Monday, May 31, 2010

Bringing home U.S. memorials from Iraq

As the U.S. begins troop withdrawls from Iraq the issue of bringing back memorials to those who have fallen becomes an issue. Some of these are large and pose a logistical problem. Here's an interesting Memorial Day related article  on what the military is doing to help bring these momuments home with the troops.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Self Publish through Apple iBookstore

I saw this article today that Apple will begin allowing authors to sell their books directly through the Apple iBookstore. With the interest in iPads this may be of interest to many with narrow niche books to sell. Of course there are all the normal Apple requirements and then there is the whole issue of marketing and how will folks know about your book. Details, details, details. If you have an Intel based Mac computer it still may be worth looking into.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Civil War in 3D

From the National Archives:

NARA: Civil War in 3-D on 10 June

NARA: Civil War in 3-D on 10 June

National Archives Presents "The Civil War in 3-D" on June 10 Special program to highlight stereoscopic images of the War. 3-D glasses included!

Washington, DC. . . On Thursday, June 10, at 7 PM, the National Archives presents "The Civil War in 3-D," a special program inspired by the new major exhibit Discovering the Civil War. This program is free and open to the public and will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building. Use the Special Events entrance on the corner of 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.

Presented in partnership with the Center for Civil War Photography, this illustrated lecture will feature 170 stereoscopic images taken during the Civil War. Bob Zeller, president of the Center for Civil War Photography, and John J. Richter, director of imaging for the center, will present "Lincoln in 3-D." Audience members will be given 3-D glasses to enable them to step into the tableaux of many of the most famous photographs of President Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.
Stereoscopic images in the fully digitized show include portraits of Lincoln, photographs of both of his inaugurations, his visits to Antietam and Gettysburg, his summer home, the White House, the city of Washington, the hanging of the assassination conspirators, and more.

Discovering the Civil War Part One, Beginnings, is on display in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, through September 6, 2010. The exhibit peels back 150 years of accumulated analysis, interpretation, and opinion to reveal a Civil War that is little-known and even more rarely displayed. The exhibition offers visitors the chance to join researchers in unlocking secrets, solving mysteries, and uncovering unexpected events in the Civil War records of the National Archives. Museum Spring/Summer hours (through Labor Day) are 10 AM to 7 PM, daily. The exhibition is presented by the Center for the National Archives Experience and the Foundation for the National Archives.

For information on National Archives Public Programs, call (202) 357-5000, or view the Calendar of Events online at:

To request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program, please email or call (202) 357-5000 at least two weeks prior to the event.
For more information about Discovering the Civil War or to obtain images of items included in the exhibition, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at (202) 357-5300.
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Book Review--War Like the Thunderbolt

Bonds, Russell S. War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta. Westholme Publishing, Yardley, PA. 2009. 522 pages, 410 pages of text. Index, bibliography, notes, b/w photos, 10 maps.
War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta Russell Bonds set the bar high for himself with his first book Stealing the General. In War Like the Thunderbolt he has leaped even higher and is setting huge expectations for whatever his third book may be.

War Like the Thunderbolt tells the story of William T. Sherman and the burning of the city of Atlanta. This is done from the interesting perspective of the city itself rather than being a straight "war" book. The city and its residents are a major focus with what becomes of them seeming to be the ultimate goal. We see the vibrancy, the destruction, and the resurrection of this leading city.

Bonds starts off with an introduction to the major players and the fact that Sherman eventually decides his target to be the city of Atlanta rather than Joe Johnston and his army. The reason being that Atlanta is of huge value to the Confederacy. Taking Atlanta would cripple the Confederacy due to its importance as a rail hub and the value of the city in getting reinforcements and supplies to troops.

