Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Upcoming Post-Robert E. Lee in War and Peace

I recently received a copy of Robert E. Lee in War and Peace: The Photographic History of a Confederate and American Icon, written by Donald A. Hopkins, courtesy of the good folks at Savas Beatie, LLC.

I can't wait to dig into this one. Dr. Hopkins, a medical doctor not a Ph.D., has uncovered 61 images of The Marble Man, some being reproduced in print for the first time.

Differing from Ostendorff's work on Lincoln, Dr. Hopkins doesn't set up a numbering system for photos. Here, the photos are discussed and analyzed, the photographers given their due, and new discoveries shared with the Civil War community.

This book more than lives up the normal Savas Beatie standard in terms of the physical appearance. Printed on high quality paper there is a real heft to the book. While I haven't read it yet this one looks like any student of the Civil War should own a copy. Those interested in early photography would also be wise to take a look

Friday, October 25, 2013

John F. Kennedy Memorial Issue of Saturday Evening Post

It's a bit off-topic but I thought this worth sharing because of the importance of the original event.
The Saturday Evening Post Remembers JFK on the 50th Anniversary of his Assassination

Archives Chronicle a Nation in Mourning

The original cover to the December 14, 1963
Saturday Evening Post featuring a Norman
Rockwell cover.
Indianapolis— The shot that killed John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 left an indelible mark on America. The Saturday Evening Post was there, capturing the thoughts and tributes of the celebrated men who knew him well in its December 14, 1963 issue, which was devoted almost entirely to memorializing the fallen president.

Now, 50 years later, the Post opens its vault to pay honor to our 35th president as his contemporaries knew him. The September/October 2013 issue of The Saturday Evening Post shares excerpts from the issue:

·         Former president Eisenhower on the culprit: “In a population as large as ours there is bound to be a certain number of such warped people, but their existence does not indicate that the people of the United States have become lawless.”

·         Journalist Bill Davidson on the Kennedy family’s courage: “According to friends, [Jacqueline] Kennedy never broke down once during the dreadful night at Bethesda Naval Hospital or when she returned to the White House.”

·         Pulitzer Prize Winning Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. on JFK’s legacy: “Still, if he had not done all that he would have hoped to do, finished all that he begun, he had given the nation a new sense of itself—a new spirit, a new style, a new conception of its role and destiny.”

The full story, along with the Norman Rockwell portrait that graced the cover of the 1963 issue, is available online at Additionally, The Saturday Evening Post is issuing a commemorative reprint of the John F. Kennedy In-Memoriam issue in its original-as-published format. For more information, call 1-800-558-2376 or go to

About The Saturday Evening Post

For nearly 300 years, The Saturday Evening Post has chronicled American history in the making—reflecting the distinctive characteristics and values that define the American way. Today’s Post continues the grand tradition of providing art, entertainment and information in a stimulating mix of idea-driven features, cutting-edge health and medical trends—plus fiction, humor, and laugh-out-loud cartoons. A key feature is the Post Perspective, which brings historical context to current issues and hot topics such as health care, religious freedom, education, and more. Tracing its roots to Benjamin Franklin, The Saturday Evening Post mirrors cherished American ideals and values, most memorably illustrated by its iconic cover artist Norman Rockwell. The Post is also known for publishing such literary greats as Ray Bradbury, Agatha Christie, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edgar Allan Poe, and Kurt Vonnegut, and continues to seek out and discover emerging writers of the 21st century. Headquartered in Indianapolis, the Post is a publication of the nonprofit Saturday Evening Post Society, which also publishes the award-winning youth magazines Turtle, Humpty Dumpty, and Jack and Jill.  


“As the nation changed, the Post changed, but it looks to its past as a fertile ground for its future.”——Starkey Flythe, Jr, Former Post Executive Editor

Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Review--A Field Guide to Gettysburg

Reardon, Carol and Tom Vossler. A Field Guide to Gettysburg: Experiencing the Battlefield through Its History, Places, and People . Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2013. 454 pages, maps, color and b/w photos, index, notes. $22.

There are so many books on the battle of Gettysburg you would practically need an entire library to house them all and more are coming every week. That just goes to show the sway that this beautiful battlefield has on not just those interested in the Civil War but in travelers in general.

Most visitors, no matter how well intentioned, are not going to sit down and read Coddington, Sears, Trudeau, or any of the other, very large, books that attempt to cover all three days of battle. A book like Reardon and Vossler's however may be just what these day trippers are looking for.

