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 – 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.

 





Preview – Rasbach, “I Am Perhaps Dying”

8 10 2018

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I Am Perhaps Dying: The Medical History of Spinal Tuberculosis Hidden in the Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, by Dennis Rasbach, MD, FACS, is a companion to Jan Croon’s The War Outside My Window, also from Savas Beatie. As the subtitle states, this is the back story of Gresham’s likely ailments, described but not diagnosed in the pages of his diary. This is a profusely illustrated work of 109 pp, plus a bibliography and index.  Footnotes are bottom-of-page.

The bulk of the text is Chapter 12 (55 pp.), which uses dozens of diary entries which, “together with medical commentary, can be understood in context with how LeRoy was experiencing his disease and injury.”

The other eleven chapters are broken down into historical diagnoses and the history of spinal tuberculosis and LeRoy’s treatment and suffering.

Dennis Rasbach is the author of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the Petersburg Campaign, and a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.





Preview – Herdegen,”The Union Soldier in the American Civil War”

2 10 2018

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New from Savas Beatie is Lance Herdegen’s The Union Soldier in the American Civil War. This slim (154 pp) tome is touted as a “quick reference guide” to all things Billy Yank, and is divided into 34 chapters of varying focus. A sampling:

  • A Concise Timeline of the Civil War
  • Organization of the Union Army
  • Camp Life
  • Hardtack, Pork and Coffee
  • The Wounded and the Dead
  • Church and Faith
  • Discipline and Good Order
  • Load in Nine Counts
  • United States Colored Troops
  • Prisoners of War
  • Researching Your Union Ancestor
  • Civil War Points of Interest

This is a handy guide that should be useful for the newcomer, but seasoned CW consumers will find it of interest as well.

You can read my interview with Lance Herdegen on an earlier work, The Iron Brigade in History and Memory, right here.





Preview – Gottfried, “The Maps of Fredericksburg”

30 09 2018


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The latest in Savas Beatie’s fine atlas series is The Maps of Fredericksburg: An Atlas of the Fredericksburg Campaign, Including all Cavalry Operations, September 18, 1862 – January 22, 1863, by Bradley Gottfried. I’ve previewed a all of these here before, and worked closely with the author and publisher on their First Bull Run volume.

This volume starts off as the Union and Confederate armies recover and maneuver after the Battle of Antietam, and carries all the way through the failure of Burnside’s Mud March. The layout is the same: text on the left hand page, map on the facing, right hand page – 124 maps in all. Also included are orders of battle, end notes, a full bibliography, and an index.





Preview – Schmidt & Barkley, “September Mourn”

29 09 2018

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September Mourn: The Dunker Church at Antietam Battlefield, by Alann Schmidt and Terry Barkley, is a book that I have been anxiously anticipating due to a familial connection. My great-grandmother Smeltzer’s brother, Pvt. James Gates of the 8th Pennsylvania Reserves, was mortally wounded on September 17th, 1862, as he and his regiment moved south towards the Dunker Church outside Sharpsburg, Maryland. Prior to the war, however, he came down from his home in Bedford County, PA, to Sharpsburg and hired himself out to local farmers to assist with the harvest. One of those farmers who hired him was David Long, an Elder of the Dunker (German Baptist Brethren) Church. In fact, if a comrade’s recollections can be trusted, James had struck up a romance with one of the Long daughters, making the circumstances of his wounding and death all the more tragic.

While my great-great-uncle (or great-granduncle, depending on who you ask) and his story did not make it into this book, there is plenty on Elder Long, and plenty else to make this chronicle of one of the war’s most iconic structures worth your time. This history of the Church and its influence in the Sharpsburg community from its founding in 1853, through the battle and afterward, to its destruction and eventual restoration is thoroughly researched and engagingly told.

Schmidt is a former Antietam National Battlefield ranger and a pastor. Barkley is a former archivist and museum curator, and was the director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices.