Second Chance

31 03 2008


One of the stats that WordPress provides is an all-time ranking of page views for individual posts.  As of today, First Bull Run Books and Articles On-Line leads the pack with 794 views (exclusive of feed readers).  Surprisingly, in second place with 660 is …but I know what I like.  The top five is rounded out by A Few Charleston Civil War Sites (600), 1862 Photos of Bull Run (580), and A 100 Pound Quarterback (481).

Looking at the list I see a few personal favorites I wish more people would read, so I’ll list them here as a sort of “Second Chance” pool.  Check them out if you have some time.

Beet Poet

Beet Poet – Pt. II

Those Who Make Holes, and Those who Close Holes

Food, Glorious Food

Kingsbury CDVs

Thomas Hardy on Battlefield Preservation

Monster in a Box

Why McDowell?

Oh Fudge

The Tag Line

Ezra Carman – The Maryland Campaign of September 1862

29 03 2008

A couple days ago I succumbed and pre-ordered Joseph Pierro’s new edition of Carman’s definitive study of the Maryland Campaign from  The book retails for a hefty $95, and offers a 20% discount and another 5% off of that for pre-ordering.  So you can imagine my surprise when a package arrived at my door today (March 29th) and upon opening I found it enclosed that same book!  A zero invoice from Taylor & Francis (parent of publisher Routledge) accompanied it, with the notation Compliments of Francesca Filippeli.  I had mentioned to editor Joseph (Jake) Pierro months ago that I would happily post a blurb on the book here, with the admitted hope of receiving a gratis copy.  Today my shameless efforts paid off, and I had time to cancel my order with!  However, I intended to post my reactions to the book regardless of and uninfluenced by the means of its acquisition.  

Think of Ezra Carman as the John Bachelder of Antietam – though Bachelder would be more accurately described as the Carman of Gettysburg.  Carman may even be Bachelder on steroids.  Within a few weeks of the battle at Sharpsburg, Carman began a careful study of the campaign by touring the battlefields and interviewing participants.  In 1866, he was appointed New Jersey’s trustee in the Antietam National Cemetery Association.  In 1894 he was appointed to the board that oversaw the marking of the battle lines at the Antietam National Battlefield (established in 1890) as its historical expert.  From then until 1898 Carman oversaw the development of the text for and positioning of the battlefield markers.  In 1904, the War Department published Carman’s 14 plate Atlas of the Battlefield of Antietam; regimental level maps which editor Pierro notes form the basis of all subsequent understandings of the tactical evolutions of the battle.  The History is the end – but never before published – result of Carman’s massive research conducted over at least 40 years.  The manuscript and papers, spread over the country in various repositories, have been the basis of influential Maryland Campaign studies like Murfin and Harsh.

Physically, it’s an attractive, oversize book with the artwork printed right onto the cover.  It has the size and heft of a middle-school textbook, which isn’t surprising since Routledge is a textbook publisher.

Inside, Pierro provides a biographical sketch of Carman and an Editor’s Note.  The 24 chapters of Carman’s manuscript span Maryland’s role in the Civil War, the Invasion through Shepherdstown, results of the campaign, and an analysis of the Lincoln/McClellan dynamic.  Fifteen appendices complete the 484 pages of pure text.

Praise the Lord, Pierro liberally employs real, live, bottom-of-the-page footnotes.  Not included in the book are maps or illustrations (other than a frontispiece photo).  Hey, I love maps as much as the next guy – maybe more, since my small brain needs them to help me orientate myself- so I exchanged a few lengthy emails with Jake today, and his rationale for this seems reasonable.  Carman’s manuscript did not include maps either, and this work is Carman’s, with Pierro in the role of editor.  While it may be reasonable to conclude that Carman expected his Atlas of the Battlefield of Antietam to serve as the maps for his manuscript, those maps are quite large and are on a regimental level, making them difficult and, perhaps more important considering the already high price of this book, expensive to reproduce.  The typical purchaser is not likely to be a mapless Antietam neophyte, and the Atlas maps – the 1904 version; there was an edited version produced in 1908 – are available for free online from the Library of Congress’ Making of America website (see here).  All things considered, the decision seems prudent.

Needless to say, the publication of the Carman manuscript is a great contribution to the literature of the1862 Maryland Campaign.

Jake Pierro has graciously agreed to a virtual interview with Bull Runnings, and I hope to get that done and put up in the days ahead.

