Civil War Book Acquisitions, November 2014, Part 2

by Brett Schulte on November 18, 2014 · 0 comments

The Last Citadel: Petersburg, June 1864-April 1865 (150th Anniversary Edition)

TheLastCitadelPetersburgJun64Apr65Trudeau150thEdSavas Civil War Book Acquisitions, November 2014, Part 2by Noah Andre Trudeau

Savas Beatie

Format: Hardcover, 552 pages Price: $32.95 ISBN: 978-1-61121-212-9 eBook: 978-1-61121-213-6 On Sale: November 2014 6 x 9, 23 maps and 24 images

TOCWOC’s Take: Just in time for the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Siege of Petersburg comes this revised and expanded edition of Noah Andre Trudeau’s The Last Citadel, first published in 1991, this time around by Savas Beatie.  In the Preface to this edition, Trudeau clarifies what “revised and expanded” means.  First, he took an opportunity to update all of the maps in the book.  The first edition maps were done by Trudeau, and his experience with cartography over the years pays off here with his own revisions to the originals.  In addition, the author took note of all mentions of errors in book reviews and other places, also finding a few of his own along the way.  All known errors of this kind have been corrected in the 150th anniversary edition.  Lastly, Trudeau added several new pages of material and tweaked some of the existing material based on new items which changed his opinion, if ever so slightly, of several events during the Siege.  Needless to say, I’ll be reviewing this one here and at The Siege of Petersburg Online.



The Fighting Fifteenth Alabama Infantry: A Civil War History and Roster

TheFightingFifteenthAlabamaInfantryFaustMcFarland2014 Civil War Book Acquisitions, November 2014, Part 2by James P. Faust

McFarland & Company, Inc.

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-9612-9 Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-1856-2 35 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index 228pp. softcover (7 x 10) 2014

TOCWOC’s Take: Here is another in a long line of regimentals McFarland has produced over the last ten years plus or so.  The book features 136 pages of text focusing on the history of the 15th Alabama.  The author does something interesting I can’t recall seeing before.  At various points in the narrative, he lists the men who can be proven to be present with the regiment based on their Compiled Service Reports, or CSRs.  He also tries to list the casualties by name, sorted by company.  Appendix A forms the second major portion of the book, listing service records by man in alphabetical order.  The author doesn’t look to have used many primary source accounts for the regiment, a bit of an omission.



Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

Was General Sherman Smeared?

by Fred Ray on November 16, 2014 · 43 comments

This being the 150th anniversary of Sherman’s March to the Sea, the venerable New York times has an article questioning just how bad Uncle Billy really was. Seems we have a new crop of historians who think that the Southern demonization of him was unwarranted, a sour grapes myth by the defeated Confederates perpetuated by movies like Gone With The Wind.

The marker near the picnic tables at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is the fruit of a reassessment of Sherman and his tactics that has been decades in the making. Historians have increasingly written that Sherman’s plan for the systematic obliteration in late 1864 of the South’s war machine, including its transportation network and factories, was destructive but not gratuitously destructive. Instead, those experts contend, the strategy was an effective and legal application of the general’s authority and the hard-edged masterstroke necessary to break the Confederacy.

They have described plenty of family accounts of cruelty as nothing more than fables that unfairly mar Sherman’s reputation.

“What is really happening is that over time, the views that are out there are being challenged by historical research,” said John F. Marszalek, a Sherman biographer and the executive director of the Mississippi-based Ulysses S. Grant Association. “The facts are coming out.”

To do this you have to ignore, reinterpret or dismiss a lot of real history, but this unfortunately seems to be the trend in academia today.

… contrary to popular myth, Sherman’s troops primarily destroyed only property used for waging war — railroads, train depots, factories, cotton gins and warehouses.

Really? What is one to make, for instance, of the forced deportation of several hundred women factory workers from the mills at Roswell, half of them under 17 and some as young as nine? This was done not by some out-of-control subordinate but on Sherman’s express orders. Or the indiscriminate bombardment of Atlanta, and its subsequent torching? Are these not facts also, or do we just ignore them? Or does the word “primarily” mean we ignore the rest?

Two other articles in the Times look at who burned Atlanta, which was firmly in Federal hands at the time.

One by Philip Leigh, whose book I recently reviewed, and another by historian Megan Kate Nelson. Both come to the same conclusion – it was Sherman’s men, and although he might not have explicitly ordered it he turned a blind eye and made no serious attempt to stop it.

So it seems to me that modern historians are doing pretty much the same thing they accused the Southerners of – trimming the facts to fit a predetermined narrative. Substituting one myth for another isn’t good history.



Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

Civil War Book Review: “The Devil’s to Pay”: John Buford at Gettysburg

by Brett Schulte November 10, 2014

Wittenberg, Eric J. “The Devil’s to Pay”: John Buford at Gettysburg: A History and Walking Tour. (Savas Beatie: October 2014). 288 pages, 79 images, 17 maps, 4 appendices, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN: 978-1-61121-208-2 $32.95 (Hardcover). Gettysburg has been done to death and then some.  The dead horse has been beaten so many times it’s disintegrating.  […]

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Civil War Book Acquisitions, November 2014

by Brett Schulte November 8, 2014

It’s been quite awhile since my last book acquisitions post, and now that the 150th anniversary of the Siege of Petersburg is about to go into winter quarters for a bit, posting at TOCWOC should again pick up.  Here are some recent arrivals along with my short comments on each: A Gunner in Lee’s Army: […]

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Sharpshooters on Jackson’s Flank March

by Fred Ray November 6, 2014

Good article on the Civil War Trust web site on Stonewall Jackson’s flank march at Chancellorsville by Robert K. Krick. Using new information Krick gives full credit to the vital role of Maj. Eugene Blackford’s Alabama sharpshooter battalion, and in general how Jackson and Robert Rodes used these new units. While Fitz Lee and his […]

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A Look at Some Period Firearms

by Fred Ray October 29, 2014

Very nice article by Bill Adams, one of the foremost CW-era firearms authorities, on the Kerr (pronounced “Carr”) rifle, second only to the fabled Whitworth as a sharpshooter’s rifle. Also info on modern attempts to make a shootable reproductions. (PDF file) And a compendium of videos from CapAndBall, a Hungarian web site (it’s in English […]

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Review: Trading With The Enemy: The Covert Economy During the Civil War

by Fred Ray October 27, 2014

Trading with the Enemy The Covert Economy During the American Civil War Philip Leigh Westholme Publishing 2014 248 pages 6 x 9 hardback 20 b/w illus., map $26.00 My post on “Bagdad, Back Door to the Confederacy” garnered a comment from author Philip Leigh about other trading arrangements, especially those between the United States and […]

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