Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Review--Grant at Vicksburg: The General and the Siege

Ballard, Michael B. Grant at Vicksburg: The General and the Siege. Southern Illinois University Press. 196 pages, 172 pages text, Index, notes, bibliographic note, maps, b/w photos. ISBN 9780809332403, $32.95.

For those of us not overly familiar with the siege at Vicksburg there really doesn't seem to be some of the standards such as there are with its time partner the Battle of Gettysburg. For the later most will refer a reader to Coddington, or Sears, or Trudeau or maybe John Hoptak's new book. For Vicksburg however: where to begin. I would have to say that Michael Ballard's Grant at Vicksburg: The General and the Siege is not a bad place to start. It isn't loaded down with detail so the reader doesn't get lost but it also is not watered down to where you feel you are reading a book for teens. There is more than enough here to whet the appetite to learn more!

Ballard starts with a brief outline of the two separate attacks on the city that happened in May, 1863. The Confederates might have had 33,000 men available but Grant countered with 35,000 plus the potential for reinforcements. The Confederates held the better fighting positions as is shown by the map outlining the Redoubts and Redans surrounding Vicksburg. What the Confederates did not have however was an escape plan and an executable plan to restock provisions. Grants effective use of David Dixon Porter and the Union navy helped assure the longer term success of the siege strategy.

Overall Ballard does an effective job of balancing biography and history. He paints an overall interesting portrait of Grant. Ballard spends considerable length dismantling the long held story told by Sylvanus Cadwallader about Grant's drunken time on the Yazoo River. He also takes authors to task for not having done proper research on this subject.

Grant's leadership is shown from two different sides. In race relations he is shown as generally strong requiring equal discipline for black and white soldiers. While yes Grant did separate black and white regiments and often used contraband labor for digging we have to remember the time he lived in. Freedom did not mean equality. While strong here, Grant is seen as somewhat a "nervous Nellie" when it came to Joseph Johnston. He is shown as having a constant concern about Johnston and where he might strike and the number of troops he had. In the end Johnston is a non-factor that appears to have not had any intention of becoming involved in the siege or in helping Pemberton and his men.

John McClernand plays an important role during the siege and the interplay between he and Grant is important. Ultimately, despite not being kept completely up to date, McClernand is held responsible by Grant for many of the losses before the siege and is replaced by a General who does not seem completely up to the task at hand; E. O. C. Ord. Ord is at times portrayed as almost a comical thorn in Grant's side.

The siege is ended through the digging of mine trenches to damage the main Confederate redan. Once breached a second time Confederate General John Pemberton had little choice to but propose an armistice and negotiate surrender terms. The terms were generous to the men from the south with officers being allowed to take their side gun, clothing, Field Staff and Cavalry officers were allowed to take a horse, enlisted men were only allowed their clothing. The men were paroled, meaning they were not to return to battle until officially exchanged for Union prisoners. While controversial this relieved Grant of having to feed, shelter, and transport large numbers of Confederates. This freed him and his troops to be sent elsewhere.

According to Ballard Grant leaves Vicksburg a changed man and he concludes his work discussing the ways in which Grant has grown and improved as a general from this campaign. These traits would lead to his becoming commanding general of all armies and then later the president.

This is a short book with less than 200 pages of text. It reads quickly and Ballard is a good writer. The book could have been improved by including a formal bibliography rather than just a bibliographic note. There are complete end notes however for those wishing to validate any of the author's statements. I found myself often having to flip back to the main map located at the start of the book so I would have liked to see a few more maps to help keep me oriented. While maybe not agreeing with all the scholarship that has come before, Ballard has written a book that should be read by anybody with an interest in what happened in the west in July, 1863.

Thank you to Southern Illinois University Press for sending a complimentary review copy.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Savas Beatie Author Conclave

Publisher Savas Beatie is hosting their first ever Author Conclave in July at Gettysburg and Antietam and everybody is invited. Here is your chance to take battlefield tours with some of SB's most respected authors. The best part--FREE! See below for further information.

Dear Friends of Savas Beatie, 

We are very excited to announce the first Savas Beatie Author Conclave! We have lined up battlefield tours, book signing events, and other activities for authors as well as Savas Beatie readers.