A View to a Hill

28 03 2008


view-of-field.jpg  henry-house.jpg

Reader Amy Lindenberger sent the following in reference to the photo above, which appears in this Bull Runnings gallery:

The image labeled “View of Field (Unknown)” (left photo above, click on thumbnail for larger image) is taken from a camera position some distance (not yet sure of exact distance, I’ll work on that the next time I can get back to VA) behind the Stone House, looking across the Warrenton Pike and towards the ruins of the Judith Henry house. The Henry house is that blob on the horizon, towards the right side of the image. If you study the image labeled “Henry House Ruins” (right photo above), and then look closely at the ruins on the right side of this image, you can see that they are the same, though reversed; the “unknown” image is just taken from the opposite side of the house and at a significant distance away. I am an artist specializing in works inspired by Civil War era Americans, and currently working on a piece based on the final days in the life of Judith Henry. A few months ago I ordered a very large, very detailed reprint of this image from and in that version of the photo, the ruins are unmistakable.

Thanks Amy!  For another interpretation of the camera location, see this article co-authored by NPS ranger Jim Burgess; it suggests that the photo was taken facing west.

#101 – Col. M. D. Corse

28 03 2008


Report of Col. M.D. Corse, Seventeenth Virginia Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 544-545


GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the movements of the Seventeenth Regiment of Virginia Volunteers on Sunday, the 21st instant:

Shortly after daybreak Company H, Captain Herbert, was ordered to cross the ford as skirmishers. Soon after this movement the enemy, about twenty minutes to 7 o’clock a.m., opened on our camp with shell and round shot. Captain Herbert remained in view of the enemy on the opposite bank for several hours exposed to this fire, and during that time successfully repelled a body of skirmishers deployed against him. At the several points observed by Captain Herbert there were posted two batteries and a large reserve of infantry to sustain them. During the morning the regiment was ordered to cross the ford, which order was promptly executed by officers and men, and the regiment formed in column at the head of the ravine, on the enemy’s bank, near their batteries. Shot and shell were incessantly poured over their heads, but without any damage, and the regiment under order retired to their original position.

The only loss sustained was by Company H–one killed and three wounded. Officers and men displayed a good deal of coolness and bravery.

I have, general, the honor to be, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Comdg. Seventeenth Regiment Virginia Volunteers

Brigadier-General LONGSTREET,

Commanding Fourth Brigade, C. S. Army

Longstreet’s Report – Terry & Lubbock

27 03 2008

 rangers-ad.jpgIf you’re one of the three folks who actually read the ORs I post here, you may have run across a few familiar names in the report of Brig. Gen. James Longstreet.  The 100 pound Peyton Manning, T. J. Goree and G. Moxley Sorrel would remain with Longstreet throughout most of the war.  Cavalry aficionados among you may also have recognized Benjamin Franklin Terry and Thomas Saltus Lubbock.  I’ll write full sketches of both men, but for now here are brief recaps.

Terry was born in 1821 in Kentucky and moved to Texas when he was 12 years old.  In 1851 he was a partner in Texas’ first railroad.  He became a delegate to the Texas secession convention in 1861, and set out for Richmond later that year to offer his services to the Confederacy.

Lubbock was born in Charleston, SC in 1817.  He moved to Louisiana and was involved in the cotton trade, and when the Texas Revolution started he  threw his fortunes in with the state and served throughout in various military organizations including the Texas Rangers.  He was captured by the Mexican army and spent some time as a prisoner.  Lubbock was a strong secessionist, and in 1861 joined Terry on the trip to Richmond.

It appears, though I have yet to verify it, that Terry and Lubbock set out from Galveston on board a ship in the company of Longstreet, who was heading east after resigning as a paymaster in the U. S. Army, and Goree.  Terry and Lubbock eventually served on Longstreet’s staff at Bull Run as volunteers, though they were referred to as “Colonels”.  After the battle, they received permission from Jefferson Davis to return to Texas and recruit a regiment of cavalry.  Terry became Colonel and Lubbock Lt. Colonel of the 8th Texas Cavalry, Terry’s Texas Rangers.

Lubbock came down with typhus in Tennessee and had to leave the regiment.  Not long after, on Dec.17, 1861, Terry was killed in the regiment’s first battle at Woodsonville, Ky.  Lubbock ascended to command of the regiment, but never rejoined it, dying in hospital at Bowling Green (or Nashville?) in January, 1862.

Both Terry and Lubbock counties in Texas are named in honor of the former Longstreet aides, as is the city of Lubbock.

