America’s Civil War, January 2006

by Brett Schulte on November 25, 2005 · 2 comments

The January 2006 issue is the first issue of America’s Civil War that I’ll be reviewing for this blog. ACW is of a little lower quality than North & South and Blue & Gray. It is virtually identical to Civil War Times Illustrated at this point, because both magazines are published by Primedia. There are no endnotes for the articles, although the maps are definitely improving over the quality of even a few years ago. I’m not particularly fond of the lack of footnotes. Despite this generally lower quality, some good authors still find their way into ACW’s pages. Eric Wittenberg, who guest blogs for me from time to time, is just one example. Some of the articles which look particularly interesting include Joseph C. Meyer’s look at the command vacuum in the Army of the Cumberland just after Stone’s River, and William Marvel’s personal examination of possible flank marches for Burnside at Antietam.

Page 10
Personality: Herman Melville by Wayne Kingseed
Herman Melville is best known for his famous novel Moby-Dick.
What many don’t know is that Melville also wrote some Civil War poetry
entitled Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War.
Page 16
Eyewitness to War: Captain John H. S. Funk by J. D.
Captain John Funk’s diary holds some possible clues to
support a claim of negative connotation for Stonewall Jackson’s famous

Page 18
Men and Materiel: Federal Haversacks by Frederick C. Gaede
Frederick Gaede covers the development, construction, and use of the
Page 22
An Uncommon Partnership by Paul F. Bradley
Paul Bradley covers the ascension of former V Corps staff officer Alexander
S. Webb to the command of the notoriously unruly Philadelphia Brigade.
This brigade, made up of the 69th, 71st, 72nd, and 106th Pennsylvania
regiments, had originally been raised by Col. (and former U.S. Senator)
Edward Baker as the California Brigade. Webb was assigned to command of
the brigade on June 28, 1863, only a few days before the Battle of Gettysburg.
He and his men played a critical role in the repulse of Pickett’s Charge
on July 3.
Page 32
‘The Deserter Binns Proved of Great Assistance’ by Stevan F. Meserve
Charles Binns apparently deserted from John Mosby’s Partisan Rangers
and helped lead efforts against his former comrades. Meserve attempts
to sort through various claims of Binns’ whereabouts and conduct in late
1863 through early 1864. Naturally enough, Confederate and Union sources
view Binns in very different ways.
Page 38
Cockfight in the Army of the Cumberland by Joseph C. Meyer
After the Battle of Stone’s River, General Phil Sheridan’s Division
of the army of the Cumberland had lost many good leaders, especially in
the 1st Brigade, where Brigadier General Joshua Sill and Colonels Frederick
Schaefer and George Roberts had all been killed. To make matters worse,
Colonel Nicholas Greusel, Sill’s replacement, resigned due to poor health
not long after the battle. Into this power vacuum stepped two men, Colonels
Francis T. Sherman and Charles H. Larrabee. Larrabee outranked Sherman,
but had been on leave due to sickness. When he returned, Sherman refused
to turn over command of the brigade to Larrabee. Rosecrans found a solution
by appointing the formerly captured Brigadier General William H. Lytle
to the command of the brigade. I found the blurb on author Joseph C. Meyer
to be most interesting. It indicates that he is working on a two volume
study of the Army of the Cumberland. Let’s hope it is more evenhanded
than Larry J. Daniel’s book on that topic.
Page 46
More Than Water Under Burnside’s Bridge by William Marvel
In I Rode With Stonewall, Henry Kyd Douglas claims that Ambrose
Burnside could have easily forded Antietam Creek at any point on September
17, 1862, telling readers to try it for themselves. Historian William
Marvel, a known supporter of Burnside, decided to do just that on June
5, 1994. In a very interesting article, he proves (at least to me) that
the Antietam was a much greater obstacle than Douglas makes it out to
be. I cringed a little, however, when MArvel calls Stephen Sears’ study
on Antietam an “objectively analyzed” study of Antietam. Dimitri
Rotov and his McClellan
Society Website
, among others, have shown that Sears has a negative
bias against McClellan.
Page 54
Books reviewed in this issue:

1. The
Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion by Peter
S. Carmichael

2. From
Under Iron Eyelids: The Biography of James Henry Burton, Armorer to Three
Nations by Thomas K. Tate

Holiday Gift Guide

Editor Dana B. Shoaf gives readers some gift ideas in his Holiday Gift

1. A
Little Short Of Boats: The Fights at Ball’s Bluff and Edward’s Ferry,
October 21-22, 1861 : The Fights at Ball’s Bluff and Edward’s Ferry, October
21-22, 1861 by James Morgan III

2. Retreat
from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign by Kent
Masterson Brown

3. Stephen
Recker’s Virtual Gettysburg (CD-ROM)

4. Generals
in Bronze by William B. Styple

5. Great
Maps of the Civil War : Pivotal Battles and Campaigns Featuring 32 Removable
Maps by William J. Miller

6. Great
Civil War Projects You Can Build Yourself by Maxine Anderson

7. Bleeding
Blue and Gray : Civil War Surgery and the Evolution of American Medicine
by Ira Rutkow

8. Days
of Glory: The Army of the Cumberland, 1861-1865 by Larry J. Daniel

9. Nothing
But Victory: The Army of the Tennessee by Stephen E. Woodworth

10. Harvard’s
Civil War: The History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
by Richard F. Miller

Page 62
Commands: Bureau of Military Information by Russell J. Alberti
Colonel George H. Sharpe and his Bureau of Military Information took
over for George Pinkerton and his detectives as the head intelligence
gathering operation for the Army of the Potomac in 1863. Sharpe and his
men focused more on military matters, and proved to be a useful organization
for the various commanders of the Army of the Potomac, and also for General
Grant in his role as General-in-Chief. Alberti points out that the BMI
was an ancestor of today’s Central Intelligence Agency.
Page 74
Preservation by Heidi Campbell-Shoaf
The Save Historic Antietam Foundation
(or SHAF), is doing good work in not only preserving the land around and
near the Antietam Battlefield, but is also saving other historical sites
in Maryland which played a role in the Maryland Campaign of 1862.

Check out Brett’s list of the Top 10 Civil War Blogs!

Read many Civil War Book Reviews here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog!

Check out Beyond the Crater: The Petersburg Campaign Online for the latest on the Siege of Petersburg!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

J. David Petruzzi November 28, 2005 at 3:34 pm

Hey Brett,

I have an article in the upcoming March 2006 issue of ACW, titled “He Rides Over Everything In Sight” and is about Elijah White and his 35th Battalion Virginia Cavalry partisans during the war. The articles is the cover piece and lead story. A great deal of previously untapped primary information was used for the piece, and I’ll be interested to hear your comments on it. Have another coming in the July issue, but that’s a ways off yet…
J.D. Petruzzi


Brett Schulte November 28, 2005 at 3:38 pm


I look forward to reading it. I really need to start getting unit histories. For the first 15 years or so of my collecting, it’s been almost entirely battle and campaign studies. Next in line are unit histories and biographies of the major players.



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