The author-led tours are open to the general public at no cost. Please help us spread the word by sharing the link above and the attached flier with your friends, family, and local contacts.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Book Review--Confederate General William "Extra Billy" Smith

Mingus, Scott, Sr. CONFEDERATE GENERAL WILLIAM "EXTRA BILLY" SMITH: From Virginia's Statehouse to Gettysburg Scapegoat. Savas Beatie, El Dorado Hills, CA, 2013. 418 pages 402 pages of text, index, bibliography, foot notes, b/w photos, maps. ISBN 9781611211290, $29.95.

After reading the book you will probably be thinking the same thing that I was; "Why has nobody written about William "Extra Billy" Smith before? And then with some thought you may come to the same conclusion that I did; the subject was just waiting for an author like Scott L. Mingus Sr. to come along and write what may ultimately turn out to be the definitive work on Smith.

Smith had his hand in many areas and is one of those few who seems to have a level of success (all be it with a lot of failures as well) in just about everything he did. He was a successful businessman, both as a lawyer, a stage coach operator, and also as a mail contractor. It was his mail delivery business that earned him his nickname "Extra Billy" for charging (Smith himself would probably have said earning) extra payments above the agreed upon rates and contracts. He became so legendary for this that the nickname stuck throughout life.

As a politician Smith was a staunch Democrat believing in strict construction of the Constitution. That is, any powers not given to the federal government belong to the states themselves. As a man of his time he held strong racial views and at one point wanted to expel free blacks from Virginia due to his view that they were a drain on society and a tool for abolitionists.

The life of a politician was at times difficult for Smith and he was in and out of office. In the early 1840's the Whigs were able to gerrymander congressional districts and Smith was out of office. He also voiced concerns over the paltry pay for a politician. In 1845 he was chosen governor elect by the Virginia state legislature and thought long and hard before accepting the position. He had a family to raise and his law career was going well. He was unable to resist the call however and accepted the position further solidifying his political reputation. Smith spent the 1850's in the House of Representatives.

With the coming of the Civil War Smith returns to Virginia and despite his advancing years volunteers for service being commissioned a Colonel. Smith performs well, especially for a non-military man, fighting at Manassas, Seven Pines, Antietam and other battles. He was wounded several times but always came back. In January 1863 he was promoted to Brigadier General taking the place of the recently promoted Jubal Early.

It was during the Gettysburg Campaign where the Smith legend really seemed to take off and is why he is remembered so much today. Stationed with his small brigade along the York Road on July 1, 1863, Smith sees what he believes to be Union infantry flanking the Confederate army. He requests help from General Ewell and the outcome of Smith's vision siphons troops and time away from what could have been an attack on Cemetery Hill. Could Ewell have taken the high ground if not for Smith? We shall never know. Mr. Mingus' telling of the story is top notch and there is an interesting appendix discussing it further.

In July 1863 Smith is again elected governor of Virginia and he resigns his post after being promoted to Major General. As the war movement worsens for the Confederacy Smith eventually realizes that blacks will need to be armed even if it mean granting them freedom. After the war Smith was captured, indicted for treason, but never tried.

This is a masterfully written book. Mingus has a way with words and his books are quick to read which is a blessing and a curse. The curse being you don't want it to end. The book is loaded with illustrations and has a full complement of 14 maps created by Hal Jespersen. As with any Savas Beatie title the book quality itself is superb. This is a book that should be on the shelves of any Civil War library. Highly recommended!

Special thanks going out to Savas Beatie and author Scott Mingus for providing a complimentary review copy.

Friday, June 21, 2013

New Books From The History Press

Thanks going out to my good friends at The History Press for sending along a selection of their newest releases. These look like a great grouping of books!

First up is Arkansas Late in the Civil War: The 8th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, April 1864-July 1865 (Civil War Sesquicentennial) written by David E. Castro.

From the publisher: At the request of Union general Ulysses S. Grant, in 1864 Major General Frederick Steele stripped the Department of Arkansas of twelve thousand men--half its strength--to support an expedition in Louisiana. And while the depleted infantry remained largely in garrison, the 8th Missouri Cavalry and its counterparts were ordered to patrol central Arkansas under horrid conditions and protect the state from guerrilla Rebels. The regiment spent nine long months battling against Confederate general Jo Shelby's efforts to raid the White River Valley behind Union lines while simultaneously battling to secure Arkansas' borders. Join author David Castro as he explores the 8th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry's perilous excursion into enemy territory.

Up second is The Battle of West Point: Confederate Triumph at Ellis Bridge (Civil War Sesquicentennial) (MS) written by John McBryde.

