[TOCWOC Editor’s Note: I’ve decided to again go through the latest issues of Civil War magazines I subscribe to and comment on articles which interest me. In the interest of protecting what seems to be my ever shrinking free time, not all of the items/articles in a given magazine will receive comment, but they will be listed.]
Past & Present: Waxworks in Gettysburg
Summary: The venerable Gettysburg Civil War Wax Museum is selling off its wax figures and shifting focus from militaria to the town of Gettysburg before, during, and after the battle under new management. Rare images depicting the green chasseur-pattern uniforms worn by the 62nd Pennsylvania and a few other regiments as well as an image of an infant slave in the Comte de Paris’ private collection are shown and discussed. Susannah Ural discusses The Battle of Champion Hill web site.
Blue & Gray: A Rebel clerk’s war
Summary: Rebel war clerk John P. Jones is covered along with his book, A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary at the Confederate States Capital, first published in 1866. Published without an index and coming in at over 900 pages, the book was difficult to thoroughly research. Future volumes have failed to rectify the issue. Jones’ diary is useful for what it records about Confederate civilian morale and the day to day workings of the Rebel Capital.
WeiderReader: More great reads
Image & Insight: USS Huron’s crew
Summary: An image of the crew of the USS Huron is discussed, with numbers indicating such things as the various types of gun tubes used, the captain, the presence of a Black sailor, and the marines aboard the ship.
Q&A: Canada in the Civil War
Summary: John Boyko, author of Blood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation, is interviewed in this Q & A session. Boyko covers the topic of how Canada changed from a weak collection of independent colonies propped up by Great Britain into a new nation with a powerful central government. He also goes into how Canadians viewed the American Civil War.
Battlefields & Beyond: Battle of Chaffin’s Farm
Summary: The little known Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, fought on September 29-30, 1864 during the Siege of Petersburg, receives the “Battlefields & Beyond” treatment in this issue. Highlights include the actions of USCT regiments at New Market Heights and Fort Gilmer, the deep ditch dug in front of Confederate Fort Johnson to prevent mining operations from nearby Fort Burnham (the Union name for Fort Harrison), and information on Fort Harrison National Cemetery.
Thoughts & Comments: Spring then and now
Sherman Closes In: The Fiery Commander Captures Atlanta
By Robert L. O’Connell
Summary: An excerpt from Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman by Robert L. O’Connell covers Sherman’s advance on and capture of Atlanta, Georgia in 1864. An excellent two page spread on pages 48-49 covers the entire Atlanta Campaign and gives a brigade level order of battle and unit strengths as they existed at the start of the fighting.
A Monumental Lie?
By Tom Huntington
Summary: Monuments to specific regiments at Gettysburg, and their specific placement, was a source of endless controversy after the Civil War. Perhaps the most famous example occurred when the 72nd Pennsylvania placed a monument at the famous “Bloody Angle,” epicenter of the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge. Was the placement accurate? Tom Huntington explores this question.
High Seas and High Stakes
By James A. Morgan III
Summary: A Little Short of Boats author Jim Morgan moves to the high seas in this article, which deals with the question of how to legally treat Confederate privateers. Were they legitimate Confederate warriors, or pirates? The difference could literally mean life or death for anyone captured as a privateer. Letters of Marque granting privateers some level of protection could only be issued by officially recognized governments, and the Confederacy was not one of those as war broke out.
Into the Wilderness
Summary: One full two-page image shows elements of the Union Sixth Corps crossing the Rapidan River at Germanna Ford just before the Wilderness, while another shows the results of the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania: many Confederate prisoners temporarily crowded in to the “Punch Bowl” at Belle Plain, Virginia.
‘A Little Body of Malcontents’
By Susannah J. Ural
Summary: In this installment of “The War In Their Words” series, Susannah Ural looks at the famous Texas Brigade and the subject of its morale in the spring of 1864. Their new commander John Gregg played a key role in reviving flagging spirits. Letters from Private Solomon Blessing of the 1st Texas and from new Brigade commander John Gregg tell of the short rations, poor morale, and short supply of men in the brigade as the 1864 campaign approached. The famous “Lee to the Rear” episode in the Wilderness is also discussed in these primary sources.
Lincoln’s Tough Guy
By Harold Holzer
Summary: Ward Hill Lamon was President Lincoln’s personal bodyguard during the Civil War, but he was a whole lot more as well. Harold Holzer explores the talents of Lincoln’s close personal friend.
Books & Media: Shriver House Museum
- The Shriver House Museum covers what it was like to be a middle class family living in Gettysburg in 1863, the husband off to war and the wife and daughters caught in the aftermath of one of the largest battles of the Civil War.
- Confederate General William Dorsey Pender: The Hope of Glory by Brian Steel Wills
- The Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth, Texas is the “largest Civil War Museum West of the Mississippi.” Texas oil baron Ray Richey’s 5,000 plus artifacts form the basis of the collection, with further displays from the Texas Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. This Museum also displays the Battle of Palmito Ranch diorama designed and built by students in Arizona.
- The Civil War in the Border South by Christopher Phillips
Etc.: A bit of everything else
Old&Sold: Portable writing case