Friday, February 24, 2012

Book Review--Private Hercules McGraw

Summers, S. Thomas. Private Hercules McGraw: Poems of the American Civil War. Anaphora Literary Press, Cochran, GA. 2011. 88 pages, ISBN 9781937536145, $15.

I am really not much of a poetry reader as my 12th grade english teacher could probably tell you. That's why when S. Thomas Summers contacted me about reading his book of Civil War related poetry I had to give it some thought. I'm glad I did because this turned out to be quite the little gem!

In a series of brief, mostly one page or less, poems we follow the growth and maturation of young Private Hercules McGraw. McGraw and two friends enlist in the Confederate army. McGraw joins because he feels he has to own a slave in order to win the heart and hand of Martha Lane. McGraw here clearly puts the cause of the war as slavery; "the new president up in Washington is planning on making all them free".

The three young soldiers end up at Shiloh where two key events take place for young Hercules: he shoots his first Yankee and he also finds his friend Nate dead on the battlefield. Seeing his friend dead leads Hercules to question his motives for fighting. As the war progresses Hercules finds himself becoming more soldier like. He feels he no longer has an opinion and just does as he is told. It was best not to think.

The poem Regrets contains my favorite lines from the book:
               
          ....Walked into the war
          thinking I was doing some good
          but the war never noticed I was there.
          I could of sneaked off, slunk into some hole

          and nobody would have guessed I was gone.
          Then I could have talked to Jesus again---

It is in this poem that Hercules and his friend Willy sneak off eventually joining a regiment that ended up in Gettysburg.

While at Gettysburg Hercules compares Abraham Lincoln to Satan and also continues to grow up. He further realizes he doesn't need Martha Lane and that fighting a was so he can own a slave to impress her was not worth it. She was not worth it. During Pickett's Charge Hercules witnesses his friend Willy get shot in the head and die. Hercules is happy for him. During the retreat from Pennsylvania McGraw states that God is a Yankee and he considered the war over.

McGraw eventually deserts the army and heads back home empty handed as far as material things go. What he comes home with however is a new attitude and outlook. On his journey home he witnessed a regiment of black troops fighting and he realized that these were men. Not property, but men.
           
The sum of these pieces is truly worth more than the individual parts. A reader does not have to have knowledge of the Civil War to enjoy this story. What a reader needs is the willingness to sit for a few minutes and enjoy a great coming of age story. Well written, this is a book that can be read in pieces or can easily be finished in one sitting. Highly recommended!

*Thank you to Mr. Summers for providing a complimentary PDF copy of his book.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Civil War Trust Releases Malvern Hill Battlefield App

Exciting news especially for those of us with Android phones who don't have access to all the battle apps yet! Also, be sure to check out their newest campaign which will preserve 77 acres at Cedar Creek Battlefield. CWT needs to raise just under $300,000 to preserve this land forever. The matching dollars are $4.40 to $1.

Civil War Trust Debuts Multimedia Smartphone Tour of Richmond's Malvern Hill Battlefield

GPS-enabled tour launched simultaneously for iPhone and Android platforms

Malvern Hill Battle App

 

Related Links

(Richmond, Va.)– The Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization, today announced the newest entry in its popular Battle App series — a free, multimedia and GPS-enabled smartphone tours of the Malvern Hill Battlefield, a unit of Richmond National Battlefield Park, available for both iPhone and Android phones. The project was underwritten with a grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation and created in partnership with NeoTreks, Inc., an industry leader in mobile GPS-based touring.

“Our primary goal for these Battle Apps is to make history come alive in whole new ways for visitors to these hallowed grounds,” said Trust president James Lighthizer. “By using the latest in 21st-century technology, we’re able to make exploring the past an immersive, interactive experience that appeals to a whole new generation.”

Like its predecessors, which explore the battles of Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, the new Malvern Hill Battle App includes video segments from top historians, period and modern imagery, and detailed topographical maps, all of which help bring the battlefield to life — plus a wealth of resource materials to provide valuable background information. Featuring GPS navigation, primary source material and the commentary of respected historians, the Malvern Hill Battle App offers the convenience of a self-guided tour with the benefits of an expert-led presentation — and all at no cost.
Malvern Hill Battle App
This launch marks the first time that the Trust has made versions of a Battle App available for both iPhone and Android simultaneously. The Bull Run Battle App for Android was launched in December 2011 and additional titles for this platform will be added in the coming months. To date, more than 35,000 people have downloaded the Trust’s Battle Apps, offerings which have, on average earned 4-star reviews from users.

