August 2012 Civil War Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

August 2012

James W. Durney


My Reading List

Good bad or indifferent, these are the books that sit calling “read me next”.

Lincoln’s family has fascinated me for some time.  Jason Emerson did an excellent biography of the only son living to become an adult in Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln.

Remembering the Battle of The Crater by Kevin M. Levin looks at how historic events are remembered and the challenges facing our parks.  This is an excellent book that more people should make an effort to read.

I am a fan of Timothy B. Smith and his newest Corinth 1862 is waiting for my attention.

I am trying to get ahead of the September publication schedule, that will be a very busy month for books.


New books with August publication dates or in the stores

Contested Borderland: The Civil War in Appalachian Kentucky and Virginia by Brain D. McKnight looks at the border between eastern Kentucky and southwestern Virginia during the war.

The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution by Richard Slotkin looks at the changes the Emancipation Proclamation had the public’s view of the war by re-creating the showdown between Lincoln and McClellan.

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.

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.

The 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.  You can view the book trailer here:  Signed/inscribed copies available only from publisher at

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. Contributors include Sam Davis Elliott, Alex Mendoza, Timothy B. Smith and Ethan S. Rafuse.

Army at Home: Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front by Judith Giesberg examine the lives of working-class women in the North, for whom the home front was a battlefield of its own.

By 1865, thousands of men were minus arms and legs. Guy R. Hasegawa details how society responded with support and government services in Mending Broken Soldiers: The Union and Confederate Programs to Supply Artificial Limbs. 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.

The Best Station of Them All: The Savannah Squadron, 1861-1865 by Maurice Melton concentrates on navy life and the squadron’s place in wartime Savannah. The book reveals who the Confederate sailors were and what their material, social, and working lives were like.

I always enjoy books about the development of the National Military Parks, Conflicting Memories on the “River of Death”: The Chickamauga Battlefield and the Spanish-American War, 1863-1933 by Bradley S. Keefer looks at the battle, the park and the training camp.

While not a “Civil War” history, this book should be good “background reading”.  The Mormon Rebellion: America’s First Civil War, 1857-1858 by David L. Bigler and Will Bagley looks at this 1857 campaign.

September 2012

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 25 original maps by Civil War cartographer George Skoch.  Check the trailer at

The Iron Brigade in the Civil War: 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.  Savas Beatie LLC moved this to include additional unpublished photos and a recent letter collection.

THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN OF SEPTEMBER 1862: Volume II, Antietam by Ezra Carman edited by Thomas Clemens will complete this excellent study of the Carman manuscript.

Shiloh: Confederate High Tide in the Heartland by Steven E. Woodworth looks at the problems and impact of this battle.

YEAR OF GLORY: The Life and Battles of Jeb Stuart and His Cavalry, June 1862-June 1863 by Monte Akers is just what the title suggests.

Union Combined Operations in the Civil War by Craig L. Symonds offers ten case studies of combined Army-Navy operations by Union forces. Presented in chronological order, each essay illuminates an aspect of combined operations during a time of changing technology and doctrine.

From James M. McPherson comes War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865 looks at how the Union and Confederate navies were crucial to the outcome of the Civil War.

Brady’s Civil War Journal: Photographing the War, 1861-65 text by Theodore P. Savas, photographs by Mathew Brady.

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

The LAST BATTLE OF WINCHESTER: 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.

Civil War Journalism by Ford Risley looks at the personalities that told America and the world about the war.

We Have the War Upon Us: The Onset of the Civil War, November 1860-April 1861 by William J. Cooper captures the sense of contingency, showing Americans in these months as not knowing where decisions would lead and how events would unfold.

Mary Lincoln’s Insanity Case: A Documentary History by James Emerson looks at this incident.  The book provides an even-handed account using source documents.   The author has written several books on Lincoln’s family after the war.

To Antietam Creek: The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 by David S. Hartwig is the first of a two-volume set on Antietam.

The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves’ Civil War by David Cecelski is the story of a former slave that worked for the Union, even has he fought them for equality, in the Union-occupied parts of North Carolina.

Civil War America: A Social and Cultural History with Primary Sources by Maggi M. Morehouse and Zoe Trodd looks at America during the war.  With a website accompanying this could be a treasure chest for background. This book is affordable in paperback.

Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union by Louis P. Masur looks at the period from when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued and when it took effect.

October 2012

Clash at Kennesaw: June and July 1864 by Russell W. Blount, Jr., looks at this important part of the Atlanta Campaign.  You may have read the author’s The Battles of New Hope Church published in 2010.

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 the critically acclaimed The Battle Between the Farm Lanes. The book is a completely revised and expanded study, with new photographs, original maps, and a self-guided tour of the fighting.

The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace by H. W. Brands is a 736-page biography by this respected author.

THE BATTLES THAT MADE ABRAHAM LINCOLN: How Lincoln Mastered his Enemies to Win the Civil War, Free the Slaves, and Preserve the Union by Larry Tagg is a renamed paper edition of THE UNPOPULAR MR. LINCOLN: The Story of America’s Most Reviled President.

The Battle of Big Bethel: Crucial Clash in Early Civil War Virginia by J. Michael Cobb, Ed Hicks, and Wythe Holt id the first full-length treatment of this small but consequential June 1861 battle.

