The NYMAS Newsletter 

No. 17, Summer 2000

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Annual Civil War Issue

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A Publication of

The New York Military Affairs Symposium

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© 2000  NYMAS & The Authors

 


Feature Review

 

Wilson’s Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It,

by William Garrett Piston

and Richard W. Hatcher III

 

This book is a fine combination of the best of the “old” military history and that of the “new” military history.   It serves not only as a study of the campaign in southwestern Missouri that culminated in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, but also as a good sociological study of the armies that fought it.

The authors begin with a good analysis of the complex political situation in Missouri.   Like the other border states, Missouri was deeply torn over the issues that divided the nation.  The pro-southern governor, Claiborne Jackson, wanted to take Missouri out of the Union, but could not act legally because the state legislature was solidly pro-Union.  In the aftermath of the firing on Fort Sumter, a number of people in the state government counseled neutrality.

Into this situation strode the local U.S. Army commander, Capt. Nathaniel Lyon.  A complex individual whose ardent anti-slavery stance often degenerated into sadistic fanaticism, Lyon acted to “save Missouri for the Union.”  In doing so, the authors argue, he did save Missouri for the Union in a territorial sense, but at the same time he destroyed the legally elected government of the state, and in  consequence drove many volunteers into the arms of the Confederacy.

The story of the campaign is a classic example of all of the problems that beset both armies early on in the war.  How the commanders of both armies  were able to manage this has to rank as something of a military miracle.  Outnumbered, Lyon decided to attack the Confederates just outside of  Springfield, Missouri, impelled in part by his deep desire to punish secessionists.  The conduct of the battle on either side left much to desired, but, given the state of the contending armies – ill-trained, ill-disciplined, ill-organized, ill-equipped – and the inexperience of the commanders, the generals probably did the best they could.

The authors do a very good job of dealing with the sociological elements of  the armies and the campaign. They seek to provide us some idea as to what impelled the men on both sides to take up arms.  For the men, who fought the battle, perhaps the most important element was what the authors describe as “corporate honor.”  Some of this might have been ethnic in origin, as for example with the German units that “fought mit (Franz) Siegel.”  For many others, corporate honor involved that of the town they came from.  To run away or desert would not only disgrace their regiment, but the name of their town as well.  Likewise, a regiment or company that did well in battle would enhance the honor and reputation of their town. Worthy performance in battle meant that “you could go home again.”

Many of the major players in the battle will be familiar to those well-versed in the Civil War. The authors’ penchant for constantly identifying units by their town name, the Moorehouse Guards, Oread Guards, etc., does lead to some confusion, especially when dealing with the battle itself.  The authors might have done well to italicize Confederate names and unit identification.

This small problem aside, the book is a very welcome addition to literature on the Civil War at several levels.  Both those who like the sound of cannon as well as those who like the more sociological aspects of military institutions will find much in this book that is commendable.

Wilson’s Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It, By William Garrett Piston and Richard W. Hatcher III.  Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000.  Pp. 408.  Illus, maps, notes, biblio., index.  $34.95.  ISBN: 0-8078-2515-8.

--R.L. DiNardo, USMC C&SC

 

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Words of Wisdom

 

“You cannot have an army without music.”   --Robert E. Lee

 

 

NYMAS Website

http://www.nymas.org/

 

The NYMAS website, managed by members James Dingman and Robert Rowen, has proven to be a great success, with an enormous number of “hits” per day, and has even been listed as a reference for several university military history courses.

In addition to the most up-to-date schedule of NYMAS conferences and lectures, as well as a complete file of back issues of The NYMAS Newsletter, the site includes very extensive links to websites dealing with current and historical matters of military, strategic, and policy interest.

 

 

 

Feeding the Fleet:

Union Navy Rations during the Civil War

 

On July 18, 1861, not long after the Civil War began, Congress enacted legislation reforming the Navy’s basic ration allowance.

The daily ration issue for each man was supposed to consist of:

1 pound of salt pork with a half pint beans or peas, or

1 pound of salt beef with a half pound of flour and two ounces of dried apples or other fruit, or

¾ pound of preserved – canned – meat, with two ounces of butter and two of desiccated potatoes

14 ounces of hardtack (five biscuits)

¼ ounce of tea or one ounce of coffee or cocoa

2 ounces of sugar

2 gills of “grog “

 

In addition, for each man there was a supposed to be a weekly issue of:

½ pound of pickles

½ pint of molasses

½ pint of vinegar

 

The Navy had better rations than the army, and got the prescribed issue on a more regular basis.  For example, the salt pork ration was four ounces bigger than that for soldiers, and sailors got a half ounce more coffee.  Better still, Uncle Sam’s tars were still getting a grog ration, nearly 30 years after the army’s daily toddy of whiskey had been abolished.  Unlike the Royal Navy’s 50-50 rum-and-water concoction, what the U.S. Navy called “grog” was a mixture of whiskey with water, the later predominating.  Alas for Uncle Sam’s tars, this benefit did not last long; The issuance of grog was discontinued in September of 1861, in compensation for which the men were given a very modest increase in pay

Ships at sea on blockade duty off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts were supplied with fresh rations every two or three weeks, even including frozen beef.  And most ship’s companies bought fresh produce and meat ashore, even from Confederate-controlled areas, to supplement the standard issues.

The Navy had another advantage over the Army in the ration department.  Ships actually had cooking facilities, and unlike the Army, the Navy had rated cooks, who could do a better job of turning the available foodstuffs into reasonably palatable meals than the average soldier, not that there was a whole lot even a good cook could do with the basic ingredients.  

Although the diet was rather heavy in salt, fat, and starch, some had been made to increasing advances in nutrition, thus the dried fruits, the peas, the pickles, and even the vinegar, all of which were of some help in fending off scurvy.

 

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Battles and Campaigns

 

This Grand Spectacle: The Battle of Chattanooga, by Steven Woodworth.  Abilene, Texas:  McWhiney Foundation, , 1999.   Pp. 136.  Illus., maps, biblio., index.  $12.95 paper.  ISBN: 1-893114-04.

A volume in the Civil War Campaigns and Commanders series, the quality of which has ranged from the very good to the positively awful, This Grand Spectacle is rather in the middle of this spectrum.  It is a basic bare bones work on the battle of Chattanooga.

 Woodworth begins by covering the campaign of maneuver between William Rosecrans and Braxton Bragg for Middle Tennessee for the ultimate prize of Chattanooga.   He provides a brief description of the Battle of Chickamauga, and a slightly more detailed account of the aftermath of the battle than is normally to be found.   Woodworth then goes into a somewhat more detailed narration of the opening of “Cracker Line,” Joe Hooker’s assault on Lookout Mountain, and the famous storming of Missionary Ridge by George H. Thomas’ men.

