Civil War Times December 2010

1 10 2010

Inside this issue:

Letters

  • One is not mad at Gary Gallagher, one is.  Of course, the one that is mad is mad because, as we all know, Slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War, and in fact saying it did have anything to do with it should never be allowed to appear in print.  Another is mad at Gallagher because he ranked George Thomas too low as the fourth greatest Union commander.   And still another is upset with Dana Shoaf for not hammering the great villain of the war, George McClellan, hard enough in his op-ed on Stanley McChrystal.  That reader should be pleased with America’s Civil War’s November issue in which Harold Holzer goes ape-shit on Mac’s ass.

News

  • Brandy Station expands.  Camp Lawton site found.

Departments

  • Blue & Gray – Gary Gallagher on what Union soldiers fought for.
  • Collateral Damage – Yours Truly on Bennett Place
  • Interview - Waite Rawls of the MOC
  • Field Guide – Chris Howland at 2nd Bull Run
  • Editor Letter - Dana Shoaf on the GBPA’s endorsement of the Gettysburg Casino

Features

  • General Disobedience - McClellan hatchetographer Edward Bonetopickemper’s hit piece on the centennial’s favorite punching bag.
  • Substitute for a Corpse - David Lowe & Philip Shiman on creative battlefield photography.
  • Joseph Whitworth’s Deadly Rifle – Fred Ray on the favorite weapon of Southern sharpshooters.
  • All Glory and No Gore - Doug Dammann on Elmer Ellsworth’s militia tour of 1860.  This is followed by a photo gallery of Ellsworth memorabilia.
  • Crisis of Faith - George Rable on spiritual revivals

Reviews

  • The USS Carondelet: A Civil War Ironclad in Western Waters, by Myron J. Smith, Jr.
  • Gentlemen Merchants: A Charleston Family’s Odyssey, 1828-1870, Philip N. Racine
  • Kilted Warriors: Music of the 79th New York Volunteer Infantry, 79th Regimental Band (CD)
  • Double Death: The True Story of Pryce Lewis, the Civil War’s Most Daring Spy, Gavin Mortimer
  • Plus a list of eleven books for the holidays.




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.




Antietam’s Roulette House

22 08 2010

As I noted here, the October 2010 issue features the third installment of my column which  is now titled Collateral Damage.  The subject is the Roulette house on the Antietam battlefield.  Though I took lots of photos, and also had a few by friends Mike Pellegrini and Mannie Gentilenone were used in the article.  So I present them here for your perusal.

Let’s start with some exterior shots.  The left side of the front of the house is south, the right north.  The second and third photos were taken by my friend Mike.

  

Here’s the rear of the house.  Mr. Roulette kept his beehives in this back yard.  Confederate artillery, advancing Union troops, and upset hives combined here for an often repeated story.

 

The barn sits east of the house.  In the orchard to the southeast is a pear tree that survives from the time of the battle.

 

Here’s the basement door (I call these “Dorothy Doors”) out of which Mr. Roulette burst to encourage the advancing Federals to “Drive ‘em”.  The interior photo was taken by Mannie.  On the day I was there, my NPS guide Keven Walker warned me that the hot day and cool basement meant lots and lots of snakes, so we opted not to go downstairs.  I did see two large black snakes that day.

 

Inside the house Keven, a historian with the Cultural Resources division, pointed out that many of the fixtures dated from before the war, and could have been installed as early as the mid 1700s.

  

We entered the house via the kitchen, in the north end of the house.  One of the cool features in here is the beehive oven.  No flame inside – kind of like a pizza oven.  The fuel (wood) was put in outside, via this little addition on the north end of the house.  Must have been a pain cooking in winter, but was probably state-of-the-art.

  

Here’s the large dining/entertaining room in the center of the house.  You can see by the shot of the window how thick the walls are in this section of the house.  The construction is log at the south end, stone in the center, and frame on the north end.

