New Lincoln Bio

22 01 2009

lincoln-a-lifeI finally saw the new Michael Burlingame biography Abraham Lincoln: A Life in Border’s yesterday.  It’s hefty, but was sealed in shrink-wrap.  I know many folks would rip that plastic off the slipcase to get a look at the books, figuring if the store puts them on display they want you to look at them.  I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I have mine on order from Amazon – it lists for $125 and was discounted to $82.88 when I ordered it.  Shipping was free, and I cashed in some credit card bonus points for a $50 Amazon gift card, so the whole 9.3 lb book cost me about $33.  But it won’t ship until the second week of February at the earliest.  Have any of you read or at least flipped through the book?

I’ve got to add that I’ve not seen the book in Barnes & Noble.  I think that carrying this book in inventory at a retail outlet is probably not a good business decision, and perhaps explains why Borders is doing so poorly.  But then, maybe they only had it because they got screwed on a special order.

Set to be the Bad Guy

22 01 2009

Well, now I’ve done it.  I sent my Six-Pack reviews (so far, that’s the title for the column formerly known as Pick Six) to my editor yesterday.  We have a new rating system in keeping with the informal nature of the column.  Two of the books were interesting to review, four were fun, and one was torture.  For that one review, I’m sure I’m going to pay.  I suppose I’ll have to get used to being called a South-bashing Yankee, ’cause with some people, yer either fer ’em or agin ’em.

While on the topic of reviews, I sent an email to Joseph Glatthaar (author of the book I discussed here and here)  the other day, and he was kind enough to respond helpfully.  He went above and beyond in providing answers to my questions, and also took time to read my blog posts about his book and to comment.  In response to my comments regarding a claim in General Lee’s Army that the Confederates defeated a larger army at First Bull Run, he pointed out that in another part of the book he stated that such was not the case, and that the passage stating the opposite was an oversight.  As I gain more experience with the book publishing process, I better understand how such things can happen.  Thanks for the time and the interest, Dr. Glatthaar.

#82d – Brig. Gen. S. R. Gist, Maj. R. A. Howard, Capt. A. Vander Horst

20 01 2009

Supplemental Report

Report of States Rights Gist, R. A. Howard, and A. Vander Horst


General [Barnard Elliott] Bee was ordered to Camp Walker on Saturday, July 20, where he remained with his command until Sunday morning.  About 5 o’clock a.m. Sunday, General Bee received orders from General [Pierre Gustave T.] Beauregard to advance his command to the left of General [Thomas Jonathan] Jackson’s Brigade and to support either General Jackson’s or [Philip St. George] Cocke’s commands near Stone Bridge.

Immediately he put his Brigade, consisting of the Second Mississippi, Colonel [William C.] Falkner; the Fourth Alabama, Colonel [Egbert J.] Jones; two companies of the Eleventh Mississippi under command of Lieutenant-Colonel [Philip F.] Liddell; and a battery of four 6-pounders under Captain [John D.] Imboden, in motion and advance in pursuance of his orders until he came up with General Jackson’s Brigade, when he formed his command in close column by Division on the left of Jackson and to the right of Cocke’s command.

General Bee, in a few minutes after taking his position, was informed that the enemy had [illegible] their turning our left flank; he instantly sent his Brigade in motion and advanced by the left flank in the direction of the enemy passing by General Cocke’scommand, after a conference with him.

After advancing about one mile, General Bee formed his line of battle by placing the battery of Captain Imboden in the right and near to a house on a small eminence; Colonel [William M.] Gardner’s Regiment to the left of the battery; Colonel Falkner’s Regiment to the right of the battery; and Colonel [Egbert J.] Jones’ Regiment to the right of Colonel Falkner.  [He sent] forward the two companies of Lieutenant [Philip Frank] Liddell to support a battery attached to the command of General [Nathan George] Evans at the request of General Evans, who approached and conferred with General Bee at the moment of his formation of line of battle.

At this time, Evans’ Brigade was to the front and right of General Bee’s Brigade and about engaging the enemy.  Evans requested General Bee to advance to his assistance as his force was small.  General Bee instantly advanced the regiments of Colonel Falkner and Jones to his assistance.

