Coming Soon: New Bull Run Campaign Study

1 07 2014

downloadNovember 21, 2014 is the scheduled release date for a new Bull Run campaign study from University of Oklahoma PressThe Early Morning of War: Bull Run, 1861, by prolific author Edward G. Longacre. I’ve not heard a lot of buzz about the book, but it weighs in at 648 pages and has an Amazon pre-release price of $21.74 for Prime members.

From the publisher:

This crucial campaign receives its most complete and comprehensive treatment in Edward G. Longacre’s The Early Morning of War. A magisterial work by a veteran historian, The Early Morning of War blends narrative and analysis to convey the full scope of the campaign of First Bull Run—its drama and suspense as well as its practical and tactical underpinnings and ramifications. Also woven throughout are biographical sketches detailing the backgrounds and personalities of the leading commanders and other actors in the unfolding conflict.

Longacre has combed previously unpublished primary sources, including correspondence, diaries, and memoirs of more than four hundred participants and observers, from ranking commanders to common soldiers and civilians affected by the fighting. In weighing all the evidence, Longacre finds correctives to long-held theories about campaign strategy and battle tactics and questions sacrosanct beliefs—such as whether the Manassas Gap Railroad was essential to the Confederate victory. Longacre shears away the myths and persuasively examines the long-term repercussions of the Union’s defeat at Bull Run, while analyzing whether the Confederates really had a chance of ending the war in July 1861 by seizing Washington, D.C.

Brilliant moves, avoidable blunders, accidents, historical forces, personal foibles: all are within Longacre’s compass in this deftly written work that is sure to become the standard history of the first, critical campaign of the Civil War.

And two pretty good blurbs:

“In this book, Edward Longacre has applied his considerable skills as a biographer to a vivid piece of American history, injecting humanity and fresh insight to the story of the Civil War’s first major battle. Practicing the lost art of personification and characterization with both flourish and wisdom, Longacre makes the players in this immense drama live anew.”—John Hennessy, author of Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas

“Extensively researched and full of fresh insights and information, Edward G. Longacre’s finely crafted Early Morning of War offers a remarkably thorough, highly readable account of the men and events that shaped the course of the first great campaign of the American Civil War.”—Ethan S. Rafuse, author of McClellan’s War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union and Manassas: A Battlefield Guide





Thornberry House

26 06 2014

For more on the Thornberry House, see here.

For more on the Thornberrys, see here.

For the recollections of one of the Thornberry children, see here.

This house is most likely the place where Sullivan Ballou died, and he was buried nearby. For more on what happened to his body, see here, here, and here.





Congressman Alfred Ely

20 06 2014

For more on Ely, his capture, and his captor, go here.





Henry House ca 1900

18 06 2014





Then & Now: Henry Hill Graves

12 06 2014





First Bull Run 50th Anniversary

10 06 2014





Stone House Attic

9 06 2014





Omaha Beach: Seventy Years Ago Today

6 06 2014

487px-116thInfantryBrigade.svg

The 116th Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division spearheaded the division’s assault on Omaha Beach seventy rears ago today, and suffered 341 casualties, including Co. A which lost over 90% of its men within ten minutes of landing. The 116th was – and is today – a Virginia National Guard unit. It’s also known as The Stonewall Brigade, and claims lineage from that as-of-then un-monikered command that gathered on the reverse slope of Henry Hill on July 21, 1861. The above is the regiment’s former shoulder patch. Does it remind you of anything?

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You can read about the men of Company A in The Bedford Boys. And below, some vets of the assault talk about it:





Preview: “Manassas: A Battlefield Guide”

2 06 2014

GuideThe University of Nebraska Press battlefield guide series, This Hallowed Ground, is familiar to most seasoned battlefield stompers. Their covers are recognizable from a distance – a blue background with a red sun in the lower right hand corner. The most recent entry in the series is Ethan Rafuse’s Manassas: A Battlefield Guide. Both the 1861 and 1862 battles are included here, and of course you’d expect me to be a little disappointed that the first battle was deemed unworthy of a Fuller Monty. And you’d be right. However, it is what it is, and what it is is a compact, tight guide to both battles in classic staff ride format. First Bull Run gets 51 pages, while Second Manassas (see what I did there?) gets 166. Maps are by Erin Greb (plentiful and clear), illustrations are mostly from Battles and Leaders. Stops are set up with directions and orientation, synopsis of action, vignette (first person account), and analysis.

This is a tough little book, with heavy-stock cover, and it will hold up well in your backpack. And that’s exactly where this one belongs, out in the field with you. Good stuff.





The Bartow Monument

29 05 2014

I can’t recall that I’ve posted anything much on this item here before. On Henry Hill there is a monument to Colonel (identified as General on the plaque) Francis Bartow. Here it is:

Bartow Monument, Henry Hill, MNBP

Bartow Monument, Henry Hill, MNBP

Shortly after the battle, and long before the installation of the above, there was constructed the first monument on the field, to the same martyred Colonel Bartow:

Original Bartow Monument

Original Bartow Monument

Sometime after the Confederate withdrawal from the Manassas line in 1862, the monument disappeared, perhaps courtesy of souvenir-seeking or vindictive Yankee soldiers. Well, it mostly disappeared. Very near the current monument, in a cluster of tree-trunks, you can see its last vestiges:

Location of cluster of tree trunks relative to the current Bartow monument

Location of cluster of tree trunks relative to the current Bartow monument

Original Bartow Monument

Original Bartow Monument

Original Bartow Monument

Original Bartow Monument

Be sure to check it out next time you’re on the field.








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