I can say that it has made us stronger. Today we’re in a great position and expect to be for a long time to come.

JG: I feel we’ve been very successful in attracting authors to our company and building up a strong collection of manuscripts for future release.  But we were both troubled this past year when we heard rumors about the company stemming from the fact that we had just one 2010 release. Our business model guarded against expanding before we were ready, and now we’re in a great position to grow. Perhaps we didn’t communicate our plan as well as we could have, but frankly that was an internal business matter and not exactly for public discussion. I like to paraphrase Mark Twain that “the rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.” We have always had a clear vision of where we wanted to go as a company and what our goals were with it. Overall we are surpassing those goals, but as always there is room for improvement and we work every day to improve and be the best company we can be.

BR: What’s next for Ten Roads?

JG: We are excited for our Spring 2011 releases and feel they will bring a lot to the table. In March we released the first two of those with Human Interest Stories of the Civil War by Scott Mingus, Jr. and Dr. Thomas Mingus, and North Carolina Remembers Gettysburg by Michael Hardy. In April and May we will finish up our Spring releases with A Surgeon’s Tale:  The Civil War Letters of James D. Benton, 111th and 98th New York Infantries, 1862-1865, edited by Christopher Loperfido, The 121st Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers at Gettysburg compiled by Ed Max, and Gettysburg’s Most Famous Address: The David Wills House by Dr. Walter Powell.

EL: We will be announcing our Summer 2011 releases in late April and I think they will continue to add to the great line up of books we already have. We will also be reprinting The Alexander Dobbin House in Gettysburg and Our Boys Did Nobly. Beyond the spring and summer releases, we have a number of manuscripts we have received that have a lot of potential and will be welcome additions to a lot of book shelves.

Eric and Jim appear to be men with a plan. In tight economies there’s often more opportunity than folks realize. Here’s hoping that Ten Roads Publishing can survive and continue to thrive.





A New Civil War Magazine…Maybe

29 03 2011

Civil War Quarterly

At Barnes & Noble about a week back I picked up a new magazine, Civil War Quarterly. I had heard nothing about the magazine, and still can’t find a website for it, or any mention of it on the web. So I had to resort to prehistoric methods and technology, namely reading the masthead and publication information and making a few phone calls (keeping in the pioneer spirit, I used my land line.)

The long and short of it is the magazine is an experiment by Military Heritage and Sovereign Media. I got in touch with Carl Gnam, a mucky-muck there who has been in the biz a long time, and he told me that the magazine has been floated out there to test the waters. If the reaction of the public is strong enough there will be a Volume 1, Number 2 (that’s Number 1 to the left).

This is a thick-papered, glued magazine, like other quarterlies you see on the stand. The editor is Roy Morris, Jr, whom you may know from several books on the Civil War and Reconstruction period. Other than him I’m not familiar with the other writers in this inaugural issue. According to Mr. Gnam these fellows write on a broader range of military history topics and are not Civil War specialists per se. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that – there are lots of Civil War specialists out there, but not all are outstanding writers.

The offerings here are of a more general nature: articles on Lincoln’s election, Ft. Sumter, Bull Run, Wilson’s Creek, Ball’s Bluff and Belmont (see the 1861 theme?), with a few more specialized pieces on “interforce amphibious operations”, Jefferson Davis in the War with Mexico, and life in Union camps.

There are a few print errors, most notably one which deleted the end of the Bull Run article by Earl Echleberry. And at another point in the magazine there were some funky font choices, but I imagine these will be one-time things if the publishers decide to move forward with this endeavor. I’d personally like to see a little info on the authors included.

It’s hard to comment much on the Bull Run article due to the printing SNAFU, but the author does make the standard claim that McDowell’s plan required that Patterson hold Johnston in place in the Valley in order for it to succeed. I don’t want to sound like a broken record – just keep your eyes peeled for an article addressing this issue in an upcoming issue of America’s Civil War.

There’s also not a lot of advertising in Civil War Quarterly. While that may change a little if the magazine survives, I for one can live without another advertisement for schmaltzy Forrest and Jackson products.

UPDATE: Starting with the Early Summer 2013 issue, the publication is now published on a regular quarterly schedule.





Pittsburgh Area Civil War Attraction News

28 03 2011

Espy GAR Post

I received the following email this weekend:

I wanted to briefly update you and let you know we launched our YouTube Channel earlier this week.  Featured on the page is information about our national treasure:  The Captain Thomas Espy GAR Post 153.   Sadly forgotten, the ceremonial room and artifacts were preserved over the years, locked away in a Pennsylvania library.  In 2010, the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall received a donation to restore the Post to its original grandeur!  This room is so unique–as it is a snapshot of the esteemed GAR organization.  This Post is believed to be the most intact in the nation.  Tours are free.  The room is open every Saturday from 11 to 3, or by special appointment.

Please visit our YouTube channel and learn more about the room! 

www.youtube.com/AndrewCarnegieFree

Also, we are having a sesquicentennial  living history weekend. 

To learn specifics about the event, go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhSF86iEbK8&feature=related

To learn about the Civil War ball, go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgUUynVPAzE

We even have a facebook page.  We enjoy uploading documents, facts, and pictures, so it is well worth joining as well.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Captain-Thomas-Espy-GAR-Post-153-Union-Civil-War-Veterans-Organization/195146597183118?ref=ts

Come Tweet with us!
http://twitter.com/ACFLMH

Please join us, and feel free to pass this information on to friends.  This is such a rare treasure in Civil War history, and we want everyone to know about it. 

Feel free to contact us with questions, interview requests, etc.  Diane Klinefelter, library director and civil war historian, can be reached as 412.276.3456 ext. 5.

Thanks!

Amy Philips-Haller
Publicity              
Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall
Captain Thomas Espy GAR Post 153
300 Beechwood Ave
Carnegie, PA 15106
www.carnegiecarnegie.org

The GAR room is a real treat (I’ve written about it before here and here). If you’re in the area, check it out!





Scouts Helping Out at Battlefield

28 03 2011

According to this article (from which the above photo was taken), some Loudoun County Boy Scouts are working at Manassas National Battlefield Park for our benefit. Thanks go out from Bull Runnings to these young men.





The Essential Civil War Curriculum

21 03 2011

A little bird in the form of Donald Stoker passed along this link to a new Virginia Tech website put together by James “Bud” Robertson, William “Jack” Davis and J. L. D. “Laurie” Woodruff, The Essential Civil War Curriculum. From the site:

Peer reviewed by today’s foremost Civil War historians, the Essential Civil War Curriculum contains essays, bibliographies and other resources on the 400+ topics which constitute the basic knowledge that should be possessed by any serious student of the Civil War.

One of the tasks for the site is to attract historians (in their eyes, this includes professional historians, PhD students, and competent amateur historians – so this could mean you!) to contribute essays on topics not yet completed. Links in the upper right hand corner of the main page of the site will take you to the completed essays and also provide you with information on essay submissions.

It looks like an ambitious project, and I’m adding it to the recommended links here.








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