As is true of any book, this one does reflect certain biases on the part of  the author.  While he does take some shots at James Longstreet’s poor performance in the aftermath of Chickamauga, no mention is made of  Bragg’s decision to mount a cavalry raid into Middle Tennessee.  While a reasonable course of action in itself, Bragg’s decision to entrust the operation to the incompetent Joseph Wheeler was about as poor a choice as Bragg could have made. Woodworth’s claim that Bragg’s poorly laid out defensive line at Missionary Ridge was the result of inexperience also strikes me as somewhat lame, given that Bragg had been in the positions for almost two months.

Like all of Woodworth’s books, This Grand Spectacle is a very pleasant and quick read.  Aside from the main text, a number of useful biographical side bars are included.  This book will not stand as the best work of this prolific author, nor was it intended to be.  As a useful primer for the novice, it certainly succeeds.                      

 --R.L. DiNardo, USMC C&SC

 

 

Confederate Tide Rising: Robert E. Lee and the Making of Southern Strategy, 1861-1862, by Joseph L. Harsh.   Kent, Oh.: Kent State University Press, 1998.  Pp. xviii, 278.  Illus, maps, append., notes, biblio., index.  $35.00.  ISBN:  0-87338-580-2.

This prize-winning work was written, as Prof. Harsh recently noted, in preparation for his Taken at the Flood : Robert E. Lee and Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862. 

Confederate Tide Rising is indeed a ground-breaking work, taking a critical look at the shaping of Confederate strategy in the first year of the Civil War.  Harsh starts by taking a fresh look at the traditional view – promoted by Jefferson Davis and others – that the South pursued an “offensive-defensive” strategy, concluding that in fact an offensive strategy was adopted, at least in the first 18-months of the war, in order to incorporate additional territories into the Confederacy. 

The work is the first to focus on Robert E. Lee’s role in shaping Confederate strategy, a complex matter, given that Jefferson Davis insisted on running the war himself.  But Davis comes in for some praise as well, in the form of an unusually positive look at his grasp of the strategic situation.

There’s more, of course, such as the essentially Jominian character of Robert E. Lee’s style of warfare, the influence of luck on operations, a refreshingly unbiased look at Lee’s relationship with James Longstreet, and so forth, including six excellent appendices which delve into matters such as mobilization and numbers (though he starts both sides off with “0” troops in April of 1861, when the Confederacy already had about 45,000 volunteers under arms, against the Union’s 14,000 or so regulars),  the many high level war councils and strategy conferences in which Lee took part,  and so forth.  The book is honest, critical of Lee, and anyone else, when criticism seems warranted, but equally complimentary as appropriate.  An important book.             

 --A.A. Nofi

 

 

Sounding the Shallows: A Confederate Companion for the Maryland Campaign of 1862, by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent, Oh.: Kent State University Press, 2000.  Pp.  xvi, 280.  Tables, notes, biblio., index.  $18.00 paper.  ISBN:  0-87338-641-8.  

Sounding the Shallows is the third volume in what will be Prof. Harsh’s four volume treatment of Robert E. Lee’s 1862 Campaign in Maryland, which began with Confederate Tide Rising: Robert E. Lee and the Making of Southern Strategy (Kent, Oh.: Kent State University Press, 1998), noted above, and was followed by his award-winning, Taken at the Flood (Kent, Oh: Kent State University Press, 1999), which focused on the actual campaign and battle of Antietam and was reviewed by Richard L. DiNardo in Autumn 1999 Newsletter.  Sounding the Shallows is essentially an expanded appendix.  It includes an almanac, with detailed weather reports for the area of the campaign, information on the composition of Lee’s army, a gazetteer of places, and literally scores of “research appendices,” actually long footnotes, on various aspects of the campaign, including such matters as Lee’s Mode of Travel on September 19” and “The Number of Copies of Special Orders No. 191.”  

Sounding the Shallows, which is to be followed in a year or so by a volume of miscellania  devoted to the Union side, is an invaluable reference and resource for the serious student of the Civil War.    

--Albert A. Nofi

 

 

Banners to the Breeze: The Kentucky Campaign, Corinth, and Stones River, by Earl J. Hess.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.  Pp. 263.  Illus., maps, index. $32.00.  ISBN: 0-8032-2380-3..

Part of the University of Nebraska Press Great Campaigns of the Civil War Series, the scope of this work is rather interesting.  Hess picks up the story in the aftermath of U. S. Grant’s victory at Shiloh and the ensuing occupation of the key Confederate rail junction of Corinth, Mississippi.  He then details the aggressive Confederate response, the abortive offensive into Kentucky, the botched attempt to retake Corinth, and finally Braxton Bragg’s failed attempt to  destroy William S. Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland at Stones River/Murfreesboro.

Hess takes a very conventional approach in attributing the failure of the Confederate response to Union offensive to their fractured command system.  The move into Kentucky was hamstrung by the different agendas pursued by the “cooperating” commanders, Braxton Bragg and E. Kirby Smith.  Likewise, Confederate attempts to wrest control of northern Mississippi from Union forces foundered on the differences between the principal commanders, Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price.  Again, taking a conventional approach, Hess also outlines how, although hopes were high for bringing Kentucky into the Confederacy, the response of the population was, as in Maryland, less than overwhelming.  In this way Bragg’s campaign in Kentucky, like that of Robert E. Lee in Maryland, ultimately helped define the Confederacy, which by 1863 included neither Maryland nor Kentucky.

Much less conventional is Hess’ take on the principal commanders in these campaigns.  He paints a very favorable portrait of much maligned commanders such as Don Carlos Buell.  Hess argues that Buell’s conduct of the campaign in Kentucky was reasonable, given the difficulties under which he was operating.  In this regard, Hess is following the line on Buell recently taken by Stephen D. Engle, reviewed elsewhere in this issue of The Newsletter.   Likewise, he is also very understanding of the problems faced by Bragg in both Kentucky and Tennessee.  Somewhat less convincing is Hess’ contention that Stones River had a traumatic effect on Rosecrans, making him much more cautious and less optimistic a commander than he had been at Corinth.  This is certainly not supported by subsequent events, especially by Rosecrans’ brilliant planning and conduct of the Tullahoma Campaign.

