Saturday, August 27, 2011

All-Access Battlefield Tours

For those of us who study the Civil War reading books is our main tie to our past. However there is little that rivals actually walking the battlefields where our ancestors fought. To truly study a battle one needs the experience of seeing and feeling the fields in person. For those with physical limitations this is unfortunately difficult at best and in many instances impossible.

Enter author, historian, blogger, film maker, and now battlefield guide, Michael Aubrecht. September 1, 2011 will mark the start of his newest venture, All-Access Battlefield Tours. AABT was born out of the needs of some friends of Michael's and his seeing the difficulty they had in enjoying their interest. AABT are tours geared toward those in wheelchairs who wish to visit Civil War sites at Fredericksburg or Spotsylvania. As Michael says "Our goal is to make sure that visitors go where they want to go, see what they want to see, and experience what they want to experience."

Congratulations Michael on your outstanding new venture. I wish you nothing but success!

For more information please see the full press release here. For further information on Michael's services please visit his website here. Michael wouldn't be able to make this a success on his own. Please be sure to visit Troy Technologies, who is helping Michael fulfill the wishes of his clients!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Footnote is Changing it's Name

I received the following announcement earlier today from Footnote. They are changing their name to Fold3. See below for more details.

On August 18th, Footnote announced it will focus on offering the finest and most comprehensive collection of U.S. Military records available on the internet. As part of this new focus, the name of the site has changed from Footnote to Fold3. The Fold3 name is derived from a traditional flag folding ceremony in which the third fold in the ceremony honors and remembers veterans for their sacrifice in defending their country and promoting peace in the world.

"Traditionally, the third fold in a flag-folding ceremony honors and remembers veterans for their sacrifice in defending their country and promoting peace in the world."

Why Fold3?

We chose a name that would better show honor and respect for those who served in the military. The Footnote name was appropriate for a general historical records site, but for many people, a footnote is something of insignificance and the name is not applicable to the service and sacrifice of those who have fought for their country over the last 250 years.


Going forward Fold3 will be adding millions of U.S. military records to continue to help you discover and share stories about everyday heroes, forgotten soldiers, and the families that supported them. You will still be able to access all the informative records, including non-military records, previously found on Footnote.

Account Details

Your current Annual All-Access account will let you view all the images on Fold3 and you will be able to sign in with your same email address and password you used on Footnote. Any contributions you have made to Footnote will also move over to Fold3. To accommodate our name change, we have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Statement. Please click the following to review the new Terms of Service and Privacy Statement
We are excited for you to continue with us on Fold3, the Web's premier collection and destination for original U.S. military records.

Visit Fold3 Today

Thank you,

The Fold3 Team (formerly the Footnote Team)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Press Release--LSU Press

Contact: Erin Rolfs

Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: Exposes Controversial National Policies From Treason to Presidential Powers, Jonathon White Sheds New Light on Civil War History

Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of John MerrymanBaton Rouge, LA— In Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War, Jonathan White reveals how the arrest and prosecution of a little-known Baltimore farmer had a lasting impact on the Lincoln administration and Congress as they struggled to develop policies to deal with both northern traitors and southern rebels.

As White describes, Union military authorities arrested Maryland farmer John Merryman in the spring of 1861on charges of treason against the United States for burning railroad bridges around Baltimore in an effort to prevent northern soldiers from reaching the capital. From his prison cell at Fort McHenry, Merryman petitioned Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Roger B. Taney for release through a writ of habeas corpus. Taney issued the writ, but President Abraham Lincoln ignored it. In mid-July Merryman was released, only to be indicted for treason in a Baltimore federal court. His case, however, never went to trial and federal prosecutors finally dismissed it in 1867.

Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War sheds significant new light on several perennially controversial legal and constitutional issues in American history, including the nature and extent of presidential war powers, the development of national policies for dealing with disloyalty and treason, and the protection of civil liberties in wartime.

Jonathan W. White is an assistant professor of American Studies and a fellow at the Center for American Studies at Christopher Newport University.