Bonds builds the story through the preliminary battles and does a great job describing the situations. From the terrain of the marches to the wearing down of soldiers to the lack of following through on orders by commanders Bonds leads us to the inevitable that started on September 1, 1864. Here the orders to evacuate Atlanta were given and the Confederates began destroying what they could not take. The occupation of Atlanta begins and private citizens were ordered to leave the city unless they had special permission to stay. Rail cars were packed and people took everything they could. As Sherman burned his way through Georgia the Union set destructive fires in Atlanta started November 11 with most of the damage occurring on the 15th and 16th.

Bonds spends several pages at the end discussing the rebuilding efforts that occurred after the war. Sherman himself was surprised at the efforts when he made a return visit in 1879. Bonds wraps up the book with a short note titled "Atlanta's Lost Battlefields" where he takes us on a brief tour of what has happened to the land where much blood was shed. Atlanta is not much of a sentimental city and most of the battlefields have been paved over and have houses and businesses on them. Most of what is left are the Atlanta Cyclorama, cemeteries, and some historical markers.

Despite living in the Atlanta area Bonds leaves the reader to make their own conclusions as to who is responsible. What I took away was that Sherman must bear a considerable amount of the guilt for the destruction of civilian property that took place. Many of Sherman's orders proved vague and soldiers carried them out as they saw fit. In addition there was little discipline on the part of soldiers and little to no punishment handed down to those who violated orders.

As I said Bonds has set the bar even higher for himself with this work. The writing is crisp and the research extensive. The book moves along at a quick pace. The notes are almost as readable as the text itself. The inclusion of maps and b/w photos help the reader with the action. The book isn't long on strategies and tactics but does prove to be an excellent work on this crucial period of the war. Highly recommended.

As an FYI the paperback version of this book will be released on September 2, 2010 according to the Facebook page for the book.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Savas Beatie Book Trailer: Valley Thunder

Savas Beatie has posted a new video book trailer for Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market. Check it out here. Looks like another winner. So many great books are out there now I just can't find time for all of them.
Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market and the Opening of the Shenandoah Campaign, May 1864

Thursday, May 20, 2010

CWPT Annual Photo Contest

I know some of my readers and Facebook friends are photographers whether amateur or professional. Enter the Civil War Preservation Trust 2010 Photography Contest for a chance to win some nice prizes and for your photo to be seen by millions. Well, ok that might be an exageration but you will be seen by lots and lots of people.

Ulysses S. Grant papers now online

I was catching up on my blog reading and came across a post I wanted to repost. Thanks to Nick Kurtz at Battlefield Wanderings for pointing out that the Ulysses S. Grant papers are now online courtesy of the Mississippi State University Libraries. This should be a huge help to anyone researching Grant. Of course there's nothing like holding a real honest to goodness book but let's face it the papers are over 30 volumes now at roughly $100 each. I think for most of us the online version is a much friendlier option.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Alonzo Cushing to receive MOH

147 years later 1st Lt. Alonzo Cushing will be awarded the Medal of Honor. Read a full story here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Missouri posting CW records online

I came across this interesting article through another blog I read (thanks Dick Eastman). As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War approaches archivists are working to post as many documents online as possible. Read a recent article about what Missouri is doing here.  The major site they are posting to is . This looks like it could be a great site if you are researching anything to do with Missouri wheter related to the Civil War or not.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Civil War Preservation Trust Report

The Civil War Preservation Trust has released it's annual report on the most endangered battlefields. Click the link below and access the full report. Below is the press release from earlier this week:

Civil War Preservation Trust Releases Annual Report on Nation's Most Endangered Battlefields Best-Selling Author Jeff Shaara Joins Trust to Unveil “History Under Siege” Report(Washington, D.C.) – The iconic Pennsylvania battlefield synonymous with American valor, now facing a second attempt to bring casino gambling to its doorstep; a Virginia crossroads where a single marching order set the Union army on the road to victory, now proposed for a monstrous commercial development; and a rocky Arizona spire where Confederate and Union forces fiercely faced off, now jeopardized by state budget cuts; are some of the nation’s most endangered Civil War battlefields.