Given the broad scope of Banners to the Breeze and its relatively short length, it should come as no surprise that Hess relies largely on secondary sources, including some works that are marked by haphazard research and implausible interpretations.  Hess, however, has an excellent grasp of the issues that confronted both sides at this juncture of the war. 

Consistent with Hess’ other work, the book is both a quick and a pleasant read.  It also has a number of fine photographs, several of which have not been previously published.  One minor irritation is the dust jacket.  It is one of those Currier and Ives pictures one normally sees on the dust jacket of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.  In this case, however, the image is very blurry.  Any more indistinct and it would pass for a Rorschach ink blot.  A publisher as prestigious as Nebraska ought to be able to do better.

In conclusion, someone who is familiar with the works of Thomas L. Connelly and some of the other historians of the western campaigns will not find much here that is new.  For the reader who is new to the this part of the war, this book is an invaluable starting point.                              

--R.L. DiNardo, USMC C&SC


 

To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13-25, 1864, by Gordon C. Rhea. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2000.  Pp. 475.  Illus, maps, notes, bibliography, index.  $34.95.  ISBN: 0-8071-2535-0

This is the third volume in Rhea’s study of the 1864 Overland campaign.  The first two, covering the battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House, won critical acclaim, and this volume is no less deserving of praise.  Rhea picks up the story of the campaign on May 13, the day after the stunning carnage of the fighting on the Mule Shoe and at the Bloody Angle.  Rhea then follows Grant’s abortive attempts to break Lee’s position around Spotsylvania, followed by his unsuccessful attempt to beat Lee to the North Anna River, in order to get between the Army of Northern Virginia and Richmond.  He concludes the volume with Grant’s brief but unavailing assaults against Lee’s brilliant “inverted V” position at the North Anna, and Grant’s decision to swing around Lee’s right, this time aiming towards Cold Harbor.

In his perceptive analysis of the campaign, Rhea makes a number of fair but critical judgments of the principal commanders.  Rhea contends that the biggest mistake Grant made was in sending away nearly all of Philip Sheridan’s Cavalry Corps on a raid almost immediately after the Wilderness.  Although the raid did produce some positive results, including the victory at Yellow Tavern and the mortal wounding of Jeb Stuart, it effective blinded Grant until Sheridan returned during the final week of May.  In this Grant essentially repeated the mistake made by Hooker just before the onset of the Chancellorsville campaign. 

As in his first two volumes, Rhea is critical of Grant’s habit of not involving himself more in the actual direction of the fighting.  At critical times corps commanders such as Winfield Scott Hancock, Gouverneur K. Warren, and Horatio Wright received almost no guidance from Grant or George G. Meade, who by this time was at best only the nominal commander of the Army of the Potomac.  Rhea does an excellent job in detailing the deteriorating relationship between Grant and Meade, and particularly Meade’s anomalous position as commander of the Army of the Potomac, with which Grant was always present.  Meade also disagreed strongly with Grant on several decisions.  The most important of these was Grant’s decision to push on the North Anna River, a race against Lee which Meade felt could not be won.  After the fruitless assaults of May 24 against the “inverted V,” Meade viewed Grant’s decision to swing further south to the Pamunkey River, a course he had advocated after Spotsylvania, with smug satisfaction.  This would not bode well for the future.

Rhea also takes a somewhat different view of Lee.  Many traditional historians, led by Douglas Southall Freeman, have credited Lee with an almost divine omniscience in his ability to frustrate Grant’s attempts to get around his flank.  Rhea shows conclusively, however, that Lee was often misled as to the true nature of Grant’s intentions.  This led him to a potentially dangerous mistake in his march to the North Anna, which he was only able to rectify by a brilliantly conceived improvisation.  Although slightly better served by his cavalry than Grant, by this time the performance of the Confederate cavalry was also in decline.  Poor reconnaissance by Fitzhugh Lee contributed in part to A.P. Hill’s failure  to successfully contest the crossing of the North Anna by Warren’s V Corps at Jericho Mills.

Rhea takes a somewhat more conventional view of Lee’s subordinate commanders.  While leadership at the division level was still strong, with the likes of Jubal Early, Stephen Dodson Ramseur, and Charles Field, among others, corps command was another matter.  Richard Ewell and A.P. Hill both mishandled tactical actions, first at the Harris Farm and then Jericho Mills.  Without Longstreet to handle complicated tactical attacks, Lee, in steadily deteriorating health had to take on more than he alone could manage.  Thus he was unable, according to Rhea, to take advantage of Grant’s mistakes at places such as the Harris Farm, or after he had successfully divided the Army of the Potomac into two isolated wings.  However, I think Rhea misses an important point.  Even if Lee was able to launch an attack on an isolated portion of the Army of the Potomac, unless the circumstances were perfect, such as for Jackson’s attack at Chancellorsville or Longstreet’s at the Wilderness, casualties in open field fights tended to be relatively even.  In any case, in the long run, the Army of Northern Virginia could not sustain those kinds of casualties.

This book, like all of Rhea’s works, is marked by thorough, painstaking research and crisp, lucid writing. This is a major addition to the literature on the subject and is a must for any student of the 1864 campaign.

--R.L. DiNardo, USMC C&SC

 

 

The Battle of Gettysburg, by the Comte de Paris (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1886/Reprint., North Scituate, Mass.: Digital Scanning, 1999).  PP. ix, 315.  Maps, append.  $24.95 paper.  ISBN: 1-58218-065-2.  

The Comte de Paris’ multi-volume History of the Civil War in America was one of the first treatments of the war by a European military scholar, and is also notable because it is one of the few European treatments by someone who had first-hand experience of the conflict, Paris having spent a good chunk of 1862 at the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac.  This gives his work a unique perspective.

In 1886 the Gettysburg chapters from History of the Civil War in America were translated and published in the United States.  The Battle of Gettysburg provides a readable, generally clear  treatment of the campaign and battle of Gettysburg, one with occasional flashes of considerable insight, such a defense of Longstreet in the increasingly acrimonious post-war argument the over the battle and the general’s activities on the second and third days of the battle. 

Modern readers may find the style of the work rather cumbersome (“During this time, Vincent, hastening the pace of his soldiers, has reached the base of this same hill”).  In keeping with nineteenth century optimism and romantic militarism, everyone is uniformly brave and gallant, and there is a definite lack of attention to technological matters.  Thus, the author never once mentions that the stubborn resistance offered by Buford’s Union cavalrymen to Heth’s Confederate infantrymen on the morning of the first day was largely due to their ability to generate much greater firepower than their opponents as a result of being armed with breech loading repeating carbines.  In fact, it’s worth noting that the word “rifle” does not appear in this work.  On the positive side, and also very much in keeping with nineteenth century military practice, the book presents an extremely clear word-picture of the physical environment of the campaign, no mean feat.

