Civil War Times April 2011

28 01 2011

Inside this issue:

Letters:

  • Ron Soodalter disagrees with Stephen Budiansky’s take on George Custer

Blue & Gray

  • Gary Gallagher looks at The War’s Overlooked Turning Points and argues for the importance of the Seven Days’.

Collateral Damage

Your host writes about the Benson family and their compassion toward a wounded New Hampshire soldier at First Bull Run.  Thanks to a couple of readers who jarred my memory of this a while back.  Even though the house wasn’t and isn’t there (you’ll have to buy the magazine to figure that one out), it’s a great story that deserved retelling.  More on this in a later post.

Field Guide

  • Robert Behre leads us around Charleston, SC.

Interview

  • James I. “Bud” Robertson recalls the Centennial.

Letter from the Editor

  • The Sesquicentennial kicks off

Features

  • The Butcher’s Bill - Edward Bonekemper argues that U. S. Grant’s management of the war in Virginia wasn’t as bloody as represented.
  • Eye on Arlington – Kim O’Connell’s text and Robin Holland’s photos document the ongoing renovation at Arlington House.
  • First Blood at Big Bethel - John V. Quarstein on the June 10, 1861 battle in Virginia.
  • Last Letter Home - Dana Shoaf presents a poignant communique from a 14-year-old Third Class Boy aboard USS Galena.
  • Cradle of Secession - Joe Loehle photo essay on Charleston, SC.
  • ‘Black Jack’ at War - Paul Bradley sketches John Logan’s war career.

Reviews





The Jacob Weikert Farm

11 01 2011

The February 2011 edition of Civil War Times magazine (previewed here) includes my Collateral Damage article on the Jacob Weikert farm south of Gettysburg, just outside the park boundaries on the Taneytown Rd and the back of Little Round Top.  I had visited the property and toured the house twice over the years prior to my return this past summer.  Friends Gerry and Beth Hoffman bought the place in 2002 and are wonderful stewards – they also run an antiques business from spring to fall each year in the barn (Tillie’s Treasures).  Unfortunately I had left my camera on a low res setting when taking my photos to accompany the article, and none could be used in the magazine.  So I’m displaying them here, along with some I shot on an earlier visit in 2006.  Click the thumbs for larger images – it might be a good idea to have my article handy.

Keep in mind that the Weikert farm is private property.  The Hoffman’s are “finest kind”, but please respect their privacy.

First the low res photos from my most recent visit:

  

The house from southwest, south and southeast.  

  

The carriage house and corn-crib; the barn from Taneytown Rd; the barn from the rear.

  

The dining room was used as an operating theater; bloodstains are still evident on the dining room floor; the site of the wartime well and the Weikert’s enduring legacy.

These are from 2006:

  

General Stephen Weed died here in the basement, where the washer and dryer sit today; rough-hewn beams in basement; the basement fireplace and oven where the Weikert’s and Tillie Pierce baked bread for hospital staff and wounded – note the charred beam above the oven.





America’s Civil War March 2011

9 01 2011

Inside this issue:

Letters

  • It turns out that newly elected Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is the great-grandson of Union Captain Andrew Hickenlooper, who commanded an Ohio battery at Shiloh and is depicted in the famous Thomas Corwin Lindsay painting of The Hornet’s Nest.

5 Questions

Cease Fire

  • Harold Holzer looks at current Virginia Civil War controversies brewing, and brings up an old one by yet again mentioning the governor’s proclamation from earlier last year.  He seems to have a little trouble letting go.

Legends

  • Ron Soodalter discusses David Twiggs’s choice between loyalty and, well, not-loyalty.

Features

  • A Shot in the Dark by Winston Groom – The Crisis of Fort Sumter
  • Lee, Grant and Their Steadfast Steeds by Ron Soodalter – Self explanatory
  • The Teenage Terrorist of Roane County by H. Donald Winkler – Rebel guide and scout Nancy Hart
  • Survival in an Alabama Slammer by Peter Cozzens – The Confederacy’s Cahaba Federal Prison was pretty well managed, all things considered
  • The One-Way Voyage of the Stone Fleet by Greg Bailey – A fleet of old ships, mostly whalers past their prime, set out from New Bedford, CT in November 1861 to become an integral, if stationary, part of the southern blockade.

Reviews

  • The New York Time Complete Civil War, 1861-1865, Harold Holzer & Craig Symonds, eds.
  • Into the Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg, Earl J. Hess
  • Shadow of Shiloh: Major General Lew Wallace in the Civil War, Gail Stephens
  • Roughshod Through Dixie: Grierson’s Raid, 1863, Mark Lardas
  • Wicked Spring (Film from 2003)

And I was Just Wild About (or maybe I wasn’t)… 

  • The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The “Great Truth” About the “Lost Cause”, James Loewen & Edward Sebesta, eds.
  • Sacred Ties: From West Point Brothers to Battlefield Rivals: A True Story from the Civil War, Tom Carhart
  • The Mechanical Fuze and the Advance of Artillery in the Civil War, Edward B. McCaul, Jr.
  • The First Assassin, John J. Miller (novel)




North & South Magazine January 2011

5 01 2011

I picked up this current issue of North & South, to which I don’t subscribe and which I don’t typically purchase, for the editorial and one article.  Editor Keith Poulter has finally seen Harry Crocker’s The Politically Correct Guide to the Civil War and noticed the absurdity of the front cover, which I wrote about here nearly two years ago.  He expands on exactly why the blurb “The Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave” is factually incorrect (he calls it a “Crocker you-know-what”).  Poulter’s piece is good stuff, though I disagree with him regarding the author’s and publisher’s intent.  I really don’t believe it was ideologically based.  I think it was more likely financially based – considering their target market, it was intended to sell books.  And I think on that basis it was not a bad idea.  I’m sure there were a lot of folks out there who read that and thought “this is for me.”  And if they thought that, they were right: it is for them.