November 2011
224 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2, 13 halftones
ISBN 978-0-8071-4214-1
Cloth $49.95

SCV Grave Marker Dedication

Program from the
On the morning of June 4 I had the honor to attend a grave marker dedication at Seville Cemetery sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The St. Johns Rangers Camp 1360 helped put on a nice presentation on what was becoming a quite warm morning. Being honored with a Veteran's Administration marker was 5th Sgt. James Gideon Poppell of Co. I 25th Georgia Volunteer Infantry. In attendance were descendants Margaret Wiltse Poppell, Beverly Margo Poppell, and Susan Poppell, along with family friend Andrea Lee Wade.

Sgt. Poppell's new headstone and his
original stone lying in front
Sgt. Poppell's wife, Nancy, filed for a Confederate Widow's Pension in the state of Florida. The information provided by this file shows some contradictions. According to the paperwork she submitted Poppell enlisted on August 1, 1861. She claims he was captured and was a prisoner of war at the conclusion of the war. The record provided by the War Department however shows differently. After enlisting, he was captured in November 1863. In October 1864 Poppell enlisted in Co. E 3rd US Volunteer Infantry and was assigned to frontier service. Based upon this information Mrs. Poppell's pension request was denied.

Commander Byron Peavy, Fifth Brigade
Commander FL Division SCV

Commander Peavy at Sgt. Poppell's
grave site.

Poppell family descendants at the grave site with the
new marker.

Sgt. Poppell's sword

*Photos, except for event program, are courtesy of Judy Delk and Byron Peavy.

Magazine Preview--Civil War Times October 2011

I received the October issue of Civil War Times in the mail this week. Here's a brief rundown of the contents.

In the Civil War Today column there's an article on Sherwood Forest, an 1810 home and 880 acre grounds near the Rappahannock River that was used by Union forces. The house is currently in a state of "tragic disrepair" and the property has been zoned for residential lots. Also included is an article about the hunt for a permanent home for Jefferson Davis's funeral carriage.

In his Blue & Gray column Gary Gallagher discusses Robert E. Lee's conflicted loyalties.

Harry Smeltzer introduces us to Stonewall Jackson's Winchester, VA headquarters in his Collateral Damage column.

Gordon Berg interviews Joseph Balicki, principal archaeologist and project manager for John Milner Associates, a firm that offers historic preservation services.

A field guide to Corinth, Mississippi includes 14 Civil War related sites.

Michael Williams article "Bullets vs. Bricks in Baltimore" discusses a clash between civilians and Union troops on their way to Washington. Williams book City Under the Guns which tells the story of the military occupation of Baltimore will be released soon.

Tom Huntington tells the story of the North-South Skirmish Association in "Commence Firing".

"Faces of an Era" lets the Liljenquist family show some of their favorite photos from the recently donated collection.
An excerpt from Justin Martin's book Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted is titled "Land of Contradiction". While mostly known for his landscape architecture in 1852 Olmsted was hired by the New York Daily Times to write on slavery and the South.

D. Scott Hartwig has found the original shooting location of photos taken by Alexander Gardner and Timothy O'Sullivan at Gettysburg.

The Union disaster at Ball's Bluff is the subject of William Marvel's "End of the Gentleman's War".

A collection of book reviews and Susannah Ural's "Ural on URLs" column wrap up the issue.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Confederate Flags at Cemetery Cause a Fuss

Just saw the article below about Confederate flags at Westview Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia causing problems. I understand that African-Americans may not like what they feel the flag stands for. For me though what I don't understand is didn't anybody research this cemetery where Rev. Creecy was to be buried? The cries of protest become even weaker to me when you read that some of those complaining say they have relatives buried in the cemetery. If that is the case how did they not know about this memorial? Granted this is quite a large cemetery but something like this monument didn't just pop up over night. There is hardly an old cemetery in the south that does not contain Confederate burials. These burials are almost always commemorated by local SCV groups and others who wish to honor these mens service.