From the publisher: On February 21, 1864, Confederate and Union forces faced off over the banks of the Chuquatonchee Creek on Ellis Bridge in West Point, Mississippi. This three-hour battle pitted Nathan Bedford Forrest with his small but mighty cavalry against William Sooy Smith and his dogged Federal troops as they attempted to push through the prairie and destroy the railroad junction in Meridian. Smith's men did not succeed in their mission and suffered heavy casualties at the hands of Forrest in a precursor to the Battle of Okolona. Author John McBryde details the nuances of the battle that initiated Rebel opposition to the Meridian Campaign, including accounts from West Point locals of the time.

And up third comes Civil War Pittsburgh: Forge of the Union (PA) written by Len Barcousky. Barcousky is an editor and reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He is the author of Remembering Pittsburgh also published by The History Press.

From the publisher: On Christmas Day 1860, the Daily Pittsburgh Gazette announced that more than one hundred cannons from the nearby U.S. Arsenal were to be shipped south. Fiercely loyal to the Union, Pittsburghers halted the movement of the artillery, which would have been seized by secessionist sympathizers. Over the course of the Civil War, Pittsburgh and Allegheny County provided both troops and equipment--including heavy artillery--in disproportionately large numbers. While no major battles were fought nearby, local soldiers and civilians sacrificed and suffered--the Allegheny Arsenal explosion in September 1862 left seventy-eight dead and was the worst civilian disaster of the war. Thousands dug trenches and joined militia companies to defend their city as others worked to support the wounded soldiers. Reporter Len Barcousky draws on the next-day reporting of the predecessors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to craft a gripping and insightful view of the Steel City during the Civil War.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Museum of the Confederacy Photo Seminar--June 22, 2013

Capturing the Past Photographic Seminar

Todd Harrington, Ambrotype of Pvt. Lloyd W. Surghnor, Mike Gorman

 Saturday, June 22, 2013
Seminar 10:00AM-12:30PM
Photo appointments available 12:30PM-5:00PM
Museum of the Confederacy-Richmond 

During the Civil War and for the first time in history, the cost of war was made real through the use of photography.  Saturday, June 22, the Museum of the Confederacy is hosting a seminar which discusses photography of the Confederate Capital of Richmond, Virginia, as well as the actual process used for taking 19th-century style photos.  

The day begins with Mike Gorman, historian and National Park Service ranger, as he presents his talk, "Richmond Again Taken: Photographing the Confederate Capital, 1865." Using multimedia, Mr. Gorman will reveal extremely rare photographs of Richmond and important discoveries made by studying them. Also on display will be selected photos from the Museum's own rich collection.

For the final presentation, collodion artist Todd Harrington will discuss the history of photography and will demonstrate the wet-plate process.  Appointments can be made during the afternoon to have your own ambrotype or tintype photo taken by Mr. Harrington. Prices for photos vary. Click here for details.  

For members, the Museum is offering a special reduced ticket price. Members can preregister for the seminar for only $5. Tickets are $15 in advance for non-members. At the door, cost is $15 for members and $20 for non-members. To register, contact Kelly Hancock at (855) 649-1861 ext. 121 or  Register online by clicking here


Book Review--The Illustrated Gettysburg Reader


Gragg, Rod. The Illustrated Gettysburg Reader: An Eyewitness History of the Civil War's Greatest Battle. Regnery Publishing, Washington, D.C. 2013. Index, notes, bibliography, maps, b/w photos.485 pages, 441 pages of text, ISBN 9781621570431, $29.95.

Yes, it is the 150th anniversary year of the Battle of Gettysburg and the publishers are putting forth their best efforts to supply the interest of those wanting to read about the Civil War and this battle in particular.

Gragg, who has written previously on the 26th North Carolina Infantry at Gettysburg, covers the Battle of Gettysburg chronologically starting with the Confederate advance into Maryland and later Pennsylvania. We learn the reason Robert E. Lee wanted to go north and we follow both Confederate and Union armies out of Confederate territory as Lee attempts to shift the battle and the opinion of the northern public.

Once the opposing troops come to blows Gragg outlines the battle through three bloody days: from the initiation of battle to the beginning of the retreat from Pennsylvania. Readers will learn about the battle and strategy, the battlefield itself, the men fighting the war and more. The book wraps up nicely with the after action reports of both Generals Meade and Lee.

The word "illustrated" in the title means more than photos here. Yes, the book contains numerous b/w photos however the armchair reader may be disappointed in the text to photo ratio so to speak. The photos are excellent and come from varied sources; not all the standard rehashed ones.