The book, which is reproduced complete with the original maps, ought to have been accompanied by an introduction discussing its relationship to modern scholarship. 

A searchable CD-Rom edition of The Battle of Gettysburg is also  available, for $24.95.   ISBN: 1-58218-067-9.                                                

--A.A. Nofi

 

 

The 2000 NYMAS Fall Conference:

The Gulf War: Ten Years After

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Date:    November 4, 2000

Time:   9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Place:  The City University Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, between 34th and 35th Streets

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Papers

“The War We Left Behind: Iraq After the Gulf War,”  Andrew Cockburn, Journalist

“Naval Forces in the Gulf War,” Edward Marola, Senior Historian, The Naval Historical Center

“Army Operations in the Gulf War,” Dr. Gordon Rudd, School of Advanced Warfighting,  Marine Corps University, Quantico, Virginia

 

 

Shoeing the Troops:

Union Army Footwear

 

Union Army regulations provided that each soldier be issued two pair of shoes a year.  There were two different types of footwear, which had suitably bureaucratic names, but were most commonly known as “Jefferson Booties” and “Brogans.”.

“Jefferson Booties” or “Jefferson Davis Booties” were named after former Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, who had introduced them to the service, because they were cheaper than the standard issue shoe.  The booties were made from leather with a papier maché heel.  They very narrow could be worn on either foot, and were not sized.  As a result, small-footed men had to stuff them with newspaper or rags lest they fall off, while big-footed men had to suffer from blisters, corns, and worse.  Although Davis made quite a number of valuable innovations during his tenure at the War Department, the booties definitely were not one of them, and soon passed from the scene.

“Brogans” were heavier than booties, and cost more, about $2.00 the pair, perhaps $80-$100 in money of 2000.  Made of leather, they usually had a square toe, with a wooden heel and some arch support.  They came in lefts and rights, and were sized, which meant they were much more comfortable than the booties.  They acquired the nickname “brogans” – Gaelic for shoe – because they reminded Irish soldiers of the common work shoes back on the Old Sod.

Irish veterans of the Civil War who made it back to the Emerald Isle, often found themselves under arrest by the British authorities, because their footwear marked them as American  veterans, which put them under suspicion of being members of the Fenian Brotherhood, many of whom had enlisted in the Union Army in order to acquire military skills that they could use for the liberation of Ireland.

 

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Biographies, Memoirs, and Personal Accounts

 

One of the many useful side-effects of the immense public – if not academic – interest in the Civil War is the increasing tide of biographies and other works which look at the lives of some of the lesser known characters who served, along with new treatments of the some of well-known figures in the war.

 

Joshua Chamberlain: The Soldier and the Man, by Edward G. Longacre.  Conshohocken, Pa.: Combined Publishing, 1999.  Pp. 395.  Maps, notes, biblio., index.  $29.95.  ISBN: 1-58097-021-4.

Joshua Chamberlain has received considerable attention in recent years, most notably since the release of the film Gettysburg brought him to the attention of a larger audience.  One result has been that several books have appeared focused on Chamberlain, either in the form of biographies or as studies of his famous defense of Little Round Top on July 2, 1863.  Most have been rather adulatory.  Ed Longacre’s is different.

Longacre, already noted for his work on the history of the Union cavalry and his biography of Buford, takes a different look at Chamberlain, putting the man’s military achievements within the framework of his personal and civilian life.  It’s a remarkable picture, particularly in its quite intimate look at Chamberlain’s relations with his wife, and some readers may find the “Afterword: Joshua Chamberlain, A Psychological Portrait,” by psychologist Gary K. Leak, interesting, if not amusing.

Militarily, Longacre is rather more critical of Chamberlain’s accomplishments as a soldier than many other recent historians, who have tended to be rather worshipful.  The author observes that Chamberlain’s account of the struggle for Little Round Top changed over the years, with his role becoming increasingly important.  Moreover, virtually from the moment the fighting ended there were contradictory versions of what transpired. 

It’s important to understand that Longacre has not set out to “debunk” Chamberlain’s reputation.  In fact the book demonstrates that Chamberlain did play a critical role, not only on Little Round Top, but on several other fields.  But it does put his achievements into better perspective within the greater framework of the war.  Worth reading.                                --A.A. Nofi

 

 

Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph Over Adversity, 1822-1865, by Brooks D. Simpson.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.  Pp. xix, 533.  Illus, maps, notes, index.  $35.00.  ISBN:  0-395-65994-9.

Biographies of Grant are by no means rare.  But Brooks D. Simpson has managed to make a solid contribution.   The book opens with rather more detail on his pre-war “career” than is normally the case, and takes a good look at the reasoning behind some of Grant’s wartime plans.  There is, for example, an interesting aside on Grant’s thought on a campaign in North Carolina.  The book is by no means hagiographic, and can be quite critical as necessary.  And if it doesn’t drive a stake through the heart of the “Grant the drunkard” myth, nothing else ever will

 

 

Confederate Admiral: The Life and Times of Franklin Buchanan, by Craig L. Symonds.  Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1999.  Pp. xvi, 274.  Illus, notes, biblio., index.  $32.95.  ISBN:  1-55750-844-5. 

A true “life and times,” Confederate Admiral looks not only at Buchanan’s services to the South during the Civil War, but at his whole life, including his numerous contributions to the evolution of the U.S Navy, as well as his short, but rather impressive career of the Confederate Navy.  Valuable for anyone interested in the naval history of the Civil War.

 

 

Andrew Foote: Civil War Admiral on Western Waters, by Spencer C. Tucker.   Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2000.  Pp.  xvi, 259.  Illus, maps, chron., notes, biblio., index.  $34.95.  ISBN:  1-55750-820-8. 

Andrew Foote played an important role in riverine operations during the first year or so of the war, taking Fort Henry, and supporting U.S. Grant’s operations against Fort Donelson and at Shiloh, and John Pope’s operations against Island No. 10 in the winter and spring of 1862.  But he died rather suddenly, and his impressive record was eclipsed by that of other commanders.  Tucker’s biography, apparently the first ever about this interesting officer, covers not only his services during the Civil War, but devotes a great of attention to his early life and rise through the ranks of the young U.S. Navy.  A good book.

 

 

The Memoirs of Brigadier General William Passmore Carlin, U.S.V., edited by Robert I. Giradri and Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr.  Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.  Pp. xii, 321.  Illus, notes, biblio., index.  $50.00.   ISBN:  0-8032-1494-4.