At a news conference held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) unveiled its annual report on the status of the nation’s historic battlegrounds. The report, entitled History Under Siege™: A Guide to America’s Most Endangered Civil War Battlefields, identifies the most threatened Civil War sites in the United States and what can be done to save them.

“All across the country, our nation’s irreplaceable battlefields – these tangible links to our shared history – are threatened by inappropriate development, misguided public policy, limited financial resources and, in some cases, simple apathy,” said CWPT President James Lighthizer at the report’s unveiling. “Next year marks the Sesquicentennial of the bloodiest conflict in our nation’s history, and as we prepare for that seminal moment, it is an opportune time to shine a spotlight on the places that tell America’s story.”

Joining Lighthizer at the news conference was best-selling author Jeff Shaara, who also serves on the CWPT Board of Trustees. The author of nine New York Times bestsellers, Shaara’s novels, including the Civil War-themed Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure, have been praised by historians for their painstaking research. His only non-fiction work, Jeff Shaara’s Civil War Battlefields, is a unique and personal tour across ten of America’s most hallowed battlegrounds. In testament to his commitment to historic preservation, Shaara donated the entire advance from the project toward battlefield protection efforts.

“Nothing creates an emotional connection between present and past like walking in the footsteps of our Civil War soldiers,” said Shaara. “I hope that by drawing attention to endangered Civil War battlefields, Americans will this see hallowed ground in a new way and understand that these sites must be preserved for future generations to experience.”

Also taking the podium at the news conference was Dr. Mark Snell, director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University. A Civil War scholar and retired army officer, Snell was appointed to the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Commission last summer by Governor Joe Manchin, and was subsequently elected vice-chairman.

“Particularly on the eve of the Civil War’s 150th anniversary, there is no more fitting commemoration of American valor than respectfully protecting the land where our soldiers fought and bled,” said Snell.

For three days in the summer of 1863, 160,000 men in blue and gray fought the Civil War’s largest and bloodiest battle around the crossroads town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In 2006, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rejected a proposal to build a slots parlor near Gettysburg’s East Cavalry Field, citing widespread public opposition to the plan. However, earlier this year the same chief investor rolled the dice again and announced plans for another Gettysburg casino. Although smaller than the previous proposal, this casino would be only one half-mile from Gettysburg National Military Park.

In May 1864, Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s bloody Overland Campaign began in a tangled mass of second-growth trees and scrub known as the Wilderness, Virginia. When portions of Grant’s army attacked elements of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army on May 5, 1864, it was the first time the two legendary commanders met in battle. In August 2009, the Orange County, Va. Board of Supervisors approved a massive commercial center featuring a Walmart and four retailers at the gateway to the historic battlefield. A lawsuit to block the project is pending.

While most of the battles of the Civil War took place on southern soil, Confederate and Union forces engaged in their westernmost struggle at Picacho Peak, Arizona, on April 15, 1862. Confederate Capt. Sherod Hunter raised his flag in the small, frontier settlement of Tucson, hoping to take another step toward the Pacific and the creation of an ocean-to-ocean Confederacy. The Confederate rangers were met by a detachment of Union cavalry under the leadership of Lt. James Barrett near Picacho Peak, a rocky spire 50 miles northwest of Tucson. Although Picacho Peak State Park is a popular tourist destination, it will close to the public on June 3, 2010, due to drastic cuts in the state budget – less than one year before the sesquicentennial of the war,

The Civil War Preservation Trust is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promoting appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. History Under Siege is composed of two parts; one identifying the 10 most endangered battlefields in the nation, and a second section lists 15 additional “at risk” sites also confronted by serious threats. Sites discussed in the report range from the famous to the nearly forgotten, but at least part of each site is in danger of being lost forever. Battlefields were chosen based on geographic location, military significance, and the immediacy of current threats.