A portion of Evans’ Brigade about this time engaged the advance guard of the enemy.  General Bee advanced his regiments to the front and right about 400 yards, formed the Second Mississippi in line in rear of a piece of woods and the Fourth Alabama on a line of fence to the right about 150 yards in advance of the Second Mississippi Regiment and on the right of Evans’ line.

General Bee was just before this informed by Evans that a column of the enemy was advancing on his right and rear.  General Bee ordered the Second Mississippi Regiment to advance through the woods and engage the enemy, the regiment of Evans, supposed to be the Fourth South Carolina Volunteers, having at this time retired from their position in front.  He also ordered the Fourth Alabama regiment which was there under fire to advance and led them in person, under a most disastrous fire to the top of the hill in front of the former position of the regiment.

At this time the Second Mississippi, the Fourth Alabama, the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Liddell and Imboden’s Battery were engaging the enemy with great vigor.  General Bee retired his line after a close and severe engagement with an overpowering force of the enemy for on-half to three-quarters of an hour.

From this period to his fall from a mortal wound, General Bee led each regiment and seven companies of his command into the hottest fire.  He displayed almost superhuman energy in rallying his forces and charging again and again.  His staff are of the opinion that General Bee first retired his line in consequence of the information given him by Evans, that a column of the enemy were cutting him off by the rear and right, which information was an entire mistake, as the column proved to be friends.  For the last action of the regiment, in the after part of the day, we would refer to the reports of the commanding officers.

General Bee fell whilst leading two companies of the Second Mississippi under Captain [Merritt B.] Miller and a portion of the Fourth Alabama regiment into the midst of the enemy’s fire.  He was borne from the field by his staff and died the next day.  He testified again and again to the bravery and gallantry of officers and privates of his command after he received his death wound.

His reputation is a rare one; his memory will live forever and we confidently entrust both to his successor in command of his Brigade and friend, General [William Henry Chase] Whiting.

S. R. Gist,

R. A. Howard,

A. Vander Horst

[National Archives]

Civil War Art – N. C. Wyeth

19 01 2009

As so many folks have stopped by here recently looking for N. C. Wyeth artwork, I thought I’d post this little gallery.  I’ll add to it as I find more.  It’s hard not to wax nostalgic when I see these.  Like many of you, I spent a good deal of time in my youth staring at Wyeth’s illustrations in Treasure Island and Kidnapped!  Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

civil1 civil2 civil3 civil4 civil6

#82c – Maj. William H. C. Whiting

18 01 2009

Supplemental Report

Report (incomplete) of Major William Henry Chase Whiting


Headquarters, Third Brigade,

Camp Bee, August 1, 1861

Major: Having been assigned to the command of the Third Brigade, in consequence of the death of the lamented Brigadier-General [Barnard Elliot] Bee, the duty devolves upon me of presenting a report of the operations of the Brigade on July 21, compiled from the reports of the commanding officers engaged and from the notes of the distinguished aides of General Bee, Brigadier-General [States Rights] Gist, Adjutant-General of South Carolina; Major R. A. Howard of Texas; Colonel [William Pinkney] Shingler; Major [Walter H.] Stevens; Captain [A.] Vander Horst of South Carolina; and Lieutenant [James Hoffman] Hill, C. S. A., Assistant Adjutant-General.

The Brigade bivouacked at Camp Walker the night of July 20.  The First Tennessee and a portion of the Eleventh Mississippi together with the Sixth North Carolina had not joined in consequence of detention on the railroad.

At 5 a. m. on July 21, General Bee received orders from General [Pierre Gustave T.] Beauregard to advance to the support of the position occupied by Generals [H. Grey] Latham and [Philip St. George] Cocke near Stone Bridge and to its right, immediately putting his command, consisting of the Second Mississippi, Colonel [William Clark] Falkner, two companies of the Eleventh Mississippi under Lieutenant-Colonel [Philip Frank] Liddell, the Fourth Alabama, Colonel [Eggbert J.] Jones and Imboden’s Battery of four 6-pounders in motion.  He shortly took post in Latham’s left and Cocke’s right in close column of Division.  Here he was joined by the Eighth Georgia, Lieutenant-Colonel [William Montgomery] Gardner and the Seventh Georgia, Colonel [Lucius J.] Gartrell.

Arriving upon the ridge occupied by the Lewis House, General Bee advanced across the adjacent ravine upon the ‘ridge of pines,’ dispatching Major Howard to the front to make a reconnaissance of the ground.

