No one including me knows how I first became interested in military history. My mother used to tell her friends that history books and toy soldiers simply showed-up in my baby crib one day. I date my interest from an inscription in a copy of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Volume IV, which says, “Merry Christmas Deany, 1955.” I was ten years old. I’ve been “obsessively compulsed” ever since.
Throughout my life, the study of military history has been both hobby and avocation. For years I was part of the design team of well-known war-game designer John Hill. I worked with John as historical consultant and developer of the award winning miniatures game Johnny Reb, which is still popular after twenty-five years on the market. In 1996 my own miniatures rules, The Final Argument of Kings, were published. Final Argument is a tactical simulation of combat in the period 1740-1762. Through the years I’ve written numerous articles for various war-gaming magazines, and several years ago had a piece on Civil War cavalry published in North & South magazine. I have received credits as a researcher, copy editor and/or proof reader for historians Professor Christopher Duffy and Brent Nosworthy. I edited the western theater narrative in Keith Rocco’s Civil War art book “The Soldier’s View.” In the ’80s I was active in Civil War round tables, serving for awhile as president of the Jefferson County round table, located in Madison, Indiana.
I grew up in north west Indiana, on the Shores of beautiful Lake Michigan. I’m married and have three grown children and five feisty grand children. For forty years I made my living working for State Farm Mutual in its automobile claim department. For twenty-five of those years I managed auto claim facilities in two Indiana locations. A major part of my job was managing defense litigation. I retired a few years ago, and can now devote most of my time to the study of the “linear” or “Black Powder” era of warfare, 1689 through 1865.
In 1999 we bought a “hobby farm” in a very rural county of Kentucky. One day, while watching the terrific Civil War movie “Ride With the Devil” I decided I needed to learn to ride a horse well before I got to old. I had become intensely interested in cavalry, but knew I’d need the physical experience of riding to even attempt to understand the mounted arm. So at fifty-four I learned the basics of riding, bought two horses, and reconfigured the tiny hobby farm so we could care for horses there. Then I bought a truck and a horse trailer and joined The Kentucky Cavalry Brigade reenactment unit. Being around these Kentucky cavaliers who had been on horseback since boyhood vastly improved my riding skills. I learned the drill and became a drill master, and was fortunate to eventually rise to the rank of captain. I retired last year, before I broke a hip or worse, but the adventures I experienced during my nine years in the “pretend cavalry” are without doubt the most exciting of my lifetime. Moreover, hands-on physical experience with horses has vastly enhanced my ability to speak and write confidently about cavalry. In 2008, I had the great honor to command the 9th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, USA, at the Chickamauga National event.