March 2012 Civil War Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

March 2012

James W. Durney


My “To Read” List

The Battle of the Crater by Newt Gingrich, William R. Forstchen and Albert S. Hanser enjoys very good reviews on Amazon.  I enjoyed the Gettysburg series.  The combination of solid historical knowledge with writing talent makes for an enjoyable read.

TheCivilWarInTheWestVictoryAndDefeatFromTheAppalachiansToTheMississippiHessThe Civil War in the West: Victory and Defeat from the Appalachians to the Mississippi by Earl J. Hess is a comprehensive look at the war in the West.  Hess is an outstanding author with many excellent books.  I find him always worth reading.

The Revolution of 1861: The American Civil War in the Age of Nationalist Conflict by Fleche Andre argues European nationalist movements provided models for the South’s efforts to establish a new nation-state.  The North is the state trying to balance order and liberty in a revolutionary age.

Francis Hamit’s The Queen of Washington Francis Hamit is a novel about the exploits of Rose Greenhow.  This is a companion to Shenandoah Spy about Belle Boyd.

Virginia at War 1861 edited by William C. Davis and James I. Robertson is the first book in that excellent series.

The Battle of White Sulphur Springs: Averell Fails to Secure West Virginia by Eric Wittenberg is in the mail from Amazon.  I always enjoy Wittenberg’s work, even more when it is an obscure battle.


1862 Battle I missed in January

The January list of books on 1862 battle missed the Dakota Uprising in Minnesota.

Here are two books that take a hard look at this:

DAKOTA DAWN: The Decisive First Week of the Sioux Uprising, August 1862 by Gregory Michno focuses on the first week of the uprising, the causes and the impact of the Civil War on the area’s manpower and security.

Birch Coulie: The Epic Battle of the Dakota War by John Christgau is a detailed look at a very personal battle, told on a very personal level.


Due in March

TheUnionForeverLincolnGrantAndTheCivilWarSimonThe Civil War in the West Victory and Defeat from the Appalachians to the Mississippi by Earl J. Hess is a comprehensive look at how the Union won and held this area.

The Union Forever Lincoln, Grant and the Civil War by John Y. Simon looks at their relationship, how they influenced each other and their individual struggles.

The Petersburg Campaign: The Eastern Front Battles, June – August 1864, Volume 1 by Edwin Bearss and Bryce Suderow is a “must have” book.  This is 488 pages with original maps by Civil War cartographer Steven Stanley.

Shiloh, 1862: The First Great and Terrible Battle of the Civil War by Winston Groom should be a good read.

Battle Hymns by Christian McWhirter looks at the uses and impact music had during the Civil War.  This is not another listing of popular songs but a look at what people said and remembered about these songs.

When General Grant Expelled the Jews by Jonathan D. Sarna.  This action caused Grant problems for the rest of his public life.  A complete account is overdue and badly needed.


April 2012

ThePeninsulaCampaignAndTheNecessityOfEmancipationGlennDBrasherLAST BATTLE OF WINCHESTER, THE: Phil Sheridan, Jubal Early, and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, August 7 – September 19, 1864 by Scott Patchan looks at the third Battle of Winchester the largest, longest, and bloodiest battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Peninsula Campaign and the Necessity of Emancipation African Americans and the Fight for Freedom by Glenn David Brasher looks at the contributions African-Americans made during this pivotal campaign and how it helped to create the USCT.  The author argues that this campaign is the pivotal event in the emancipation process.

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.

Jeffry Wert’s A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee’s Triumph, 1862-1863 is going to be released as a Paperback.


 May 2012

Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation by Timothy B. Smith will fill the void between Shiloh and Vicksburg.  Corinth, critical to the Confederacy’s survival, was a major objective in the West.  Smith brings considerable knowledge and writing skill to this important campaign.

Richard Taylor and the Red River Campaign of 1864 by Samuel Mitcham Jr. looks at this campaign from the Confederate point of view.

MapsOfAntietamTheAnAtlasOfTheAntietamSharpsburgCampaignThe Maps of Antietam: 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.

Joshua Chamberlain: The Life in Letters of a Great Leader of the American Civil War by Thomas Desjardin brings to public light 300 never-before-seen letters.

Carol Reardon’s With a Sword in One Hand and Jomini in the Other: The Problem of Military Thought in the Civil War North looks at the North’s problems with the development of a winning strategy.

Kentucky’s Civil War Battlefields: A Guide to Their History and Preservation by Randy Bishop looks at thirteen major conflicts and details the level of preservation for each site.

Americans Remember Their Civil War by Lesley J. Gordon looks at remembrances from the immediate postwar era to the early 21st century.   The conflicting tensions as people sought to commemorate “their” war. The epilogue examines current memories of the war, debates and controversies.

Guide to the Battle of Gettysburg (U.S. Army War College Guide to Civil War Battles) edited by Jay Luvaas, Harold W. Nelson and Leonard J. Fullenkamp.  This was the first book in this respected series of guides and is ready for a new edition.  Changes in the park, the Cavalry battles on the Third coupled with rewritten and expanded background chapters make a new book not a reprint.


June 2012

TheGettysburgCampaignInNumbersAndLossesPetruzziStanleyThe Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses: Synopses, Orders of Battle, Strengths, Casualties, and Maps, June 9 – July 14, 1863 by J. David Petruzzi and Steven Stanley looks at more than three dozen engagements both large and small waged during the five weeks of the Gettysburg Campaign.  A synopsis of  each engagement, over three dozen, includes photos of the commanders, an original full page map of the fighting, an order of battle with numbers and losses (including killed, wounded, captured, and missing), charts and graphs of relative strengths and losses, a conclusion of how the fighting affected each side and the course of the campaign.  Their The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest published by Savas Beatie in 2009 won the U.S. Army Historical Foundation’s 2009 Distinguished Writing Award, Reference Category.

