March 2013 Civil War Book Notes

Those that can’t write, Review!

March 2013

James W. Durney



Scheduled to be in the stores

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

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.

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.

The Gentlemen and the Roughs: Violence, Honor, and Manhood in the Union Army by Lorien Foote looks at the clash when educated, refined, and wealthy officers (“gentlemen”) found themselves commanding a hard-drinking group of fighters (“roughs”).


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.

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.

GENERAL GORDON GRANGER: The Savior of Chickamauga and the Man Behind “Juneteenth” by Robert Conner looks at the general who acted as a gunner at Chattanooga incurring Grant’s displeasure. There is a lot more to Granger than that one incident.

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

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.

James S. Humphreys’ Edifice of Freedom: The Civil War Amendments in Historical Perspective looks at the historical context in which each amendment came to fruition and then traces the evolution of the amendments and their impact over time in American life.

Steven J. Ramold looks at the wide array of factors preventing the Union Army and the civilians on whose behalf they were fighting from being a united front during the Civil War. Across the Divide: Union Soldiers View the Northern Home Front illustrates how the divided spheres of Civil War experience created social and political conflict far removed from the better-known battlefields of the war.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Joshua L. Chamberlain: The Life in Letters of a Great Leader of the American Civil War by Thomas Desjardin, uses 300 never-before-seen letters from sent by or to Chamberlain from his college years in 1852 to his death in 1914


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

J. David Petruzzi and Steve Stanley are working on a trilogy for Maryland Campaign – a Guide, a Handbook, and a Numbers and Losses volume. The format is “just like” the Gettysburg series.

Scott Mingus Sr. posted several projects on Face book, they are:

1) Gettysburg Glimpses 2 is now in print (my first book of 2013) and for sale from Ten Roads Publishing.

2) I have finished the index and final proof reading for Confederate General William “Extra Billy” Smith and sent it back to Savas Beatie. Book will be in print in a couple of months.

3) Finished proofreading Brothers Divided 2: More Skirmishes in the Gettysburg Campaign.

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.

THE SECOND DAY AT GETTYSBURG: 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 due in the fall.

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.


Upcoming Events

Scott Mingus Sr. will be talking on the life of CSA Gen. William “Extra Billy” Smith in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday, April 27.



This new item will profile publishers of books on the Civil War. While most publishers do some books, we will look at the few who have a large inventory of these books.

McFarland & Company Inc.

In the spring of 1979, Robert McFarland founded McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, located in Jefferson, North Carolina, a small Appalachian town in the northwestern corner of the state (close to both Tennessee and Virginia). From the beginning, McFarland is a library-oriented publisher, producing comprehensive reference works and scholarly monographs on a variety of subjects. The books are manufactured to the highest specifications. They have the best design in the business, the best typography (with minutely reworked fonts for grace and easy reading), readability-oriented editing, and the finest available printing (acid-free, strong opacity paper with extra-sturdy cloth, board and paper bindings).

McFarland is now one of the leading publishers of reference books and scholarly monographs in the United States, with 5000 titles published to date, including more than 3000 still in print. McFarland publishes more than 400 new titles each year for a worldwide market; almost all new books are published simultaneously in a print edition and an eBook edition. Titles are popular with enthusiasts in a number of areas.

In addition to “McFarland” being a family name for founder Robert Franklin, it was in part chosen because of a strong North Carolina and Tennessee heritage. One early namesake, Robert McFarland, was an officer at the Battle of Kings Mountain, later spent time in or near the Ashe County, North Carolina area, then went on to become the first ever sheriff of Greene County, Tennessee. That McFarland’s grandson, Robert McFarland, fought at Vicksburg and was a justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court in the 1870s and 80s. There is also a Scottish connection. The “McFarland’s Lantern” of Scottish folklore has been incorporated into the company logo, and the clan tartan appears on the company banner.


The above is a modified version of the company’s official history on their site. My experience with McFarland is mixed. The books are normally in the $40 range, expensive for a paperback.

Author ability varies greatly, as expected with newer authors. They profusely illustrate books with period woodcuts of individuals and battles. However, the general lack of maps can be a problem. Overall, this publisher is a mixed bag; the buyer should carefully consider any purchase.

Having said this, McFarland often publishes books that other publishers will not. This means they can have the sole book available on the topic.


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