 For this one I have to say those wanting the flags removed are really just going a bit too far. The cemetery appears to have hidden nothing and yet the family still chose to have Rev. Creecy buried there. How about what is truly important? That is remembering the deceased and his legacy. Let a flag flying on a statue go. Ignore it like you would the other 100,000+ graves located here.

Blacks protest Confederate flags at Ga. cemetery

ATLANTA (AP) — Black protesters called Wednesday for removing Confederate flags from a monument in an Atlanta cemetery where they recently buried the late president of a civil rights group co-founded by Martin Luther King Jr.

The flags at the Westview Cemetery fly over a sculpture of a Southern solider that memorializes the 400 Confederate veterans buried in the cemetery. The flagpole has an early version of the Confederate national flag and also its last flag, which contains the familiar stars-and-bars design carried by Confederate soldiers in the battlefield.
Mourners noticed the flags on Saturday while burying the Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., who died July 28 at age 57. His death came six months after he took the helm of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which King helped found. His funeral drew civil rights leaders such as SCLC president emeritus Joseph Lowery, U.S. Rep. John R. Lewis and former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young.

"Many persons were upset and asked me to come and do something," the Rev. Benford Stellmacher, one of the protesters who gathered at the cemetery Wednesday, told WAGA-TV (

Some black protesters said they were particularly offended because they have family buried in the cemetery.

"For me, it is just an affront to everything that has happened for civil rights and justice for all people that are concerned that this flag still hangs," said John H. Lewis.
Cemetery officials say they understand the complaints, but added they cannot take down the flags since the cemetery years ago sold the rights to erect and maintain the monument to Confederate veterans groups. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose members trace their ancestry to Southerners who fought in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865, says the flags will remain.

The Civil War was largely fought over the issue of slavery, and many blacks see the flag as a racist symbol.

"Those flags have flown there for many years and will continue to fly there for many years honoring our Confederate heroes and Confederate dead," the organization told WAGA-TV. "It is not a racial issue."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

19th Century Slave Cemetery Discovered Due to Drought

From the ABC News website dated August 4, 2011. Written by Ben Forer.

Unfortunately this article is short on details. Mainly, what is the reasoning for this to be called a freedman's cemetery. Seems like the local historian is pretty sure on this but it still would have been nice to have some information. Still, an interesting find.

One of the worst droughts in Texas history is helping archaeologists unearth a small piece of American history, a graveyard for freed slaves.
While the heat may be taking a toll on crops, livestock and people's livelihoods, it has helped archaeologists uncover two graves that are believed to have been buried for more than a century.

"This grave was actually uncovered by erosion from the water. It was several feet deep years and years ago," Sgt. Hank Bailey of the Navarro County Sheriff's Office told ABC News Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate WFAA-TV.

Cemeteries were marked and moved before the Richland Chambers Reservoir in Navarro County, Texas, was filled in the 1980s, but this small cemetery without tombstones went unnoticed.

PHOTO: Slave cemetery revealed by Texas drought
A 19th century slave cemetery has been revealed by the recent Texas drought

Human remains were initially discovered in 2009 by boaters when the water level was low, but the water rose quickly and archaeologists and historians have been waiting ever since for the reservoir to reveal the cemetery again.

"It's not one of the great finds of history, but it's important to us on a local level." Bruce McManus, chairman of the Navarro County Historical Commission, told WFAA-TV. "It's one of the lost cemeteries we've been looking for."

The remains that have been found will be reburied elsewhere. For now, investigators are keeping the cemetery's location a secret because they are afraid of looters.

Press Release

I received the following press release today. I couldn't find the book on Amazon or B&N yet so I don't have any further information. I will let you know if I find out anything further.