The book is broken down by day with each day having several chapters. The chapters are broken down further into several driving stops. Each stop contains more than enough information for the casual tourist and yet will provide those more knowledgeable with plenty to consider and learn from. The book does not follow along with the driving guides found at the Visitor Center complex so please don't confuse the two.

When following along with the book visitors will make many stops along the battlefield. Accurate driving instructions are included so don't worry if you don't know the road layout. Each stop includes several sections. These include: Orientation, What Happened There, Who Fought Here, Who Commanded Here, Who Fell Here and What Did They Say About it Later.

For me the beauty of this book is that readers will get a chance to see and learn about under appreciated portions of the field and lesser known participants (I always check for information on the Florida Brigade and the author's don't disappoint.). Of course there are stops for East Cemetery Hill, Little Round Top and Devil's Den. There is so much more to the field however and by following along a visitor will get to see so much that is seldom covered. Mind you, there are 35 stops included in the guide. You will not effectively be able to see them all in one day. The battle was just too complicated and the book too in depth for a one day trip. If you are in town for the short a time I would recommend having this book ahead of time so that you can plan your itinerary before arriving.

Reardon and Vossler have written a book that can be read on it's own merit. The research appears to be solid and there are plenty of notes for those wishing to follow up on statements made. This is a book more written to be used while touring. While paperback, this is a solid book that looks like it would be able to stand up to wear and use on the field. For the price this is an unbeatable bargain for anybody interested in Gettysburg. Highly recommended.

Another "can't miss" Gettysburg guide is The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest written by J. D. Petruzzi and Steven Stanley. Please see my review here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Center for Civil War Photography Matching Donation Opportunity

Here's a good way to make your donation budget go further. The Center for Civil War Photography does great work and is certainly worthy of your consideration.
At the 2013 Image of War Seminar last week, an anonymous donor proposed a matching donation challenge.  This donor will donate up to $5,000 to the Center for Civil War Photography if matching funds can be raised.  If you would like to donate towards this fundraising effort, please visit our website's donation page and enter "matching donation" in the comments section.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Arrivals From LSU Press and Southern Illinois University Press

A couple of new books have arrived in the mailbox recently. Both look interesting.

From Southern Illinois University Press comes The Vicksburg Campaign, March 29-May 18, 1863 (Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland) edited by Steven E. Woodworth and Charles D. Grear.

From the publisher:
Ulysses S. Grant’s ingenious campaign to capture the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River was one of the most decisive events of the Civil War and one of the most storied military expeditions in American history. The ultimate victory at Vicksburg effectively cut the Confederacy in two, gave control of the river to Union forces, and delivered a devastating blow from which the South never fully recovered. Editors Steven E. Woodworth and Charles D. Grear have assembled essays by prominent and emerging scholars, who contribute astute analysis of this famous campaign’s most crucial elements and colorful personalities.

Encompassed in this first of five planned volumes on the Vicksburg campaign are examinations of the pivotal events that comprised the campaign’s maneuver stage, from March to May of 1863. The collection sheds new light on Grant’s formidable intelligence network of former slaves, Mississippi loyalists, and Union spies; his now legendary operations to deceive and confuse his Confederate counterparts; and his maneuvers from the perspective of classic warfare. Also presented are insightful accounts of Grant’s contentious relationship with John A. McClernand during the campaign; interactions between hostile Confederate civilians and Union army troops; and the planning behind such battles as Grierson’s Raid, Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill, and Big Black River Bridge.

From LSU Press and author Brian Steel Wills comes Confederate General William Dorsey Pender: The Hope of Glory (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War).

From the publisher:
During the Civil War, North Carolinian William Dorsey Pender established himself as one of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's best young generals. He served in most of the significant engagements of the war in the eastern theater while under the command of Joseph E. Johnston at Seven Pines and Robert E. Lee from the Seven Days to Gettysburg. His most crucial contributions to Confederate success came at the battles of Second Manassas, Shepherdstown, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. After an effective first day at Gettysburg, Pender was struck by a shell and disabled, necessitating his return to Virginia for what he hoped would be only an extended convalescence. Although Pender initially survived the wound, he died soon thereafter due to complications from his injury.