 Passmore (USMA 1850) served for a time on the frontier, and at the outbreak of the Civil War was in Missouri.  From 1862 he served in the heartland, and commanded brigades or divisions in most of the major operations in the West, from Corinth right on to Bentonville, and then served on occupation duty for a time.  His memoirs are very well written, and often very frank, as when he mentions that he wept openly after Chickamauga, where he was almost “fragged” while trying to halt the flight of some panicked troops.  The editors have provided two biographical essays, and a host of useful footnotes.  A good book.

 

 

Forgotten Valor: The Memoirs, Journals, and Civil War Letters of Orlando B. Wilcox, edited by Robert Garth Scott.  Kent, Oh.: Kent State University Press, 1999.  Pp. xxxii, 720.  Illus, append, notes, biblio. Essay, index.  $49.00.  ISBN:  0-87338-628-0. 

The Wilcox papers are the most important throve of Civil War documents uncovered in 50 years, literally hundreds of pages of diaries, letters, memoirs, and other documents.  In Forgotten Valor, editor Scott has woven together the general’s never-completed memoirs, a number of his articles, extracts from his letters and diaries, as well as bits and pieces of other documents, to paint a coherent picture of military life as Wilcox saw it, from West Point, through the Mexican War, and duty on the Great Plains, and on to some of the greatest battles of the Civil War (Antietam, Fredericksburg, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor), with a side trip into Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee, where the general served for briefly as well, not to mention a protracted stay as a “guest” of the Confederacy after Bull Run. 

This “cut-and-paste” approach works surprisingly well, for we see not only what the general wished to say about events, but also get a little look into his personal feelings and morale.  Although there are no earth-shaking revelations in Forgotten Valor, Wilcox’ observations of events and people are sometimes unusual, and the book will be of value to anyone interested in the Civil War.

 

 

Major General John Alexander McLernand: Politician in Uniform, by Richard L. Kiper.  Kent, Oh.: Kent State University Press, 1999.  Pp. xii, 386.  Illus, maps, tables, notes, biblio., index.  $35.00.  ISBN:  0-87338-636-1

This is really the first serious biography of one of the most controversial political generals of the Civil War.  Major General John Alexander McLernand provides a quite balanced look at the career of the soldier-politician from Illinois who became one of the most popular amateur soldiers of the war and an inveterate critic of West Point during and after it.  Unlike most earlier treatments of McLernand, Kiper gives credit where credit is due, without going overboard as to the general’s talents. 

Profusely mapped, and with some useful order of battle information, to make operations more readily understandable, this book is worth reading by those with a particular interest in the war in the West.

 

 

Don Carlos Buell: Most Promising of All, by Stephen D. Engle.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.  Pp. xvii, 476 pp.  Illus, maps, notes, biblio., index.  $45.00.  ISBN:  0-80782-512-3. 

A solid biography – surprisingly the first ever – of one of the lesser lights of the Civil War.  Engle takes a good look at Buell’s early career, during which he seemed, as the book’s sub-title indicates the “most promising of all” the officers in the army, who, despite some bright moments, turned out to be a poor commander. 

Well-written, the book has a lot of good word-portraits and some very clear analysis of Buell’s essentially Jominian views on warfare and his inability to understand the political dimensions of the conflict.

 

 

Major McKinley: William McKinley and the Civil War, by William H. Armstrong.  Kent, Oh.: Kent State University Press, 2000.  Pp. xvi, 191.  Illus., map, notes, biblio., index.  $18.00 paper.  ISBN:  0-87338-657-4.

Major McKinley is more than just an account of William McKinley’s Civil War, although it does a very good job of telling that story.  It goes beyond the war years to talk about McKinley the veteran, and, most importantly, McKinley the Commander-in-Chief. 

While McKinley’s war record was solid, it was hardly unusual.  But his wartime experiences, and his knowledge of the war in general, served him in good stead during the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection.  A useful book for anyone interested in the Civil War, and a valuable one for anyone interested in the conduct of the war with Spain and that in the Philippines.

 

 

Notable Reprint

 

Memoirs, by William Tecumseh Sherman, edited with an introduction and notes by Michael Fellman.  New York: Penguin, 2000.  Pp.  xxiv, 820.  Illus, maps, tables, editorial notes, index.  $16.95 paper.  ISBN: 0-14-043798-3

One of the classic works of American History (albeit, as the general said, “These are my memoirs, if you remember it differently, write your own.”), this edition of Sherman’s Memoirs – here presented in a one volume version – is still worth reading, with a useful introduction and notes added by the editor.

 

Preliminary

NYMAS Fall Lecture Schedule *

 

Sep   8 – “Russia’s War in Chechnya,” George Phillips, NYMAS

Sep 15 – “Borodino,” Frank Radford, NYMAS

Sep 22 – “Researching Military History on the Web,” Robert Rowen, NYMAS

Sep 29 – “The Kinder, Gentler Military,” Stephanie Gutmann, Author

Oct  6 – “The Battle of Brooklyn,” John J. Gallagher, Author

Oct 13 – “Espionage in the American Revolution,” Thomas Fleming, Author

Oct 20 – “Military Innovation between the World Wars,” Hal Winton, Marine Corps University

Oct 27 – “The Expeditionary Aerospace Force,” Lt. Col. J.R. Atkins, USMC Command and Staff College

Nov 3 – Gulf War Roundtable

Nov 4  - Fall Conference: “The Gulf War: Ten Years Later.”**

Nov 10 – “McCarthyism and the Cold War,” Ellen Schrecker, Yeshiva University

Nov 17 – “Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brererton and the Air War with Japan,” Jonathan A. Epstein, CUNY Graduate Center/NYMAS

Dec  1 – “German and British Propaganda in World War I,” Jonathan A. Epstein, CUNY- GC

Dec  8 – “Contemporary Issues in Veterans’ Affairs,” Michael Gold, Former Director, CUNY Division of Veteran Affairs Office.

_________________________________________

Talks are held on Friday evenings at the new CUNY Graduate Center, at 365 Fifth Avenue, between 34th and 35th Streets,  from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.   Ask security personnel for the room number .

____________________________________

* Consult the NYMAS Website for possible changes.

 

NYMAS Membership News

 

Executive Secretary Prof. Kathleen Broome Williams’ "Scientists in Uniform: the Harvard Computation Laboratory in WWII." Naval War College Review, Summer 1999, has been awarded a prize for the best historical article to appear in that journal during 1999.

