February 2013 Civil War Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

February 2013

James W. Durney


New in the stores

SIMPLY MURDER: The Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862 by Chris Mackowski & Kristopher White is a unique combination of battle history and guidebook that works!  Reading this book showed me what I missed during my visit to Fredericksburg.


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.  Is listed as January fifth.  Amazon has a five-star review of 21 words.


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 Breakthrough.  This is one of the “Bright Lights” of the western ACW historians and authors.


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.


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.


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.


March 2013

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.


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.


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.



April 2013

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.



May 2013

Barksdale’s Charge by Phillip Thomas Tucker is a history of Barksdale Mississippi Brigade on the afternoon of July 2, 1863.  Their charge late in the day was “the grandest charge I ever saw” according to many witnesses.  Barksdale’s Charge almost pushed the Army of the Potomac off Cemetery Ridge.  While Pickett’s Charge receives history’s attention this could be the closest Lee came to victory at Gettysburg.


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


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.


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.


Chancellorsville’s Forgotten Front by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White is going to be a real step forward in this battle’s history.  Chancellorsville is much more than Jackson’s attack and wounding.  John Sedgwick’s Sixth Corps fought two battles in and near Fredericksburg.  This is the first book on these battles and how close a victory for Hooker was.


Stephen M. Hood, collateral descendent of General John Bell Hood, is the author of John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General. This book is a detailed point-by-point defense of General Hood’s career.


Lee’s Army During the Overland Campaign: A Numerical Study by Alfred C. Young III provides accurate information regarding the Confederate side throughout the conflict. The book shows Lee’s army was larger and suffered higher casualties than popular history says.


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.


A SEASON OF SLAUGHTER: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 8-21, 1864 by Chris Mackowski & Kristopher D. White turn their considerable talents from Fredericksburg to Spotsylvania.  Check New in Stores for their book on Fredericksburg.


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

Do not dismiss as “another Gettysburg guide book” A Field Guide to Gettysburg Experiencing the Battlefield through Its History, Places, and People by Carol Reardon and Tom Vossler.  The authors have excellent credentials.  Carol Reardon is the author of several unique books, while Tom Vossler is an excellent guide.



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

Buckeyes Forward: Ohio Troops in the 1862 Maryland Campaign is Eric Wittenberg’s current project.  The book covers the Ohio units at South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam.  A second major section covers the actions of two future presidents of the United States, Hayes and McKinley.  Followed by a series of profiles for other prominent Ohio officers including George Crook, Hugh Ewing. Rufus Dawes, Ohio-born Confederate brigade commander Brig. Gen. Roswell S. Ripley and the Ohio regimental commanders.  Last is a look at the three Ohio soldiers who won the Medal of Honor valor during the 1862 Maryland Campaign.

The book will have a large number of photos and maps.  Savas Beatie is the expected publisher.  Eric hopes to submit the manuscript, about 75% written, this spring.


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.




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 is with the Copy Editor and expected this Fall.


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.


Jesse James and company

While not exactly “Civil War”, I must confess to a soft spot in my head for James’ gang histories and movies.  Part of it comes from my Grandmother telling me about hearing adults talk about their exploits.  Some new books are coming on the market that look worth reading.


Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape covers one of the most violent bank robberies of the post war era.  I have had a “thing” about the James Gang ever since my Grandmother told me she remembered the adults talking about being in town when they robbed the local bank.  You might want to couple this with the movie The Long Riders, one of the great-unsung westerns.


The Lost Cause: The Trials of Frank and Jesse James by James P. Muehlberger looks at the James’ gang’s role in Lost Cause mythology and the actual pursuit and destruction of the gang.1358554838 false 1 0 0 0


Upcoming Events

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 12:00 PM Heather Andrea Williams is at the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC

Saturday, February 9, 2013 1:00 PM Christian McWhirter is at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Saturday, February 9, 2013 David S. Cecelski is at the Museum of the Albemarle Elizabeth City, NC


Sunday, February 17, 2013 3:00 PMJames M. McPherson is at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC


Sunday, February 17, 2013 3:00 PM David S. Cecelski is at the Levine Museum of the New South, Charlotte, NC


Wednesday, February 20, 2013 12:00 PM Bland Simpson is at the US Navy Memorial Foundation, Washington, DC

Thursday, February 21, 2013 6:00 PM Earl J. Hess is at the Filson Historical Society,
Louisville, KY



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 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 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, scottmingus@yahoo.com.



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.


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