April 2011 Civil War Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

April 2011

James W. Durney


My “to read” list

Moments of Despair: Suicide, Divorce, and Debt in Civil War Era North Carolina by David Silkenat, is an excellent social history looking these events in North Carolina from about 1840 to 1905.

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

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 make this a major rework of an excellent book.

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.

Love and War: The Civil War Letters and Medicinal Book of Augustus V. Ball is the account of one man’s experiences in the Trans-Mississippi.  Ball and his wife were on the same side of the Mississippi River, allowing us to see the entire war through his eyes.


Book News

Scott Mingus Sr. has announced he is “embarking on a journey to beat prostate cancer!”  The prognosis is good, and he is working with an urologist and Johns Hopkins University.  Please keep him in your prayers.  In addition to Flames Beyond Gettysburg and The Louisiana Tigers in the Gettysburg Campaign, June-July 1863 Scott has written a number of books on the human interest aspects of this battle.

The Richard Harwell Award for the best book on a Civil War subject written in 2010 went to David Powell for Failure in the Saddle: Nathan Bedford Forrest, Joe Wheeler, and the Confederate Cavalry in the Chickamauga Campaign.

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 a FEB 14 publication date but Amazon needs one or two months to ship it

Court rejects Google Books settlement by Caroline McCarthy

Adding another chapter to a long, drawn-out legal saga, a New York federal district court has rejected the controversial settlement in a class-action suit brought against Google Books by the Authors Guild, a publishing industry trade group.

“While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the ASA would simply go too far,” a court document explains. “It would permit this class action–which was brought against defendant Google Inc. to challenge its scanning of books and display of ‘snippets’ for on-line searching–to implement a forward-looking business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission of the copyright owners. Indeed, the ASA (Amended Settle Agreement) would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case.”

The settlement would grant Google the right to display excerpts of out-of-print books, even if they are not in the public domain or authorized by publishers to appear in Google Books. When the settlement was initially announced in mid-2009, opposition flooded in from lawyers on behalf of Microsoft, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a coalition called the Open Book Alliance who decried it as anticompetitive.

“Google and the plaintiff publishers secretly negotiated for 29 months to produce a horizontal price fixing combination, effected and reinforced by a digital book distribution monopoly,” a lawyer for the Open Book Alliance said at the time. “Their guile has cleared much of the field in digital book distribution, shielding Google from meaningful competition.”

The settlement was revised, primarily to deal with objections coming from the European Union, but concerns remained that it would give Google too much power over out-of-print book titles.

The most recent court docket, filed today, explains that Google has digitized over 12 million books since the original 2004 announcement of Google Books and its set of partnerships with several major universities to digitize their research libraries. In 2005, the class action suit was filed over the fact that many of the out-of-print books included in the mass scanning were still under copyright. Settlement negotiations began nearly five years ago.

Last year, the Authors Guild said that it chose to settle rather than head for a court battle because it didn’t want to repeat the well-publicized mistakes that the music industry made while policing digital piracy.

But concerns about the settlement have ranged from the aforementioned antitrust qualms, international law issues related to overseas copyrights, and privacy concerns regarding how much information Google could glean about readers.

The docket filed today, authored by Judge Denny Chin, asserts that “the ASA is not fair, adequate, and reasonable.”

Thanks to Eric Wittenberg for posting this on his blog Rantings of a Civil War Historian


New Releases

In the stores

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.

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.

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 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.  Amazon lists this as “in stock” with a release date of April 5, 2011.

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

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

June 2011

Eric Wittenberg’s Protecting the Flanks: The Battles for Brinkerhoff’s Ridge and East Cavalry Field, Battle of Gettysburg, July 2-3, 1863 is a new edition with a new map, additional illustrations, two new appendices, and other material.  This long out of print book is under $20 and needs to be available at a reasonable price.  In 1998, this book won the Bachelder-Coddington Award for the year’s best new work interpreting the Battle of Gettysburg.

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

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.

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 is greatly expanded OOB from The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook. In addition, each action will have a narrative of the action, 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 of 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 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


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.

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 Civil War Campaign PC Games

Yes, this is not about books but I have played this series for years and know it has a following.  The 2011 update season at HPS Simulations is in full swing.  The policy is to issue patches to bring all existing games to the same basic set of features and game play.  The current patches make the following improvement:

– Added new Ammo Artillery by Cannon optional rule.

– Added ability to specify alternative arrival hexes for a reinforcement.

– Added Alternate Melee Resolution rule which separates melees into

separate phase.

– Added fix for Uncrewed or Spiked artillery spotting enemy units.

– Added toolbar button for Command Range.

– Added new Proportional Opportunity Fire Optional Rule that causes

Opportunity Fire generated by firing units to be more proportional to

the total strength of the units firing.

– Added new Parameter Data value that controls when artillery crews are


– Added new Alternate Fixed Unit release Optional Rule that releases Fixed

units within five hexes of an enemy unit regardless of Line-of-Sight to that


Individual games have adjustments to maps, scenarios and rules.  Often a full update cycle precedes the release of a new game or games.  While I have NO knowledge of this, my fingers are crossed.



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