Boardmember Col. Arnold Albert, recently underwent emergency surgery.  He is currently recovering very nicely at his home.

Longtime Member, and resident aviation guru,, Dwight Cox, who has often presented lectures to the Symposium, is relocating to Florida.

 

~~~~~~

 

On Command and Commanders

 

The Right Hand of Command: Use and Disuse of Personal Staffs in the Civil War, by R. Steven Jones. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2000. Pp. xvi, 256.  Illus., notes., biblio., index. $24.95.  ISBN: 0-8117-1451-9.

One area of the Civil War that has been long neglected is that of the staffs that assisted commanders in the execution of their duties.  Recently, however, this topic has drawn some attention.  Staff operations in the Army of Northern Virginia were covered by J. Boone Bartholomees' Buff Facings and Gilt Buttons, and now R. Steven Jones has weighed in with The Right Hand of Command, with mixed results.

The book is a study of the personal staffs of George B. McClellan, Robert E. Lee, William T. Sherman, and U. S. Grant.  Most of the attention (three of the eight chapters) is focused on Grant, for the author argues that over the course of the war Grant developed a personal staff that in some ways resembled the developing staff practices in Prussia.  While McClellan took some hesitant steps in that direction, both Lee and Sherman did not make nearly as much use of their respective staffs as they could have.

The limited scope of the book is both its strength and weakness.  Ideally, by focusing on just the four individuals mentioned, Jones could take something of an in-depth look at each of the staffs of these men.  He is able to go into some detail on a number of their staff officers, many of whom have been somewhat faceless  in Civil War histories. Jones is also able to go into the relationship between the some staffers and their bosses, although some of this is territory that has been well covered by many biographers and historians. 

The weakness of Jones' approach is apparent in a number of ways.  Jones’ limiting of his coverage to personal staffs skews the issue of how staffs worked. In the chapter on Lee, for example, Jones asserts that Lee at times used Armistead Long to place artillery batteries.  This should have been William Nelson Pendleton’s job, Lee’s Chief of Artillery.  Jones says nothing, however, about the relationship between Pendleton and Long.  Yet even in dealing with these four commanders, Jones goes into far more detail than necessary.   We repeatedly read, for example, that such-and-such wrote this order that specified the following.  All this detail really does not tell us very much, other than the fact these people had lots of clerical duties to perform.  By limiting this detail, Jones could have saved space to deal with other figures such as Braxton Bragg, a very influential figure in the matter of how staff slots were filled in the Confederate armies.  Finally leaving out George Meade is a serious error.  By doing so, Jones missed an excellent opportunity to examine the relationship between the two staffs, Meade’s and Grant’s, which available documentation suggests was not a very healthy one.

Jones has made reasonably good use of the available sources, but his research does show some odd gaps.  While he makes good use of Cyrus Comstock's diary in the Library of Congress, for Horace Porter he relies solely on the man’s memoir Campaigning With Grant, even though Porter's own papers are in also the Library of Congress.  The book does have the virtue of being well written.

In conclusion, this work was something of a missed opportunity, owing largely to several omissions.  It does, however, much like the Bartholomees book, take a long needed step in the right direction.               

--R.L. DiNardo, USMC C&SC

 

 

Training, Tactics and Leadership in the Confederate Army of Tennessee: Seeds of Failure, by Andrew Haughton.  London: Frank Cass, 2000.  Pp. 261. Notes, biblio., append., index. $49.50. ISBN: 0-71446-5032-3.

This book examines some of the lesser studied aspects of the Civil War, namely training, the tactics on which the training was based, and leadership, especially at the lower levels of command.  Haughton ultimately concludes that training and the failure to adapt essentially Napoleonic tactics to the tactical circumstances that pertained in the west doomed the Army of Tennessee to failure.

Haughton logically begins by examining some of the previous explanations for the Confederate defeat, as well as the notion of Southern military prowess.  In a very close and penetrating analysis of the historical literature, Haughton convincingly debunks the notion of Southerners being naturally prone to the martial pursuits.  He also dismisses many of the standard explanations for the military demise of the Confederacy.  Having done that, Haughton then begins his examination of what he argues is the cause of the Confederate defeat, namely training and tactics.

Haughton argues that early on in the war Confederate commanders remained wedded to linear tactics based solely on William J. Hardee’s 1855 manual.  As time went on, commanders failed to rectify problems with training.  While training, or drill, improved in both frequency and quality at the company and regimental levels, drills at the brigade, division, and corps levels remained almost unknown, at least until 1864.  Haughton also points out the lack of target practice given infantry, another deficiency not remedied until 1864.

In terms of command, Haughton tries to minimize attention to the well-covered disagreements between Braxton Bragg and his senior officers.  Instead, he concentrates on officers at the company and regimental level. Early on officers were elected, a system that did not always produce the best leaders.   Bragg, while stuck with this system, did try to mitigate its worst effects by instituting a board of examinations to screen prospective officers for their fitness for their respective posts.

Haughton’s analysis does fall short in some places. He understates, for example, the importance of higher command. The problem at Shiloh was not so much linear tactics as it was P.G.T. Beauregard’s battle plan, which proved hopelessly complex for the largely inexperienced Army of Tennessee to manage.  While Haughton argues that linear tactics proved incapable of sustaining an offensive and that the army was unable to develop better tactics, he is at a loss to explain the second day at Chickamauga.  There Longstreet, massing a force of eight brigades in a deep column, was able to achieve a decisive result.  While Haughton does not overplay the effect the so-called “fatal order” had in disrupting the Union line, he cannot explain how Longstreet was able to accomplish this, even though the troops had absolutely no training for it. 

The lack of maps in the volume is a major deficiency.

The book is extremely well-researched and reasonably well written.  Although Haughton’s arguments have their flaws, his approach is fresh. This is a very good addition to anyone’s Civil War library, although the price is pretty stiff.

--R.L. DiNardo, USMC C&SC

 

 

Three Days at Gettysburg: Essays on Confederate and Union Leadership, edited by Gary W. Gallagher.  Kent, Oh.: Kent State University Press, 1999.  Pp. xiii, 373.  Illus, maps, notes, bibliographic essay, index.  $35.00.  ISBN:  0-87338-629-9. 

A collection of thirteen essays – including those published in Prof. Gallagher’s two previous collections, The First Day at Gettysburg and The Second Day at Gettysburg – which re-examines some of the critical leadership issues during the critical battle. 

Most of the essays are very good, and several are outstanding, such as Carol Reardon’s “James Longstreet’s Virginia Defenders,” A. Wilson Greene’s essay on Henry Slocum and the XII Corps, and William Glenn Robertson’s on Dan Sickles and his Third Corps, though Robert K. Krick cannot resist getting some digs in at Longstreet, despite the overall favorable treatment of “Old Pete’s” performance by both Reardon and Gallagher.  Valuable for anyone interested in the Civil War.

 

 

Lee the Soldier, edited by Gary W. Gallagher.  Lincoln, Nb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.  Illus, maps, notes, biblio., index.  Pp. 19.95 paper.  ISBN: 0-8032-7084-4.  

Lee the Soldier consists of more than two dozen articles, excerpts from other works, diaries, and letters, and biographical and bibliographical essays, by former comrades, other soldiers, and scholars over the more than 135 years since the end of the Civil War, presenting a wide range of images of Robert E. Lee, from the demigod to the more down-to-earth human being of recent scholarship. 

Though it would have been better had the editor chosen to exclude excerpts from the mendacious Jubal Early, Lee the Soldier is still a useful work for anyone interested in the Civil War, and in Lee in particular.

 

 

Controversies and Commanders: Dispatches from the Army of the Potomac, by Stephen W. Sears.  Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1999.  xv, 300 pp.  Illus, notes, index.  $26.00.  0-395-86760-6. 

In a series of essentially self-contained essays that are really sort-off overly long discursive footnotes, Sears address some unusual or half-forgotten subjects related to senior officers in the Army of the Potomac.  So we find “The Ordeal of General Stone,” who was falsely – and maliciously – accused of treason and treated disgracefully as a result, as well as “In Defense of Fighting Joe,” which covers some interesting ground, and “Last Words on the Lost Order,” dealing with the infamous “General Order No. 191,” somehow lost and somehow found and somehow never quite as important as it might have been (Sears hastens to add that these are his “last words” on the subject.).  Worth reading for any student of the Civil War.

 

 

Jefferson Davis’s Generals, edited by Gabor S. Boritt.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.  Pp. xvii, 216.  Illus, notes, biblio.  $13.95 paper.  ISBN:  0-19-513921-6.

Essays by Craig Symonds, Emory M. Thomas, James McPherson, Herman Hatthaway and others on various aspects of the relationship between Jefferson Davis and his senior commanders, Joe Johnston, Lee, Beauregard, Bragg, and Hood, as well as a couple of looks at Davis as a grand strategist and war leader.

Some of the conclusions are interesting.  For example, Steve E. Woodworth argues that Bragg’s subordinates were incompetent, which is true, but misses the point that Bragg didn’t get along very well even with his abler subordinates, while T. Michael Parish put the responsibility for the early 1850s feud between then-Secretary of War Davis and General-in-Chief Winfield Scott squarely on the latter’s shoulders, rather than distributing it between the two.  Not to be missed is Lesley J. Gordon’s essay on the relationship of Davis, Lee, and others with their wives. 

Worth a read.

 

