July 2010 Civil War Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

July 2010

James W. Durney


In my mailbox or on the shelves

Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market by Charles R. Knight is 336 pages, 50 photos and illustrations, 9 original maps, and 8 appendices, with traditional footnotes, covering the “complex prelude” and the battle.  The author is a former Historical Interpreter at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park.

Reluctant Rebels The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861 by Kenneth W. Noe offers a nuanced view of men often cast as less patriotic and less committed to the cause.  He rekindles the debate over who these later enlistees were, why they joined, and why they stayed and fought.   Most of us know this author from his book Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle.

The Bravest of the Brave The Correspondence of Steven Dodson Ramseur edited by George G. Kundahl is over 180 letters written to/by this officer.

Part of the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial is New Jersey Goes to War edited by Joseph G. Bilby.  This is a compilation of 150 biographies of New Jerseyans that lived through the war.  This book is only available from www.njcivilwar150.org all profits from this book help support the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial.

A Small but Spartan Band: The Florida Brigade in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia by Zack C. Waters & James C. Edmonds is a history of the Florida Brigade in the AoNV.

Steven Woodworth continues the excellent Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland series with The Chickamauga Campaign. This volume will have essays by Alexander Mendoza, Timothy B. Smith, Dave Powell, Ethan S. Rafuse, Lee White and William Glenn Robertson.

Lincoln and McClellan: The Troubled Partnership between a President and His General by John C. Waugh looks to be a balanced account of the problems these two had.  I had very low expectations based on the press release.  After looking the book over in Borders, it came home with me.

Rusty Williams’ My Old Confederate Home: A Respectable Place for Civil War Veterans. This is the story of the Kentucky Confederate Home, a refuge in Pewee Valley for their unfortunate CSA veterans from 1902 until it closed in 1934.

Edwin Cole Bearss’ Receding Tide: Vicksburg and Gettysburg: The Battles That Changed the Civil War from National Geographic is available.


New Releases


July 2010

The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War by Donald Stoker examines how Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis identified their political goals and worked with their generals to craft the military means to achieve them–or how they often failed to do so.

A new book by Kevin Dougherty STRANGLING THE CONFEDERACY: Coastal Operations in the American Civil War “examines the various naval actions and land incursions the Union waged from Virginia down the Atlantic Coast and through the Gulf of Mexico”.  This is not something we see a lot of and rates a look-see.

Michael T. Bernath’s Confederate Minds: The Struggle for Intellectual Independence in the Civil War South is due on May 15.  This is part of the Civil War America series by the author of Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee through His Private Letters.

August 2010

A Long Way to Go, Book Three of the Tattered Glory Series by Nancy Dane should be in the stores.  This book is a sequel to Where the Road Begins book one in the series.  While fiction, they are a very realistic portrayal of life in the Trans-Mississippi during the war.

Released in paperback are two excellent books: Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859 by Elizabeth R. Varon and Russell McClintock’s Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession.

September 2010

Failure in the Saddle: Nathan Bedford Forrest, Joe Wheeler, and the Confederate Cavalry in the Chickamauga Campaign by Dave Powell.  Draws upon a massive array of primary accounts, many previously unpublished, to offer a detailed examination of the Southern cavalry’s role in this fascinating campaign. The result is a richly detailed and elegantly written study full of insightful tactical commentary, new perspectives on the strategic role of the Rebel horsemen, and fresh insights on every engagement, large and small, waged during the bloody North Georgia campaign.

Stoneman’s Raid, 1865 by Chris J. Hartley is due.  The product description states: “In the spring of 1865, Federal major general George Stoneman launched a cavalry raid deep into the heart of the Confederacy. Over the next two months, Stoneman’s cavalry rode across six Southern states, fighting fierce skirmishes and destroying supplies and facilities. When the raid finally ended, Stoneman’s troopers had brought the Civil War home to dozens of communities that had not seen it up close before. In the process, the cavalrymen pulled off one of the longest cavalry raids in U.S. military history.”

The New York Times The Complete Civil War 1861-1865 edited by Harold Holzer and Craig Symonds.  Whatever doubts I have about this is over ridden by the editors.  The book is listed as 480 pages from Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.

The Rashness of that Hour: Politics, Gettysburg, and the Downfall of Confederate Brigadier General Alfred Iverson by Robert Wynstra.  During the early afternoon of July 1, 1863, much of Iverson’s brigade is killed, wounded, or captured on Oak Ridge.  Iverson loses his command less than a week after the battle.  This book looks at this blunder, the feuds and politics involved in this incident and the aftermath.

After the War: The Lives and Reputations of Great Civil War Figures After the Shooting Stopped by David Hardin is a 256-page book with a promising title.  I consider this a “buyer beware”.

October 2010

Look for Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Redemption by Shane Kastler to get comments.  The author covers Forrest’s “Christian conversion and renunciation of his racist views are largely overlooked. This book is specifically devoted to the spiritual aspect of Forrest’s life. By God’s grace, he changed his ways.”

This is scheduled for late October, so a November publication is very possible.  The author has several books about Abolitionists activities in the years leading up to the war.  Border War: Fighting over Slavery before the Civil War by Stanley Harrold looks at the slave states of Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri and the free states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.  This book looks at the impact of slavery on this border.

Extraordinary Circumstances: The Seven Days Battles by Brian K. Burton in paperback.  This is one of the best histories of The Seven Days Battles.

The award winning Lincoln and His Admirals by Craig Symonds in paperback.

