December 2012 Civil War Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

December 2012

James W. Durney


 New in the stores

James M. Schmidt newest from History Press Galveston and the Civil War: An Island City in the Maelstrom had a small name change “People” became “City”.


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.


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.


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.


Lincoln and McClellan at War by Chester G. Hearn seems to follow the standard story.  LSU is the publisher and their books always rate a “look see”.


The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War by Stephen Puleo is an in-depth look at Preston S. Brooks’ beating of Charles Sumner.  While often referenced, I do not know of a book that looks at it.


Scheduled for this month

Civil War Dynasty: The Ewing Family of Ohio by Kenneth J. Heineman look at this important family is scheduled for Christmas eve.  Maybe Santa will deliver them to a books store near you.


ROBERT E. LEE IN WAR AND PEACE: Photographs of a Confederate and American Icon by Donald Hopkins uses the 61 known images of Lee to provide a sweeping history of Lee’s life and a compelling discussion of antique photography.


Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865 by James Oakes looks at how Republicans pursued an antislavery agenda throughout the war.  While they may have been pragmatic in policy, they were steadfast on principle.


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.  This book is in the finial proofing stage and on schedule.


DIVIDED LOYALTIES: Kentucky’s Struggle for Armed Neutrality in the Civil War by James Finck looks at Kentucky’s struggle with and the reasons for neutrality in 1861.


THE CIVIL WAR LOVER’S GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY by Bill Morgan tours Civil War New York, places, buildings and monuments that grace the city.  This looks to be great fun for everyone and a new Civil War tour.


Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery by Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer covers freedom looked like for black Americans in the Civil War era.


January 2013

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.


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 could be subtitled “Revenge of Rosy”.  This book should set the pot to boil causing heated discussions between partisan groups.


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.


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.


February 2013

Look for Alex Mendoza’s Chickamauga 1863: Rebel BreakthroughThis is one of the “Bright Lights” of the western ACW historians and authors.


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 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.


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


Searching for George Gordon Meade: The Forgotten Victor of Gettysburg by Tom Huntington is an overdue biography.


Captives in Blue: The Civil War Prisons of the Confederacy completes Roger Pickenpaugh’s earlier groundbreaking book Captives in Gray: The Civil War Prisons of the Union, rounding out his examination of Civil War prisoner of war facilities.


April 2013

Earl J. Hess turns his considerable talents to Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign from The University of North Carolina Press.


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.


May 2013

Shiloh: Confederate High Tide in the Heartland by Steven E. Woodworth presents his look at this important battle.


June 2013

Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South by Barbara Krauthamer is going to surprise a number of people.


The Battle Hymn of the Republic: A Biography of the Song That Marches On by John Stauffer and Benjamin Soskis look at one of America’s most enduring songs.


Why the Civil War Was Not about Slavery (and Why Americans Need to Believe It Was) by Donald Livingston is going to be a hot button.


Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation by Caroline E. Janney looks at the people who live during the war and how they felt after it.


July 2013

Lincoln and Reconstruction by John C Rodrigue is only a title, author and publication date.


August 2013

Lincoln’s Citadel: The Civil War in Washington, DC by Kenneth J. Winkle is not the type of book we often see.


Unavailable Dates

History Press expects to publish Robert Redd’s St. Augustine: America’s Oldest City in the Civil War in the Spring of 2014.


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.


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


Savas Beatie will be publishing this upcoming book by Sam Hood entitled John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General in spring 2013, a detailed point-by-point defense of General Hood’s career.


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.


Brass Cannon Books is bringing out an audio book edition of The Queen of Washington, narrated by Judith Cullen, no date other than “soon”.  Running time will be about ten hours.  The Shenandoah Spy is going to be on the Espresso Book Machine.

Never heard of an Espresso Book Machine?  Neither had I, this is what they are: The Espresso Book Machine (EBM) is a print on demand machine that prints, collates, covers, and binds a single book in a few minutes.  Designed for retail bookstores a PDF file is printed and bound as a paperback book.


Upcoming Events



Thursday, December 6, 2012 12:00 PM

James M. McPherson
Library of Virginia
Richmond, VA


Wednesday, December 19, 2012 12:00 PM

David S. Cecelski
National Archives and Records Administration
Washington, DC

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,



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



Maryland’s Civil War Photographs: The Sesquicentennial Collection by Ross J. Kellaugh presents the largest collection of original Maryland-related Civil War photographs ever published.


Happy Holidays,

may God bless us, one and all.


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