Preview – Mackowski, “The Great Battle Never Fought”

24 01 2019

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New from Savas Beatie and the Emerging Civil War series is The Great Battle Never Fought: The Mine Run Campaign, November 26 – December 2, 1863, by Chris Mackowski. You get:

123 pages of narrative, in thirteen chapters plus epilogue.

  • An Afterword by Ted Savas, featuring how he located the Payne’s Farm battlefield site.
  • A ten stop driving tour with GPS coordinates.
  • Appendix A, Rest, Soldier, Rest, by Mike Block, on the Army of the Potomac’s hospitals during the winter encampment of 1863-1864.
  • Appendix B, I Suppose the Result Will Be a Pretty General Sweeping Out, by Ryan T. Quint, on the reorganization of the Army of the Potomac in the wake of the aborted Mine Run Campaign.
  • Orders of Battle.
  • Suggested Reading.
  • Eight Hal Jesperson Maps.
  • Profusely illustrated with vintage and modern-day photos.
  • No footnotes, no bibliography, no index.

Chris Mackowski is the editor-in-chief of Emerging Civil War. See his author page here.





Preview – Wittenberg, “Holding the Line on the River of Death”

20 01 2019

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Author Eric Wittenberg dips his toe into Civil War western waters with Holding the Line on the River of Death: Union Mounted Forces at Chickamauga, September 18, 1863 (Savas Beatie, $29.95).

This volume focuses on the two important delaying actions conducted by mounted Union soldiers at Reed’s and Alexander’s bridges on the first day of Chickamauga. A cavalry brigade under Col. Robert H. G. Minty and Col. John T. Wilder’s legendary “Lightning Brigade” of mounted infantry made stout stands at a pair of chokepoints crossing Chickamauga Creek. Minty’s small cavalry brigade held off nearly ten times its number on September 18 by designing and implementing a textbook example of a delaying action. Their dramatic and outstanding efforts threw Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s entire battle plan off its timetable by delaying his army’s advance for an entire day. That delay cost Bragg’s army the initiative at Chickamauga. 

You get:

  • 208 pp of narrative
  • Appendices – Orders of Battle
  • Appendix – Vidette and Outpost Duty Defined
  • Illustrated driving tour with 54 GPS benchmarks
  • Bibliography with quite a few manuscript and archive sources
  • Index
  • Bottom-of-page footnotes
  • 17 Mark Moore maps
  • 66 Illustrations

Eric Wittenberg has written multiple books on the American Civil War, with an emphasis on cavalry actions. Visit his Amazon Author Page for more.





Preview – McIlwain, “The Million Dollar Man Who Helped Kill a President”

21 11 2018

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New from Savas Beatie is Christopher Lyle McIlwain, Sr.’s The Million Dollar Man Who Helped Kill a President: George Washington Gayle and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

This story, the promotional materials claim, will set you straight on the real mastermind behind the assassination of the 16th POTUS (Gayle, an Alabama lawyer), and the motivation of the assassins ($$$).

You get:

  • 140 pages of text, in ten chapters.
  • 11 photos & engravings.
  • In a break with Savas Beatie SOP, end-notes (70 pp, indexed by chapter, not page – not my preferred format).
  • 64 page bibliography (primarily published sources).
  • Two-page index (for those of you scoring at home, that’s 136 pages of notes, bibliography, and index, and 140 pages of narrative).

Christopher Lyle McIlwain, Sr. is a lawyer in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is the author of two books on Alabama in the Civil War. See his author page here.





Preview – Smith, “The Real Horse Soldiers”

20 11 2018


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New from Savas Beatie is Timothy B. Smith’s The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson’s Epic 1863 Civil War Raid Through Mississippi. Most of us are familiar with this courtesy of John Wayne and William Holden. But as the title says, this is the fact behind the 1959 film (though not directly related to the film – for that, see Neil Longley York’s Fiction as Fact: The Horse Soldiers and Popular Memory.

You get:

  • 315 pages of narrative in preface, prologue, 11 chapters, and epilogue.
  • Bottom of page footnotes.
  • Bibliography with 5 1/2 pages of manuscript and newspaper sources.
  • Full index
  • 13 maps
  • 36 photographs

Dr. Timothy B. Smith is a former National Park Service employee and now teaches history at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He is the author of numerous and award winning books – see his author page here.





