July 2011 Civil War Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

July 2011

James W. Durney


My “to read” list

Campaign for Wilson’s Creek by Jeffrey L. Patrick is part of the Civil War Campaigns and Commanders series.  I am very impressed with this book and am looking forward to reading it.

Hearts Touched by Fire: The Best of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War is an adaption of the popular the Century magazine series published from 1884 to 1887.


New Releases

In the stores now

Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia: A Statistical Portrait of the Troops Who Served under Robert E. Lee by Joseph Glatthaar is a statistical portrait of the Army of Northern Virginia.

The Enemy Within: Fears of Corruption in the Civil War North by Michael Thomas Smith looks at the scandals and fear of corruption that plagued the Union during the Civil War.

At over 1,000 pages, Amanda Foreman’s A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War.  The Economist says this import from the UK is one of the best books of 2010. 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.

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.

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.  In 1998, this book won the Bachelder-Coddington Award for the year’s best new work interpreting the Battle of Gettysburg.

Decision in the Heartland: The Civil War in the West by Steven E. Woodworth covering all the major western campaigns with their contribution to the Union’s victory will be available as a paperback.

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.  The handbook series is a full color presentation making a gorgeous book to keep or to give.

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.

The Greatest Brigade: How the Irish Brigade Cleared the Way to Victory in the American Civil War by Thomas J. Craughwell has a press release that sounds like Thomas Francis Meagher wrote it.

DAKOTA DAWN: The Decisive First Week of the Sioux Uprising, August 1862 by Gregory Michno is an overdue history of this important conflict.  This uprising is “lost” in the Confederate invasion.  However, it gives us a chance to see the impact the war has on everyday life.

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.

September 2011

MAPS OF ANTIETAM, THE: An Atlas of the Antietam (Sharpsburg) Campaign, including the Battle of South Mountain, September 2 – 20, 1862 by Bradley Gottfried is the newest full color entry into the fine Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series.

UNHOLY SABBATH: The Battle of South Mountain in History and Memory by Brian Jordan presents a fresh look at this overlooked battle.

American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era by David W. Blight looks at how America remembered the Civil War during the centennial and looks at the “ever-changing nature of Civil War memory”.

In the Lion’s Mouth: Hood’s Tragic Retreat from Nashville, 1864 by Derek Smith covers the 12-day, 100-mile retreat after their defeat at the Battle of Nashville.

George Crook: From the Redwoods to Appomattox by Paul Magid is primarily an account of Crook’s dramatic and sometimes controversial role in the Civil War.  He was involved on three fronts, in West Virginia, Tennessee, and Virginia seeing action at Antietam, the Shenandoah Valley, at Chattanooga and the Appomattox campaign.  The book covers his childhood and the pre-war years too.

Killing Lincoln: The Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard is scheduled for the 27th.  I expect the papers will be full of information on this book.

Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union by William C. Harris is the first history of Lincoln’s border-state policies in more than 80 years.

Stonewall Jackson: A Biography by Ethan S. Rafuse begins with Jackson’s hardscrabble upbringing in the mountains of western Virginia. It follows him through the experiences that brought him to 1861, when he won the nickname “Stonewall” on the battlefield of the first great battle of the Civil War, and then traces his military career and role in the Confederate victories of 1861–1863.

October 2011

The PETERSBURG CAMPAIGN: The Eastern Front Battles, June – August 1864, Volume 1 by Edwin Bearss and Bryce Suderow is a “must have” book.  We have been talking about this book for some time.  We now have Dust Jacket art and a release month.

Shadows of Antietam by Robert Kalasky is a comprehensive study of the 74 known glass plates recorded by Gardner and Gibson at Antietam.

The Body of John Merryman: Abraham Lincoln and the Suspension of Habeas Corpus by Brain McGinty is the first book-length examination of this much-misunderstood chapter in American history.

Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War by Tony Horwitz is buyers beware, the press release promises the moon in 384 pages.

In full color is The GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN IN NUMBERS AND LOSSES: Synopses, Orders of Battle, Strengths, Casualties, and Maps, June 9 – July 14, 1863 by J. David Petruzzi & Steven Stanley from Savas Beatie Orders of Battle.  Is a narrative of the action, order of battle and casualties for every action by unit.  The Order 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.

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.

A Generation at War: The Civil War Era in a Northern Community by Nicole Etcheson is a detailed study of Putnam County, Indiana, from the Compromise of 1850 to the end of Reconstruction.

Price’s Lost Campaign: The 1864 Invasion of Missouri by Mark A. Lause is an area that we have almost nothing on.

Pinkerton’s War: The Civil War’s Greatest Spy and the Birth of the U.S. Secret Service by Jay Bonansinga the title makes this a hard item to sell.

Mary Chesnut’s Illustrated Diary Mulberry Edition Boxed Set: Volume 1: Mary Chesnut’s Diary from Dixie and Volume 2: Mary Chesnut’s Civil War Photographic Album this is a very nice boxed set from the illustrations.

November 2011

Virginia at War, 1865 edited by William C. Davis and James I. Robertson Jr. is the last book in this series.

Executing Daniel Bright: Race, Loyalty, and Guerrilla Violence in a Coastal Carolina Community, 1861-1865 by Barton A. Myers looks at this execution in the larger context of the war.

A book by Mark Neely dealing with how the U.S. Constitution and the Confederate Constitution shaped the struggle for national survival is Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation: Constitutional Conflict in the American Civil War.

William Marvel completes his multiple volume history of the war in November with Tarnished Victory: Finishing Lincoln’s War. This series is billed as “Revisionist history at its best”.

Unavailable Dates

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 has no publication date.

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

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.

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.

Campaign Chattanooga edited by Steven Woodworth is the next book in the excellent Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland series



Thomas G. Clemens won the Army Historical Foundation award for Distinguished Writing Award, for Reprint, 2010 for The Maryland Campaign of September 1862, Vol. 1: South Mountain by Ezra A. Carman, edited by Thomas G. Clemens (Savas Beatie, 2010).  Dr. Clemens is recognized internationally as one of the foremost historians of the Maryland Campaign.  He has spent more than two decades studying Antietam and editing and richly annotating Carman’s exhaustive handwritten manuscript.


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 part of the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial is in its’ second printing.    It is so popular that New Jersey’s Odyssey using the same format is available. This book is “An Anthology of Civil War Tales from 1850 to 1961”; Joseph G. Bilby edits both books.

Discover Your Community’s Civil War Heritage, by Steven D. Glazer, is a comprehensive and up-to-date manual for those wishing to research the stories of their own community’s Civil War veterans.

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.

York County, Pennsylvania

Civil War Voices from York County, Pennsylvania: Remembering the Rebellion and the Gettysburg Campaign by Scott L. Mingus Sr. and James McClure contains the rich oral tradition coupled with letters, diaries, photographs and newspaper accounts to tell the stories of York in those bleak days 150 years ago. They give a vibrant voice to those living, serving and dying in this most tumultuous period in America’s history.

Adams County-based Colecraft Industries published the book.

The authors coordinated the project with the Pennsylvania Civil War 150, the York County Heritage Trust and the York Daily Record/Sunday News.

Contact: Scott Mingus, scottmingus@yahoo.com.


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



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