In this thorough biography of Pender, noted Civil War historian Brian Steel Wills examines both the young general's military career and his domestic life. While Pender devoted himself to military service, he also embraced the Episcopal Church and was baptized before his command in the field. According to Wills, Pender had an insatiable quest for "glory" in both earthly and heavenly realms, and he delighted in his role as a husband and father. In Pender's voluminous correspondence with his wife, Fanny, he shared his beliefs and offered views and opinions on a vast array of subjects. In the end, Wills suggests that Pender's story captures both the idealistic promise and the despair of a war that cost the lives of many Americans and changed the nation forever.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Press Release-A Quaker Officer in the Civil War

The History Press is pleased to introduce the new title:
Henry Gawthrop of the 4th Delaware
Justin Carisio

When the call went out in 1862 for volunteers for Delaware’s 4th Infantry Regiment, a number of men from Quaker families came forward to fight for the Union. Deeply patriotic and strongly opposed to slavery, they served with distinction in some of the later campaigns of the Civil War, from Cold Harbor through Appomattox. Among them was Henry Gawthrop. Commissioned a first lieutenant in Company F, he saw action during the Siege of Petersburg and at the Battle of Five Forks. Fifty years after the war, he drew on his diary and letters from the war years to create a unique memoir that is among the most comprehensive and detailed of any Delaware Civil War veteran. This is his story.

Justin Carisio, of Wilmington, Delaware, is the company historian at DuPont, where he has worked as an executive speech writer for more than 30 years. He is a volunteer at Antietam National Battlefield and holds degrees from La Salle University and the Johns Hopkins University.

ISBN: 978-1-60949-751-4  •  Paperback   •   160 pages   •   $19.99  •  October 2013
This new book is available at local stores and online at
It retails as an E-BOOK via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple’s I-bookstore, Google’s  E-bookstore, & Overdrive.

Press Release--The Little Rock Arsenal Crisis

The History Press is pleased to introduce the new title:
On the Precipice of the American Civil War
David Sesser

Before shots rang out on a distant South Carolina shore, talk of secession occurred throughout the antebellum United States. These talks grew to a fervent yell in Little Rock, Arkansas. On the eve of a statewide election to determine a secession convention, pro-secession militia descended on Little Rock in February 1861. They closed in around the Federally controlled arsenal in the hopes of seizing the weapons stores. A standoff began between the Federal troops and secessionists, with the citizens of Little Rock caught in the middle. The ensuing political debate set the stage for Southern secession, and the arsenal weapons became integral to the Confederate cause. Join author David Sesser in an exploration of the fascinating political drama and prelude to the bloodiest war in American history.
November 23 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. @ WordsWorth Books & Co (5920 R St, Little Rock, AR)

David Sesser is an assistant librarian at Huie Library, Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He holds graduate degrees in history, public history and library and information science. He resides in Arkadelphia with his wife.

ISBN: 978-1-60949-969-3 •  Paperback   •   128 pages   •   $19.99  •  October 2013
This new book is available at local stores and online at
It retails as an E-BOOK via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple’s I-bookstore, Google’s  E-bookstore, & Overdrive.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

University of Nebraska Press to Publish Gettysburg Magazine

Gettysburg Magazine #47
July 2012
The University of Nebraska Press will be the new publisher of Gettysburg Magazine. Would you like to work for them? They are hiring an editor.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this. I have hopes. Being now an academic journal I hope they keep the same no advertising policy as before. As long as they can keep on a regular schedule I am sure that many folks will be happy. My fear is that the cost will be raised and more in line with other academic journals.

Another thought: Does anybody have an idea what will become of the back issues and will Gatehouse Press continue to sell the bound volumes? I guess I need to look into picking those up in the near future.

History Press New Releases

Thanks to my good friends at The History Press for sending along copies of a couple of their new releases.

First up from prolific author Michael C. Hardy is Watauga County, North Carolina in the Civil War.

From the publisher: Some say that Watauga County's name comes from a word meaning "beautiful waters," yet during the Civil War, events in this rugged western North Carolina region were far from beautiful. Hundreds of the county's sons left to fight gloriously for the Confederacy. This left the area open to hordes of plundering rogues from East Tennessee, including George W. Kirk's notorious band of thieves. While no large-scale battles took place there, Boone was the scene of the beginning of Stoneman's 1865 raid. The infamous Keith and Malinda Blalock called Watauga County home, leading escaped POWs and dissidents from Blowing Rock to Banner Elk. The four brutal years of conflict, followed by the more brutal Reconstruction, changed the county forever. Join Civil War historian Michael C. Hardy as he reveals Watauga County's Civil War sacrifices and heroism, both on and off the battlefield.
Mike Bunn is the executive director of the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and the author of Civil War Eufaula  

