Preview: Conner & Mackowski, “Seizing Destiny”

18 04 2016

Layout 1One of my favorite Civil War studies, and after over 100 years still the finest on this campaign, is John Bigelow Jr.’s Chancellorsville. The problems associated with finding a copy with maps aside (I have a cheap Konecky reprint and found a faded set of maps on Ebay), one of the book’s great strengths is the detailing of the reorganization and morale building of the Army of the Potomac by Major General Joseph Hooker in the wake of the disastrous Fredericksburg Campaign. This aspect of the Winter of 1863 is the focus of a new book from Savas Beatie by Albert Conner, Jr. and Chris Mackowski, Seizing Destiny: The Army of the Potomac’s “Valley Forge” and the Civil War Winter that Saved the Union. Consulting “hundreds of primary sources”, the authors “let the soldiers speak” to tell “the full story of how the citizen soldiers of the Army of the Potomac overcame adversity, seized their destiny, and saved the nation through leadership, perseverance, patriotism, and faith.”

What you get: 316 pages of text; three appendixes including an order of battle; full bibliography and index; bottom of page footnotes; eight Hal Jesperson maps; and numerous illustrations scattered throughout.





Tour Update, 4/17/2016

17 04 2016

Below is the list of folks who have guaranteed their attendance at our tour with John Hennessy next Saturday. I’m looking forward to seeing you all there. Please be sure to dress for the weather (latest news is high of 77 with some haze), bring hydration and a lunch, carpool once you get to the field, and print out or otherwise have the handouts available. A specific meeting place will be announced shortly.

Brian Kammerer, who will be on the tour, has provided some artistic maps for download:

Kammerer Maps

1 Anderson, James
2 Anderson, Roy
3 Backus, Page Gibbons
4 Banks, John
5 Baumgarten, Ron
6 Bednarek, Kat Zalewski
7 Bellefeuille, Scott
8 Booker, Bob
9 Brace, Kim
10 Brand, Gary
11 Burden, Jeffry
12 Carson, Dan
13 Ciasullo, Ron
14 Conroy, Dianne Fox
15 Cummings, John
16 Cunard, Jan Hyland
19 Dail, Sean + 2
20 Dennis, James
22 Dittoe, Tom + 1
23 Errett, Paul
24 Fuller, John
25 Franklin, Albert
26 Galloway, Michael
27 Gottert, Mike
28 Gottfried, Linda
29 Greer, Jackie
30 Greevy, Jay
31 Gueverra, Mark
32 Hall, Clark B.
33 Harper, Joseph
34 Hennessy, John
35 Hamann, Carlos
36 Herring, Rod
37 Johnson, Brad
38 Kammerer, Brian
40 Kaptek, Rob + 1
41 Kathman, Debra
42 Keating, Stephen
43 Kenepp, D. Scott
44 Killian, Aaron
45 Lafleur, Joe
46 Langbart, David
47 Laudenslager, Sam
49 Leckenby, Dawn + 1
50 Leupold, Tom
51 Lewis, Richard
52 Liebler, Shelly
53 Massey, Jeff
54 McGregor, Douglas
55 Mcmorrow, Myles
56 Mitchell, Brian
57 Mitchell, Celia
58 Morgan, Jim
59 Morton, Patrick
60 Mueller, Benjamin
61 Mueller, Jullian
62 Musick, Mike
63 Nank, Thomas
64 Oakes, Douglas A
65 O’Brien, Robert William
66 O’Neil, Keith
67 Orrison, Rob
68 Pawlak, Kevin
69 Pellegrini, Mike
70 Peterson, Doug
71 Phillips, Rick
72 Redd, Rae Andrew
73 Reilly, Steve
74 Rich, Patricia Petersen
75 Rosebrock, James
76 Russell, Bill
77 Sagle, William
78 Smeltzer, Harry
79 Smith, Teej
80 Stinchcomb, Earl
81 Swain, Craig
82 Taylor, Paul
83 Tinnon-Massey, Norma
84 Weihs, Kelly
85 Wichtendahl, Kyle Francis
86 Williams, Jim





