March 2011 Civil War Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

March 2011

James W. Durney


My “to read” list

God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War by George C. Rable looks at religion during the war.George C. Rable (Author)

Strangling the Confederacy by Kevin Dougherty is not a new book but one that needs reading, coastal operations made a major contribution to the Union victory.

Shadow of Shiloh: Major General Lew Wallace in the Civil War by Gail Stephens looks at one of the more interesting Union generals.


Recently Published

The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak covers the prequel to the Battle of Antietam, as Lee’s army desperately attempted to hold off a suddenly aggressive George McClellan as he attempted to push through the South Mountain gaps.

Flames Beyond Gettysburg by Scott Mingus Sr. contains more than 50 anecdotes from newly discovered primary source material.  The new edition has 32 illustrations and 10 maps by Steven Stanley mak this a major rework of an excellent book.

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.

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.

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.

The Notorious “Bull” Nelson: Murdered Civil War General by Donald A. Clark 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 covers the campaigns, fighting, and causes and effects of armed conflict in central and North Mississippi.

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 FEB 14.


New Releases

March 2011

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.

Moments of Despair: Suicide, Divorce, and Debt in Civil War Era North Carolina by David Silkenat, describes a society turned upside down.  This is a view of war that we do not often see.

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 Seventh Star of the Confederacy: Texas during the Civil War edited by Kenneth W. Howell is a series of essays on Texas and 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.

Courage Under Fire: Profiles in Bravery from the Battlefields of the Civil War by Wiley Sword is being released in paperback.

April 2011

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.

A Little Short of Boats: The Civil War Battles of Ball’s Bluff and Edwards Ferry, October 21 – 22, 1861 published by Savas Beatie is a fully revised and expanded sesquicentennial edition of James Morgan’s excellent book.

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 Triumph, 1862-1863 by Jeffery Wert looks at why the AoNV almost won the war from The 7 Days to Gettysburg.

Confederate Outlaw: Champ Ferguson and the Civil War in Appalachia by Brian D. McKnight takes a careful look the complexity of this legendary character that was executed for his role in murdering fifty-three loyal citizens of Kentucky and Tennessee during the Civil War.

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

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.  This book looks at the battle over the estate that became Arlington National Cemetery.

The Enemy Within: Fears of Corruption in the Civil War North by Michael Thomas Smith looks a corruption and the fear of corruption during the war.  More than a few people did things that looked or were dishonest.

The Dogs of War: 1861 by Emory M. Thomas covers the delusions that dominated each side’s thinking as America went to war.

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.”

The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook by J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley is part of the Savas Beatie Handbook series is a compilation of Gettysburg Campaign statistics, tables, discussions, controversies.  There are Orders of Battle for every skirmish and battle during the campaign from June 6 through July 14.

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 a “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.

The Civil War in the East: Struggle, Stalemate, and Victory by Brooks D. Simpson is a “more integrated interpretation of military operations that shows how politics, public perception, geography, and logistics shaped the course of military operations in the East.”  This is a very tall order for 200 pages.

With a working title of The Ultimate Gettysburg Campaign Orders of Battle by J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley, this new book is a greatly expanded OOB from The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook. In addition, each action will have a narrative of the events, casualties for every single unit involved in the action, and the Orders of Battle for Gettysburg itself (July 1, 2 and 3) will be broken down by days and geographically by actions on particular parts of the field.

Mightier than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America by David S. Reynolds is not technically a “Civil War” study but none will dispute the impact this book had.

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.  This excellent series is highly recommended.  Publication date is the 28th.

August 2011

Abraham Lincoln and the Struggle for Command: Civil-Military Relations During the American Civil War by Charles Hubbard.

SECOND DAY AT GETTYSBURG, THE: The Attack and Defense of the Union Center on Cemetery Ridge, July 2, 1863 by David Shultz & David Wieck expands on their excellent The Battle Between the Farm Lanes. Completely revised and expanded study includes new photographs, original maps, and a self-guided tour of the fighting.

Publication in 2011

In September, look for Killing Lincoln: The Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.  Yes, it is that Bill O’Reilly!

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.

William Marvel completes his multiple volume history of the war in November with Tarnished Victory: Finishing Lincoln’s War.

Unavailable Dates

This summer look for a Stonewall Jackson biography by Ethan Rafuse as part of the Greenwood Press biographies series.  Later this year, he is contributing an essay to Woodworth’s Chattanooga Campaign study.  In 2012, look for an Army War College guide for Richmond-Petersburg co-authored with Charles R. Bowery Jr.

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


1961 to 2011

50 years ago, America was entering the Centennial of the American Civil War as we are now entering the Sesquicentennial.  As we move into the Sesquicentennial, our community can enjoy our success.  We are saving more “hallowed ground” than ever and that is the most important thing we can do.  We need to understand that we cannot recreate a battlefield once it is becomes a housing development or a shopping mall.  What we save today will be there long after we are gone enjoyed by hobbyist not yet born.  It is our gift to the future just as the veterans gave us the original parks.

Our authors are producing excellent books that are both enjoyable and informative.  We are expanding our knowledge and understanding of this time daily.  The amount of information available can overwhelm but it is a blessing. The University of North Carolina Press (UNC), Louisiana State University Press (LSU) and Savas Beatie LLC are in the forefront of publishing excellence.  They maintain a large Civil War catalog that is expanding monthly.  Their books fill my library and my “must read” list.

Independent self-trained historians like Eric Wittenberg, Russell Bonds and Gary Ecelbarger consistently write excellent book.  Sam Elliott writes excellent biographies on Tennessee Confederates, Scott Mingus mines the rich Gettysburg vein, and David Powell is doing great work on Chickamauga while J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley are redefining battlefield guides.   Professional historians like Ethan Rafuse, Earl Hess, and Steven Woodworth continue to produce high quality work.  Alexander Mendoza and Lee White are historians to watch.

Somewhere, a young person is looking at the sesquicentennial and starting to explore the American Civil War.  In 2061, I expect them to be looking back over the last 50 years and saying how much better things are.


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 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.

Discover Your Community’s Civil War Heritage, by Steven D. Glazer, is the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee’s latest publication. The 62-page, 8 1/2-by-11-inch-format book serves as a comprehensive and up-to-date manual for those wishing to research the stories of their own community’s Civil War veterans. It will appeal to a wide range of readers, including local historians, educators, genealogists, grant writers and journalists.


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.


HPS Campaign Antietam version 1.02

Yes, this is not about books but I have played this series for years and know it has a following.  In January 2011, HPS Simulations issued a patch for Campaign Antietam.  This patch adds both playability features like an option for Mouse Wheel Zoom and no CD-check.  Game documentation is only in PDF format and available from the Help menu in the program.

Several new scenarios including both a Consolidated and Sectional artillery Battle of Antietam are in this version.



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