Diary 7/15-25/1861 – Pvt. Josiah Favill, 71st NYSM

31 10 2010

About the 1st of July the troops were brigaded on the Virginia side of the river, and formed into an army, commanded by General McDowell. On the 15th of July we received orders to cross the Potomac the following day, carrying three days’ cooked rations; we marched out, about one o’clock from the yard, very cheerfully, and crossed the long bridge into Old Virginia, singing lustily, “Away Down South in Dixie,” and went into bivouac near Annandale, a distance of eight or nine miles. Here were gathered together an immense body of men, being organized into an army. Our regiment was brigaded under Colonel Burnside, with the First and Second Rhode Island regiments, and the Second New Hampshire. We had no tents or shelter of any kind, only one blanket to cover us, and what was worse than all, no old soldiers to teach us the simple tricks of campaigning comfortably. In the Navy Yard we slept on the bare boards, but that soon became easy for us; now with no boards, and no shelter when it rains, we shall be in a pretty pickle. I once wondered, I remember, what kind of beds we should have in the army; by degrees, I am finding that out, as well as some other things.

In the evening our enthusiasm burst out anew, when we saw the countless camp fires, extending in every direction as far as the eye could reach. Here around us was a veritable army, with banners, opening to our imagination, a glimpse of the glorious pomp, and circumstance of war. Later on, the music of the bands came floating over the gentle summer breeze, while the increasing darkness brought into more distinct relief the shadowy groups of soldiers sitting around the fires, or moving between the long lines of picturesquely stacked arms. At intervals were batteries of artillery, their horses tethered amongst the guns, while in rear of all, just discernible by the white canvas coverings, were wagons enough apparently, to supply the combined armies of the world.

At nine o’clock tattoo was sounded by thousands of drums and fifes, and shortly afterwards the men were mostly asleep. A young fellow named Kline (Dodd having remained in the yard on the sick list) and I slept together, and shared each other’s fortunes; we spread my rubber and woolen blankets on the ground, covering ourselves with his blankets, and without other protection from the weather slept our first sleep in the open air, with the new army of Virginia; we lay for a long time gazing at the starry heavens before we slept, our stony pillows not fitting as well as those we had been used to, but at last we slept, and only awoke at the beating of the drums for reveille.

We turned out promptly, feeling pretty stiff, hair saturated with the heavy dew and generally shaky, but after a good wash at a running brook near by, and a bountiful supply of muddy coffee, were as bright and active as ever. This morning we got many particulars of the approaching campaign; it seems we are to move forward to Centreville, where the rebel army is in position; attack, and if possibly, destroy it, and so end the rebellion. We formed column, and marched soon after breakfast, with bands playing, and colors flying, in a happy frame of mind, without a thought of danger or failure. Nothing barred our progress until we approached Fairfax Court House. Here we found the roads blockaded by felled trees, and it required considerable time to remove the obstructions; shortly afterwards our advance guard exchanged shots with the enemy’s mounted videttes, and a strong line of skirmishers was thrown out, which soon cleared the way and we entered the town in great spirits, the rebels retiring as we advanced, leaving behind them a good many stores, and their flag flying from a pole in front of the court house; it was a blue cross on a red ground, with white stars on the bars. Our men quickly hauled it down and ran up the Stars and Stripes amidst vociferous cheering. The place is a wretchedly dirty, straggling little village, now almost deserted; all the men, and most of the well to do women gone, the best houses generally being deserted. Many of the women stood in the doorways watching us march past, and I am sure, I never saw so many poor, ill fed, dirty looking creatures in my life before. They are what they call poor whites here, and seem hopelessly tired out; they acted ugly, evidently considering us enemies. I fear they had cause subsequently, as many of our men acted like barbarians. We halted, stacked arms, and rested in the main street of the village. As soon as ranks were broken, the men made a dash for the large houses, plundering them right and left; what they could not carry away, in many cases, they destroyed; pianos were demolished, pictures cut from their frames, wardrobes ransacked, and most of the furniture carried out into the street. Soon the men appeared wearing tall hats, women’s bonnets, dresses, etc., loaded down with plunder which they proceeded to examine and distribute, sitting on sofas, rocking chairs, etc., in the middle of the dusty street. What was not considered portable, or worth keeping, was smashed and destroyed; in this general sack the deserted houses came in for most attention, few of those having any one in charge being molested, and I did not hear of any personal indignities. It seemed strange to me the men desired mementoes of something we did not have to fight for, and I took no part or interest in the business. This was Fairfax’s first taste of war at the hands of the enemy, and it must have been decidedly bitter.

We went into bivouac just in front of the town, with headquarters in the village. It seemed as though we had men enough in the encampment to overrun the whole world. If it were not for the numerous trains of wagons needed to supply us, how quickly we could finish up this war. This second bivouac was in all respects similar to the first.

It is reported that General Beauregard, commanding the rebel army, has taken a position just beyond Centreville, and is awaiting our approach, intending to give battle; also that they are strongly intrenched behind breast works and rifle pits. We are told too, that the woods are full of masked batteries, commanding the roads over which we must march, and it looks now as though we should have some severe fighting in a few hours’ time. It does not yet seem really like war, and it is hard to believe we shall actually have a battle, I suppose one good action will enable us to realize the requirements necessary to make a good soldier, and prove our usefulness, or otherwise, as nothing else will; I hope we may prove equal to the emergency.

Reveille the next morning sounded at daybreak, and soon afterwards we were enroute for Centreville, distant about eight miles; the day was very hot and there was much straggling, many of the men proving poor walkers; at intervals we halted to give time for the advance guard to properly reconnoiter, and also to rest the men, so that we did not arrive in front of our objective point till 1 P. M. ; one trouble was the complete blockade of the road by wagons and artillery, obliging the infantry to take to the fields on either side of them, this causing much delay. I was in good condition, and did not mind the fatigue at all. Arriving at Centreville we found no enemy, but a little squalid, wretched place, situated on rising ground overlooking a good deal of the surrounding country. The column turned out to the right and left, forming a line of battle facing almost west, stacked arms, and lay down to await developments. Three regiments of infantry were shortly afterwards sent ahead to reconnoiter, and about a mile in front commenced exchanging shots at long range with the enemy’s pickets; as they advanced, they brought on quite a little fight, in which some of the rebel batteries joined for the first time. We saw the white puffs from the cannon, and watched with breathless interest this first evidence of actual hostilities. Presently an aide came back for reinforcements, and two other regiments were ordered to advance, but had hardly started, when General McDowell coming on the ground, ordered the advance to be discontinued for the present, and the troops withdrawn. We had four men killed outright, and several wounded in this first baptism of fire, which of course, produced great excitement, in the rear, especially when the ambulance with the wounded came in. We knew now there was more to be done than simply marching, and bivouacking, and began to feel a little curious, but still equal to the task, and sure of giving a good account of ourselves.’ We remained in position the rest of the day and night, watching during the evening the long lines of dust far away to the right and front, which is said to indicate the arrival of reinforcements for the enemy.

