You Spin Me Right Round, Table, Right Round

10 08 2007




This musical interlude brought to you for no apparent reason, other than I have this song stuck in my head and can’t get it out and misery loves company. 

I have a round table presentation to give next Wednesday, the fifteenth, before my own group, the Western Pennsylvania Civil War Roundtable.  Tomorrow I plan on locking myself in my office to work on my PowerPoint.  The program will revolve around 12 maps of the campaign, with a main “thread” and one or two minor ones on individuals and/or events that tie to each map.




It’s been tough to prepare, because I feel like I haven’t spent much time working on the presentation.  But in fact I’ve spent a lot of time on it, because it all stems from things I’ve worked on for this blog.  I’ve outlined the program, and now it’s just a question of putting slides together and writing notes.  I don’t intend to read much text (other than direct quotes), but I need to have things like dates and such readily accessible.

The plan is for a very un-roundtable-like presentation…more conversational.  I’d like it to have a less formal feel, and will encourage on-topic questions during the presentation rather than waiting until the program is over.  I’m hoping for a more interactive experience.  It might irk traditionalists, but I’ll run the risk.

Civil War Times Illustrated

9 08 2007


I spoke yesterday with my friend Dana Shoaf, who is the editor of America’s Civil War, the sister publication of Civil War Times Illustrated and part of Weider History Group.  He was justifiably concerned with the impression being propagated in the blogosphere about the prospects of the two magazines in the wake of the departure of CWTI editor Chris Lewis.  Below are some of Mr. Shoaf’s comments and clarifications regarding three of the issues about which various bloggers and blog readers have been speculating:

EconomicsThe readership of our magazines has been declining over the past decade due to a variety of reasons, but the primary one is that our readership is aging and dying off. The number of new, young readers was not matching our losses.  If the mags aren’t reinvigorated, there won’t be anything to complain about in a decade or so because bookstores will refuse to carry such low-selling titles.

During the past year at Weider History Group all the magazines have experienced an increase in subscriptions and newsstand sales.  That’s good news for anyone interested in history, particularly so for those who write books or give tours or like to have people visit their blogs, I should think. 

We have to reach younger readers to survive. No ands, ifs or buts.

CommitmentEric Weider is very committed to history. There ain’t a big profit margin in history mags folks, and he didn’t pay 5 million bucks for the group to make a ton more money. He bought the group because he gives a damn.

OwnershipFor the record, ACW and CWTI were previously owned by Primedia.  Primedia sold the current magazine group to Weider History Group, a subsidiary of the magazine conglomerate that owned Muscle & Fitness and other fitness magazines.   Those fitness magazines were sold to the media group which owns National Enquirer.   The group that owns National Enquirer does not own or otherwise influence Weider History Group.

Dana Shoaf will soon take over as editor of Civil War Times Illustrated, a big responsibility with four more issues per year and a larger circulation than America’s Civil War.  He is a professional historian with a deep appreciation for the American Civil War and enthusiasts of the same; he has been actively involved in battlefield preservation for years, and serves on the board of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation.  In my experience over the past year I have heard nothing but positive reactions to the significant changes made to America’s Civil War, and I have every reason to think that Mr. Shoaf’s good and dedicated work will continue at Civil War Times Illustrated.

Coming Soon: The Weider Flap

8 08 2007

I’ll weigh in on the Weider History Group imbroglio tonight.  I’ve held off because I only had one side of the story, and because I don’t usually write about such things.  But if you are one of the three regular readers of this blog, you know that I have written for a magazine in the Weider group.  In fact, beginning with the November issue I will be listed in the masthead of America’s Civil War magazine as a Contributing Writer, and I am also slated to do book reviews.  Therefore, I think my commenting is altogether fitting and proper (that’s the second time today I’ve used that phrase).

I spoke on the phone earlier today with the editor of America’s Civil War, Dana Shoaf.  Dana will be leaving ACW to edit Civil War Times Illustrated, and it’s not on an interim basis.  He had some things to say about the situation, and some corrections to misinformation regarding ownership, prior ownership, direction and commitment that I think you’ll be interested in reading about. 

Check back later.

