February 2011 Civil War Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

February 2011

James W. Durney


My “to read” list

Reconstructing Appalachia: The Civil War’s Aftermath edited by Andrew L. Slap presents a look at Reconstruction in an area with a unique set of problems.

The Day Dixie Died: The Battle of Atlanta by Gary Ecelbarger is a description of the battle fought on July 22, 1864.  This is another author that is a “must read” in my mind.

Railroads of the Civil War: An Illustrated History by Michael Leavy, this might be a look and enjoy book more than a sit and read.  It looks like great fun either way.

Shadow of Shiloh: Major General Lew Wallace in the Civil War by Gail Stephens is “in the mail” and I am looking forward to reading it.

God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War by George C. Rable seems to be in the same mailbag.



Joseph R. Reinhart’s German Hurrah!: Civil War Letters of Friedrich Bertsch and William Stängel, 9th Ohio Infantry was published in July 2010 by Kent State University Press. Last month, I reported it was due this 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.


Recently Published

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  Draws upon a massive array of primary accounts, many previously unpublished, to offer a detailed examination of the Southern cavalry’s role in this fascinating campaign.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.

Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason by David Hirsch & Dan Van Haften looks at the idea that Lincoln’s in-depth study of geometry that gave our sixteenth president his verbal structure.

The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War by Adam Arenson looks at this city during the years surrounding the war.

Colonization after Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement by Phillip W. Magness & Sebastian N. Page is a detailed look at this “solution” to American slavery and the question of race.  This book has missed its’ November publication date and is scheduled for JAN 31.


New Releases

February 2011

The Civil War: The First Year Told by Those Who Lived It edited by Brooks D. Simpson, Stephen W. Sears and Aaron Sheehan-Dean gathers over 120 pieces by more than sixty participants to create a unique firsthand narrative of this great historical crisis. Beginning on the eve of Lincoln’s election in November 1860 and ending in January 1862 with the appointment of Edwin M. Stanton as secretary of war.

The Notorious “Bull” Nelson: Murdered Civil War General by Donald A. Clark is scheduled for the end of the month rescheduled from December.  The book is an examination of this irascible officer, his numerous accomplishments, and his grim fate.

The Civil War in Mississippi: Major Campaigns and Battles by Michael B. Ballard is 320 pages covering the campaigns, fighting, and causes and effects of armed conflict in central and North Mississippi.

Shifting Loyalties: The Union Occupation of Eastern North Carolina by Judkin Browning looks at the impact occupation had on this region during the war and during Reconstruction.

March 2011

A Second edition of Scott Mingus Sr. Flames Beyond Gettysburg containing more than 50 new anecdotes from newly discovered primary source material is a major reworking of this excellent book.

America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation by David Goldfield might cause extensive comments.  I recommend you take a close look at this one prior to purchase.

The Siege of Washington: The Untold Story of the Twelve Days That Shook the Union John and Charles Lockwood offer a heart pounding, minute-by-minute account of the twelve days when the fate of the Union is uncertain. The fall of Washington would have been a disaster: it would have crippled the federal government, left the remaining Northern states in disarray, and almost certainly triggered the secession of Maryland.

The Won Cause: Black and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic by Barbara Gannon.  This book challenges the conventional view that white Union veterans did not defend the freedoms and interests of African American veterans after the war.

Two guides by Clint Johnson Touring The Carolinas’ Civil War Sites is a 2011 update of the 1996 original publication featuring 17 point to point driving tours of Civil War sites in both Carolinas.  Touring Virginia’s and West Virginia’s Civil War Sites is a 2011 update of the 1999 original publication featuring 19 point to point driving tours in Virginia and West Virginia.

April 2011

A Little Short of Boats: The Civil War Battles of Ball’s Bluff and Edwards Ferry, October 21 – 22, 1861 by James Morgan published by Savas Beatie in a fully revised edition of a detailed look at this battle.

This Great Struggle: America’s Civil War by Steven E. Woodworth focuses on political and military developments with coverage of how the war affected social and cultural conditions.

A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia from the Seven Days to Gettysburg by Jeffery Wert from Simon & Schuster scheduled for the 12th.

Scott C. Patchan’s Second Manassas: Longstreet’s Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge is scheduled for the end of April.

At 1,280 pages, Hearts Touched by Fire: The Best of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War requires some heavy lifting.  The book is an adaption of the popular the Century magazine series published from 1884 to 1887.  James M. McPherson, James L. Robertson Jr., Stephen W. Sears, Craig L. Symonds and Harold Holzer are the editors.

The Union War by Gary W. Gallagher looks at the importance of the idea of Union to the North and how this motivated them throughout the war.

Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions: Farnsworth’s Charge, South Cavalry Field, and the Battle of Fairfield, July 3, 1863 by Eric J. Wittenberg won the Bachelder-Coddington Award In 1998, for the year’s best new work interpreting the Battle of Gettysburg. This fully revised edition adds extensive new research, interpretations, and conclusions that substantially add to our understanding of these important mounted actions.