This morning we hear the rebel army is posted in a commanding position along the Bull Run stream, deep in many places, but having numerous fords. The rebel general, Johnson, has joined from Winchester, which explains the long dusty lines seen last evening. General McDowell, it is said, intends resting our army for a day or two here, in the mean time ascertaining the exact position of the rebels; we are not at all in need of rest, and I don’t see why we cannot go right ahead, but I suppose it is none of our business to speculate on the conduct of affairs. The wagons are now separately parked, so is the artillery, and the infantry placed so that the color line instantly becomes a line of battle in case of necessity. If the rebs would only come and attack us, how we should warm them.

July 18th. To-day great droves of beef cattle were driven into camp and slaughtered, and three days’ cooked rations prepared, and issued to all the troops; we got enough to completely fill our haversacks, and load us down uncomfortably. Nothing occurred during the day worth mentioning, the band played frequently while we cleaned our muskets, filled our cap pouches and cartridge boxes, and otherwise prepared for the great battle so near at hand. The camp is full of rumors, but nothing trustworthy.

July i9th and 20th.—Nothing worthy of especial mention the last two days; reports say the rebels are seventy thousand strong, with ten thousand additional men near at hand, strongly posted behind the run, with all commanding points well fortified. We have made many reconnoisances and find the enemy’s position in front and left too strong for direct attack and so the plan now is to move the bulk of the army, under cover of the thick woods, to the right, and attack in earnest; in the mean time, making demonstrations directly in front, and on the left, with force enough to take advantage of any weakness that may be discovered. All the preliminary arrangements are made, and we are entirely prepared. Saturday night taps sounded as usual at nine o’clock and we all tucked ourselves under the blankets and lay down for a good night’s sleep; we had hardly got comfortably fixed, when we were ordered to get up and fall in silently. We got up wondering what was the occasion of this nocturnal disturbance, but quietly rolled and slung our blankets, fell into line, and answered to the roll call. We were ready to start by twelve o’clock but those ahead of us did not get out of our way till nearly two o’clock, so we sat down in the ranks and waited our turn. It was a brilliant moonlight night, and we could see the long line of flashing bayonets filing off to the right, looking like an immense silver sea serpent. From Centreville to Fairfax court house, all the troops were in motion, and where an hour before everything was quiet and still, now the ground trembled with the tramp of armed men, and innumerable horses. We stepped out promptly at last, glad to be in motion,; taking the Warrington road through Centreville, we marched some distance, then turned off to the northward, on a wood road, and were hid from view by the dark, gloomy shadows of a pine forest. Everyone knew the object of the movement, and was anxious to get well in rear of the rebel left before daylight, and take him by surprise. For nearly three hours, our march lay through the dark pines; finally about break of day, we emerged into open fields, and saw away off to the front and right the Bull Run and Blue Ridge mountains, with pleasant fields, and shady woods, laying quietly at their feet. It was so still and peaceful that it was hard to believe this beautiful Sunday morning we were going to fight a battle.

We halted now awhile, giving the stragglers a chance to come up, and all of us a much needed rest, as we were very much fatigued, besides being hungry, and longed to make some coffee, but the orders were imperative, no fires! no noise! very shortly, several shots were fired directly in our front, the bugles sounded the assembly and we fell in; the First and Second Rhode Island regiments were deployed in line of battle, and with a regiment of regular cavalry out as flankers, and several companies of infantry deployed as skirmishers in front advanced in the direction of the firing, we following in column, well closed up, a short distance in rear, a battery moving immediately in our front. The stately and well ordered advance to our first battle was most impressive. Not a word was spoken, every man busy with his own emotions and trying to do his duty.


“Ah me! what perils do environ,  The man that meddles with cold iron.”— THE BATTLE OF BULL RUN IN WHICH WE FIGHT AND WIN AND RUN AWAY

IN the order prescribed by the regulations, for a force feeling the enemy preparatory to an attack, we marched forward, passing over the open field and into a piece of full grown timber, apparently the slope of a considerable hill. As we slowly ascended the rising ground, suddenly a loud screeching noise overhead sent more than half the regiment pell mell the other side of a fence that ran along the road side. Here we crouched down flat on our bellies, our hearts in our mouths, just as a shell exploded a little beyond us. It was from the rebel batteries in front, and the first any of us had ever heard, and it certainly did seem a terrible thing, rushing through the air like an immense sky rocket, then bursting into a thousand pieces, carrying death and destruction to everything in its course. The stampede was only momentary, but very funny; the boys jumped back again; in fact, almost as quickly as they had dispersed, and then stood steady in the ranks, watching the advance of the Rhode Islanders. When the latter had emerged into the clearing, beyond the woods, our regiment wheeled to the right, into line of battle, and followed the advancing line. In the meantime, several shells came over the woods, generally passing far to the rear before bursting, doing no harm other than making us a little nervous. Just as we emerged from the woods, the Rhode Islanders reached the crest of the hill and immediately opened fire, and the rattle of musketry became so heavy we could hear no commands, and the smoke so thick, we could see nothing at all in front; away off to the right, however, we saw little white puffs of smoke, indicating the position of the rebel batteries, which began to drop their shells about us, much to our confusion; while we were peering into the dense smoke in front, wondering how the enemy looked, an order came directing us to move forward and go into action. We marched immediately, reached the crest of the hill, and amid the rattle of musketry, the booming of guns, and screeching of shells, lay down and commenced firing. Before we had time to get well at work, along came Griffith’s light battery at full gallop, scattering the right of our regiment badly; we got together again as quickly as possible, but were five and six files deep, narrowing the front of the regiment, and rendering about half of us useless. I was in this struggling crowd, and with many others, tried hard to get the line straightened out, but the objection many of the fellows had to take the front rank prevented our doing much of anything, so I crept up to the front, determined at least to get a sight of the enemy, and a shot if possible. I soon reached a position where I could look over the hill, and there sure enough, nearly at the bottom, just in front of a clump of trees, stood a long line of rebel infantry firing away at our men. I took a shot immediately, and then loaded and fired as quickly as I could, very much excited, but now not at all afraid, except of the men in rear who persisted in firing over our heads, although they could see nothing to fire at, and stood no possible chance of hitting anything, except the back of our heads, which was not comfortable to think of. The musket balls whistled around us, and every now and then, one of our fellows dropped his gun and rolled over, shot; however, the noise of the musketry, and booming of the cannon, drowned all cries, and kept up the excitement, so that we thought only of firing and trying to hit somebody. We lay in this position a good while, keeping up a rattling fire, when the order was passed along the line to stand up and fire; the regiment jumped to its feet, just as a wild unearthly yell rung out below, and the rebel line dashed forward, charging directly up the hill at us. We had a beautiful chance now and blazed away into the advancing line without let or hindrance, but still they came on until some of them got within thirty yards of us, and I really thought they were going to reach us and give us a chance to bayonet them, but suddenly they hesitated, then turned back, and ran away. Now we yelled, and together with our boat howitzers, poured a rattling fire into them, killing and wounding a good many; they ran until they reached the woods, then reformed, and actually tried it again, but this second attempt was a mere farce. The batteries shelled them until they completely disappeared, leaving us in undisputed possession of the field. Our fighting was done and very soon we were relieved by the Sixty-ninth New York and a New Hampshire regiment, who followed up the enemy, while we fell back to the edge of the woods, stacked arms, and answered to roll call. We had lost seventeen men killed outright, and forty wounded; all the rest were accounted for; we then buried the dead and carried such of the wounded as had not already been cared for back to the field hospital, after which we compared notes and congratulated each other on the success of the fight. There served with us throughout the whole fight a tall, elderly gentleman, wearing plain clothes and a tall silk hat, in the front rank, who loaded and fired away in the most deliberate manner, apparently wholly indifferent to danger; he must have done a good deal of execution, as the excitement did not seem to affect him in the least. They say he is a noted abolitionist, and desired to do his share in the field, as well as in the forum; I am sorry I cannot remember his name. With a regiment of such men as he, what might we not have done ?