To me though the word "illustrated" really is in relation to who Gragg lets tell his story. He "illustrates" his work using the words of the participants themselves. As the subtitle says "Eyewitness History". Gragg has mined sources old and familiar to those seldom seen and many that I was not familiar with at all to tell the story of the battle from the perspective of those on the ground who actually lived it. The letters and diaries from the men who fought the battle tell the story in a way modern historians can't.

Overall, an interesting book and one well worth adding to your Gettysburg library. The book is appropriate for those almost any level of Gettysburg knowledge. As I have seen mentioned elsewhere a few more maps would have been nice, especially for those not having a large amount of knowledge going in. A small complaint however and maps are readily available elsewhere for those interested. Recommended.

You can watch a Youtube trailer with the author here.

Thanks to Regnery History for sending a complimentary review copy.

Monday, June 10, 2013

LSU Press Fall 2013 Catalog

I just received the Fall 2013 catalog from LSU Press. The catalog is available online here. There are several titles of interest that will be available soon. Clicking the photo link will take you to Amazon while clicking the title link will take you to the LSU Press page with more information. Amazon doesn't have much information up at this point but the books do appear to qualify for their low price guarantee so if you order and the price goes down before they ship the book you will get the lower price. Also, don't forget that LSU Press has a great sale on Civil War titles going on right now with books ordered at their site at 40% off cover price. Check the titles available by clicking here.*

Andrew Jackson, Southerner--written by Mark R. Cheathem

Greyhound Commander: Confederate General John G. Walker's History of the Civil War West of the Mississippi--edited by Richard Lowe

Confederate General William Dorsey Pender: The Hope of Glory--written by Brain Steel Wills

Apocalypse and the Millennium in the American Civil War Era--edited by Ben Wright and Zachary W. Dresser

The Martyrdom of Abolitionist Charles Torrey--written by E. Fuller Torrey

William Lloyd Garrison and Giuseppe Mazzini: Abolition, Democracy and Radical Reform--written by Enrico Dal Lago

Narrative of James Williams, An American Slave: Annotated Edition--edited by Hank Trent

*Full Disclosure--LSU Press does not pay to have their books advertised or promoted on my blog. They do occasionally send a review copy of a book. There titles are fully disclosed when reviewed.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Press Release--American Indians and the Civil War

American Indians Tell Their Untold
Civil War Stories After 150 Years

The National Park Service, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education and Eastern National release the book American Indians and the Civil War

Albuquerque, New Mexico (June 3, 2013) –The National Park Service (NPS) made a landmark commitment to include American Indian voices in the 2011-2015 150th  anniversary commemoration of America’s Civil War. To honor that commitment, NPS partnered with the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and publisher Eastern National to produce the cultural heritage interpretive book, American Indians and the Civil War (AICW) available this month.

A little known but crucial part of Civil War stories is that more than 20,000 American Indians fought on both sides of the conflict. Most thought their participation would guarantee their survival and protect their lands. Instead, federal Indian policy became more savage during the war, and when it was over, a reunited nation turned its vision to westward expansion, overrunning Indian lands and decimating Native populations.

“AICW is an important new tool for cultural heritage tourism. Our goal at AIANTA has always been to help Indian Country link its historical interpretations to landscape,” said Sammye Meadows, AIANTA Senior Public Lands Partnership Coordinator and AICW contributing author. “Because of instrumental partnerships with NPS, BIA, BIE and Eastern National, American Indians will now be referenced in American History teachings.”

Book authors include 11 Native American and non-Native American scholars from across the country, including Editor Robert K. Sutton, Daniel Wildcat and Elliot West.

Through a cooperative agreement between the BIA and AIANTA, AICW copies will be sent to tribal colleges and universities, Indian primary and secondary schools across America and tribal museums and cultural centers. For more information, please visit

The book will be available later this month at and in select national parks across the country for $9.95.


To learn more about the American Indians and the Civil War, visit

To learn more about AIANTA, visit
To learn more about the Bureau of Indian Affairs, visit
To learn more about the Bureau of Indian Education, visit
To learn more about Eastern National, visit
To learn more about the National Park Service, visit


Book Review--The Vast Unknown: America's First Ascent of Everest

Coburn, Broughton. The Vast Unknown: America's First Ascent of Everest. Crown Publishing, New York, 2013. B/W photos, index, notes, further readings, map, 300 pages, 254 pages of text. ISBN 9780307887146, $26.