The Trust’s ongoing Battle App project is made possible through the cooperation and generous support of the Virginia Department of Transportation. As the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War continues, VDOT has committed to underwrite a total of nine further Battle Apps to encourage residents and visitors alike to explore the Commonwealth’s outstanding historic resources.

“As we enter the second year of the Civil War sesquicentennial, visitors are flocking to Virginia to explore our fascinating history,” said Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton. “The Commonwealth welcomes the opportunity to provide an innovative means to explore our historic sites.”
Malvern Hill Battle App Start Screen
Another key feature of the Battle Apps is their ability to include the entire battlefield, not just its most well-travelled paths. While some of the “virtual signs” on the App’s 15-stop tour coincide with signage erected by the National Park Service, many other stops and points of interest are off the beaten path and outside what most visitors discover independently. The app is also designed to help visitors move beyond the battlefield and find other nearby historic sites of interest — a particularly valuable feature in the history-rich area around Richmond. With just a few clicks, users can identify these destinations, learn about their visitor services and even get directions from their current location.

“The Malvern Hill app will be great for both our first-time visitors and seasoned Civil War enthusiasts,” said park superintendent David Ruth. “We know they’ll appreciate the ability to hear the stories in the places where they happened, see videos of NPS Rangers giving talks, and to explore the battlefield at their own pace.”

At each stop on the GPS-guided tour, “virtual signs” contain a rich description of the historical significance of the site, along with photos, video commentary from battlefield experts and audio accounts from the soldiers and civilians who trod this ground during the Civil War. “Pinch-zoom”technology and customizable troop displays allow one to follow in the footsteps of the two armies stood and to learn how their attacks and counterattacks unfolded. In addition to providing a wealth of location-based historical accounts, the Malvern Hill Battle App includes resource material that will answer many questions that visitors to the battlefield have. Complete orders of battle for the two armies, a chronology of the battle, basic facts, an interactive quiz, and a strategic overview are all a part of this rich offering.
Malvern Hill Battle App Start Screen
The Battle App series can be easily downloaded from a mobile device via Apple’s App Store or the AndroidMarket. Once the basic app is installed, users can then chose to fully download the audio and video elements to their device or to have that media streamed to you as you visit the different historical sites.

Thanks in part to the support of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Civil War Trust is working to develop even more Battle App offerings in the coming months and years. Next in the development pipeline are Battle Apps for the Cedar Creek and Petersburg battlefields, with further product improvements and expansions are constantly in development.

The July 1, 1862 Battle of Malvern Hill was the final and climactic engagement of the Seven Days Battles. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, new to command of the Army of Northern Virginia, had successfully ended the Union threat to capital at Richmond and doggedly pursued the retreating Federals as they made their way toward the safety of the James River and the Union gunboats. After missing an opportunity to strike a decisive blow at Glendale on June 30, Lee knew he had once last chance to destroy his opponent before he reached the river. The Union had taken up a strong defensive position atop Malvern Hill and the Confederate attackers launched a series of disjointed assaults, only to be repulsed by the strength of Union artillery. When darkness put an end to fighting, Lee had suffered more than 5,600 casualties, compared to only 2,100 men removed from Union ranks. The victory gave Union commanders the chance to complete their withdrawal relatively unmolested.

The Malvern Hill Battlefield is one of 13 units of Richmond National Battlefield Park. Last week, the National Park Service unveiled an extensive renovation, including new educational exhibits, at its Glendale Visitor Center, which covers the latter portion of the Seven Days Battles, including the actions at both Glendale and Malvern Hill.

For more information about the content, use and availability of GPS-enable Civil War Trust Battle Apps, please visit www.civilwar.org/battleapps.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 32,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states, including 949 acres at Malvern Hill. Learn more at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Upcoming Posts--E-Book Style

Well, Confederate Book Review is being forced into the 21st century whether I want to be or not. I have received 2 review copies in the last few weeks. Both are in PDF format. Now I have resisted having an e-reader of any kind and reading for long periods on a computer is not my favorite thing to do but that is going to have to change I am afraid. My wife has a Kindle (OK it was originally mine but she has gotten a ton of use out of it) and now has a Nook Tablet that she uses constantly. She loves it. I will be joining the digital revolution soon enough though. My parents are going to buy me an iPad 3 (or whatever the new version will be called) as my Christmas gift when it is released. The last I saw this is possibly going to be in March. We'll see. I am sure once I get used to it I will enjoy it. There's just something about a real physical book that I think I will always prefer. Gotta change with the times though.