Soon after we retired, General McDowell rode up, dressed in full uniform, including white kid gloves, and told us we had won a great victory, and that the enemy were in full retreat; we cheered him vociferously, and felt like veritable heroes.

The enemy having disappeared, some of us concluded to walk over the battle field, see how it looked, and pick up something as a souvenir of the fight. The Sixty-ninth and Seventy-ninth New York and the splendid line of the marine corps, in their white cross belts, were moving without opposition, away off to the right, apparently intending to follow the enemy to Richmond. Butler and I strolled down the hill side, and were soon amongst the dead and dying rebels, who up to this time had been neglected. What a horrible sight it was! here a man, grasping his musket firmly in his hands, stone dead; several with distorted features, and all of them horribly dirty. Many were terribly wounded, some with legs shot off; others with arms gone, all of them, in fact, so badly wounded that they could not drag themselves away; many of the wretches were slowly bleeding to death, with no one to do anything for them. We stopped many times to give some a drink and soon saw enough to satisfy us with the horrors of war; and so picking up some swords, and bayonets, we turned about and retraced our steps. Suddenly a minnie ball whistled past us, making the dust fly just in front, where it lodged; we thought it must be from some of our men mistaking us for rebels, and so hurried along to join our regiment when, nearly at the summit of the hill, a whole volley of musket balls whizzed about us, one of them striking my companion, who dropped to the ground as though he had been killed, and I really thought he was; in looking him over, I found he was shot through the knee and quite unable to stand, or walk; promising to bring him assistance, I started on the run, found the regiment, and with several good fellows quickly returned, picked up our comrade and carried him to the rear, and left him with the surgeons. This turn in affairs greatly puzzled everybody, and the only conclusion arrived at was, that some of our troops had mistaken us for the enemy. About half an hour after this, our attention was attracted to the distant hills and open ground by long lines of infantry extending across the whole face of the battle ground; the sound of distant musketry came floating along, followed by an occasional cannon shot. Presently the lines grew more distinct, finally developing into well defined lines of battle, marching in our direction; everybody was now alert; wondering what was going to happen; at last the glittering bayonets, reflecting the summer sun, were easily distinguished, and there was no longer a doubt but what the rebels had reformed, and with new forces were going to renew the fighting. The musketry increased and several batteries opened in our direction, but there were no indications on our part of making any resistance to the rapidly advancing foe; so far as we could see over the wide extended fields, not a single line of battle on our side was in position; the regiments about us had been gradually withdrawing, until few were left. All the guns had gone, except our two howitzers, and there was no general officer on the ground. As the long line came nearer and nearer, Colonel Martin ordered us to fall in, and with muskets in hand, we stood, simply watching the gradual approach of this overwhelming force, and the disappearance of our troops; wondering what had become of all the masses of men we not long ago thought numerous enough to thrash the world; now there was nobody left, and our colonel at length ordered us to counter march to the rear, and follow the crowd. We still supposed there was a new line forming in rear of us, and that in the confusion, our regiment had escaped attention, consequently, at first were not much alarmed, but as we continued going to the rear and saw no signs of fresh dispositions, we came to the conclusion we were running away, following the route we had marched over with so much confidence in the morning; presently we came up with the rear of the troops that had preceded us, but looked in vain for new defensive dispositions. Everywhere was hurry and confusion, the wagons and batteries filled the roads, while the men spread out on either side, gradually losing their formations and fast becoming reckless. There was no rear guard, nor any arrangements for holding the enemy in check, and if they really had appeared, they might have captured us all without difficulty. Now every one was anxious to be first, and so by degrees, the men of various regiments got mixed up together, and thus, finding themselves without officers, accelerated their steps until at last it became a precipitate flight to the rear.

In the course of the afternoon, when the woods were one mass of men, without a semblance of order, a report spread that the Black Horse cavalry were advancing! instantly, every man of us backed up to a tree, and it was really wonderful how almost instantaneously the woods seemed clear of men; with three or four of us around a tree, bayonets fixed, awaiting in fearful suspense, we looked quite formidable, but were in fact, very weak kneed.

