Wow! Not a lot of reader activity on Bull Runnings over the past couple of days. But I think it’s a trap for a blogger to get too caught up in the numbers. As selfish as this may sound, I’m doing this for me, not you. I don’t need the added stress of trying to meet some quota of posts (self-imposed or otherwise) for the week. This blog is not my job; it’s supposed to be an outlet – a stress reliever!
I’ve made a few book purchases – all at good discounts, used and remainders – over the past couple of weeks. I bought ten Osprey Praeger books, including one on First Bull Run, for $5.98 each. By and large these are pretty standard fare and they follow story lines established a good fifty years ago. But they are useful, condensed versions of events, though for some reason the First Bull Run book has no order of battle.
Another BR1 related purchase was a biography of Edmund Kirby Smith by Joseph Parks. Jeff Prushankin, an acquaintance from the annual Mont Alto Civil War Conference, published a book on Smith and Richard Taylor last year, A Crisis in Confederate Command, and he has a bit on BR1 in it as well so it will be interesting to see how these books cover the same actions. That reminds me – Jeff said he had some good Smith at BR1 info that did not make it into his book. Note to self: drop Jeff a line on this.
I also picked up Jeff Wert’s history of the Army of the Potomac, The Sword of Lincoln. Mr. Wert is another with whom I got to spend some quality time over the years thanks to Mont Alto. I don’t always agree with what Jeff has to say, particularly when it comes to one George B. McClellan, but you have to love the way he writes, which is pretty much the same as he talks.
Now that I’ve mentioned the conference twice, I guess I should give them a plug. Penn State’s Mont Alto campus is located about 20 minutes outside of Gettysburg, and they have been running the five day seminar, which includes three days of lecture and two full days of battlefield tours, since 1987. I’ve been attending since 1999. The faculty is always top notch, and informal access to it during the conference is outstanding. Over the years I’ve met and had many long discussions with folks like Carol Reardon, Mike Miller, Joe Harsh, Frank O’Reilly, Scott Hartwig, Gary Ecelbarger, Eric Campbell, Charlie Fennell, Wayne Motts, Tom Clemens, Keith Alexander, Sussanah Bruce and Mark Snell. This year’s conference will cover the Shenandoah Valley 1862 and will be held in June. For more info, contact Judy Mellott at (717) 709-0778.
I also found two issues of The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography and one of Pennsylvania History for a buck apiece. Included in these are the 1862 letters of Captain Edward Acton of the 4th NJVI, the 1861-1863 letters of Gettysburg fatality Col. Charles “Fred” Taylor of the 13th PA Reserves (the Bucktails), and The Battle of Gettysburg in Fiction. These historical society journals are a source that I’ve not really explored in the past but at this price I’ll keep them on my radar from now on.