  

The south end of the dwelling on the first floor is a living room or parlor.  There’s a little problem here with falling plaster, but a collection of the debris on the fireplace mantel shows how the plaster was made in those days.  It was heavy stuff.

 

The main stairway leads up to two smaller bedrooms in the south end of the house. 

   

On Sept. 17, 1862, a bullet fired from the vicinity of the sunken Pig Trough Road to the south of the house entered the window of the southwest bedroom, went through the wall above its door, traveled across the hall and exited inside the closet of the middle bedroom.  That’s Keven pointing to where the bullet entered the wall in the hallway.

   

There is a middle bedroom and a large bedroom at the north end of the house over the kitchen.  You can see in the sagging ceilings the effect of the heavy plaster over 200+ years.

 

The tour of the Roulette house was one of the great perks of my “job”.  Much thanks to Keven Walker, who has a book coming out soon on the farms of the battlefield.  Be sure to check out this and all the Collateral Damage columns in Civil War Times.

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Civil War Times October 2010

5 08 2010


Inside this issue:

  • Susannah Ural and I get complemented by one letter writer for level-headedness in our contributions to last month’s piece on the Governor of Virginia’s Confederate History Month proclamation.  Another contributor wasn’t so lucky.  Of course, other letter writers attacked all the contributors to the piece.  Go figure.
  • Susannah Ural is interviewed about her research on Irish and Texan common soldiers.
  • Gary Gallagher’s Blue & Gray column examines the phenomenon of emancipated slaves in the wake of advancing Union armies.
  • Yours Truly offers up his third installment of what is now known as Collateral Damage with Antietam’s Roulette farm.  Keep an eye out here for the photos that weren’t used.
  • This issue’s Field Guide by Chris Howland features sites in Atlanta.

Features include:

  • Kevin Levin: “Until Every Negro Has Been Slaughtered“- Did Southerners see the Battle of the Crater as a slave rebellion?
  • Eric Niderost: Mad as a Hatter – John Wilkes Booth’s killer Boston Corbett.
  • Dana B. Shoaf: Loose Cannon - A visit with cannon collector Charlie Smithgall.
  • J. David Petruzzi: Cemetery Hill’s Forgotten Savior – John Buford at Gettysburg
  • Thomas G. Clemens: Memories of America’s Bloodiest Day – Ezra Carman
  • Peter Cozzens: Blunder at the Bridge – Union troops miss a rare opportunity to destroy a Rebel force near Corinth.

Reviews

  • Chester G. Hearn, Lincoln, the Cabinet and the Generals
  • B. R. Burg, ed., Rebel at Large: The Diary of Confederate Deserter Philip Van Buskirk
  • Robert Hunt, The Good Men Who Won the War: Army of the Cumberland Veterans and Emancipation Memory
  • Thomas G. Reynolds, General Sterling Price and the Confederacy
  • Charles R. Knight, Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market and the Opening of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, May 1864
  • Richard L. Armstrong, “God Alone Knows Which Was Right”: The Blue and Gray Terrill Family of Virginia in the Civil War
  • Ural on URLs – www.Footnote.com




America’s Civil War September 2010

22 07 2010

Inside this issue:

  • An interview with Antietam National Battlefield Superintendent John Howard, who will be retiring at the end of this year.
  • Harold Holzer’s Cease Fire asks When will all of us finally admit what caused the war?  This one is sure to raise eyebrows for more than the reason obvious in the title.
  • Ron Soodalter on Hampton’s Beefsteak Raid of September, 1864.
  • A look at the correspondence between William T. Sherman and John B. Hood at Atlanta in September, 1864.
  • Winston Groom examines the causes of the war in Irreconcilable Differences.
  • Charlie Knight (look for an interview with him on his new book Valley Thunder here soon) on Franz Sigel’s Shame in the Shenandoah.
  • Antietam National Battlefield Chief Historian Ted Alexander’s Witness to Battle discusses soldier/artist James Hope’s paintings of the September 17, 1852 battle.
  • Ron Soodalter shows up again with Getting Away with Murder, a study of officers who met their ends during the war in ways less typical.