After waiting a time, and seeing nothing of the foe, we spread out again, hurrying along to get across the Bull Run stream. By this time the men were throwing away their blankets, knapsacks, and many of them their guns, in order to fly the faster; and when the enemy began shelling the woods we were in, the panic was complete, and all semblance of order was lost; at a bridge where the ambulances were crossing, several shells burst in succession, completing the disaster. Confusion became confounded; men, horses, mules, wagons, ambulances, and batteries were inextricably mixed together, and the mass rushed forward, abandoning everything in their flight; in many cases, the drivers of wagons and ambulances cut loose their teams and galloped to the rear, leaving their wagons and contents to block the road, thus cutting off all chance for escape for those in rear of them. On the bridge over the Bull Run were several ambulances, filled with wounded men, so jammed together that none of them could move. Some shells from the enemy’s guns dropped in amongst them, killing some of the wounded, scaring away the drivers, and effectually blockading the bridge for good. The panic was complete. The wounded, deserted in the ambulances, yelled for succor in vain; the whole crowd were utterly demoralized. Colonel Martin and the regiment up to this time had kept tolerably well together, but here the general frenzy took possession of us, too, and the cry of “every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost,” was the only rule observed.

About the stream, the loss of material was immense; our two boat howitzers were abandoned here, after doing very effective service. There were hundreds of wagons, ambulances, forges, guns, muskets, myriads of blankets, knapsacks and every kind of accoutrement; the ground, in fact, being literally covered with material, the men throwing away indiscriminately all that they had to facilitate their flight. When we arrived at the stream the bridge was completely blockaded, so we took to the water with the crowd, and found it nearly up to our waists; we were almost dying with thirst and stopped to drink and fill our canteens; the water was liquid mud, but more precious to us just then than gold; standing amongst myriads of men and horses, I drank and drank, until I must have swallowed at least a quart; it did refresh us amazingly; we had marched all the previous night; fought all the morning, and had been running away all the afternoon, with nothing at all to eat since the evening before, and as- the heat was intense, and the dust horrible, one may imagine our condition.

It did us good to see many batteries boldly ford the run, descending the steep bank and climb the opposite side in a most business like manner. I can truthfully say up to this time none of us had seen or heard of a general officer or aidde-camp nor any one making any effort to stem the tide of disorder south of the stream.

After crossing the river, the crowd kept on in just the same disorder; but, as they got more fatigued they threw away more of their equipment, and so by degrees, about onehalf of them threw away their arms, as well as clothing. Amongst the infantry, there was no longer a pretense of formation; the crowd scattered over a wide area of fields and roads, observing only one rule, of keeping in the direction of Washington. As our organization fell to pieces at the run, half a dozen of us agreed for our own safety to stick together at all hazards, retain our arms and accoutrements, and pretend we were soldiers. The country was now open, giving an extended view of the situation as far as we could see; to the right and left, crowds of men, wagons and guns, all mixed together, were hurrying along spread all over the country.

We trudged along wearily enough, at last reaching Centreville, and then sat down to rest and eat, expecting the crowd would do the same, but their fears still urged them forward, and they surged through, and around the village, in one continuous mass of disorder. We rested about an hour, then started ahead again, keeping along with the crowd still as dense as ever. Not long after passing Centreville, the crowd in front suddenly halted as if by magic; right in front, drawn up in battle array, stretched a long dark line of infantry, completely blocking the way; to our disordered imagination there could be but one explanation, the enemy had in some way gotten in our rear, and cut us off; no man dared to advance, and for a time we were motionless, lost in amazement. Presently the men on the extreme right began a movement to slip around the flank, hoping in this way to elude the new danger; but just then several mounted men rode forward, and announced the troops in front as friends, being in fact, a line of New Jersey troops, formed to stem the surging tide of disorder, by offering a shelter, sufficiently strong to restore confidence. What a relief it was! we were now safe from pursuit, and could rest our weary feet. We marched along with the crowd, passed through the new line, and sat down, intending to go no further, utterly exhausted and demoralized. We threw ourselves on the ground, and watched with much anxiety, the efforts made to stop the fugitives. Staff officers, cavalrymen, and infantry, all exerted themselves strenuously to halt the crowd, and form them anew, in rear of the fresh men, but without success; the crowd continued pressing to the rear determined only to stop, under the forts at Washington. We remained till after dark getting a little rest, but keeping our eyes on the Jerseymen. About eight o’clock two of the regiments near us were ordered back to Vienna, so we fell in with them, and continued our retreat from this point, in much better company. We marched wearily along, foot sore, and since night set in, extremely nervous. In every piece of woods through which we marched we heard the dreaded sighing of the minnie ball, and saw dark shadowy forms, which took the shape of Black Horse Cavalry. We knew better, but our nerves gave out, I expect, and we could not help ourselves. As everything in life must come to an end sooner or later, so this trying march to Vienna ended also, something after midnight. The Jerseymen turned into a field to the right of the road, formed in close column of division, stacked arms, and lay down and slept. We begged some bread of them; half a loaf each, which we lost no time in eating, then lay down and slept. We had no covering, as our regiment was ordered to remove their blankets before the fight, and never had a chance to get them again, but we slept for all that, and only waked, after a vigorous shaking; about three o’clock in the morning, the Jerseymen were ordered to fall back on account of the advancing enemy, and there was nothing else to be done but go with them. What unwelcome news! My feet were so covered with blisters, and swollen, that at first I could not stand on them, and it seemed out of the question to use them at all, but we had heard of the guerillas, and feared capture, so were bound to move. I tore my pocket handkerchief into strips and bound each toe, separately; the soles, and heels, and in that shape started off; at first I could scarcely stand, but, as my feet warmed up they felt better, and I was able to keep up with the regiment, until we got to within about seven miles of Washington. There we parted with the Jerseymen, and went to a farm house, where after much parleying, we hired a man to carry us to the long bridge, for fifty cents apiece. As soon as the springless wagon was hitched up, we jumped in, and felt that our troubles were all over. In due time we arrived before the tete de pont at the long bridge, paid and dismissed our farmer friend, and started to cross over, but the sentry stopped us and refused to let us cross. The sergeant of the guard was deaf to our entreaties, and we fell back in dismay; presently, someone suggested that, by taking the tow path to the Georgetown bridge, about three miles up the river, we could cross, and so, nothing daunted by the pouring rain, we started off and for two hours struggled over the worst road, in the worst weather, imaginable. When we arrived, we were disgustingly covered with red clay mud, from head to foot, and altogether in a pitiful condition; filled with anxiety, we went up to the bridge and found a regiment apparently going over, and so fell in rear of it, but when nearly up to the entrance, it filed off to the right, leaving us in the lurch once more. Nothing remained now but to go up boldly and ask permission to cross, which we did, and were delighted when told to go ahead; we lost no time in passing the guard, and with light hearts, but dreadfully weary feet, trudged along, and were soon across and looking out for some means of getting to the Navy Yard, many miles away. Very soon afterward a couple of gentlemen rushed up to us, grasped us by the hand, and hustled us into a carriage; they said they were New Yorkers and had heard all about the gallant behavior of the Seventy-first, and that they were there for the express purpose of taking care of some of the boys. They were full of sympathy, and took great interest in us, and so we began to think a little better of ourselves. They took us to the Metropolitan Hotel, where they ordered dinner, wine, etc., and made us sit down, wet and muddy as we were, and eat and drink. It was wonderful how we recovered under this generous treatment, and in a couple of hours, were so refreshed that we took leave of our fellow townsmen with many and hearty thanks, and went straight to the Navy Yard, almost falling asleep on the way.