History Under Siege™ also includes:

Camp Allegheny, W.Va., December 13, 1861: Early in the war, North and South both strove to gain control over the western counties of Virginia, meeting in a number of engagements among the peaks and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains. Today, the scenic beauty of Camp Allegheny, West Virginia stands to be compromised by a field of 40-story-high wind turbines — 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty — to be built within view of the battlefield.

Cedar Creek, Va., October 19, 1864: In the fall of 1864, Union Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan marched up the fertile Shenandoah Valley, stripping the countryside bare to starve out Confederate forces. After a daring Confederate surprise attack at Cedar Creek, Union forces launched a crushing counterattack, extinguishing the South’s last hope of recovering the Valley. In 2008, the Frederick County Board of Supervisors approved a massive expansion of the mine operating adjacent to Cedar Creek, which would destroy nearly 400 acres of battlefield land crucial to telling the story of this decisive struggle.

Fort Stevens, Washington, D.C., July 11–12, 1864: Fort Stevens was part of an extensive ring of fortifications surrounding Civil War Washington, but in July 1864 those defenses were vulnerable to a direct attack by Confederate forces under Lt. Gen. Jubal Early. President Abraham Lincoln, watching the action from Fort Stevens, came under fire from sharpshooters. Last year, a church adjacent to the fort applied for a zoning exemption to build an immense community center complex. The new construction would tower over the fort, significantly degrading the visitor experience.

Pickett’s Mill, Ga., May 27, 1864: The Battle of Pickett’s Mill was one of the most stinging Union defeats of the 1864 Atlanta Campaign and the first serious check on Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s momentous campaign against this Confederate transportation center. Although Pickett’s Mill Battlefield State Historic Site is widely regarded as thoroughly preserved and interpreted, the park was forced to reduce its hours significantly due to budget cuts, and last autumn it was inundated by floodwaters that destroyed footbridges and a portion of the historic mill.

Richmond, Ky., August 29–30, 1862: Confederate Maj. Gen. Kirby Smith’s newly-dubbed “Army of Kentucky”—a bearded, shoeless band of rebel soldiers — marched north in the soaring heat of August 1862 and encountered a hastily-formed Union force led by Maj. Gen. William Nelson. The ensuing battle became one of the most decisive Confederate victories of the Civil War. Although the battlefield has been well protected to date, future preservation efforts will be complicated by the addition of a new highway interchange, paving the way for significant commercial growth in an area that has previously experienced little development pressure.

South Mountain, Md., September 14, 1862: In early September 1862, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee launched an audacious invasion of the North. But when a copy of his orders was discovered by Union soldiers in a field, wrapped around cigars, federal commanders were able to move quickly against the vulnerable Confederates at the Battle of South Mountain. In December 2008, Dominion Power purchased 135 acres of battlefield land for a proposed $55 million natural gas compression station, a plan that has been subsequently suspended with an option to re-file.

Thoroughfare Gap, Va. August 28, 1862: Although a relatively small engagement, the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap was of immense strategic significance, setting the stage for the battles of Second Manassas and, ultimately, Antietam. In February, consultants began seeking comments from the preservation community regarding a proposal to build a 150-foot-tall communications tower within the core battlefield area at Thoroughfare Gap. Although construction of Interstate 66 in the 1960s saw portions of the mountain gap widened, the area retains much of its rural, scenic beauty.

With 55,000 members, CWPT 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. CWPT has preserved more than 29,000 acres of battlefield land across the nation. CWPT’s website is

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thoughts on the O.R. on cd or dvd?

I would like to get a copy of the Official Records but since space right now is an issue (and my wife would not like me bringing in well over 100 volumes) I won't be getting them in book format. Does anybody have suggestions on getting this in cd or dvd format? They are all over eBay of course but you never know what you're going to get. If you would be so kind to let me know where you got yours and any thoughts good or bad I would much appreciate it. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Vinland Energy Bulldozes Kentucky Cemetery

FOURMILE, Ky. (AP) - Dorothy Lingar couldn't believe what she saw
- a bulldozer shoving family graves, both marked and unmarked,
over a hill.