May 2011

Steven E. Woodworth’s newest book This Great Struggle: America’s Civil War focuses on political and military developments with coverage of how the war affected social and cultural conditions.

The Last Battle of Winchester: Phil Sheridan, Jubal Early, and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, August 7 – September 19, 1864 by Scott Patchan is the newest book from an author that is an expert in this area.

Sing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America by James Marten looks at “army veterans reentered–or struggled to reenter–the lives and communities they had left behind.”  We have very little of this type of information about “good wars” and this should be a valuable addition to what we have.

Defeating Lee: A History of the Second Corps, Army of the Potomac by Lawrence A. Kreiser Jr. follows the unit’s creation and rise to prominence, the battles that earned it a reputation for hard fighting, and the legacy its veterans sought to maintain in the years after the Civil War.

A new author joins our ranks this month, Anthony Gaughan’s The Last Battle of the Civil War: United States Versus Lee, 1861-1883 is due from LSU.

Quantrill at Lawrence: The Untold Story by Paul Petersen looks at this raid. The press release talks about the “legacy of lies” that surrounded the stories of the raid.”

June 2011

Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia: A Statistical Portrait of the Troops Who Served under Robert E. Lee by Joseph Glatthaar is listed as “companion to his narrative history, General Lee’s Army

At over 1,000 pages, Amanda Foreman’s A World on Fire: Britian’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War is going to be worth looking at.  This will be on Kindle and as an audio book the same day.

July 2011

Second Manassas: Longstreet’s Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge by Scott C. Patchan.  John Hennessey writes the introduction for this history of Longstreet’s decisive attack.

Thunder Across the Swamps: The Fight for the Lower Mississippi, February-May 1863, the second book in the Louisiana Quadrille series.  The first book in the series won the Laney Prize.

Publication in 2011

The Maryland Campaign of September 1862, Volume 2: Antietam edited by Thomas G. Clemens is the second part of the Ezra Carman manuscript, covering the battle is expected in the summer of 2011.

Steve Stanley and J. David Petruzzi are hard at work on The Complete Antietam Campaign Guide expected release is summer 2011.  Antietam Chief Historian Ted Alexander is penning the Forward.  The book will be similar in format to their The Complete Gettysburg Guide. This book will feature Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam, and Shepherdstown plus many points in between.

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 is mortally wounded.   In addition, he is writing a study of the Battle of White Sulphur Springs, August 26-27, 1863, for publication by The History Press.  In addition, we can look forward to a book on the August 1863 Law Book Raid, which led to the August 26-27, 1863 Battle of White Sulphur Springs.

James M. Schmidt is doing a book for The History Press, tentatively titled Galveston and the Civil War: An Island People in the Maelstrom scheduled for mid- to late 2012.

A complete history of the Iron Brigade from Lance J. Herdegen is in the works.    His Those Damned Black Hats!, the Iron Brigade during the Gettysburg Campaign won The Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award for Operational Battle History.

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.

Savas Beatie is busy with 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.  They have an option to publish Scott L. Mingus, Sr.’s next book Gettysburg’s Controversial Old General: Governor William “Extra Billy” Smith of Virginia.

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


Civil War Sesquicentennial Publications

In an effort to support sesquicentennial publishing this will be part of this column through 2015.  If you know of a book, please contact me so it can be included.

New Jersey

New Jersey Goes to War edited by Joseph G. Bilby is part of the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial and contains 150 biographies of New Jersey citizens that lived during the war.  This book can be read either as a series of short bios or as a book.  Either way, it is informative and enjoyable.  Only available from www.njcivilwar150.org 100% of the purchase price goes to support the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial.  All those involved contributed their time and contributions paid for printing.


Lists the book America on the Eve of the Civil War edited by Edward L. Ayers and Carolyn R. Martin.  This is a 160-page book with four black & white photos.

York County, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania authors Scott L. Mingus, Sr. and James McClure have been collecting, editing, and assembling more than 200 Civil War era human-interest stories from York County, Pennsylvania, from the. They capture the memories of residents who actually knew and talked with Civil War veterans and/or the civilians whose lives were impacted by the war and the Confederate invasion of south-central Pennsylvania.  Support by the York Daily Record, the York County Heritage Trust, and the Pennsylvania 150 Civil War committee,  the book will contain an interesting mixture of oral and written reminiscences from the 19th century inhabitants of York County.  Civil War Voices from York County, Pennsylvania: Remembering the Rebellion and the Gettysburg Campaign is due April 2011 from Colecraft Books.



2 responses to “February 2011 Civil War Book Notes”

  1. Don Hallstrom Avatar
    Don Hallstrom

    Hello James
    I appreciate your updates.

    Have you heard anything about Ethan Rafuse working on a biography of Stonewall Jackson? I thought I saw this mentioned at the end of his recent article in North & South.

    Don Hallstrom

  2. James W. Durney Avatar
    James W. Durney

    Thank you, I do not have any information but am trying to get an answer to your question.

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