For Immediate Release August 10, 2011
Media Contact:
Leslie Hermelin at Susan Blond Inc. - 212.333.7728 ex 131

Featuring Rare and Unseen-By-The-Public Images,
The Civil War: A Visual History
Brings the Civil War to Life on its 150th Anniversary
Book To Be Released by Parragon Inc September 27, 2011
Interactive App To Be Released Simultaneously
Civil War
2011 marks the beginning of the 150th anniversary of the United States Civil War, arguably the most momentous and turbulent time in America's history. Parragon Books is honored to release the new book The Civil War: A Visual History, bringing the country's historical legacy to life in a new and inviting form.
The Civil War: A Visual History pulls together rarely seen photographs, lithographs, and posters from the Civil War era, unfolding a visual representation that is part historical timeline and part personal narrative. Augmented by letters, speeches, and memoir excerpts, this rich guide captures the thoughts and emotions of soldiers on the battlefield and their loved ones at home. Paired together, these mixed media representations provide a sense of history that can't be found in a simple textbook.
One of the book's chief assets is a pristine version of the Confederate Seal Proof Lithograph printed by the King of England's Master Engraver and the letter that accompanied this gift to the Library of Congress. This image of the seal is unparalleled in color and clarity and has remained largely unseen by the public until unearthed in the research for this book. Other highlights include images by the controversial artist Adalbert Volck; a private letter from Alfred Waude, one of the most prolific artists during the war; and a rare photo of Lincoln confidante Rebecca Pomeroy. In addition to a comprehensive collection of traditional wartime imagery (battlefields, soldiers, artillery, and more), The Civil War: A Visual History brings wartime culture to life with reprints of political cartoons, playing cards, collectible cards, newspaper articles, family photos and more.
Bringing our nation's history into the digital age, Parragon will also be releasing a companion app featuring exclusive video interviews on rare images of Abraham Lincoln, the Gettysburg battlegrounds, and the history of photography during the war. The app will also include a look into Civil War soldier and artist Charles W. Reed's sketchbook, digital trading cards, and musical scores from the era. The app will feature multiple navigation options through which fans can experience the breadth of the war, including search by location, by keyword, and by historical timeline.
The Civil War: A Visual History is a fresh look at America's heritage for those already well-versed in our history, and an ideal starting point for those just learning about America's past.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Book Review--The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook

Petruzzi, J. David and Steven Stanley. NEW GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN HANDBOOK, THE: Facts, Photos, and Artwork for Readers of All Ages, June 9 - July 14, 1863 (Savas Beatie Handbook). Savas Beatie, El Dorado Hills, CA. 2011. 184 pages. Maps, color and b/w photos. ISBN 978611210781, $18.95.

NEW GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN HANDBOOK, THE: Facts, Photos, and Artwork for Readers of All Ages, June 9 - July 14, 1863 (Savas Beatie Handbook)The dynamic duo who brought us COMPLETE GETTYSBURG GUIDE: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest (see my review here) have returned with yet another must have for those interested in Gettysburg.

Hundreds of thousands of pages have been written about the battle of Gettysburg with more being churned out each year. With that in mind you may find yourself wondering what makes this book different and why should I shell out my $20 for it. Let the authors themselves tell you why: "To the best of our knowledge a book like this--with its varied stories, facts, statistics photos, illustrations, original maps, and so much more did not exist."

This is a perfect book for an introduction to the battle no matter the age of the reader. Included within its pages are five distinct sections: Did You Know, Gettysburg Voices, the Gettysburg Campaign, Images of Gettysburg, and Gettysburg Today. While each serve as a great introduction to this complex battle there is information for those more advanced as well. Are you interested in the weather conditions during the battle? You will find it here. Did any soldiers who fought here win the Medal of Honor? Check and find out. Would you like a good basic introduction to the battle without the time commitment of Coddington, Trudeau, or Sears? This book will serve you well. Want to learn of current resources that will help in planning a trip? Let the experts show you where to begin. Did I mention a thirty plus page Order of Battle? See I told you there was something for the advanced student!

The book is nice sized and as expected from Savas Beatie it's a beaut! Printed on a nice glossy paper that is toned to make it look antique the book is loaded with period and modern photos. No fewer than two dozen maps created by Civil War Trust cartographer Steven Stanley adorn the pages and help bring the action in the text to life.