Preview – Wert, “Civil War Barons”

11 11 2018


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I received a copy of Jeffry Wert’s new Civil War Barons: Tycoons, Entrepreneurs, Inventors and Visionaries Who Forged Victory and Shaped a Nation, but was a little surprised to find that Da Capo Press sent an advanced reading copy (ARC). As a general rule, I don’t preview ARCs here – they don’t lend themselves to previews because they often don’t include everything that may be in the final version (for instance, I really hope they remedy the missing Oxford comma in the subtitle). However, Jeff is an acquaintance and a great guy, so I’m making an exception in this case. I’ll give you the skinny, with the caveat that things could change.

From the publisher:

From prominent historian and Pulitzer Prize-finalist Jeffry D. Wert, a multi-biographical work of a remarkable yet largely unknown group of men whose contributions won the war and shaped America’s future.

You get:

  • 209 pages of text
  • Eleven chapters, preface, prologue, and epilogue.
  • Chapter titles:
    • The Administrators
    • The Visionary
    • The Inventors
    • The Improvisers
    • The Patriots
    • The Investors
    • The Tinkerers
    • The Dreamers
    • The Opportunists
    • The Builders
  • Some still familiar names in the Postscript
    • Philip D. Armour
    • Gail Borden
    • Andrew Carnegie
    • John Deere
    • Cyrus McCormick
    • Edward Squibb
    • The Studebaker Brothers
    • Cornelius Vanderbilt
    • Frederick Weyerhaeuser
  • No Index (yet)
  • 31 pages of end notes
  • A bibliography, including a fair number of archival sources, newspapers, and online sources

Jeff Wert is a prolific author familiar to most readers of this blog. Check out his Amazon author page here.





Preview – “In Memory of Self and Comrades”

7 11 2018

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New from University of Tennessee Press is In Memory of Self and Comrades, the memoir of Thomas Wallace Colley’s service with the First Virginia Cavalry, edited by Michael K. Shaffer. This is of particular interest to followers of Bull Runnings because Colley’s recollections include the regiment’s movements before, during, and in the aftermath of First Bull Run. It’s brief (four and a half pages), but there are also three BR1 related letters included. We don’t have a lot of first-hand 1st VA Cav accounts, and hopefully the author will grant permission for me to provide transcriptions in the Resources section here.

What you get:

  • 133 pages of memoir.
  • Two appendices with Regimental History and Biographical Roster Sketch from Colley’s journal and a separate journal
  • Appendix with a Short Historical Sketch of Officers from the Washington Mounted Rifles (Colley’s company L, in which he served with Pvt. John. S. Mosby)
  • Appendix with a selection of Colley’s wartime letters
  • Appendix with an 1887 account of Colley’s wounding at Kelly’s Ford
  • 30 pages of end notes
  • Ten page bibliography (limited unpublished sources, but friends Ron Baumgarten and Brian Downey show up)
  • Nine George Skoch maps
  • 37 photos and illustrations

Michael K. Shaffer is an instructor at Kennesaw State University’s College of Continuing Education and Professional Education. He is the author of Washington County, Virginia, in the Civil War.





Preview – Pula, “Under the Crescent Moon” Vol. 2

5 11 2018


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James Pula’s Under the Crescent Moon with the XI Corps in the Civil War Volume 2 From Gettysburg to Victory, 1863 – 1865, picks up after the Battle of Chancellorsville, where Volume 1 left off. You get:

  • 323 pages if narrative in 21 chapters. Note that 299 pages of the narrative take us to the relief of Knoxville in December 1863, after which the 11th and 12th corps, after which the 11th (that’s right, they didn’t use Roman numerals for corps designation back in the day) and 12th corps were consolidated into the new 20th corps.
  • Addendums for 11th Corps numbers and losses at Gettysburg.
  • Addendum with 11th Corps order of battle for Chattanooga.
  • Addendum listing 11th Corps Medal of Honor Awardees.
  • Bottom of page footnotes.
  • Bibliography (numerous archival sources were consulted).
  • Full index
  • Five maps – an improvement over Volume 1, but I need more.