It has now been 60 years since Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay first climbed Mt. Everest via the South Col. It has now been 50 years since the first American set foot on the summit. In the ensuing years a near mountain of books have been written about Mt. Everest and it begs the question as to whether we really need another one. I would answer that with this being the 50 year anniversary of an American reaching the summit, the 50 year anniversary of the first ascent by the North Face and with the overall quality of the writing here the answer is YES.

For Everest aficionados there may not be a lot new here. For someone new to the literature of climbing or just picking this book up because it looks interesting there is plenty of meat on the bone. We are introduced to the main players of the 1963 American expedition in their own habitat. Many are college drop outs and most have moved west in order to feed their passion, but maybe not their stomachs as jobs were scarce, for climbing. The Tetons were home to many of the young men who ultimately would go half way around the world to attempt a climb less than a dozen men had been successful at.

We are introduced to and come to know men such as Barry Bishop, Jake Breitenbach, Barry Corbet, Norman Dyhrenfurth, Tom Hornbein, Lute Jerstad, Dick Pownall, Barry Prather, Will Siri, James Ullman, Willi Unsoeld, and Jim Whitaker amongst many others including Sherpas. Don't worry about keeping all the names straight there is a very useful "cast of characters" listing at the front of the book.

We follow along with the difficulties of raising funds, gathering supplies, planning the climb, dealing with Sherpas and other logistical nightmares. While this is a team effort, and that is repeated many times, there was infighting regarding who would go where and when and most of all there was dissension regarding the North Face route and if it should even be attempted.

The book has essentially three parts: introductions, pre-climb and preparation, the climb, and life after the climb. All three parts have value and are worth reading. They may interest different readers in different ways however. Those familiar with the story may be most interested in the later portion of the book dealing with the climbers lives after the climb. Many readers may just be interested in the climb itself however and that is more than adequately covered.

Jim Whitaker atop Mt. Everest
May 1, 1963.
Photo: Nawang Gombu/National
The political situation of the time is always a running backdrop though out the book. The Russians were working to arm the Cubans and the Kennedy administration was having to deal with ramifications of that. Russia had also beaten the United States into space and we were playing catch up. China and India were in a tense period with the possibility of war a reality. While China had made claims to have summited the mountain in 1960 there were doubts about the truth of these claims. The Chinese were of course leery of Americans being on Everest and were concerned about spying missions or spy cameras being put in place in this pre satellite era. All of these issues helped lead to a situation that had the eyes of the world on these men. The United States did not want to shoulder another perceived failure and ultimately this group of men delivered!

And while the outcome is a positive and uplifting one there is a loneliness and sadness in the story as well. While it is true that climbers share a special bond, "the brotherhood of the rope" as Coburn says, they can be solitary men as well. Even when part of a team it is man against the mountain. It is something those of us on the outside do not completely comprehend. Also, to climb mountains is to court death. Do it for any length of time and you will look death in the eye; yours or someone close to you. Climbers know and accept that risk.

Well written and fast moving this is a book that anybody with an interest in climbing should read. If you are looking for a good adventure story or are interested in man vs. nature this is a book you should consider. Recommended!

Thanks go out to Crown for providing a complimentary review copy.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Press Release--The Gettysburg Story Premiere June 16, 2013

The Gettysburg Story:  Sunday, June 16, 2013 
June 3, 2013


On this day 150 years ago Robert E. Lee ordered his Confederate troops to march north. This marked the beginning of the Gettysburg Campaign. Exactly one month later the Battle of Gettysburg was decided on the slopes of Cemetery Ridge.

Now prepare to see Gettysburg as you have never seen it before. The Gettysburg Story.

Our film captures Gettysburg - a unique, timeless American place - in a new way. Using cutting edge technologies - aerial drone HD cinematography, time-lapse footage, dynamic geolocation maps, and more - we are bringing the story of Gettysburg alive for the latest generation. Narrated by Stephen Lang (AvatarGettysburg), the film has been vetted by top Gettysburg experts.  See a preview here:

On Sunday, June 16 we will premiere The Gettysburg Story.  The Gettysburg Festival presents our new film at the Majestic Theater in downtown Gettysburg.