This is the type of book that can make planning a family vacation fun for everybody. There's good solid information that parents can use and the book can easily be shared with kids to help build their interest. Coupled with Petruzzi and Stanley's earlier book these should lead anybody to a full trip or give them a great start toward learning about the complex battle that took place in a small Pennsylvania town when Confederate soldiers went looking for shoes. Or did they? Read the book to find out!

Highly recommended!

I also recommend checking out the official website for The Complete Gettysburg Guide. There is a wealth of information

Thank you to my good friends at Savas Beatie for kindly supplying a complimentary review copy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New Arrival--The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook

Today I received a much anticipated package from my good friends at Savas Beatie. They have been kind enough to send along a review copy of NEW GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN HANDBOOK, THE: Facts, Photos, and Artwork for Readers of All Ages, June 9 - July 14, 1863 (Savas Beatie Handbook) written by J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley.

For those who have read my review of J.D. and Steve's earlier book, COMPLETE GETTYSBURG GUIDE: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest, you know I feel their work is top notch. A quick thumb through this book shows it to have the makings of a winner as well. It has been fast tracked to the top of my reading pile and I hope to have a more full review up shortly.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Civil War Book Review--Summer 2011

From the good folks at LSU Libraries Special Collections here's the Summer 2011 CWBR.

This issue of Civil War Book Review highlights several works of new scholarship that help us to look at the war and wartime generation, providing a new way of understanding the human reality of the war.

Robert Cook's Civil War Senator: William Pitt Fessenden and the Fight to Save the American Republic (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War)
reminds us of the antebellum years, leading up to the secession crisis, when the war seemed a looming, but not necessarily present, cloud on the horizon. Cook reminds us of the role that individual politicians played in navigating the tenuous years leading up to the war.

Adam Goodheart explores, in 1861: The Civil War Awakening, the ways in which society stood up and recognized the reality of war during the first year by highlighting specific historical figures. These characters confronted the war, forced to feel their way through the uncertainty, in an effort to find their role during the course of the war.

In A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War, Amanda Foreman explores the drama that played out in the game of international politics wherein countless people interpreted the war and its course, influencing whether or not Great Britain would recognize the Confederacy or maintain friendly relations with the United States and Abraham Lincoln.

Finally, several essays, collected and edited by Susannah J. Ural explores how important groups within society experienced a war that significantly altered the notion of citizenship for ethnic and racial groups both North and South. Civil War Citizens: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in America's Bloodiest Conflict reminds us how deeply the Civil War affected all of American society as individuals sought to understand their role within this momentous event.

Professor Gary Gallagher graciously accepted an invitation to speak with Civil War Book Review about his new book, The Union War. Gallagher goes to great lengths to detail the concept of the word “Union” and what the war meant to the wartime generation. Furthering our understand of the actual people on the ground who deemed it necessary to don a uniform and risk death to fight during the war, Gallagher makes great strides to explain why Union soldiers chose to fight and how they described and remembered their experience.

We are thrilled to add a new element to Civil War Book Review in honor of the Civil War Sesquicentennial this quarter. Our new column, which will feature a different topic in each issue over the next four years, will seek to provide a pulse on the current historiography of that topic while providing some new avenues where we might need to push the scholarship or explore further. We hope that our readers will find this column useful with their own studies and understanding of some complicated topics. Our first installment features historian Russell McClintock who has written a fine piece on secession; we hope that the readers of Civil War Book Review enjoy this column and those to come in the future.

We also have a new columnist moving forward. Michael Taylor will be following in the footsteps of Leah Wood Jewett who has decided to hand over the reins to Mr. Taylor. We thank Leah, very much, for her insightful columns over the past years while we look forward to what Michael Taylor has in store for us. This quarter, he has chosen to introduce a new set of letters in the LSU Special Collections that highlight blockades and blockade runners in the area around Lake Ponchartrain in Louisiana, opening up new opportunities to explore a topic that has often been forgotten.