November 2010

Manifest Destinies: America’s Westward Expansion and the Road to the Civil War by Steven E. Woodworth paints a vivid and panoramic portrait of 1840’s America at its most vibrant and expansive: the annexations of Texas, California, and the states of the Pacific Northwest; prospectors heading west in search of gold; the founding of the Church of Latter-Day Saints and the eventual migration of the Mormons; railroads and telegraph lines connecting populations as never before; William Henry Harrison waging the first modern populist campaign for president, focusing on entertaining voters rather than discussing issues.  Throughout these events, Woodworth traces the path of what had been the “local” issue of slavery as it grew into a central national issue that divided religions, political parties, and, ultimately, the nation itself.

Creating a Confederate Kentucky: The Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State by Anne Elizabeth Marshall looks at Kentucky identification with the South from 1865 to 1925.

Publication in 2011

Michael B. Ballard has written a number of books on the war in Mississippi.  His latest is The Civil War in Mississippi: Major Campaigns and Battles.

Unavailable Dates

Eric Wittenberg is working on a project is for The History Press entitled The Battle of Yellow Tavern: Jeb Stuart’s Last Battle. This will be a study of Phil Sheridan’s May 1864 raid on Richmond, with particular focus on the May 11, 1864 Battle of Yellow Tavern, where Jeb Stuart received his mortal wound.

Thunder Across the Swamps, the second book in the Louisiana Quadrille series, covering the war for the lower Mississippi from February to May 1863.  The first book in the series won the Laney Prize.

We can look forward to a complete history of the Iron Brigade from Lance J. Herdegen.  Those Damned Black Hats!, the Iron Brigade during the Gettysburg Campaign won The Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award for Operational Battle History.

Joseph R. Reinhart expects A German Hurrah!: Civil War Letters of Friedrich Bertsch and William Stängel, 9th Ohio Infantry to be out in the Spring. The book contains 110 translated letters written by two fiery, highly opinionated German-born officers who fought in the Ninth Ohio Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War. Published in two German-American newspapers, the letters helped connect German Americans in the Ohio Valley to their native landsmen at the battlefront.

Gettysburg Glimpses 2: More True Stories from the Gettysburg Campaign by Scott L. Mingus Sr. This is the fourth in a series of very popular books about human interest stories from Gettysburg, this installment offers more than 200 of the best anecdotes, amusing incidents, and funny stories from the Gettysburg Campaign.
Human Interest Stories from the Civil War by Scott L. Mingus Jr. and Dr. Thomas M. Mingus.  Similar in style and variety as the Gettysburg series by Scott L. Mingus Sr., this inaugural work by two professionally trained historians/educators contains some of the very best stories from the Civil War. Many have not been retold since the 19th century. Balanced between Union and Confederate accounts, this upcoming new book covers the gamut of the war from 1861 through 1865 with many very amusing true tales.

Jim Schmidt announced his next book Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory from the History Press.  This book will be the first book to incorporate the Notre Dame story into a comprehensive and unified narrative.

Savas Beatie has a two-volume set on The Petersburg Campaign, taken from a series of unpublished battle studies written by Ed Bearss, edited by Bryce Suderow in the works.  This has no publication date.

Eric Wittenberg announced a contract with The History Press for a history of Averell’s August 1863 Law Book Raid, which led to the August 26-27, 1863 Battle of White Sulphur Springs. Averell’s West Virginia and western Pennsylvania cavalry fought the infantry brigade of Col. George S. Patton in White Sulphur Springs, a couple of miles from The Greenbrier. This has never had any sort of a book-length study.  Terry Lowry, who has done some good work on the Civil War in West Virginia, has agreed to show Eric the battlefield, and lots of people will help him with this project.

In the Fall of 2011, look for Campaign Chattanooga edited by Steven Woodworth the next book in the excellent Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland series


The 2010 Laney Prize is awarded to

Fire in the Cane Field: The Federal Invasion of Louisiana and Texas

January 1861 – January 1863

The Daniel M. & Marilyn W. Laney Prize is awarded each year to the author of the book that best advances the knowledge of the Civil War’s military or political events and the Americans who took part in those events. The prize amount is $2,000. Members of the Austin Civil War Round Table, and all other interested persons, are invited to contribute to the award fund.

The prize continues to honor Daniel M. & Marilyn W. Laney for their splendid efforts to protect the endangered battlefields of our Civil War. The prize money is directly attributable to the generosity of the Morse Foundation whose many labors on behalf of the Round Table and the preservation of our Civil War battlefields are gratefully acknowledged.

Each year a committee of Austin Civil War Round Table members publicizes the prize, solicits submissions, and selects the prizewinner.



The Complete Gettysburg Guide by J.D. Petruzzi with cartography by Steve Stanley and The Maps of First Bull Run by Brad Gottfried join Sickles as finalists for the 2009 Army Historical Distinguished writing award. The winners are announced to the public at the Annual Meeting of the Army Historical Foundation this June.



4 responses to “July 2010 Civil War Book Notes”

  1. Jane Johansson Avatar

    Just a correction…READING THE MAN: A PORTRAIT OF ROBERT E. LEE THROUGH HIS PRIVATE LETTERS was written by Elizabeth Brown Pryor not Michael T. Bernath.

  2. admin Avatar


    Thanks for that. I’ll mention this to Jim, who is on vacation.


  3. admin Avatar

    Joe Reinhart sends along the following information on his new book:

    My book A German Hurrah! Civil War Letters of Friedrich Bertsch and Wilhelm Stängel, 9th Ohio Infantry, will be released tomorrow, July 6, 2010, by Kent State University Press. The dust jacket and information about the contents is available at http://upress.kent.edu/books/Reinhart2.htm

  4. david donner Avatar
    david donner

    Will Gordon Rhea ever complete his masterpiece on the overland campaign. His work on Petersburg has yet to appear.

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