In the 1861 group photo below, Lubbock is thought to be second from the right (photo found here) – is it just me, or do the two fellas flanking him appear to be supporting a sleeping, sick, or even dead man?: 


Here’s a photo of Terry (found here, as was the recruiting announcement at top):


 And here’s a photo of Lubbock’s most famous son (found here):


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#100 – Brig. Gen. James Longstreet

26 03 2008


Report of Brig. Gen. James Longstreet, C. S. Army, Commanding Fourth Brigade, First Corps

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 543-544


In obedience to the general’s orders of the 20th to assume the offensive, my command was moved across Bull Run at an early hour on the 21st. I found my troops much exposed to the fire of the enemy’s artillery, my front being particularly exposed to a double cross-fire as well as a direct one. Garland’s regiment, Eleventh Virginia, was placed in position to carry by assault the battery immediately in my front. McRae’s regiment, Fifth North Carolina, under Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, the colonel being sick, was posted in front of the battery on my right, and with same purpose in regard to this battery. Strong bodies of skirmishers were thrown out in front of each column, with orders to lead in the assault, and at the same time to keep up a sharp fire, so as to confuse as much as possible the fire of the enemy, and thereby protect the columns, which were not to fire again before the batteries were ours. The columns were to be supported, the first by the First Virginia Regiment, under Major Skinner, the second by the Seventeenth Virginia Regiment, under Colonel Corse. The Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiment, trader Colonel Hairston, was the reserve in column of division in mass, convenient to the support of either column. Arrangements being complete, the troops were ordered to lie down and cover themselves from the artillery fire as much as possible.

About an hour after my position was taken it was discovered by a reconnaissance made by Colonels Terry and Lubbock that the enemy was moving in heavy columns towards our left, the position that the general had always supposed he would take. This information was at once sent to headquarters, and I soon received orders to fall back upon my original position, the right bank of the run. Colonels Terry and Lubbock then volunteered to make a reconnaissance of the position of the enemy’s batteries. They made a very gallant and complete one, and a hasty sketch of his entire left. This information was forwarded to the commanding general, with the suggestion that the batteries be taken.

The general’s orders were promptly issued to that effect, and I again moved across the run, but some of the troops ordered to co-operate failed to get their orders. After awaiting the movement some time, I received a peculiar order to hold my position only. In a few minutes, however, the enemy were reported routed, and I was again ordered forward. The troops were again moved across the run and advanced towards Centreville, the Fifth North Carolina Regiment being left to hold the ford. Advancing to the attack of the routed column I had the First, Eleventh, Seventeenth, and Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiments, Garnett’s section of the Washington Artillery, and Whitehead’s troop of cavalry. The artillery and cavalry were at once put in pursuit, followed as rapidly as possible by the infantry.

General Bonham, who was pursuing on our left, finding it difficult to advance through the fields, &c., moved his command to the road, put it in advance of mine, and the march towards Centreville was continued about a mile farther. Night coming on, the general deemed it advisable to halt. After lying in this position about an hour the general directed that the troops should be marched back to Bull Run for water.

Early next day I sent Colonel Terry forward, under the protection of Captain Whitehead’s troop, to pick up stragglers, ordnance, ordnance stores, and other property that had been abandoned by the enemy. I have been too much occupied to get the names or the number of prisoners. As I had no means of taking care of them I at once sent them to headquarters.  Colonel Terry captured the Federal flag said to have been made, in anticipation of victory, to be hoisted over our position at Manassas. He also shot from the cupola of the court-house at Fairfax the Federal flag left there. These were also duly forwarded to the commanding general.

About noon of the 22d Colonel Garland was ordered with his regiment to the late battle-ground to collect and preserve the property, &c., that had been abandoned in that direction. Colonel Garland’s report and inventory of other property and stores brought in to headquarters and listed by Captain Sorrel, of my staff, and the regimental reports of killed and wounded are herewith inclosed.(*)

My command, although not actively engaged against the enemy, was under the fire of his artillery for nine hours during the day. The officers and men exhibited great coolness and patience during the time.

To our kind and efficient medical officers, Surgeons Cullen, Thornhill, and Lewis, Assistant Surgeons Maury, Chalmers, and Snowden, we owe many thanks. Lieut. F. S. Armistead, acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieut. P. T. Manning were very active and zealous.

