Short Takes

by Fred Ray on October 25, 2008 · 0 comments

Confederate motorcycles? You bet! I have a mental image of Stonewall Jackson burning rubber…

More here…investors include Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Ryan Reynolds, and Bruce Springsteen.

I want one.

Recommended reading.

Captain Francis Donaldson served in both the 71st and 118th Pennsylvania (the famous Corn Exchange regiment), and wrote quite a lot about it. Donaldson was a keen observer who described events in almost microscopic detail. As such it’s a gold mine for both historians and re-enactors. Want know exactly what it’s like to run a skirmish line at Chancellorsville? Donaldson will tell you. He also includes a lot of information about how the army was run, the slang, discipline problems, and the like. His descriptions of other battles, including Ball’s Bluff (where he was captured), Antietam, Gettysburg, and many other actions are well worth reading. Like many citizen soldiers Donaldson could be quite critical of his superiors (he did not like Joe Hooker) and this eventually led him into a confrontation with his regimental commander and dismissal from the service just prior to the Overland Campaign. At 500 pages it’s a weighty tome, but not boring in the least.

By Francis Adams Donaldson, J. Gregory Acken
Contributor Edwin C. Bearss
Published by Stackpole Books, 1998
ISBN 0811709019, 9780811709019

Some genuinely useful software for the budding writer and historian. Clipmagic is a great clipboard extender. While the Windows clipboard, by default, holds only one item at a time, the Clipmagic holds a virtually unlimited amount of information. It’s easy to save or combine the clips, which is a great way to do research on the web or from text files. It will handle images as well, and comes with a screen capture function as well. You can do clips manually for taking notes, which is handy. In all, a piece of software I coudn’t do without. And…it’s free.

Also worth looking at is InfoRapid, a search and replace utility from Germany. Most search programs do extensive indexing but InfoRapid does not. This makes is slow for searching large amounts of text, but its small size and speed make it ideal for quickly searching smaller things like individual folders. If you’re like me you have a general idea of where somthing is, and if you do a general search for a common term like “skirmish line” you get too many hits for it to be useful. InfoRapid makes it easy to drill down quickly. Also free. the company makes some more interesting software for organizing information (like for books) but I have not tried it.

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