On leaving the thickets, which cover the ridge of pines, nearly the whole field of the day’s operations was in view.  The ground is chiefly covered and occupied by several small farms; through the middle, from left to right runs a small creek, a branch of Bull Run.  On the left are dense thickets of oak and pine extending across the Manassas Road.  On the right of the Centreville Turnpike, as one looks from the ridge of pines southwest, is an isolated wood surrounded by fields of grass and corn beyond the creek.  This grove or “wood of pines” to the right and front proved important positions in the early part of the day.  In advance of the ridge of pines and on either side of a levee, connecting the Lewis ridge with the Centreville Turnpike across the ridge of pines, are two small houses, that of the Widow Henry on the left and of Robinson on the right.  These houses became conspicuous marks during the action and are important in locating the movements.  Beyond the cleared ground of the farms and distant about 1500 yards from the ridge of pines is a thick skirt of timber, where upon in a fron of pines a mile to a mile and a half the enemy were collected in heavy numbers.  Although other troops of the enemy were plainly visible in large force to the right in the distance, this space in front of the ridge of pines formed their principal field of attack.  General Bee proceeded at once to assault the position.

He had scarcely posted his battery near the Widow Henry’s house and a little to the right of it, when the enemy’s artillery opened a heavy fire from six rifled guns.  Line of battle was advanced at once, the General directing Captain [John D.] Imboden to maintain his position until further orders and placing Colonel Gartrell and Colonel Gardner with the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Georgia in the left of the battery; Colonel Falkner, Second Mississippi on the right; Colonel Jones, Fourth Alabama on the right of Falkner and detaching Lieutenant-Colonel Liddell to the “isolated wood” at the request of General [Nathan George] Evans, to support a gun of his posted near the left of the wood and well advanced toward the enemy.  General Evans’ force being small, he requested the General’s aid and with that view the Second Mississippi and Fourth Alabama were thrown rapidly on the creek and the whole line advanced.  General Evans was now hotly engaged with the enemy’s advance.  The Second Mississippi took a position in the grove above mentioned and the enemy made a demonstration on Stone Bridge against General Evans, while making his movement on our left in force, which General Evans, leaving part of his command near the bridge, promptly marched with the remainder to resist it near the branch and the isolated wood.  His command was engaged with the enemy’s advance when General Bee arrived upon the field.

The Fourth Alabama formed along a line of fence connecting it with the pine grove to the right.  This movement was led straight at the enemy by General Bee in person, conducting the Fourth Alabama through the fields and attacking the enemy strongly posted about a small farm house a little in advance of the position.  Here for three-quarters of an hour a fierce battle ensued in which the men, and their General were alike, distinguished.  In the meantime, the enemy had posted two more batteries and Imboden was contending manfully against fourteen pieces of artillery arranged in three batteries.  The horses of the caissons attached to General Evans’ guns on the left of the isolated wood took fright and ran to the rear, thus depriving that gun which had been effectively severed of its ammunition.  Against one of those batteries, the General directed the advance of a part of the Mississippians who delivered an effective fire upon them, naturally aiding Imboden.

He (General Bee) received information from General Evans that a column of the enemy was moving upon his right and rear.  General Bee instantly dispatched Major Howard and Captain Vander Horst to ascertain the fact; but before they could return the information was repeated and the General reluctantly ordered his line of battle [illegible].  As this proved to be a mistake the column refused to move while bravely bringing the Fourth Alabama into the fire.  The movement of General Bee was organized expressly to capture the enemy’s left battery then fiecely playing upon […illegible…] turning out to be either Jackson’s or a portion of some other brigade who had now arrived on the field.  It is regarded as a misfortune, since it deprived our troops of selected positions, exposed them to severe and disastrous fire in moving to a new one in the rear, and naturally disheartened them by the backward movement.  It is probable enough that the overwhelming numbers of the enemy could have forced the Brigade sooner or later from its position, but up to that time, they not only had not done so, but the Fourth Alabama led by the General in person was holding the most advanced position attained by any of our troops during the battle.