~~~~~~

 

Short Rounds

 

Stopping Pickett: The History of the Philadelphia Brigade, by Bradley M. Gottfired.  Shippensburg, Pa.: White Mane, 1999.  Pp. xi, 270.  Illus, maps, notes, biblio., index.   $29.95.  ISBN:  1-57249-164-7. 

A detailed treatment of the “Philadelphia Brigade” the outfit which defended “The Angle” at Gettysburg, with a good look at the character of the men, their backgrounds, and their combat experience, along with the controversy surrounding the performance of some of them at Gettysburg/

 

 

Mountain Partisans: Guerrilla Warfare in the Southern Appalachians, 1861-1865, by Sean Michael O’Brien.  Westport, Ct.: Praeger, 1999.  Pp. xxiv, 221.  Illus, references, biblio., index.  $35.00.  ISBN:  0-275-96430-2.  

A very good account of the irregular fighting in the Appalachian regions of Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Alabama during the Civil War, which contained large pockets of Unionists, or just people who didn’t want to get involved.  O’Brien places the events within the framework of the ante bellum economic and social order in the region, and devotes some attention to the effects of the bitter partisan fighting on the post-war development of Appalachia. 

 

 

Struggle for the Round Tops: Law’s Alabama Brigade at the Battle of Gettysburg,  by Morris M. Penny and J. Gary Laine.  Shippensburg, Pa.: Burd Street Press, 1999.  Pp. xvii, 254.  Illus, maps, append, notes, biblio., index.  $24.95.  ISBN:  1-57249-063-2. 

A history of a particularly active unit.  The book not only tells the story of the struggle for Little Round Top form the Confederate side, but also takes an interesting look at the role of Law’s Brigade in repulsing “Farnsworth’s Charge,” one of the most neglected incidents in the battle.

 

 

Horse Sweat and Powder Smoke: The First Texas Cavalry in the Civil War, by Stanley S. McGowen.  College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1999. Pp. xvi, 229.  Illus, maps, notes, biblio., index.  $29.95.  ISBN  0-89096-903-5. 

The life of a Confederate cavalry regiment in the Trans-Mississippi, touching upon everything from recruitment and ammunition supply, to battles and leaders, as well as an interesting look at the rather neglected subject of the Confederate Army and the Indian Wars. 

 

 

The CSS H. L. Hunley: Confederate Submarine, by R. Thomas Campbell.  Shippensburg, Pa.: Burd Street Press, 1999.  Pp. xi, 173.  Illus, maps, diagr., append., notes, biblio., index.  $14. 95.  ISBN:  1-57249-175-2. 

A timely volume, this is the fullest treatment yet seen of the Confederate experimentation with submersibles.  The focus is, of course, on the ingenious and promising, yet tragic Hunley.  The book is marred by the author’s overt devotion to “The Lost Cause.”

 

 

Life in Mr. Lincoln’s Navy, by Dennis J. Ringle.  Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1998.  Pp. xvi, 202.  Illus, tables, notes, biblio., index.  $32.95.  ISBN: 1-55750-736-8.  

An excellent look at the everyday life of the officers and men of the fleet during the Civil War.   The volume covers everything from recruiting to shipbuilding, rations, administration, medical treatment, and so forth.  Of considerable value to anyone interested in the Navy in the war.

 

 

From The Guns that Won the West: Firearms on the American Frontier, 1848-1898, by John Walter.  London/Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Greenhill/Stackpole, 1999.  288 pp.  Illus, diagr., tables, chron., append., biblio., index.  $34.95.  ISBN: 1-85367-351-X.  

A comprehensive look at the evolution of firearms in America from the Mexican War to that with Spain.  Although not specifically devoted to military firearms, a major portion of the weapons discussed were in fact used during the Civil War, which makes this volume a handy introduction to the weaponry of the period.