Volunteer Staff.–Colonel Riddick, assistant adjutant-general, North Carolina, was of great assistance in conveying orders, assisting in the distribution of troops, and infusing proper spirit among them. Cols. B. F. Terry and T. Lubbock were very active and energetic. When unoccupied, they repeatedly volunteered their services to make reconnaissances. They were very gallantly seconded by Capts. T. Goree and Chichester, who were also very useful in conveying orders. Capts. T. Walton and C. M. Thompson were very active and prompt in the discharge of their duties. Captain Sorrel joined me as a volunteer aide in the midst of the fight. He came into the battle as gaily as a beau, and seemed to receive orders which threw him into more exposed positions with peculiar delight.

I remain, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,



(*) Not Found, but see pp. 570, 571

Hillsborough, NC

25 03 2008


This past Saturday, an off day between the 1st & 2nd rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the family piled into our rental car and drove to Hillsborough, outside of Raleigh.  You can’t swing a dead cat in Hillsborough without hitting a historical marker of some sort.

The town was laid out in 1754, and due in large part to its situation along an Indian trading path that stretched from Petersburg, VA to Augusta, GA, Hillsborough became the center of the North Carolina back country.  Hillsborough was the home of five General Assemblies during the 1770’s and 1780’s, and residents who played a prominent role in the Revolution included a signer of the Declaration of Independence (William Hooper, who relocated from Wilmington), a member of the Continental Congress (Thomas Burke, also wartime governor of NC), and Brigadier General Francis Nash, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Germantown.  The house owned by Nash and, after his death, Hooper still stands at 118 W. Tyron St.  British General Cornwallis camped in Hillsborough in 1781, and the Tory David Fanning (say that like The Virgin Connie Swail) captured Gov. Burke there later that same year.

This blog focuses on the Civil War, so let’s fast forward a bit. William Kirkland built Ayr Mount (376 St. Mary’s Rd.) in 1815, and the home would remain in the Kirkland family until 1971.  In 1833, William W. Kirkland was born there (I’ve written about Kirkland here and here).  Ayr Mount is now a historic site open to the public – but I didn’t have time to go there.  I did revisit St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, where many Kirklands, Ruffins, and Pettigrews lie buried, and took a new photo of the Willie Hardee grave (though I must have been there at a similar time of day last time – this is one tough stone to photo).  Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.

st-matthews.jpg hardee1.jpg hardee2.jpg


The Visitor’s Center is in the Dickson House.  As the war neared its close, General Wade Hampton made this his headquarters, and it was in the office building outside the house that Joseph Johnston and members of the Confederate Cabinet met to discuss surrendering to the armies of William T. Sherman.  It was from there that Johnston rode out on April 18, 1865, bound for the nearby Bennett (Bennitt) Farm.  Here’s a photo of the house – I forgot to take one of the office building.

dickson1.jpg dickson4.jpg dickson3.jpg


Hillsborough was also home to the Burwell School, a female academy operated by the Rev. Robert Burwell and his wife from 1837 to 1857.  In 1836 it became “home” to a teenaged slave named Elizabeth Hobbes.  In 1855, Elizabeth bought her freedom, married, moved to Washington, worked as a dressmaker in the White House and in 1868 published her memoir, Behind the Scenes; or Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House, under her married name, Elizabeth Keckly.  She, along with her boss, Mary Todd Lincoln, was the recent subject of this book.

burwell.jpg keckly.jpg

Hillsborough has a ton to offer the history-minded traveler, and lots of shops and such to satisfy the non-history-minded spouses with which many of us seem to travel. 

Sharp Fighting in North Carolina

25 03 2008


I’m back from the Tar Heel state.  Pool-wise, Pitt really hurt me – I had them in the final four, but I picked Davidson to win two games and being there to see them both made up for the Panthers’ annual disappointment (I’m a Penn State grad, and despite a graduate degree from Pitt I find it very, very hard to root for them; but they looked so strong going into the tournament…)

I did manage to make it over to Hillsborough for about half an hour on Saturday (an off day at the Raleigh site).  I’ll post some photos from that trip either tonight or tomorrow.

In the meantime, check out my friend Teej Smith’s guest-post on Orton Williams over at Rantings of a Civil War Historian.  It’s well worth your time.


20 03 2008

I don’t anticipate posting anything here for the next few days.  I’m taking a break due to March induced Madness.  I’ll be back next week.  Until Thursday rolls around, of course.

Proposed Power Plant

20 03 2008

Here is a blog post about a proposed power plant ½ mile from the Warrenton Pike-Sudley Road intersection.

To the Sound of the Guns looks like an interesting site, focusing on battlefield stomping and historical markers.  I’ll keep an eye on it and may add it to the blogroll.