The Northern Home Front during the Civil War edited by Randall M. Miller and Paul A. Cimbala promises a great deal in 250 pages.

Mightier than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America by David S. Reynolds is being released as a Paperback.

By the Noble Daring of Her Sons: The Florida Brigade of the Army of Tennessee by Jonathan C. Sheppard.  It is almost impossible to find books about Floridians fighting in the war.  This book should help fill the gap for the Army of Tennessee.

IRON BRIGADE IN THE CIVIL WAR, THE: Bull Run to Appomattox, 1861-1865 by Lance Herdgen, is his fourth book on the Iron Brigade.  His well received Those Damned Black Hats! The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign published in 2008, is still in print.

The Civil War in Missouri: A Military History by Louis S. Gerteis explores the state’s conventional warfare and its effects on the unfolding of national history.  Missouri controlled both the lower Mississippi valley and the Missouri River.  St. Louis and mid-Missouri were vital for controlling the West, and rail lines leading across the state offered an important connection between eastern states and the communities out west.  This combination makes the state a vital area for both sides.


July 2012

MontrealAndTheAssassinationOfAbrahamLincolnTaylorMontreal and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: John Wilkes Booth’s Unexplained Visit to Montreal in October by Phil Sherman Taylor looks at the possible connection between that city and the assassination.

Remembering The Battle of the Crater: War as Murder by Kevin M. Levin looks at how we chose to remember or forget, using this one battle, the role of the USCT in the Civil War.  This could be an important book in the development of the USCT’s role in the war.

Edifice of Freedom: The Civil War Amendments in Historical Perspective by James S. Hunphreys looks at the 13th, 14th & 15th Amendments in detail.  The book looks at both the historical and contemporary significance of the Civil War Amendments.

The Long Road To Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution by Richard Slotkin looks at the changes the Emancipation Proclamation caused on how the war was seen by re-creating the showdown between Lincoln and McClellan.

The Hammer and the Anvil: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the End of Slavery in America by Dwight Jon Zimmerman


August 2012

The Chattanooga Campaign edited by Steven E. Woodworth and Charles D. Grear has a very impressive list of contributors.  This is an excellent series on the Western Campaigns and there is every indication this book will maintain that standard.

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

By 1865 thousands of men were minus arms and legs.  How society responded with support and government services is detailed in Mending Broken Soldiers: The Union and Confederate Programs to Supply Artificial Limbs by Guy R. Hasegawa.  Medicine and veteran’s services have never received the ink they deserve.  This is Mr. Hasegawa first independent book.  He worked with James M. Schmidt on Years of Change and Suffering: Modern Perspectives on Civil War Medicine.

38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier’s End by Scott W. Berg looks at the “Big Picture” of the 1862 Sioux war.

The Best Station of Them All: The Savannah Squadron, 1861-1865 by Maurice Melton.

More Than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829-1889 by Stephen Kantrowitz looks at the epic struggle to establish African Americans as free citizens in Boston.


September 2012

Shiloh: Confederate High Tide in the Heartland by Steven E. Woodworth

We Have the War Upon Us: The Onset of the Civil War, November 1860-April 1861 by William J. Cooper

The Northern Home Front during the Civil War edited by Randall M. Miller & Paul A. Cimbala is a look at a nation under the strain of war.


October 2012

This Wicked Rebellion: Wisconsin Civil War Soldiers Write Home by John Zimm looks at Wisconsin’s participation through letters drawn from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s archives

Unavailable Dates

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

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.

Ethan Rafuse has an essay in The Chattanooga Campaign edited by Steven Woodworth, the next book in the excellent Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland series.

Ethan Rafuse and Charles R. Bowery Jr. are working on a War College guide for Richmond-Petersburg expected in 2012.

Eric Wittenberg is working on a project is for The History Press entitled The Battle of Yellow Tavern: Jeb Stuart’s Last BattleThis 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 was mortally wounded.

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 in the Gettysburg Campaign won The Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award for Operational Battle History.

Savas Beatie has an option to publish Scott L. Mingus, Sr.’s next book titled Gettysburg’s Controversial Old Confederate General: Gov. William “Extra Billy” Smith of Virginia.

Nancy Dane reports book four in The Tattered Glory series is being edited before going to the publisher. The title is An Enduring Union.

Yankee Dutchmen under Fire by Joseph Reinhart has completed peer review and is approved for publication.  It should be in the stores in 2013.  This is his latest book on Germans in the Civil War.

Tom Desjardin’s biography of Joshua L. Chamberlain is due out in 2013.

Francis Hamit reports Brass Cannon Books is auditioning producer/narrators” for audio book editions of both The Shenandoah Spy and The Queen of Washington.  The audio books will be released through, a company owned by


Book News

Nancy Dane’s new book is An Enduring Union, we do not know a release date but spring/early summer is a good bet.  This is the next book in the Tattered Glory series winner of the 2011 Arkansas Fiction Award presented by the AR Library Association.  Additionally, the first book in the series, Where the Road Begins, is now on Kindle.  The balance of the series is coming onto Kindle.


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 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 is the publisher.

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,


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.



I have a request to include the publisher with each book.  Would you find that helpful?  This will be a format change, I am not sure how much of a change it is.  I would like to hear your ideas on this.


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