Also in this issue is an article by George C. Rable, Gott Mit Uns, with the following description: In the aftermath of First Bull Run, each side offered religious explanations for the outcome.  I suspect this is an excerpt from Rable’s most recent book, God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War.  And a long while back, I implied I would look into an essay of Rable’s in Civil War History in which he “uses First Bull Run as a backdrop for his discussion of the role of religion on the battlefield”, but I never got around to it.  Maybe I’ll read the two together and comment in the future.  Then again, maybe I won’t.

Here’s a really interesting tidbit from this most recent edition: in each issue there is a section called “Do You Know”, and there is one “teaser” question to which readers may submit answers to win a prize, typically a book.  There were no correct answers submitted for the prior issue’s question, “Did the Confederate government ban the export of cotton?”  The correct answer was “No.”  A “yes/no” question had no correct answers submitted?  What the…?





Great News – and Coming Up…

1 01 2011

The great news is that I received a communique from the Godfather of battle digitization, Brian Downey, and he plans to be active on his blog again this year (work commitments kept him away for most of 2010).  To show he is in earnest, he has a new post up at Behind Antietam on the Web.  Welcome back, Brian!

Things I’m working on for the next few posts:

  • an interview with a Gettysburg entrepreneur;
  • a preview/review of the January 10 American Experience program on U. S. Grant;
  • a preview of the new issue of America’s Civil War magazine;
  • a couple of items of interest from the new issue of North and South magazine;
  • an expansion on my article on Gettysburg’s Jacob Weikert farm in the current issue of Civil War Times magazine;
  • another way to follow Bull Runnings using an e-Reader (that is what they call those things, right?);
  • and something I’ve been putting off for a long while, a look at an essay that discusses expectations at the time that the great military leader of the Civil War would emerge from a place other than the military establishment.

As usual, other things are sure to come up, including more primary material on First Bull Run and various news items, so stay tuned!





Turnabout

22 12 2010

Last night I completed my answers to questions that will appear in interview format in the upcoming issue of a quarterly Civil War magazine.  I’ve conducted seventeen of these things for Bull Runnings, but this is the first time I’ve been on the receiving end.  It’s tough work, writing about yourself.  Tough enough that I put it off as long as I could.  But I think it came out fairly well, though you can never tell with anything that appears in print media – every editor is different.  For a humorous account involving Mark Twain and an editor with a heavy hand, see volume one of his autobiography, pages 164-180.  (Editors work under strict time and space limitations, and so sometimes the submitted manuscript gets what authors typically refer to as “hacked up” or “butchered”.  But good editors make good writers.  I try not to get too upset with changes, and only protest when the changes result in factual errors.  I encourage anyone in this situation to firmly – but tactfully – express your feelings.  The editor or publisher doesn’t want egg on his/her face any more than do you.)

Thanks to the magazine in question for their interest in the blog and me.  2011 is shaping up to be a busy year for me as a result of the sesquicentennial and the role of First Bull Run in the first year of it.  I suppose in 2012 I’ll retreat to obscurity, but it’ll be fun while it lasts.





Civil War Times February 2011

15 12 2010

Inside this issue:

Letters

  • Ethan Rafuse and Ron Baumgarten each wrote in to comment on the Bonekemper McClellan article from the December 2010 issue.  For an expansion on Rafuse’s letter, see here.
  • Kevin Levin is criticized for “excusing” the execution of Colored Troops after the Crater – how bizarre is that?

Blue & Gray

  • Gary Gallagher challenges modern Civil War “PCness” and considers if perhaps the war was actually won in the east.

Field Guide

  • Our nation’s capital’s Civil War monuments

Collateral Damage (by your host)

  • The Jacob Weikert farm behind Little Round Top on the battlefield of Gettysburg.  I’ll have more on this later.

Interview

  • Garry Adelman and the Center for Civil War Photography

Features

  • Judging George Custer - Stephen Budiansky
  • Lee to the Rear - R. K. Krick
  • Hell on Water (slave ships) – Ron Soodalter
  • Lee’s Armored Car (rail mounted guns) – David Schneider
  • Super Spy from Wales (Union agent Pryce Lewis) – Gavin Mortimer

Reviews

  • Civil War Citizens: Race, Ethnicity and Identity in America’s Bloodiest Conflict - Susannah Ural (ed.)
  • The 111th New York Volunteer Infantry: A Civil War History - Martin Husk
  • American Civil War Guerilla Tactics - Sean McLachlan
  • The Lincoln Assassination: Crime & Punishment, Myth & Memory - Holzer, Symonds, Williams (eds.)
  • At the Precipice: Americans North and South During the Secession Crisis - Shearer Davis Bowman
  • Recollections of War Times: By an Old Veteran While Under Stonewall Jackson and Lieutenant General James Longstreet - by William McClendon
  • The Grand Design: Strategy and the U. S. Civil War – by Donald Stoker (see his interview here)




New Journal: Gettysburg College

14 12 2010

The first issue of the Gettysburg College Journal of the Civil War Era, a joint publication of The Civil War Institute and the school’s Civil War Era Studies Department, is available free in pdf format here.  The journal is unique in that it features studies by undergraduates.  Three of the four contributors are currently pursuing their bachelor’s degrees, while the fourth graduated in 2008 and is now working on her master’s.  None attends or attended Gettysburg College, though one was a participant in the Gettysburg Semester in 2009.





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




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.








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