Arriving, I found my companion Dodd occupying our old bunk in tranquil security, not having heard of the misfortune that had befallen the army. He came to the rescue, and like the good fellow he was, never ceased till I was encased in dry clothes, and snugly packed away in my old place, and fast asleep.

July 23d. I awoke after a long, refreshing sleep, very stiff, and feet badly blistered, but, after a cold bath at the hydrant, and a cup of coffee, felt quite myself again.

Many men have returned but not enough to complete the organization, so we were not required to perform any duty. The first thing I did was to clean my musket, and belts, then my clothes, and by noon time had everything in good order; then Dodd and I dressed up in our best clothes, and walked to the city, first going to the telegraph office, where we had to wait a long time for our turn, to notify our families at home that we were not killed, wounded, or missing; this done, we spent the day in town, looking up our men, and getting all the news we could of the situation, now considered extremely critical. The forts have been manned, and all the available troops placed in position to defend the capitol.

July 25th. Nearly all the men are back again to-night, and military duty is to be resumed to-morrow, but our three months have expired, and we are ordered back to New York to be mustered out of service. The President has called for three hundred thousand men to serve for three years, or the war. The country is just beginning to realize the magnitude of the undertaking, and the first thing it is going to do is to organize a regular army, which will last at least for three years. Our views of war are somewhat modified by the past three months’ experience, but I am determined to return, and under more favorable conditions, try to find that exaltation and glory that I have always associated with arms.

We shall go home and refit for a long period, organize and discipline an army, and when officers and men have learned to adjust themselves to their new positions, and know each other and their duties thoroughly, then commence afresh, and go on to victory, or sustain defeat with dignity. The cause is just as great to-day as it was the day we left New York, and, while we have been temporarily overthrown, there is no cause for despondency. We shall as certainly win in the end, as though we had never seen, or heard, of the disastrous battle of Bull Run.

For myself, I have served in the ranks for the last time; and shall go home and apply at once for a commission in some of the regiments now forming to serve for three years or the war, which will be more to my taste than serving in the ranks.

Two days after the regiment returned to the yard it was ordered home by rail, going by way of South Amboy, and landed at pier 1, North River; from thence it marched up Broadway to the armory on Centre Street. Depositing our arms and accoutrements, we were dismissed till the 30th of July, when the regiment was mustered out of service and paid off, and so ended our first campaign.

[Josiah Marshall Favill, The Diary of a Young Officer Serving with the Armies of the United States During the War of the Rebellion, pp. 26-41]

America’s Civil War January 2011

28 10 2010

Inside this issue:

  • An interview with an American who conducts Civil War tours in England.
  • Red Soodalter on High Bridge
  • Mosby’s Confederacy by Teri Johnson
  • Iowa’s “Hairy Nation” goes to war  – Robert B. Mitchell
  • Harold Holzer on how some Southerner’s sought to abate secession fever
  • Cynthia Wachtell looks at how some men of letters considered the morality of war
  • Reviews
    • The Maryland Campaign of September, 1862, Vol. I by Ezra Carman, edited by Thomas Clemens
    • Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army After 1861, by Kenneth Noe
    • My Old Confederate Home: A Respectable Place for Civil War Veterans, by Rusty Williams
    • Northerners at War: Reflections on the Civil War Home Front, by J. Matthew Gallman
    • The Day Dixie Died: The Battle of Atlanta, by Gary Ecelbarger
    • Harry’s Just Wild About…
      • Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Redemption, by Shane Kastler
      • Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front, ,by Timothy B. Smith
      • After the War: The Lives and Images of Major Civil War Figures After the Shooting Stopped, by David Hardin & Ivan Dee
      • Confederate Generals in the Western Theater: Classic Essays on America’s Civil War, Vol I, Lawrence Hewitt & Arthur Bergeron, editors

Elizabeth Blair Lee on the Battle

27 10 2010

To Samuel Phillips Lee, Her Husband

Silver Spring, MD

July 17, 1861

Entries for July 17, 18 & 20 omitted

July 19.  We have been on tiptoe of expectation all day Father returned late saying that our advanced brigade had been repulsed and the Bull Run Battery of the Enemy – Genl Scott ordered the army to stop – rest reconnoitre – & he says nothing can happen until this evening – that at ten olk tonight he will have dispatches from Genl McDowell – This he said to the President – who replied – Genl it is your duty to report to me every movement & action – “The General look up to find he had a superior officer & promptly replied – “Yes sir & in that & as in all else I’ll do my duty” This the P. told Father – who repeated it confidentially to Govr Gibbs wha has known Genl Scott intimately for years – & who after a long silence – Well Mr L knows him & knows how to manage him -”

There is a good deal of skirmishing in Missouri  Frank – Apo – Betty – the Martins – Evy & Troop – go tomorrow down to Fort Monroe – & return Monday  I suppose Frank goes on business Congress adjourned until Monday & the Members are off to the battlefield tomorrow – Mother & I have as usual been quiet at home – from which She won’t go – & I really feel loth to leave her so much alone so I staid home today – I have not taken Blair to the City for a month or more

July 21st Sunday  A day long to be remembered in the annals of the world  This morning at dailight the morning guns seem very loud to me – & when the[y] continued to rumble I grew too restless – & got up about nine  After breakfast I begged Maria to go walk hoping the woods would stop the roar in my ears – but down at the Grotto – I heard it plainer & then spoke of it to Maria told her it was the Battle at Bull Run – 30 miles off  She soon distinguished the sounds & on our return to the house – All the house soon became listeners  Brother & Mr Dennison came out early & said that Genl Scott had sent word to Mr. Lincoln that the attack would commence with dailight – It was some time ‘ere Mr. Dennison could distinguish in the Vally by Violets spring – the belchings of the Cannon & strange it was not heard in the city – but just as plain – oh so torturingly plain to me – all all this long day – When last news at 5 olk came in our side were victorious 3 batteries taken – the Confederate lines broken – & they retreating to their entrenchment at the junction – but at 8 olk – as I was rocking our boy to sleep I heard that dreadful roar still – & it ceased – or I to hear it from about 15 minutes after eight  Oh what a sad long weary day has this sabbath been to me –