While I really do prefer the real book I can see the advantages for publishers especially when sending out complimentary review copies. The expense is really negligible as opposed to a hard copy of the book. Chances are the PDF cost pennies at best while the physical book would run several dollars or more depending on whether a real trade edition or "ARC" is sent. The digital copy also saves on postage which is at least a couple of bucks. Add it up then multiply it by however many review copies are sent out then multiply that times how many books a publisher releases and at this point we are talking some real money. Yes, the digital review copy is here to stay and as I said earlier I've gotta change with the times.
Onward to the new e-books I have received!


From the great folks at Savas Beatie is the much waited for Unholy Sabbath: The Battle of South Mountain in History and Memory, September 14, 1862 written by Brian Matthew Jordan. Having read John Hoptak's excellent The Battle of South Mountain last year I am eagerly looking forward to reading this.




Thanks also go out to author S. Thomas Summers for sending along a copy of his recently released book of Civil War poetry titled Private Hercules McGraw: Poems of the American Civil War. Through a series of brief poems we trace the service of a young Confederate private during the Civil War. Seems like an interesting concept. Seeing that the book has received several 5 star reviews on Amazon I have hope that this will prove an interesting read. The book is published by Anaphora Literary Press.

Press Release--The Battle of Pea Ridge

Received this press release last week from my good friends at The History Press.



The History Press is pleased to introduce the new title:


James R. Knight

A­fter months of reverses, the Union army went on the offensive in the early spring of 1862. In Virginia, General McClellan prepared for his Peninsula Campaign; in Tennessee, General Grant had captured Forts Henry and Donelson; and in southwestern Missouri, General Samuel R. Curtis had driven Sterling Price and his Missouri State Guard out of the state and into the arms of General Ben McCulloch’s Confederate army in northwestern Arkansas. Using the united armies of Price and McCulloch, the new Confederate department commander, Earl Van Dorn, struck back at Curtis’s Federal army, outnumbered and two hundred miles from its supply base. Two days of fighting in the wilds of the Ozark Mountains at a place called Pea Ridge decided control of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri for the rest of the war.

James R. Knight is a graduate of Harding University, class of 1967. He spent five years as a pilot in the United States Air Force flying the C-130E and thirty-one years as a pilot for Federal Express, the last twenty years as a McDonnell Douglass DC-10 captain. In the early ’90s, he began researching a historical incident in his hometown and published his first work, an article in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly. In 2003, Eakin Press published his biography of Bonnie and Clyde titled Bonnie and Clyde: A Twenty-first-Century Update. In 2007, he published the story and correspondence of a Confederate cavalryman titled Letters to Anna. This is his third work in the Civil War Sesquicentennial Series, having written The Battle of Franklin in 2009 and The Battle of Fort Donelson in 2011. Knight retired from Federal Express in 2004 and lives in Franklin, Tennessee, where he works part time as a historical interpreter for the Battle of Franklin Trust. When not encouraging visitors at the Carter House to relive some moments of the Battle of Franklin, he collects historical documents and artifacts and occasionally drives his restored 1934 Ford V-8. He and his wife, Judy, have three children and six grandchildren.

ISBN: 978-1-60949-447-6 • Paperback • 160 pages • $19.99 • February 2012

This new book is available at local stores & online at Historypress.net

It retails as an E-BOOK via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple’s I-bookstore, Google’s E-bookstore, & Overdrive.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Book Review--Devil's Den

Adelman, Garry E. and Timothy H. Smith. Devil's Den: A History and Guide.  Thomas Publications, Gettysburg, PA. 1997. 159 pages, 131 pages text. Index, bibliography, notes, b/w photos, maps. ISBN 9781577470175, $19.95.

The Battle of Gettysburg has probably had more books written on every conceivable aspect than any other Civil War battle. As would be expected some are of more value than others. In Devil's Den: A History and Guide authors Garry Adelman and Timothy Smith, both Licensed Battlefield Guides at Gettysburg National Military Park, have written what while probably not the last word could conceivably be called the best work dealing not just with the battle that took place at Devil's Den but the actual location itself.

In a brief 131 pages of text the authors cover four major themes: pre-battle history, the battle for Devil's Den, post-battle history, and a suggestion for touring the Den. The battle and post-battle are of course the large portion of the book.

