War News: Blue & Gray in Black & White

26 07 2010

Brayton Harris has reissued his 1999 study of “the individual and collective efforts of newspaper journalists during the civil war,” and amended the title as War News: The Blue & Gray in Black & White: Newspapers in the Civil War.

In order to get the “full story” out to Civil War and other history enthusiasts. Mr. Harris has established this website that includes a couple of chapters from the book, the bibliography, and a few essays and articles.  Check it out.

Wheat’s Battalion

24 07 2010

Stuart Salling hosts the blog Louisiana in the Civil War, and also wrote the recently published Louisianians in the Western Confederacy – the Adams-Gibson Brigade in the Civil War.  A contributor to his site posted this article, about the Battalion from formation through First Bull Run.   Check it out.

America’s Civil War September 2010

22 07 2010

Inside this issue:

  • An interview with Antietam National Battlefield Superintendent John Howard, who will be retiring at the end of this year.
  • Harold Holzer’s Cease Fire asks When will all of us finally admit what caused the war?  This one is sure to raise eyebrows for more than the reason obvious in the title.
  • Ron Soodalter on Hampton’s Beefsteak Raid of September, 1864.
  • A look at the correspondence between William T. Sherman and John B. Hood at Atlanta in September, 1864.
  • Winston Groom examines the causes of the war in Irreconcilable Differences.
  • Charlie Knight (look for an interview with him on his new book Valley Thunder here soon) on Franz Sigel’s Shame in the Shenandoah.
  • Antietam National Battlefield Chief Historian Ted Alexander’s Witness to Battle discusses soldier/artist James Hope’s paintings of the September 17, 1852 battle.
  • Ron Soodalter shows up again with Getting Away with Murder, a study of officers who met their ends during the war in ways less typical.

Book reviews/previews in this issue:  

First Bull Run on Another Blog

22 07 2010

Mike Noirot has a post up about First Bull Run at his Civil War Battles and Battlefields blog.  He also includes links to his photos of the battlefield, and to his summary of the battle (I have a few quibbles – for instance, I think he mixes up which Confederate brigades belonged to Beauregard’s army and which belonged to Johnston’s) but it’s worth a look.

Manassas Events for 150th

21 07 2010

On this the 149th anniversary of First Bull Run, we keep in mind that it’s never too early to make plans for celebrating the sesquicentennial in 2011.  Here’s an article with some info on planned events in Manassas next year.

Lincoln as Strategist

21 07 2010

Another comment I made on Facebook the other day:

I saw a new book in the store today, The Grand Design: Strategy in the Civil War by Donald Stoker. Since the title has a colon in it, it must be a serious book ;-)

Anyway, this one quote from the jacket bothered me:

Lincoln, in contrast [to Jeff Davis], evolved a clear strategic vision, but he failed for years to make his generals implement it.

Here’s where I’m bothered: the statement implies that this vision of Lincoln’s evolved quickly relative to his attempts to get his generals to do what he wanted. And also implicit is the notion that he clearly and effectively communicated this vision to those same generals. I’m not sure I’m in agreement. Has anyone read this yet?

Jomini at the Point

20 07 2010

The other day I posted an observation on Facebook.  It didn’t generate much conversation, so I thought I’d see what it attracts here:

I was watching Dr. Carol Reardon on PCN [Gettysburg College Civil War Institute talks from Summer 2010 Conference] talk about West Point in 1860. Glad to see her confirm what I’ve long suspected – that Jomini was not as respected or preferred at the Academy as we have been led to believe. After I finished his book [The Art of War used as a textbook] all I could think was “What’s the rumpus?”

The faculty at West Point had problems with Jomini. In fact, one of the reasons they used his textbook was that they already had it, and getting a different one was not in the budget.

Another interesting point raised in the 1860 study conducted by Jefferson Davis’ War Dept was that that cadets rarely continued study of military theory after graduation – almost never, actually.  So, were grads – like Lee – who were not students when Jomini was being studied very familiar with him?

 I feel like historians spend way too much time considering the influence of Jomini and far too little considering the writings/teachings of Halleck and Mahan. But what do I know?