Tour Update, 4/15/2016: Friday Night, Weather

15 04 2016

Revellers salute with beer after the opening of the 179th Oktoberfest in Munich

I’ve been contacted by a friend who is attending the tour next week and will be getting into town on Friday. While I already have plans for the evening, it occurs to me that there may be others of you who will be coming in to the Manassas area from various points on Friday and may be looking to meet up and get to know one another prior to the tour on Saturday morning. So, let this post serve as a message board of sorts for anyone looking to do that. Just drop a note in the comments section below.

Extended forecast for Saturday is partly cloudy and a high of 76 degrees. Keep up to date on local weather here.





Big Finds

13 04 2016

Click the image

 





Tour Update 4/10/2016 – NEW MAPS!!!

10 04 2016
hwmap

A Harper’s Weekly Map That Will Surely Make You Go “Hmmm…”

Hello all you attendees! Our featured guide for the tour (13 days away!), John Hennessy, has forwarded applicable maps from his new edition of An End to Innocence. These are the maps you should bring with you, as opposed to those I posted here on Friday. Of course, one can never have too many maps in general, but what with all the walking we’ll be doing I would think you’d want to carry as little as possible.

Click on the link below and print or store these maps as you did the others, and if you have time compare them two sets. There are subtle and not-so-subtle differences, and in a way you can trace how Hennessy’s thinking on the battle has evolved over the decades. They may look a little out of proportion in your browser, but will print OK.

Tour Handouts #2 (Most Important)





Tour Update 4/8/2016 – MAPS!!!

8 04 2016

Below you’ll find a link to the maps from John Hennessy’s first edition of An End To Innocence. These are not the same as the maps in the new edition, but for now I’m making them available to you so you can print them out or download them to your mobile device and have them along for the tour. And as always, check back here often for updates that may include additional documents.

Tour Handouts #1

10- Dave, Zack, John in Saunders Field shelter

No Battlefield Tour Is Complete Without Maps That Make You Go “Hmmm…”

 





Notes on “Early Morning of War” – Part 1

7 04 2016

downloadI know, it’s been a while. But, just like writing, maybe examining a reading can benefit with the passage of time. Here’s how this is going to work: as I read Edward Longacre’s study of the First Battle of Bull Run, The Early Morning of War, I put little Post-Its where I saw something with which I agreed or disagreed, or which I didn’t know, or which I did know and was really glad to see; essentially, anything that made me say “hmm…” So I’ll go through the book and cover in these updates where I put the Post-It and why. Some of these will be nit-picky for sure. Some of them will be issues that can’t have a right or wrong position. Some of them are, I think, cut and dry. So, here we go:

Prologue: Page 4 – Here we have Abraham Lincoln, three months after the attack on Fort Sumter (July, then), fretting over a recurring dream (you know, the one in the boat) and “the coming passage of arms” between “the forces fated to meet at Manassas.” But he also mentions a “presumed superior strength of the Union forces” in that coming fight. I have to wonder, what presumed superior strength is the author talking about here? Plans submitted to AL in June assumed meeting an enemy of at best equal numbers.

This idea of an expectation of outnumbering and overwhelming the rebels at Manassas is a recurring assumption in First Bull Run literature. But the facts just don’t back it up, as I’ve discussed before. See, for example, this post.

The author also notes earlier in the same paragraph that AL was hoping for a “complete victory at minimal cost in Northern and Southern lives” [emphasis mine]. This is tantalizing and something I’ve considered in trying to understand just what Irvin McDowell wanted to accomplish in the campaign (another assumption typically pulled from the air). That is, how did AL’s hopes for a “soft war” and a quick reconciliation, if indeed he hoped those hopes, impact McDowell’s game plan? Unfortunately, the author really didn’t examine this in much detail, even later (see this post for more thoughts on this).

Wow, that was just one Post-It. This could take some time. I have no schedule for this – guess you’ll have to check back here every…single…day.








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