The first section briefly deals with pre-war history of the area. The authors get right to the point by debunking the myth that the area was created by Ice Age glacial activity. Rather, the rock formation is part of an outcropping of diabase sill, a sheet of igneous rock. The formation was formed over 180 million years ago. Also discussed is the importance of the area before the war. Did you know the name Devil's Den is actually a post war moniker? Read about the history of the name in the first chapter.

The second chapter is the longest in the book and deals with the actual second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. The chapter starts off with a much needed introduction to the various regiments and brigades that fought over the rocky area. The back and forth battle for this piece of terrain is covered in depth and is helped along by close to a dozen maps drawn by Garry Adelman.

The authors then move into the post war period and discuss and correct legends such as the sharpshooter legacy, "death by concussion", and the story of vultures on the battlefield. The vast issue of commercialization of the battlefield is discussed along with a history of the many photographers who staked a claim to the area. William Tipton and his Gettysburg Electric Railway are covered along with Round Top Park. Readers will also learn of early graffiti and early non war related carving on the rocks and what attempts have been made to remove them. And leave it to Timothy Smith to also point out a ridiculous story about a ghost being the culprit for the rock carving of "P. Noel".

The last chapter is a 28 stop tour of the Devil's Den area. Each stop includes a detailed discussion of it's importance. The text closes with a 7 photo challenge. Adelman and Smith have put forth 7 different photos and challenged readers to discover where they are.

The authors pay a great deal of respect to the legendary William Frassanito and his legendary photographic studies of the Gettysburg landscape. Any reader of this work will want to consult the Frassanito histories as well. This is a book that has no doubt been read by those with an interest in Gettysburg. For those who are just developing an interest in the Civil War and Gettysburg in particular this is a must read.

*This book is a prior winner of the Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award presented by the Robert E. Lee Civil War Round Table of Central New Jersey. This award is presented to the most outstanding original work on the  Gettysburg Campaign.

**Related Reviews
Gettysburg: A Journey in Time
Manassas Battlefields
The Story of Lee's Headquarters

Friday, February 10, 2012

Press Release--LSU Press to release Henry Adams in the Secession Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 9, 2012
Contact: Erin Rolfs, LSU Press
erolfs@lsu.edu/225.578.8282

Henry Adams's "Boston Daily Advertiser" Letters to be Published for the First Time Since Original Printing in 1860-1861

Annotated by Historian Mark J. Stegmaier, Letters Reveal Unusual Insights into the Secession Crisis

"These dispatches make available a long overlooked, but most valuable, resource. We are in Stegmaier's debt."-Michael F. Holt, author of "Franklin Pierce"

"Links a journalist's immediate perspective on unfolding events with a historian's hindsight."-Donald A. Ritchie, author of "Reporting from Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps"

Baton Rouge, LA-During the Secession Winter session of Congress, twenty-two-year-old Henry Adams worked as private secretary to his father, Representative Charles Francis Adams. Henry wrote four accounts of these crucial months in Washington-an essay, letters to his brother, a segment in his famous autobiography, and twenty-one unsigned letters that Adams composed as a novice correspondent for the "Boston Daily Advertiser." "Henry Adams in the Secession Crisis" presents the "Advertiser" letters for the first time since their original publication between 1860 and 1861.

During the months prior to the Civil War, Adams provided unusual insights into the development of the secession crisis and the attempts of Congress to resolve it peacefully. Since his father and Senator William H. Seward of New York led the efforts of more moderate Republicans to reach a compromise that would at least hold the border slave states in the Union, Adams's letters emphasize and illuminate their efforts and those of their Unionist allies in the upper South. While praising their endeavors-and particularly the statesmanship of Seward-Adams attacked southern secessionists and, in several letters, critically analyzed and condemned the famous Crittenden Compromise as a measure impossible for any Republican to support.

Fully annotated by historian Mark J. Stegmaier, the "Advertiser" letters illuminate the politics of the secession crisis while showcasing the youthful work of a man who would become one of the most famous American writers of the late nineteenth century.

Mark J. Stegmaier is professor of history at Cameron University and author of "Texas, New Mexico, and the Compromise of 1850: Boundary Dispute and Sectional Crisis," which won the Coral H. Tullis Prize of the Texas State Historical Association and the Gaspar Perez de Villagr√° Award of the Historical Society of New Mexico.

April 2012
256 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
978-0-8071-4351-3
Cloth $42.50s, ebook available

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Book Review--Forrest's Fighting Preacher

Bradley, Michael R. Forrest's Fighting Preacher: David Campbell Kelley of Tennessee.  The History Press, Charleston, SC. 2011. Index, bibliography, notes, b/w photos, maps. 142 pages, 123 text. ISBN 9781609493837, $19.99.