Premiere - Sunday, June 16, 2013 - 3pm-  Father's Day - Take your dad to Gettysburg!
Upcoming Events: 
June 15, 5pm: 
Premiere Feast in the Barn at the Boritt Family's Farm by the Ford curated by Highlands Dinner Club.
To celebrate the creators and backers of The Gettysburg Story.
Sponsored by Weyerbacher and The Gettysburg Festival
A few tickets still available here: Gettysburg Story Premiere Feast
June 25, 7pm:
(Registration Required)
June 28 - July 11:
Twice nightly screenings at the Gettysburg Majestic Cinema.
July 2nd from 2:30-4pm:
PCN (Pennsylvania Cable Network) PCN Gettysburg 150th live coverage from the 2nd Day's Field.
July 5:
3:30 p.m. The Gettysburg Story: America's Greatest Battle As You Have Never Seen It Before, Jake Boritt
Location: Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center Theater.
Showtime: 6:30-7:30 p.m.
If you are interested in setting up a screening of The Gettysburg Story please email:
Public Television Broadcast and Home Video:
The broadcast on public television via MPT will happen in the coming months. Stay tuned for details.
DVDs and downloads of The Gettysburg Story will be available shortly. We are also developing educational tools for teachers.
Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign:Our Kickstarter Campaign ended on March 31. It was an overwhelming success. We raised over 3 times our initial goal.Thank you to all our backers!  We are preparing to deliver your rewards in the coming weeks.
Many of you have asked if you can still back the project.  It's not too late. You can still join us! 
To back our project click here.  The deadline is June 8.

The Wheatfield:
On a separate but related not I am also producing a short film -  The Wheatfield:
To mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, actor/writer Stephen Lang has joined with filmmaker Jake Boritt, and animator/directors Alexander and Adrian Smith to create THE WHEATFIELD - a ten minute film depicting the actions of Medal of Honor recipient, James Jackson Purman, in the WHEATFIELD during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. The film will receive its first special screening at a gala reception on July 1, 2013 at the Visitor Center in Gettysburg, Pa.
Thank you to all who have supported the project and helped spread the word. Let's keep the momentum going. Together we will bring The Gettysburg Story alive as it has never been seen before. 

Jake Boritt Signature
PS: Please share with anyone interested in The Gettysburg Story
Gettysburg Story - June 16 Premiere

Backing for The Gettysburg Story provided by:
The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay      The Gordon & Carol Beittenmiller Family 
Brett Bozeman      The Michael Shaara Foundation      Chelsey & David Remnick in honor of Gabor Boritt 
1863 Supporters: 
Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides      Dwight D. Eisenhower Society      Linda & Duane Williams 
Phil & Donna Lechak       Gretchen & Michael Ross 

Alyssum Staner    Karen Legotte Langdon    Zac Miller    
The Lancaster Civil War Round Table        Sarah Key and Joshua Goldberg     Michael Hormula

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Upcoming Post--Stonewall Goes West

Thanks going out to author Rich E. Thomas for sending along a copy of his new work of fiction Stonewall Goes West: A Novel of The Civil War and What Might Have Been.

Stonewall Jackson's death at the Battle of Chancellorsville is the great "what if" of the Civil War. In Stonewall Goes West, the fabled Jackson survives his wounding at Chancellorsville in 1863 to assume command of the South’s Army of Tennessee. In a final bid to reverse the failing fortunes of the Confederacy, a maimed but unbowed General Jackson confronts not only Sherman's Union armies on the western front, but his own recalcitrant generals. Stonewall Goes West gives the classic "what if” a fresh, new answer in a fast-paced tale, rich with authentic detail, filled with battle and strategy, and populated by the Civil War's most colorful personalities.

R.E. Thomas is the Managing Editor of The Whiskey Reviewer, a freelance boxing and travel writer, and holds degrees in history and international relations. He has previously published a book about Port wine, and "Stonewall Goes West" is his first novel.

For those interested in more information Mr. Thomas has several websites available. For information on his book visit:

Website--Stonewall Goes West
Facebook--Stonewall Goes West-Facebook

If you are interested in more information on the Whiskey Reviewer you may visit the website linked above or visit the Facebook page.

Free Books! Give-away deadline June 10, 2013

Don't forget that Random House has provided me with free copies of a couple of books to give-away to readers. Please click on the links below for further details and the press release from RH. You can also click on the photo and get further information on Amazon. I am extending the deadline until June 10, 2013 to see if anybody else is interested. All you have to do is leave a comment on the original post (not this one) with why you would like the book. Remember, the books are free just make sure I have a way to contact you!

Here is Where

A Curious Man