Bits ‘n Pieces

by Fred Ray on September 3, 2008 · 2 comments

President Abraham Lincoln was buttbuttinated by an armed buttailant after a life devoted to the reform of the US consbreastution.

And other hilarious malapropisms caused by poorly-programmed anti-obscenity filters on the web.

Received Earl Hess’ new book The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth today. I’m always a little uncomfortable with books with “myth” in the title since it often means that the author has a point of view that he intends to stick with regardless, but I’m keeping an open mind. So far I haven’t had time to do much more than look thru the chapter on “The Art of Skirmishing.”

Hess refers to my book frequently but there are obvious areas of disagreement, even tho we both use much the same source material. This is not necessarily a criticism since there is not a lot of source material on Confederate sharpshooters. Hess did find one I’d missed—the order book of Rodes-Battle’s brigade in the National Archives—and generously shared it with me.

Will do a review once I’ve had a chance to digest it, and after a couple more that are in front of it, one of which is Fear in North Carolina, published right here in Asheville by another micropublisher, Reminiscing Books.

I had the pleasure of having lunch with one of the authors, Rick Russell. The book is the compiled journals of Cornelia Henry and covers the years between 1861 and 1868, a time of great trial for the people in the mountains and in the South generally.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Drew W. September 3, 2008 at 10:21 pm


From the press materials of Hess’s book:
“Hess presents a completely new assessment of the rifle musket, contending that its impact was much more limited than previously supposed and was confined primarily to marginal operations such as skirmishing and sniping.”

The idea of skirmish line fire as a “marginal operation” within the realm of CW combat strikes me as wrong headed. Hopefully, that dust jacket summary statement doesn’t reflect Hess’s true opinion.


Fred Ray September 4, 2008 at 11:09 am

May just be terminology, Drew. I would agree that skirmishing is *secondary* (so is cavalry) but in no sense is it a “marginal operation.”


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