Becky went to church & I had to look after Blair as well as the house – & as so often in his precious life – he was such a stay & comfort to me – My duty in looking after an[d] amusing him just kept me wailing & weeping over the terrific scene of carnage of my own kindred & countrymen – within my hearing –

Washington July 22nd I enclose you a note from John – Father when we first heard of the fearful rout of our army said Betty Blair Appo & I must go north at 2 olk  I sent for John – as in yr absence I never feel willing to ought of moment without your Brother’s counsel  He said go at first & then with me the enclosed when I sent word Father said I might stay to consult John over again  So here I am – going to stay  Our army was overcome by numbers they have ascertained that one hundred & ten thousand troops in battle – John says this defeat cements Maryland in the Union

[Laas, Virginia Jeans, ed., Wartime Washington: The Civil War Letters of Elizabeth Blair Lee, pp 63-66]


Interview: David Powell, “Failure in the Saddle”

26 10 2010

Dave Powell has been an acquaintance of mine for seven or eight years.  I’ve had the pleasure to stomp the ground at Chickamauga, the Shenandoah Valley, and Shiloh with him and have enjoyed his company and expertise immensely.  He’s what I call a “good guy”.  He leads annual battle walks for the Chickamauga Study Group in conjunction with the NPS; hosts Chickamauga Blog; has authored numerous magazine articles on Gettysburg and Chickamauga; has designed award-winning board war games; and recently published The Maps of Chickamauga with Savas Beatie.  His next book, Failure in the Saddle: Nathan Bedford Forrest, Joseph Wheeler, and the Confederate Cavalry in the Chickamauga Campaign, is set for release on October 30, 2010.  Dave took some time out from his very busy schedule to answer a few questions for Bull Runnings.

BR:  Dave, can you provide a little background for the readers out there?

DP:  I run a courier company in the Chicago area, a family business with 30 or so employees. Outside of work, however, my main interest is military history – all kinds, but with a primary focus on the American Civil War. That interest was reinforced by attending that most Civil War of places, the Virginia Military Institute, from where I graduated with a BA in History in 1983. I have been a re-enactor, have designed more than a dozen boardgames on Civil War Battles, and read extensively on the subject. In addition to our Civil War, I am also interested in European Military history, including the 19th Century, WWI, and WWII. I have published articles in Gettysburg Magazine, North & South, and last year Savas Beatie published my first book, The Maps Of Chickamauga.

BR:  You’re widely regarded as an expert on Chickamauga – what made you decide to make it a focus of your studies?

DP:  I started on a familiar trajectory in civil war studies – the eastern theater, especially Antietam and Gettysburg. In fact, for ten years or so, I attended (and sometimes led) annual tours and battle walks at Gettysburg. I started to write on the subject, but I soon realized that everyone else wanted to study and write about Gettysburg as well. In short, it was a crowded field, and I didn’t have much new to say on it. At the same time, I did a game on Chickamauga and noticed that almost no one was writing or studying that battle.

At first I explored the limited secondary literature on Chickamauga, but since there is so little of it, I soon worked through it all. I began to collect primary source accounts of the battle, especially unpublished material, and was soon making frequent research trips to various archives. Dr. William Glenn Robertson allowed me to tag along on one of his staff rides, and later opened his archival holdings for me; while James Ogden, the Historian at Chickamuaga-Chattanooga National Military Park allowed me equally free access to their holdings.

Within a few years, I had amassed a huge number of items. I had some 2000 different primary source accounts, both published and unpublished, with few of them getting much use. I wanted to put them to use, give them life again, as it were.

BR:  The story of the performances of Forrest and Wheeler during the Chickamauga campaign is the subject of your new book, Failure in the Saddle.  How did this study come about?

DP:  Failure in the Saddle was really the first book I wrote, but not the first to be published. Cavalry historians have in recent years made a mark on the Civil War literary community, and I quickly saw how important the cavalry was to the success or failure of the Chickamauga campaign. As I worked on the maps project, I returned periodically to the cavalry project, adding new material or revising passages as needed. The pause improved the final product and helped me hone my focus on how to tell a difficult story.

BR:  I agree with W. W. Averell (a First Bull Run vet you quote in the book) when he describes the principal roles of cavalry as scouting and screening, and I guess that’s why I’ve never been enamored of the popular image of “raiders” as successful cavalry commanders.  Can you give us a brief explanation of how the failures of the Wizard and the War Child in these critical areas impacted the performance of the AoT in August and September, 1863 and beyond.

DP:  Even during the war, spectacular raids grabbed the headlines and made stars out of successful raiders. This attention turned even the heads of many seasoned cavalrymen, but in reality few raids ever achieved significant results, more often they were more stunt than military strategy. The day-to-day work of scouting and screening, on the other hand, had a direct impact on many of the war’s battles, and cavalry operations should be viewed in that light. We tend to view commanders as either “winners” or “losers” often without understanding how information flow effected the decisions – good and bad – that determined outcomes.

Unfortunately for the Confederacy, and for Braxton Bragg, his two principal cavalry commanders during the Chickamauga Campaign failed to deliver critical information in a timely manner. Quite often, the information they provided was either wrong or fatally out of date. The poor quality of this information flow directly affected the quality of the decisions being made at headquarters. Bragg has received the lions’ share of the criticism, but some of that scrutiny really belongs at the level of his cavalry commanders.

BR:  Given the traditionally positive light in which Forrest in particular has been viewed, what has been the early reaction to Failure in the Saddle?  If it’s too soon to tell, from where do you anticipate incoming fire?  Does Wheeler have similarly rabid supporters of his military record?

DP:  So far, reaction has been positive, though I do expect that I will see complaints, especially from fans of Forrest. I think I strike a balanced view of the man, and I would like to point out that this period of the war saw Forrest rise very quickly from commanding a brigade of partisan raiders to corps command with conventional cavalry missions, something he had little previous experience in. It is not surprising that he or any general might need to gain experience in a new role.

Wheeler, with both conventional training and corps experience under his belt, has less excuse, but he also has fewer partisans – certainly nothing like the cadre of Forrest fans out there. I suspect any comment that comes my way will not be because I take Wheeler to task, though he receives the harshest assessment in Failure in the Saddle.