 

Confederate Retaliation: McCausland’s 1864 Raid, by Fritz Haselberger.  Shippensburg, Pa.: Burd Street Press, 2000.  Pp. xi, 257.  Illus, maps, append., notes, biblio., index.  $34.95.  ISBN:  1-57249-113-2. 

A fairly even-handed, detailed treatment of operations in the Shenandoah Valley in late 1864.  This is the period of Jubal Early’s two attempts to “raid” Washington, and the subsequent Union campaigns to eject the Confederates from the Valley. Well put together, and well supplied with maps.

 

 

Tullahoma: The 1863 Campaign for the Control of Middle Tennessee, by Michael R. Bradley.  Shippensburg, Pa.: Burd Street Press, 2000.  Pp.  viii, 110.  Illus, maps, notes, biblio., index.  $9.95 paper.  ISBN: 1-57249-167-1

Although short, Tullahoma is a good operational treatment of  Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’ remarkable campaign of maneuver in central Tennessee in the summer of 1863.   The author, who has relied heavily on the Official Records, has manage to cram a remarkable amount of detail into the book, which includes some simple, but very useful maps to help the reader understand this complex operation.

 

~~~~~~

 

Review Journal

Civil War Book Review.

 

Published by the United States Civil War Center at Louisiana State University and BookPage, the quarterly Civil War Book Review includes scores of reviews of books the Civil War or Civil War-related topics, including cultural and social works as well as political, military, and biographical.  Fiction as well as non-fiction is reviewed, and there is a substantial section devoted to children’s literature.  The reviews range from several hundred words to one-liners, and include pieces by notable scholars and authors.  

Civil War Book Review is priced at $4.00 an issue, with subscriptions at $16.00 a year, from BookPage, 2143 Belcourt Avenue, Nashville, Tn., 37212 or by email at  www.civilwarbookreview.com.

 

~~~~~~

 

Offbeat, But Interesting

 

How to do Civil War Research, by Richard A. Sauers.  Conshohocken, Pa.: Combined Publishing, 2000.  Pp. 160.  Illus., biblio., append., index.  $16.95 paper.  ISBN:  1-58097-041-9.

Although designed for the novice Civil War researcher, such as someone looking for an ancestor, How to Do Civil War Research, is also quite useful for the more seasoned researcher as well.  Prof. Sauer, who is on the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Civil War Museum and Library, covers a broad spectrum of topics, including basic references, archives, museums, magazines and journals, the internet, newspapers, historical societies, battlefields, and much else besides, and concludes the books with a useful discussion of how to organize one’s material and doing the business of writing.

 

 

The Complete Book of Confederate Trivia, by J. Stephen Lang.  Shippensburg, Pa.: Burd Street Pres, 2000.  Pp. ix, 357.  Biblio.  $14.99 paper.  ISBN:  1-57249-007-1.

Over 4,000 bits of wonderfully amusing, curious, or totally useless information presented thematically in a question and answer format   Although technically “trivia,” the material is often quite interesting and not necessarily useless.  A good book for the Civil War buff.

 

 

Trial by Fire: Science, Technology, and the Civil War, by Charles Ross.  Shippensburg, Pa.: White Mane, 2000.  Pp. xi, 215.  Illus, maps, plans, notes, biblio., index.  $24.95.  ISBN: 1-57249-185-X.

A collective look as some of the more interesting technological developments during the Civil War.  Three chapters look at individual officers who achieved notable success in developing innovative solutions to specific problems, Henry Pleasants and the mine at Petersburg, Joseph Bailey and the Red River Dams that rescued a Union squadron from probable capture, and George Washington Rains, who became the powdermaster to the Confederacy.  Another three chapters focus on specific innovative technologies, submarines, balloons, and telegraphy.  The submarine chapter is particularly good because it deals not only with the famous H.L. Hunley, but also with Union and other Confederate efforts at developing undersea craft.  There are also some useful appendices dealing with various aspects of the history of submarines and aircraft prior to the Civil War. 

 

 

Civil War Fantastic, edited by Martin H. Greenberg. New York: DAW Books, 2000.  Pp. viii, 308 pp.  $6.99 paper.  ISBN: 0-88677-903-0.

An anthology of eighteen science fiction, fantasy, or horror stories about the Civil War.  While none display a genuine mastery of the history, several are quite amusing and one or two very good example of the genre, notably James H. Cobb’s “Hex ‘em John,” an interesting horror story with an amusing twist.

 

 

 

Special Book Offer to NYMAS Members

Combined Publishing has made the 300 page hard cover volume James Longstreet: The Man, the Soldier, the Controversy, edited by Richard L. DiNardo and Albert A. Nofi, available to NYMAS members at a reduced price. 

The work embodies the proceedings of the 1993 NYMAS Military History Conference, regularly sells for $29.95.  NYMAS members can get it for only $25.00, plus $3.00 shipping and handling.  All proceeds going to the Longstreet Memorial Fund and NYMAS.

 

You may order by email,

www.combinedpublishing.com

or by check, from

                  Combined Publishing

                  475 West Elm St.

                  Conshohocken, PA, 19425

 

 

The Civil War Online

The Hardtack Pages

www.amtma.com/33articles/crackers.html

www.bentscookiefactory.com/hardtack.htm

 

Actually, these are two distinct websites. 

The first site doesn’t have a name.  It is devoted specifically to the about the relative merits of several different brands of hardtack currently available for re-enactors, historians, and the merely curious. 

The second site is that of the winner of the hardtack “taste-off” (One wonders what Julia Child would have said, if invited) reported in the first site.  Bent’s Cookie Factory, in Maine.  Founded in 1801, Bent’s made hardtack during the Civil War, and has recently resumed making it for the re-enactor trade, using their original recipe, and even the original cracker molds.

Both sites are worth visiting for anyone with even a cursory interest in the Civil War.

 


 

The New York Military Affairs Symposium

c/o Prof. K. B. Williams

20 Alden Pl.

Bronxville, N.Y., 10708

 

NYMAS is a tax exempt, not-for-profit membership corporation chartered under the laws of the State of New York.  Donations are deductible from  both Federal and New York State taxes.  Membership dues are $35.00 a year, payable in September.  Checks should be made out to “NYMAS” and mailed to the Bronxville address.   Items for The Newsletter should be sent to Albert A. Nofi, Editor, NYMAS Newsletter, 4901 Seminary Rd (#1606), Alexandria, Va., 22311, or via email to anofi@aol.com.

 

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