The History Press has really been carving out a niche in publishing brief and inexpensive books many dealing with narrow subjects that might not see publication through other houses. Michael Bradley's new book Forrest's Fighting Preacher is one of those type books.

David Kelley began his career as a missionary going to China. He spent just over a year there before returning and taking over the preaching duties at various churches.

One would think with his background Kelley would have served as a chaplain in the Confederate army. This was not the case and Kelley took command of a cavalry troop that became known as "Kelley Troopers". His group was assigned to Nathan Bedford Forrest and eventually became Co. F 3rd TN Cavalry. Kelley was promoted to Major and became Adjutant.

From this introduction Bradley goes on to discuss much of the Civil War career of Forrest and the role Kelley played. This included several stints as regimental commander, time away from the army, and more.

While really under the shadow of Forrest during the war David Kelley excelled after the war. He became a key church leader, often clashing with those above him and eventually earning himself a six month suspension for allegedly leaving his post. Kelley served on the Board of Trustees for the founding of Vanderbilt University. On the issue of college education for blacks, Kelley became a spokesman believing that the interests of both races were ultimately the same. In 1890 he ran for Tennessee governor as the candidate for the Prohibition Party. While unsuccessful, Kelley kept active. He continued to write, mostly religious works, and became active in groups such as United Confederate Veterans and the Forrest Veteran's Association.

Michael Bradley has written a book that should be read by anybody who has an interest in Nathan Bedford Forrest. Those interested in the role of Tennessee Cavalry in the Confederacy should also consider this work. While Kelley is certainly not a household name, even for those interested in the war, this book will help raise awareness of him. From there it is up to readers to decide what his stature should be.

*Thanks to the History Press for sending a complimentary review copy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Book Review--Manassas Battlefields

Adelman, Garry E. Manassas Battlefields: Then & Now Historic Photography at Bull Run.  The Center for Civil War Photography. B/W photos. 63 pages. ISBN 9780978550882, $12.95.


In November 2011 I had the pleasure of making a very short trip to the Manassas battlefield. I would love to get back and have more time on the field. A book like this would be an interesting one to carry along.

Garry Adelman, Vice President of the Center for Civil War Photography, is well positioned and more than knowledgeable enough to have put together a work such as this. His credentials can be read here.

Owing a debt of gratitude to William Frassanito, Adelman has put together a book which should be viewed and read by anybody interested in the study of Civil War photography or either of the Manassas/Bull Run battles. Adelman has accessed collections including the Library of Congress, National Archives, Army Heritage Education Center, the National Park Service, and others, allowing his book to become as he says a "then & then & then & now" presentation.

The book kicks off with a very brief history of the two battles including a series of much needed maps. A discussion of photographers and photographic styles follows. Adelman conveniently groups his chapters and thus the photos geographically allowing readers or battlefield stompers to easily keep up. For me including GPS coordinates would have been a nice addition though there is probably value in not disclosing these as the well meaning but careless could do damage to fragile locations.

For me, including photos of areas such as the 5th Alabama having carved their moniker into a railroad bridge pier, the photos of grave markers, and the photos of veterans returning to the field for monument dedications bring a humanity to these bloody battles. The ability to see the changes and in some cases destruction of the battlefield are a key to this book and show the need to preserve these sites as quickly and fully as possible.

Part of Mr. Adelman's goal in this book is to lead others to study the many photos that are still unattributed. There are locations to figure out, names to be attached to people in photos, photographers names to be attached to photos, and prior errors to be corrected. With that in mind the book closes with a brief section titled "Mysteries and Curiosities". These are photos that show the broad spectrum of work still to be done in this field.

While brief this is a book that the reader can easily find themselves immersed in for hours comparing the old and new photos. For anybody interested in Civil War era photography or those interested in either of the Manassas battles this should be in your library. Art schools with photography programs would also be advised to add this to their library. Highly recommended!

Other similar reviews:

Gettysburg: A Journey in Time

Book Review--The Shenandoah Spy

Hamit, Francis. The Shenandoah Spy: Being the True Life Adventures of Belle Boyd, CSA, The "Confederate Cleopatra". Brass Cannon Books. 433 pages, ISBN 9781595959027, $22.50.

For a young woman of her time Belle Boyd can surely be called unusual based upon the traditional view and role of women. Her actions during the Civil War cemented this view of her.

