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.