From the publisher: Told here for the first time is the compelling story of the Bluff City during the Civil War. Historian and preservationist Mike Bunn takes you from the pivotal role Eufaula played in Alabama's secession and early enthusiasm for the Confederate cause to its aborted attempt to become the state's capital and its ultimate capture by Union forces, chronicling the effects of the conflict on Eufaulans along the way. Civil War Eufaula draws on a wide range of firsthand individual perspectives, including those of husbands and wives, political leaders, businessmen, journalists, soldiers, students and slaves, to produce a mosaic of observations on shared experiences. Together, they communicate what it was like to live in this riverside trading town during a prolonged and cataclysmic war. It is the story of ordinary people in extraordinary times


Monday, October 7, 2013

Press Release--The Dreaded Thirteenth Tennessee Union Cavalry

The History Press is pleased to introduce the new title:
The Dreaded Thirteenth Tennessee Union Cavalry
Marauding Mountain Men
Melanie Storie
Tennessee’s Thirteenth Union Cavalry was a unit composed mostly of amateur soldiers that eventually turned undisciplined boys into seasoned fighters. At the outbreak of the Civil War, East Tennessee was torn between its Unionist tendencies and the surrounding Confederacy. The result was the persecution of the “home Yankees” by Confederate sympathizers. Rather than quelling Unionist fervor, this oppression helped East Tennessee contribute an estimated thirty thousand troops to the North. Some of those troops joined the “Loyal Thirteenth” in Stoneman’s raid and in pursuit of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. Join author Melanie Storie as she recounts the harrowing narrative of an often-overlooked piece of Civil War history.

A scholar and teacher of American history for more than twenty years, Melanie Storie is a graduate of East Tennessee State University. In 1991, she earned her master’s of arts degree in history, and for the past ten years, she has had the pleasure of teaching for her alma mater. In addition to teaching survey courses in U.S. history, she has also taught Tennessee history and women’s history. While she enjoys researching, writing and teaching about many historical topics, her main research interest centers on nineteenth-century U.S. history, with a special emphasis on the American Civil War. She lives in Elizabethton, Tennessee, with her husband and two children.

ISBN: 978-1-62619-112-9  •  Paperback   •   160 pages   •   $21.99  •  October 2013
This new book is available at local stores and online at
It retails as an E-BOOK via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iBookstore, Kobo & OverDrive.

Book Review--Hidden History of Civil War Tennessee

Jones, James B. Jr. Hidden History of Civil War Tennessee. Charleston, The History Press, 2013. 126 pages, 100 pages of text, notes, bibliography, b/w photos, ISBN 9781609498993, $19.99.

Tennessee has an interesting history in the Civil War with the state being pretty well divided between Union and Confederate. Tennessee's Civil War Battlefields: A Guide to Their History and Preservation appears to adequately cover the battlefield portion of the war but other areas still need wider coverage as the role of the state continues to be under appreciated.

 Author James B. Jones, a public historian with the state of Tennessee, has put together an interesting little book dealing with lesser aspects of the war and the state. The chapters of the book appear to be either magazine articles or reworkings of prior articles based upon the "author's note."

The chapters include (not the exact chapter names): safety and vigilance committees in west and middle Tennessee 1860-1862, the battle against prostitution and V.D. in Nashville and Memphis, public health in middle Tennessee, Colonel John M. Hughes and the 25th TN Infantry, Negley's Raid May 31-June 9, 1862 and William T. Sherman and the occupation of Memphis.

In any book like this there will be portions that appeal to readers more than others. For me, I found the chapters dealing with health issues to be the most interesting. It is interesting to read that while the U.S. Army was responsible for much of the disease and pestilence that ran through Nashville they did work to correct the issues. Of course, they tried to fix things due to soldiers being stationed there not in order to protect the civilian population. Prostitution was a problem for officers to try and contain and when it could not be controlled in Nashville the army attempted to eradicate it by shipping the women away. Nobody would accept them however and when the ship returned to port the easiest thing to do was license the women.

A large collection of end-notes documents the chapters allowing those wanting more information an excellent starting point. A small bibliography is included but Jones suggests readers check the Tennessee Civil War Sourcebook for a more complete listing of resources (it is very large I promise).

For those with family history in Tennessee such as myself or those interested in smaller pieces of war history this is a book you will possibly want to take a look at. If you are searching for an in-depth work dealing with the state or perhaps on a certain regiment you would be advised to look elsewhere. That's not what this book is about. While not as thoroughly illustrated as many books from the History Press the text reads well and is overall worthy of consideration.

Thanks to The History Press for sending a complimentary copy.