The Enemy Never Came: The Civil War in the Pacific Northwest by Scott McArthur looks at people “deeply affected by the war yet unable to do much about it”.

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.

The Petersburg Campaign: The Eastern Front Battles, September 1864 – April 1865, Volume 2 by Edwin Bearss and Bryce Suderow is a “must have” book. This is 504 pages with original maps by Civil War cartographer Steven Stanley.

November 2012

The 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. The author’s 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.

Scott L. Mingus, Sr.’s Confederate General: Gov. William “Extra Billy” Smith: From Virginia’s Statehouse to Gettysburg Scapegoat  tells us about the oldest and one of the most controversial Confederate generals on the field at Gettysburg.

Americans Remember Their Civil War by Barbara A. Gannon looks at remembrances from the immediate postwar era to the early 21st century.

Richmond Must Fall: The Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, October 1864 by Hampton Newsome begins with one of Lee s last offensive operations of the war at the Darbytown Road on October 7, 1864, and ends with Grant s major offensive on October 27 to seize the South Side Railroad, the last open rail line into the Confederate stronghold at Petersburg.

GENERAL GRANT AND THE REWRITING OF HISTORY: How a Great General (and Others) Helped Destroy General William S. Rosecrans and Influence our Understanding of the Civil War by Frank Varney should set the pot to boil!  I can think of one person I will be discussing this book with.

December 2012

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.

A General Who Will Fight: The Leadership of Ulysses S. Grant by Harry S. Laver looks at Grant’s leadership during the war.

Civil War Dynasty: The Ewing Family of Ohio by Kenneth J. Heineman looks at this important family.

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 CIVIL WAR LOVER’S GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY by Bill Morgan is a guide to the buildings that still exist in the city.  This looks to be great fun for everyone and a new Civil War tour.

Journal of the Civil War Era: Winter 2012 Issue is due.

January 2013

Interpreting Sacred Ground: The Rhetoric of National Civil War Parks and Battlefields by J. Christian Spielvogel “studies and analyzes how” the National Parks Service presents our battlefield parks.  This could be a love it or hate it book but should be interesting.

The Iron Way: Railroads, the Civil War, and the Making of Modern America by William G. Thomas III looks at railroads and telegraph lines from the 1838 to 1869.

Standing Firmly by the Flag: Nebraska Territory and the Civil War, 1861-1867 by James E. Potter i9s the first book to look at Nebraska’s contributions during the Civil War.  Bison Books, the publisher, has an excellent reputation for books on the American West.

Unavailable Dates

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.  This is a full color book styled on 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.

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.


Yankee Dutchmen under Fire by Joseph Reinhart should be in the stores in 2013.


From talking to Dave Powell, during his Chickamauga weekend, his history of this battle is growing.  Savas-Beatie publishing is talking about a multi-volume history of the Chickamauga Campaign. No publication date is available but Dave has the manuscript well in hand. Dave Powell is the author of The Maps of Chickamauga: An Atlas of the Chickamauga Campaign, Including the Tullahoma Operations, June 22 – September 23, 1863 and Failure in the Saddle: Nathan Bedford Forrest, Joe Wheeler, and the Confederate Cavalry in the Chickamauga Campaign.


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


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


Reading the War

DAKOTA DAWN: The Decisive First Week of the Sioux Uprising, August 1862 by Gregory F. Michno concentrates on the decisive first week of the uprising.  The book contains an excellent accounting of the reason for and the aftermath of the uprising.

Over the Earth I Come: The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862 by Duane Schultz while less detailed covers the entire uprising.

Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain by Robert K. Krick has the advantage of being the only book on this battle.  Lucky for us, it is excellent.

Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas by John J. Hennessey is the “classic” history of this battle.  If you only read one book about Second Manassas, this is the one to read.

Second Manassas: Longstreet’s Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge by Scott C. Patchan is another “classic”.  This book details Longstreet’s destructive attack and the how Pope’s army saved itself.

Abraham Lincoln and the Road to Emancipation, 1861-1865 by William K. Klingaman looks at how Emancipation happened.  This is the best book I have found on the subject.

A study of the Civil War needs to consider the critical question of Great Britain in the American Civil War.  The United States and Great Britain are not allies and have fought two wars in the past 90 years.  Britain could force a settlement or entered the war allied with the Confederacy.  Doing so, would divide the United States, destroying a potential rival and create a British client state.  These books explain reasons why this could have happened and why it did not happen.

A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman is the most detailed and looks at things from Britain’s viewpoint.

One War at a Time by Dean B. Mahin is an excellent look at Lincoln and Seward working to keep this a “civil war” not an international conflict.

Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations by Howard Jones looks at what both sides did to influence Europe.


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.

The New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee just published New Jersey at Gettysburg Guidebook by David G. Martin.  This is an outstanding look at New Jersey’s units at this battle both during and after the battle.  The book is full of photos of monuments, men and woodcuts.  A series of maps follows the battle and marks monuments.  The 12th NJ plays a major role in the Battle for the Bliss Farm and that is well covered.  The New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee is making a major effort to commemorate their state’s contributions.

All are 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.




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