Book reviews/previews in this issue:  





Civil War History Subscription Deal

12 07 2010

The journal Civil War History (discussed here) is running a deal on a two-year subscription that is 23% off the regular price: eight issues for $65 – $8.25 per issue.  That’s pretty good.  Go here if you’re interested.





Interview: Dr. Lesley Gordon, Civil War History

10 07 2010

Dr. Lesley Gordon (left, at Gettysburg) recently took over the editor’s reins at the long running quarterly journal Civil War History.  She graciously agreed to an interview for Bull Runnings.

BR:  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

LG:  I received my B.A. from the College of William and Mary, and my M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.  I am presently Professor of History at the University of Akron where I teach courses in the Civil War and Reconstruction, U.S. Military History and the Early Republic.   My publications include General George E. Pickett in Life and Legend (University of North Carolina Press, 1998), Intimate Strategies of the Civil War: Military Commanders and their Wives (Oxford University Press, 2001),Inside the Confederate Nation: Essays in Honor of Emory M. Thomas (Louisiana State University Press, 2005); and This Terrible War: The Civil War and its Aftermath (Longman, 2003), as well as several articles and book reviews. I am currently in the final stages of completing The 16th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers in War and Memory to be published by Louisiana State University Press.

BR:  Some readers may be unfamiliar with Civil War History (CWH).  Can you fill them in?

LGCWH was founded in 1955, its first issue edited by Clyde C. Walton, and included contributions by Douglas Southall Freeman and T. Harry Williams.  When CWH began it was largely a popular publication oriented toward general readers with a heavy emphasis on battles and leaders.  Bud Robertson started to shift the journal’s direction toward a more scholarly bent, adding book reviews and an extended bibliography, and he solicited articles by academics.  Editors Robert Dykstra, John Hubbell and William Blair continued that tradition, each increasing the quarterly’s audience and prominence and broadening its coverage to economic, political and social topics.   Today CWH stands as the leading scholarly journal in the field of the American Civil War era.

BR:  How did you become editor of CWH?

LG:  Kent State University Press issued a call for applications earlier this year and I submitted my proposal in April.  I was notified a few weeks later by the director Will Underwood that I had been selected.

BR:  What are the particular challenges facing CWH?

LG: I think any print journal today faces challenges of dwindling institutional resources and fewer readers.  In addition, William Blair has founded his own competing Journal of the Civil War Era published by the University of North Carolina Press.  So certainly CWH needs to stay relevant, competitive, and appealing in order to retain subscribers, and also find new readers.

BR:  How do you plan on addressing those challenges, particularly that of attracting new readers?

LG:  CWH will continue to publish high quality academic scholarship, book reviews, and historiographical essays.  It will always welcome traditional military history, but I am also seeking out fresh approaches in cultural, social and comparative studies that delve in pioneering directions and utilize new methodologies.  The field of Civil War History has expanded considerably since the journal’s founding in 1955; I like to think we can reflect that fact in the journal’s content.

In addition, I do think the journal needs to have a greater digital presence including a better, more interactive webpage, Facebook page and Twitter account.   All of these are things we will be exploring in the coming year.  Officially, my first issue as editor begins with Vol. 57 (March 2011).

I am not doing any of this alone.  I am assisted by my Associate Editor, Kevin Adams (Kent State University), Book Review Editor, Brian C. Miller (Emporia State University), and a dynamic Board of Editors, which includes Catherine Clinton, Michael Fellman, J. Matthew Gallman, Susan-Mary Grant, Chandra Manning, Kenneth Noe, Anne Sarah Rubin, Brooks Simpson, Daniel Sutherland, and Brian S. Wills.

BR:  So what can readers – and potential readers - expect to see in future issues of CWH?