BR:  Do you see in Failure in the Saddle an opportunity for Chickamauga micro-studies, similar to what we’ve seen over the years with Gettysburg?

DP:  I certainly hope so. Steven Woodworth has just published an essay collection on Chickamauga, available through Southern Illinois Press, (I have a piece on Union Major General Negley) which explores aspects of the battle from several perspectives, and I know of another collection intended for publication in 2012. There’s another guy working on a history and tour of Snodgrass Hill/Horseshoe Ridge. The recent publication of the five-part series in Blue & Gray Magazine by Dr. Robertson only whets our appetite for a more complete study by him, and of course, I have other projects in mind.

BR:  What’s next?

DP:  I am working on four projects, with others waiting in the wings. First, I am doing a Maps of Chattanooga book, the natural follow-on to the first title that explores the October and November battles in similar detail. We hope to include Knoxville in that one, as well. Then, in lesser stages of completion, I want to do a book on Tullahoma, one of New Market (my VMI connection kicking in) and something on Tupelo, in 1864. Tullahoma and Tupelo have an obvious cavalry connection. The Tupelo work is part of a joint project with Eric Wittenberg to examine Nathan Bedford Forrest in more detail – Eric wants to look at Brice’s Crossroads, while I tackle the Tupelo battle a month later.

And of course, I cannot leave Chickamauga alone. I have been working on a very large study of the battle, not a map book but a fully detailed battle narrative. It has been nearly 20 years since a full-length study of the battle was published. I hope to present that work in two volumes, focusing on September 19th and 20th respectively, and use as many primary sources as I can. I have nearly 50% of that project done now, but no contract as of yet nor any projected completion date. It will take some time to finish, which is why I don’t count it as an “active” project listed above. It’s the labor of love I return to when I can.

Failure in the Saddle is set for publication this coming Saturday.  I’m really looking forward to the ensuing debates!

Col. Simeon B. Gibbons

24 10 2010

Robert Moore has this interesting biographical sketch of Col. Simeon B. Gibbons of the 10th VA Infantry (Smith/Elzey Brigade).  Check it out.

Lucky Me!

20 10 2010

These just in – my new library stool, custom-made by everybody’s favorite park ranger and all-around renaissance man, Mannie Gentile.  Mannie has a woodworking shop all set up on his property from which he turns out a number of cool items.  I saw this post and just had to have one.  I wanted a themed stool, and thought of crossed Stars and Stripes and First National flags.  But before I made that suggestion, Mannie came up with the idea of first sergeant stripes.  I felt artillery red would look best on the wood finish – baby blue infantry didn’t seem like it would pop enough (or maybe too much), and cavalry yellow was out of the question because a) it’s cavalry and b) it’s cavalry.

I can’t wait until I pick this baby up in two weeks.  What do you all think?  Click the thumbs for larger images.  More photos here.


Manassas Civil War Commemorative Event

13 10 2010

Here is a site dedicated to events scheduled in and around the park to commemorate the Sesquicentennial.  Check it out.

Interview: Joseph Reinhart, “A German Hurrah!”

9 10 2010

Joseph Reinhart has been writing about German-speaking soldiers in the Union army for quite some time now, and is considered an authority in that area.  His new book, A German Hurrah!: Civil War Letters of Friedrich Bertsch and Wilhelm Strangel, 9th Ohio Infantry, from Kent State University Press, was released this year.  Joe is a Facebook friend, and was nice enough to answer a few questions for Bull Runnings.

BR:  Joe, I’m always curious about the backgrounds of Civil War authors and how they wound up doing what they do – it’s usually a winding road.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

JR:  I’m a native Kentuckian and lifelong resident of Louisville. After graduating from Bellarmine College and earning an M.B.A degree from Indiana University, I pursued a career in public accounting. In 1974 I was admitted as a partner in Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers). I am now retired.

I have been interested in military history since I was ten years old and a majority of my leisure reading since then has been on that subject. The discovery in 1993 that my great great-grandfather Nicolas Reinhart and his wife’s two brothers, John and Frank Hettinger, had fought in the Union army rekindled my interest in that war, and launched me into researching and writing about it. I belong to and am the web master for the Louisville Civil War Round Table and the Manatee Civil War Round Table in Sarasota, Florida (where my wife and I spend some winter months). I have three married daughters and seven grandchildren in Louisville and enjoy spending time with them.

BR:  I did a little work with Coopers when I was in internal audit with the G. C. Murphy Co. a lifetime ago.  We may know some of the same people.  But back on track – you specialize in German-speaking soldiers and regiments. What got you interested in this area?
JR:  I became interested in genealogy after I retired and that is when I discovered my family connections to the Civil War. I began researching both Nicholas Reinhart’s military records and those of his regiment, the 28th Kentucky Infantry. I soon decided to write an article about the Civil War regiments organized in Louisville. When I discovered my great-great uncle Frank Hettinger’s regiment, the 6th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, contained four companies of German immigrants from Louisville, I decided to write that regiment’s history (A History of the 6th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry U.S: The Boys Who Feared No Noise). My research on the Germans in the regiment was possible because I had recently completed five college courses in the German language to facilitate my family research. All but one of my foreign-born ancestors was German.

My research uncovered a good number of letters and several diaries of both Germans and Anglo-Americans who fought in the 6th Kentucky— substantially enriching the history. One of my sources was the Louisville Anzeiger (a German American newspaper of the time). It contained a treasure trove of letters from many of Louisville’s German-born soldiers. I realized that if I did not translate these letters and get them published they would forever be lost to history. The University of Tennessee Press published my Two Germans in the Civil War: The Diary of John Daeuble and the Letters of Gottfried Rentschler, 6th Kentucky Infantry in 2004. Kent State University Press published August Willich’s Gallant Dutchmen: Civil War Letters from the 32nd Indiana Infantry in 2006, and A German Hurrah!:Civil War Letters of Friedrich Bertsch and Wilhelm Stängel, 9th Ohio Infantry in July of this year. The latter two works also contain letters discovered in the Cincinnati Volksfreund.

BR:  How did the A German Hurrah project come about?

JR:  While researching in the Cincinnati Volksfreund for letters from soldiers in the 32nd Indiana, I found a large number of letters from an officer in the 9th Ohio. Added to the letters from soldiers in the 9th that I previously found in the Louisville Anzeiger, there was sufficient material for another book revealing views and experiences of German immigrants fighting in the Civil War and first hand accounts of life in a German regiment. I was checking the Volksfreund because the 32nd Indiana contained a company of Germans from Cincinnati. The 32nd Indiana and 9th Ohio each contained over 20 Germans from Louisville, thus the letters from those two regiments found in the Anzeiger.