It was during this backward movement that our heaviest loss was sustained in both officers and men.  The Eighth Georgia had been joined by its gallant chief, Colonel [Francis S.] Bartow and had moved from the left of Imboden toward the grove of pines in the right and front, its then commander and distinguished Lieutenant-Colonel [William] Montgomery Gardner severely wounded.  The Colonel of the Fourth Alabama, [Eggbert J.] Jones, was mortally struck down.  The whole line fell back behind the creek and reformed upon the ridge near the first position later in the morning, the enemy steadily following and advancing his batteries.  Here the Brigade was joined by the troops of the Hampton Legion under Colonel Wade Hampton.  Deprived of their leader with most of their field officers shot, the Brigade still enticed the fight directed by their General in person.  The Second Mississippi in particular, seven companies strong, charged with other troops and captured Rickett’s Battery, all the horses of which they killed with their musketry.  The honor of this brilliant feat of arms they share with a portion of the Eleventh under Lieutenant-Colonel Liddell, the Sixth North Carolina which lost its Colonel, [Charles F.] Fisher, and a portion of Colonel Hampton’s Legion.

Three batteries of the enemy were taken in all, near the line occupied by the Third Brigade; […illegible…] Preston and his men of Jackson’s Brigade.  This Brigade and a portion of those of Colonel [Jubal Anderson] Early were, I learn, greatly distinguished in battle on the left of the Third [Brigade] where the enemy persistently concentrated heavy columns of attack.

For six hours the battle had raged with doubtful future, the ridge to which  the Widow Henry’s and the Robinson House are situated being alternately in the hands of the contending forces (Colonel Early’s Brigade, Army of the Potomac) when Brigadier-General [Edmund Kirby] Smith, second in command of the Army of the Shenandoah, advanced on either side of the Manassas Road and across the ridge and threw their command fiercely at the enemy’s right…

[W. H. C. Whiting]

Major T. G. Rhett

Assistant Adjutant-General,

Headquarters, Duncan’s House

[National Archives]

Hittsville Hits Bull Runnings

16 01 2009

I’m getting hits out the wazoo today – this should set a record.  For some reason, lots of folks are looking at my old post ….but I know what I like from 4/24/2007.  Admittedly, this is my all-time most viewed post.  Mostly people view that post as a result of searches for N. C. Wyeth.  The difference today is that there are a whole heck of a lot more of you.  I suppose this is due to reports of the death today of N. C.’s son, artist Andrew Wyeth.  He was 91 years old, and painted (among others) the famous Christina’s World:


I’m not going to kid myself that many of you are here for any reason other than you were looking for info on the recently deceased artist and perhaps his father.  But I welcome you to the site; take a look around while you’re here.  Check the tag Civil War Art for some other posts on that topic.

Busy Weekend Coming Up

15 01 2009

I’m back from my trip to Washington City.  It was a whirlwind tour that included taking many pictures for strangers at the Lincoln Memorial, which is being transformed along with the rest of the mall for a concert on Sunday.  I have never before seen so many porta-potties, even at the Preakness.  It was fun waving my finger to direct groups of seven or eight to shuffle left or right to get Abe centered behind them.  Sometimes I had them do it just for my own amusement.  I also got a picture of the Winder building (my wife was dismayed at my burning desire to photograph the relatively non-descript 5 story building on F and 17th).  It’s where many of the USMA Class of ’61 assembled on their arrival in the city after graduation, and served as Judge Advocate Holt’s HQ for the Lincoln assassination investigation.  We saw the Blair house, scene of the offering of some sort of command to R. E. Lee early on, so ineptly depicted in the cinematic disaster Gods and Generals.  The President-Elect will move in there today – he was in the Hay-Adams Hotel on the other side of Lafayette Square.  That whole block was cordoned off.  We also got a behind the scenes tour of the White House, courtesy of a friend of my wife’s who is a big-shot there, at least until tomorrow.  Larry King was upstairs interviewing the President and First Lady.

I just got off the phone with my editor.  Apparently the deadline for my May reviews is tomorrow.  No way I can get them done by then, so I’ll have to finish them – as well as a manuscript I am proofing for another publisher – this weekend.  The title of the column has been tweaked, and we’ll be including a rating system.  What with a Webelo’s sleepover on Friday, a Duquesne basketball game Saturday (I do stats for them), and the Steelers game on Sunday, I have my work cut out for me, so don’t look for anything new here for a few days.  But do come back and go through the archives!