LG:  I plan to have a yearly “historians’ forum” with different scholars, museum curators, National Park Service Historians, even bloggers, addressing specific issues and topics.  The upcoming Sesquicentennial offers a great opportunity to focus on the anniversaries of battles and other events, with fresh perspectives and renewed interest.   I also plan to invite guest editors to assemble their own array of authors and articles centered on a theme of their choosing.  In addition, there will be photographic and documentary essays to vary the content of the journal.  We have also given the journal a new look: each issue will have a photograph or illustration on the cover that ideally will match one of the articles featured.

Overall, I would like to find ways to expand the journal’s audience to encompass the larger general public that remains keenly interested in the war.  And I hope that some of these new features and contributors will help us to achieve that goal.

While the challenges are not insignificant, it looks like the journal is in good hands.  Good luck, Dr. Gordon.

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Those Pesky (and Just Plain Wrong?) Roman Numerals

8 07 2010

Of course there were no corps in either army at First Bull Run, but just bear with me and maybe you guys can help straighten me – or the powers that be – out.

I received a digital copy of my next Civil War Times article in what is now known as the Collateral Damage department – it was first called In Harm’s Way.  As usual, and as anyone who writes for a periodical should expect, there were some editorial changes.  One in particular caught my attention.  I have two really big pet peeves.  The first I’ve written about many times, and that is the use of an before variants of the word history.  The H is pronounced in all forms of history (unless you’re Cockney), therefore it should be preceded by a, not an.  Check out any style manual.

I know better than to give anyone an opportunity to foul that one up in the editing of anything I write, as much as it’s in my power to do that.  But it’s a little tougher when it comes to Union corps designations.  I always use Arabic numerals (1,2,3), while many, including my editors, prefer Roman numerals (I, II, III).  My thoughts have been that Roman numerals were not used during the Civil War to denote corps, so I shouldn’t use them either.  It’s been pointed out to me that the compilers of the Official Records usually spelled it out (First, Second, Third), but did not use Roman numerals.

Perhaps because today’s readers expect Roman numerals, what was 2nd Corps became II Corps in the final version of my article.  So when, and how, did the use of Roman numerals to designate Union corps come into vogue?  What’s your preference, and why: any middle-schooler will tell you that Arabic is way easier than Roman!

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Spinning My Wheels as Fast as I Can – Again

7 07 2010

Just an update on what’s going on here at Bull Runnings.  Despite an increased “real job” work load, I’ve got a few things going.  I’ve sent out the first round of questions for four author interviews.  The questions were fairly broad, so I think it will take a little while for the subject’s to get back to me.  But when they do, I’ll have nice previews of three very important books and one quarterly publication.

Bynum’s book continues and expands on her work on the definitive history of The Free State of Jones.  Clemens’s and Tagg’s books are perhaps the most important releases of 2009 and 2010.  And Lesley Gordon has some interesting plans for the long running academic journal.

Stay tuned.

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Old Stuff Coming Up

24 06 2010

Still really busy, with no end in sight.  A few things on the Civil War plate left undone, and my apologies to Tom Clemens and Vikki Bynum for my failure to write previews of their new (and very good) books, The Maryland Campaign of September, 1862 and The Long Shadow of the Civil War.  As a bonus, I have already confirmed an interview with Vikki that will run with the preview, and hope to set one up with Tom as well.

On the personal front, it looks like I will be a contributor to a Bull Run related article to run in a national, quarterly journal, and I’ve been asked to lead a specialized bus tour of First Bull Run for a university affiliated institute in 2011.  Never being one to count unhatched chickens, I’ll let you know more if and when I’m sure these things are definitely going to happen (true to my glass-half-empty nature, this may be after they’ve occurred).

The other day I was at my local Half Price Books and came across nine bound volumes of Civil War Times Illustrated, ranging from mid-60′s to early-80′s.  At $3.98 a pop I couldn’t pass them up.  I thought it might be fun to go through them every now and again and pick out bits that might seem interesting or ironic given the passage of time, particularly reviews of books that perhaps have proven to be classics or stinkers, validating or repudiating the reviewer.  So keep an eye out for that.

Sorry – that’s all I have for now.

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