Lingar and other family members were upset last week when the
bulldozer, contracted to Vinland Energy of London, Ky., plowed
through a family cemetery near Fourmile, in southeastern Kentucky.

"We have never went through anything like this. We're
shocked," said Lingar, as she recalled walking through the family
cemetery as a child. "That's our history, our flesh and blood, and
we are upset. These were good people and they don't deserve to be
treated this way."

The incident happened Wednesday, as the bulldozer cleared land
for a Vinland project in the area. Vinland Energy Vice President of
Operations Scott Gilbert told the Middlesboro Daily News the
company is aware of what happened at the cemetery.

"We're sorry that we disturbed it," Gilbert said. "We're
going to do what we can."
But, for Lingar and Bill Dun, a Middlesboro resident with family
buried in the cemetery, the destruction of the graves is

Dunn saw the bulldozer as he rode a four-wheeler near the
cemetery, in the Dew-Well Hollow, and realized what was happening.
After approaching the bulldozer operator, Dunn said, the work
stopped immediately.

"He was real remorseful," Dunn said. "Everyone that I've
talked with so far has been sympathetic."

Gilbert said the company had no idea that the cemetery was there
and pointed to maps of Bell County, which don't list the graveyard.
Gilbert also said the company checks with local officials before

"It wasn't on a map," Gilbert said. "Who in their right
mind's going to disturb a cemetery?"
Lingar, with a great-grandfather, Pleasant "Pleas" Elliott,
buried on the property, and Dunn said someone should have noticed
the graves.

"I mean whoever walked up there and tied that survey ribbon had
to see it," Dunn said. "We just want the site cleaned up, so we
can see how many graves there is... And hopefully, they will
recreate the cemetery because this is part of our history."

Information from: The Daily News,

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Well sure everybody is sympathetic now that they have been caught redhanded. How freaking ignorant do you have to be to bulldoze a cemetery? "Who in their right mind's going to disturb a cemetery?" they ask. Well apparently Vinland Energy that's who.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Civil War Book Review--Spring 2010

Just received this email from the LSU Libraries Special Collections. The Spring 2010 issue of Civil War Book Review is now online.

Long have historians studied history by examining the political actors and politics of those involved. In recent decades scholars have begun to focus their attention on social, economic, and cultural history yet political history continues to thrive. Political history remains a vibrant and viable lens through which to view past events, especially the American Civil War. Those political actors who guided the United States during the antebellum period, through the Civil War and into the Reconstruction period influenced the course of events immensely. 

The Spring 2010 issue of Civil War Book Review focuses heavily on the politics of the period. The newest addition to Louisiana State University Press’s Southern Biography Series, Sam Davis Elliott’s Isham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator, focuses our attention on one of the key figures of the period’s political activity. Harris provides a look into the political world of the Civil War era as Elliot gives an account of his senatorial and gubernatorial experience in the often-disjointed state of Tennessee. Next, Stephen C. Neff details the legal issues that arose from the Civil War as he studies the lawfulness of many of the political decisions including secession, executive powers, and more in Justice in Blue and Gray: A Legal History of the Civil War. Howard Jones’s new synthesis, Blue & Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations provides a masterful account of the diplomatic relations between the northern and southern governments and the European powers, especially Great Britain and France. His study illustrates, at its best, the value of understanding political history as Jones gives an account of the actors who maintained a constant conversation with foreign powers about the possibility of intervention in the American conflict. Finally, eminent historian, Michael Perman provides a sweeping survey of southern politics. His most recent work, Pursuit of Unity: A Political History of the American South, take readers on a journey, narrating the political history of the American South from 1800 through the present-day political environment. 
Justice in Blue and Gray: A Legal History of the Civil War Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations (The Littlefield History of the Civil War Era)Pursuit of Unity: A Political History of the American SouthIsham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator (Southern Biography Series)Becoming American Under Fire: Irish Americans, African Americans, and the Politics of Citizenship During the Civil War EraLincoln and the Politics of Christian Love