In his entertaining fictionalized account of real life Confederate heroine Belle Boyd author Francis Hamit has done her a favor. He has brought her to life in a way that will appeal to those not normally inclined to read fiction. His work will also bring a real life character to those who only read fiction perhaps inspiring them to research her life further.

The Shenandoah Spy covers the time frame from July 1861-July 1862. In this brief time frame Boyd kills a Union officer who insulted her mother, is cleared of this due to the officer's actions, takes a job as nurse which was considered outlandish for a woman, delivers messages to Confederate military leaders both in person and through coded letters, helps run a hotel, has an affair with a Union officer, and more.

In addition to the story of Boyd, the work also shows the interplay of black and white. Belle has a devoted slave whose views on freedom at the hands of northerners show the mixed feelings some slaves had and the devotion that could be shown between slave and master. The book neglects what for many/most slaves were the harsh or brutal conditions that they dealt with on a daily basis.

Belle Boyd
Library of Congress
Belle was not above using her sexuality to get the information she wanted. While not considered a traditional beauty it appears that she had no problem attracting men. She particularly caught the eye of Union Captain Daniel Keily who she carried on an affair with and from who she gained much intelligence. This openly sexual attitude however cost her dearly as readers of the book will discover. There are several graphic scenes in the book so readers who are averse to this should take note.

Hamit has done his research that is clear. However at times it seemed that things were added just to prove this research. An example was the scene involving "Stonewall" Jackson. He of course had to have his lemons. Some may call it historical authenticity I thought it just seemed out of place at times. Really a minor quibble however.

I did not know much about Boyd before reading this book. While a fictionalized account, this seems to be a good introduction to her life. Overall well written and quick moving this is a book that would appeal to those who enjoy historical literature/romance and to many that study the Civil War.

*Thank you to Mr. Hamit for providing a complimentary review copy.

**While self published, the book is available in a less expensive Kindle version for those who prefer e-books.

Friday, February 3, 2012

CCWP--Guide to Finding Civil War Photos

The Center for Civil War Photography has an excellent article on their website for those interested in finding photos from the war or possibly a photo of that long lost ancestor who fought for the Union or Confederacy. In addition to suggestions on where to look there are also some good reminders regarding use of these photos.

Click here to go directly to the article. It's well worth a look!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

LSU Press to Release "Granbury's Texas Brigade"


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Erin Rolfs, LSU Press
erolfs@lsu.edu/225.578.8282

New Military History Chronicles the Evolution of Granbury's Texas Brigade

John R. Lundberg Provides Compelling Portrait of Confederate Soldiers

"The first detailed, analytical history of the brigade, this book more than pays homage to the memory of these diehard Texans."- Richard B. McCaslin, author of "Lee In the Shadow of Washington"

Baton Rouge, LA-John R. Lundberg's new military history chronicles the evolution of Granbury's Texas Brigade, perhaps the most distinguished combat unit in the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Named for its commanding officer, Brigadier General Hiram B. Granbury, the brigade fought tenaciously in the western theater even after Confederate defeat seemed certain. "Granbury's Texas Brigade" explores the motivations behind the unit's decision to continue to fight, even as it faced demoralizing defeats and Confederate collapse. Using a vast array of letters, diaries, and regimental documents, Lundberg offers provocative insight into the minds of the unit's men and commanders. The caliber of that leadership, he concludes, led to the group's overall high morale.

Lundberg asserts that although mass desertion rocked Granbury's Brigade early in the war, that desertion did not necessarily indicate a lack of commitment to the Confederacy but merely a desire to fight the enemy closer to home. Those who remained in the ranks became the core of Granbury's Brigade and fought until the final surrender. Morale declined only after Union bullets cut down much of the unit's officer corps at the Battle of Franklin in 1864.

After the war, Lundberg shows, men from the unit did not abandon the ideals of the Confederacy-they simply continued their devotion in different ways. "Granbury's Texas Brigade" presents military history at its best, revealing a microcosm of the Confederate war effort and aiding our understanding of the reasons men felt compelled to fight in America's greatest tragedy.

John R. Lundberg is the author of "The Finishing Stroke: Texans in the 1864 Tennessee Campaign" as well as many articles on Texas and Civil War history. He currently teaches history at Collin College in Plano, Texas.

March 2012
344 pages, 6 x 9, 13 halftones, 8 maps
ISBN 978-0-8071-4347-6
Cloth $39.95, ebook available