Bull Run Prisoners

8 08 2007

John Hoptak at The 48th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry has an interesting post regarding Union prisoners, some taken at Bull Run, who were held for an unusually long period in “retaliation” for the treatment of Confederate privateers taken with the schooner Enchantress.  Check it out; it’s good stuff.  I wrote about some of these prisoners here, here and here.

11thny.jpgThis photo is from an 11th NY website, and shows prisoners from the regiment at Castle Pinckney.  While one of the men is shown wearing baggy trousers and sash, it should be noted that the color of the 11th NY zouave uniform was gray, and most of the men were wearing blue pants during the battle.  Right click on the thumbnail for the full size image.

Good Luck Chris

6 08 2007

I received an email on Friday from friend Chris Lewis of Civil War Times Illustrated, in which he wrote that he will be stepping down as the magazine’s editor as of this coming Friday, August 10.  You can go here, here or here to get information and opinions on the content of the email and what it all may mean.  I just want to wish Chris the best of luck, and I’m sure our paths will cross again at some point on down the road.

John Gross Barnard

5 08 2007

John Gross Barnard; born Sheffield, MA, 5/19/15; suffered inherited deafness; appointment to USMA secured by relative Peter Buel Porter, John Quincy Adams’s Secretary of War; West Point Class of 1833 (2 of 43); Bvt 2nd Lt engineers 7/1/33; 2nd Lt 5/15/35; Capt 7/7/38; Bvt Maj for meritorious conduct while serving in the enemy’s country 5/30/48; Maj 12/13/58; his assignments prior to the outbreak of the rebellion included assisting in the construction of coastal defenses, the improvement of New York Harbor, and surveying the battlefields of the Mexican War; Engineer Dept. of Washington, 4/28/61 to 7/2/61 – charged with construction of the defenses of Washington; USN Blockade Strategy Board, 6/61 to 9/61; Engineer Dept. of the Northeast, 7/2/61 to 8/20/61; Engineer Army of the Potomac (AotP), 8/20/61 to 8/16/62; BGUSV 9/23/61 (n 12/21/61 c 3/24/62); Bvt Col for gallant and meritorious service in the Peninsula Campaign, 6/30/62; Engineer Defenses of Washington, AotP, 8/20/62 to 9/3/62; Defenses of Washington, 9/3/62 to 2/2/63; Engineer 22nd Corps Dept. of Washington 2/2/63 to 5/35/64; Lt Col engineers 3/3/63; BGUSA 3/22/64 (nomination withdrawn at his own request 6/11/64); Engineer AotP 5/25/64 to 6/5/64; Engineer General Headquarters 6/5/64 to 7/4/64; Bvt MGUSV for meritorious and distinguished service during the war 7/4/64 (n 7/4/64 c 7/4/64); Bvt BGUSA for gallant and meritorious service in the campaign which resulted in the surrender of the Army of Northern VA 3/13/65 (n 4/10/66 c 5/4/66); Bvt MGUSA for gallant and meritorious service in the field during the war 3/13/65 (n 3/8/66 c 5/4/66); Honor Guard for Lincoln Funeral 4/65; Col 12/28/65; mustered out of volunteers 1/15/66; post-war assignments including the reevaluation of coastal defenses in the age of the ironclad and improving the mouth of the Mississippi River; retired 1/2/81; authored Notes on Sea-Coast Defense (1861), The C.S.A. and the Battle of Bull Run (1862), Report of the Engineer and Artillery Operations of the Army of the Potomac (1863), The Peninsular Campaign and its Antecedents (1864), and Eulogy on the Late Brevet Major-General Joseph G. Totten (1866); co-founder of the National Academy of Sciences; died  Detroit, MI, 5/14/82; buried Barnard Cemetery, Sheffield, MA.

Sources: Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy, Vol. I, pp 530-535; Eicher & Eicher, Civil War High Commands, pp 116, 706, 710, 718; 732; Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the U. S. Army, Vol. I p 191; Sifakis, Who was Who in the American Civil War, p 33; Warner, Generals in Blue, pp 19-20.


 Photo credits: a, b, c –; d –


New OR Up

3 08 2007

The report of Col. William T. Sherman is up under Official Reports – Union over to the right.