BR:  What have you learned in the process of editing A German Hurrah and your other books? Any surprises, any challenges to previously held opinions?

JR:  First I want to point out that there is a scarcity of published primary source materials for German American Civil War soldiers. Little more than a dozen books containing different letter collections of Germans exist and unpublished letters are very difficult to find, so it’s not possible to obtain a representative sample from the 200,000 Germans in the Union army.

Two of my three books of translated letters, as well as the letters from the 82nd Illinois that I am currently editing, were written by officers and men in German regiments. These three German regiments, like most of the North’s thirty or so German regiments, were organized by refugees from the German Revolution of 1848 and like-minded persons, who held radical political, social and economic ideas, and strongly supported the abolition of slavery. Many of the organizers and officers were socialists or communists and they were suspicious of or despised organized religions, especially the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore such regiments did not contain a cross-section of America’s Germans. For example, one-third of German immigrants were Roman Catholics and few Catholics served in the 32nd Indiana, 9th Ohio and 82nd Illinois. Only a very small percent of German Americans were radicals or crusaded for the abolition of slavery.  Just 20 percent of native Germans in the Union army served in German regiments, so all but one of my works includes letters from the most liberal/radical Germans. That said, the letters reveal strong German pride along with strong prejudices against Anglo-Americans and other ethnics.

The letter writers believed that they and their fellow Germans were better soldiers and superior culturally and morally to Anglo-Americans and other nationalities. They worked hard to outshine their competition to prove they were better. Yet they freely criticized fellow Germans for a variety of shortcomings and actions. Many also criticized American military and civilian leaders for not pursuing the war with sufficient vigor and being too lenient on enemy civilians. They fought hard. Beer was part of their culture and they mention it frequently in their letters. Most of their historical memories were of Germany and many references were made to German places, literature, and historical figures. They had a strong attachment to their native language and customs and wanted to retain them, while still being good American citizens. The literature I read when I first began investigating Germans in the Civil War professed that fighting for a common cause with Anglo-Americans accelerated their assimilation or Americanization, but the authors provided little or no evidence to back this up.  The anecdotal evidence I have seen indicates that the nativism exhibited against German Americans caused them to draw inward for mutual protection and not jump into the melting pot for many decades.

BR:  Can you describe your writing/research process?

JR:  I search archives for suitable diaries and letters from Germans and once I have a sufficient number I translate them and research the lives of the letter writer[s]. Once the letters are translated I draft the introduction to explain why the letters are worthy of publication and provide highlights of the letters. I also provide biographical information about the correspondence’s authors and pertinent information about America’s mid-nineteenth century German immigrants, their culture, and their differences in religion, political views and so forth. I then begin the editing process including deciding what, if anything, can be left out of the letters due to unimportance or unnecessary repetition. Next I begin working on the chapters. I compose the explanatory matter that precedes each letter, i.e., text designed to help the reader better understand the letters. This could include describing important events that have taken place since the preceding letters, more fully describing a battle referred to in the letter, pointing out errors in the letters, and pointing out changes over time. I type supporting references in red after sentences or paragraphs to facilitate footnote preparation. I also verify what is said about battles and other things in the letters to the extent practicable and disclose any errors or questionable items. My sources include the Official Records, compiled service records, pension files, diaries, letters and journals of other soldiers, secondary works, and various genealogical records. I always have two other persons read and criticize the manuscript before I send it to a prospective publisher. 

BR:  How has this book been received?

JR:  A German Hurrah! has only been out since mid-July, so it’s too early to tell, but I believe persons interested in Germans in the Civil War (there were 200,000 of them in the Union army) and parties interested in the battles and campaigns in which the 9th Ohio participated will be pleased with what they find. Almost half the book focuses on the war in western Virginia in 1861 and only a few books of soldiers’ letters are available about this part of the war.

BR:  What’s next for you?

JR:  I am near completion of the first draft of a manuscript of a collection of letters from the 82nd Illinois Infantry (the 2nd Hecker Regiment). The 82nd fought at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg before being transferred west with the 11th Corps. The letters cover the regiment’s organization in 1862 through the Carolinas’ Campaign in 1865. After this is finished I hope to write the long-deferred article about Louisville’s Union Regiments.

I’m sure students of the Civil War are looking forward to more from Mr. Reinhart on this little explored and fascinating aspect of the times.  I know I am.

A Couple of 2011 Speaking Engagements

8 10 2010

Here are a couple more appearances I’ll be making in 2011.

June 29th, 2011 – Gettysburg, PA and Manassas, VA, The Civil War Institute of Gettysburg College, 29th Annual Summer Conference, Mobilizing for War.  I provided a copy of the press release here.  This is a week-long conference, and will include one day of touring the Manassas battlefield with the focus of the tours being the First Battle of Bull Run.  There will be anywhere from five to eight tour buses and tour guides, each conducting their own custom tour.  My tour will be Hidden Mysteries of First Bull Run.  This tour will be geared for tourists already familiar with the battlefield and the campaign.

October 1, 2011 – Aurora, CO, The Rocky Mountain Civil War Roundtable, in conjunction with Aurora Community College, presents the Rocky Mountain Civil War Symposium, The Eastern Theater from First Manassas through the Seven Days Campaign (go here for registration info).  I’m not sure yet what I’ll be speaking about, though it will be a topic concerning First Bull Run for sure.

I’ll post updates here as speakers and topics are updated, but so far for sure I know that Ethan Rafuse and Ed Bearss will also be leading tours at Bull Run, and Ethan and Jim Morgan are part of the Rocky Mountain lineup . 

If you do decide to attend any of my speaking events, do me a favor and lay off playing solitaire or any other card game for at least 48 hours beforehand.  The Queen of Diamonds has been known to exaggerate negative reactions to public speakers.  Just ask Laurence Harvey (above).  Thanks in advance. 

If you’d like me to speak to your group, leave a comment on the Book Me, Danno page or shoot me an email at the address to the right.

Interview with Eric Weider

7 10 2010

I have a few irons in the fire that should result in some interesting posts here in the near future, couple of interviews (questions have been sent out), couple or three book previews.

Just to tide you over, here’s a CWPT interview with Eric Weider (left), who owns the two magazines for which I write.  Since he signs my checks, or at least pays whoever it is that signs my checks, I guess he’s on topic, even if we’ve never met and he has no idea who I am.