Civil War Book Review would like to thank Professor Christian G. Samito for taking the time to discuss his recent book, Becoming American under Fire: Irish Americans, African Americans, and the Politics of Citizenship during the Civil War Era. In this, well-researched and well-argued study, Professor Samito raises a great number of significant questions about citizenship during the Civil War era. He graciously spoke with Civil War Book Review about some of the issues that arise out of his book as Irish Americans and African Americans sought to become a part of the United States, taking an active role in the politics of this nation. 

This quarter, Leah Wood Jewett provides an account of some Louisianan planters’ views on the question of secession. Their political course, dictated by the election of Abraham Lincoln, changed significantly over the months preceding secession of the state of Louisiana and Jewett has provided first-hand accounts that help us to explore and understand the complexity of the political world that these Louisianans occupied. 

I am pleased to be able to feature a wonderful piece in which Frank J. Williams uses Grant Havers’s recent work, Lincoln and the Politics of Christian Love to examine the intersection between Christianity and Abraham Lincoln’s political actions. Williams has, yet again, provided an insightful piece of writing that uses a recent historical study of the Civil War era to reflect on our lives today. 

As always, this effort would not be possible were it not for the assistance and support that I receive daily from the staff at LSU Libraries and the Special Collections Department here at Louisiana State University. Their dedication and attention help to make this quarterly journal seem effortless and I thank them. 

Lastly, Civil War Book Review regrets that an error was made in a Winter 2010 review of Brian McGinty’s John Brown’s Trial. We would like to retract the criticism of Mr. McGinty for his usage of “Harper’s Ferry” in Jeannine Marie DeLombard’s review; the review incorrectly neglected to take into account the endnote in which Mr. McGinty details his usage over the more common “Harpers Ferry.”  

Civil War Book Review is published in the first week of the months of February, May, August, and November. If you would like to receive e-mail reminders of upcoming issues and special features on the website, click on “Sign me up for CWBR Updates!” link at the bottom of any page in the journal. From there, you can provide us with your contact information so that you will receive these e-mail reminders. Of course, we will NEVER share your personal information with any third party.
Civil War Book Review is the journal of record for new or newly reprinted books about the antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction eras, and is a project of the United States Civil War Center, LSU Libraries Special Collections. A reader’s survey can be accessed through the CWBR homepage. 
To contribute to the Civil War Book Review fund, or for information on editorial matters, contact Nathan Buman, Editor, by phone at (225) 578-3553 or by email at

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Savas Beatie--Book Trailers

Still going through email from my internet outage. I came across this really cool item announcing the new color version of The Maps of Gettysburg by Bradley Gottfried published by Savas Beatie. Click on this video link for more information. I've already got the b/w version but will have to look into getting the color one. Looks like another winner from this fine publisher!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Internet problems

Hi folks. Sorry for the lack of posts recently. If you are a Facebook friend you might have seen that I have been having problems with my internet service thanks to a defective AT&T router/modem. We got a new one through UPS yesterday and we seem to be back in business. It's just a matter of getting caught up on everything. It's amazing how much junk email accumulates in five days.

Anyway, a quick look into what is coming soon. I've got a couple of newsletter and magazines to mention. I've also finished reading Russell Bonds masterful War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta. Russell again shows why he is such a great writer. If you haven't read it you should. Currently I am reading This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Vintage Civil War Library) by Drew Gilpin Faust. I read this when it first came out and really enjoyed it. Now that I have a venue to share my views I'm rereading it and should have a review up shortly.

Graduation and summer school are rapidly approaching so I'll be busy work wise but hope to have some new posts up soon. Thanks for reading my blog!