Saturday, May 29, 2010

News---Introducing The Journal of the Civil War Era

The University of North Carolina Press and the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at the Pennsylvania State University are pleased to announce the 2011 launch of a new publication, The Journal of the Civil War Era. William Blair, of the Pennsylvania State University, has agreed to serve as founding editor.

The new journal will take advantage of the flowering of research on the many issues raised by the sectional crisis, war, Reconstruction, and memory of the conflict, while bringing fresh understanding to the struggles that defined the period, and by extension, the course of American history in the nineteenth century.

The Journal of the Civil War Era aims to create a space where scholars across the many subfields that animate nineteenth-century history can enter into conversation with each other.
The journal is determined to publish the most creative new work on the full range of topics of interest to scholars of this period. Besides offering fresh perspectives on military, political, and legal history of the era, articles, essays, and reviews will attend to slavery and antislavery, labor and capitalism, popular culture and intellectual history, expansionism and empire, and African American and women’s history. Moreover, the editors mean The Journal of the Civil War Era to be a venue where scholars engaged in race, gender, transnational, and the full range of theoretical perspectives that animate historical practice can find a home. By bringing together scholars from areas that now intersect only sporadically, the publisher and editor hope to galvanize the larger field of nineteenth-century history intellectually and professionally.

In addition to peer-reviewed, cutting-edge scholarship, the journal will offer a variety of other elements designed to engage historians, sharpen debate, and hone practices in the profession, in the classroom, and in theory and method.

•Review essays that analyze emergent themes and map new directions in historiography.
•Book reviews by experienced, published scholars that offer critical perspectives on key works in the field and the discipline.
•Reviews of films, digital archive collections, websites, museum exhibitions, and interventions in other media.
•Columns on the profession that alert readers to recent issues in the job market, teaching, and technology and help historians of the Civil War Era find the leading edge of these trends.

The work of drawing scholars together in this enterprise is under way. Anthony E. Kaye of Pennsylvania State University will serve as Associate Editor for Books and Review; Aaron Sheehan-Dean of the University of North Florida as Associate Editor for the Profession. The Journal of the Civil War Era is recruiting an editorial board with a wide range of specialties and theoretical engagements. We will be trying to recruit scholars whose expertise spans these kinds of approaches, to name a few: military, politics, culture, social, slavery, antislavery, emancipation, gender, environment, and antebellum U.S.

The editors are also reaching out to historians to contribute articles, reviews, and essays for the first issues of the journal to appear in 2011. We invite interested scholars of all fields, methods, and orientation to submit manuscripts, proposals, and the names of other scholars who might contribute to the journal.

Text and Image Source: Journal of the Civil War Era

News---Sculptor Michael Kraus Restores Antietam Monument

Civil War's General Nagle Finally Gets His Sword Back, Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 29, 2010.

In 1848, when James Nagle returned home to Pottsville after serving in the Mexican War, Schuylkill County residents gave the 26-year-old hero a beautifully engraved, silver presentation sword with a purple amethyst at its handle. Brig. Gen. Nagle treasured the weapon, carrying it through the Civil War's bloody hours at Second Bull Run, Antietam and Fredericksburg, where his brigade of 1,500 men suffered heavy casualties. The only Pennsylvanian to recruit four regiments for the Union Army during the Civil War, Gen. Nagle was honored again in 1904 when 36 surviving veterans of the 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry erected a statue of him at Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md. And, by design, a bronze sword hung beside the statue.

Sometime in the 1920s -- no one seems to know how or when -- the weapon attached to the 7-foot-tall statue disappeared. During a ceremony today, the figure of a man so beloved by his soldiers that they looked upon him as a friend will be given a new sword created by Mike Kraus, a McCandless artist, historian and Civil War re-enactor.

Great-great-grandchildren of the general are expected to come from North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Arizona, said John David Hoptak, a National Park Service ranger at Antietam. The author of two Civil War books and an authority on Gen. Nagle, Mr. Hoptak expects as many as 60 people for the ceremony. "I'm looking forward to that," he said.

Like his hero, Mr. Hoptak also hails from Schuylkill County, north of Philadelphia. He noticed that the sword was missing and in 2008, began raising $7,000 to pay for a new one. He was aided by Western Maryland Interpretative Association, a nonprofit group that runs the bookstore at Antietam. Donations arrived from descendants of Gen. Nagle and regimental veterans. "I think he represented the American spirit of the 19th century," Mr. Hoptak said. "There was a devotion to duty and to the nation. He had no military training, but he raised a company that fought in Mexico."

Gen. Nagle's daring leadership earned his men's respect. "He was always leading from the front. He had a good ability to inspire his men on the battlefield. He took care of them," Mr. Hoptak said. "We always regarded you as a friend and father, rather than a mere military commander," one of his soldiers wrote in a letter dated October 1861. His men presented him then with a field glass, a forerunner of binoculars. The instrument allowed him to get a better look at terrain and troop movements. While he earned a living as a painter, paper hanger and county sheriff, Gen. Nagle may have been influenced by a relative's example.

"His own grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War under [George] Washington. Perhaps that was an inspiration. His grandfather lived until the 1840s and was around for Nagle's adolescence," Mr. Hoptak said. A year after the Civil War ended, Gen. Nagle, 44, died of heart disease, leaving behind a wife and seven children.

"She never remarried but she did fight to get a pension from his military service. ... Most of the children were under 18 at the time of his death," Mr. Hoptak said. Earlier this month, Mr. Kraus, curator at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Oakland, traveled to Antietam with the new 44-inch-long sword and took measurements to make sure that it fit properly. Cast in bronze at a Cleveland foundry and weighing 9 pounds, this new solid bronze weapon will be carefully attached to the statue and draped in an American flag until it is unveiled today. To make the new version, Mr. Kraus examined photographs of Gen. Nagle's original presentation sword, which was donated by a descendant in 1999 to the Schuylkill County Historical Society.

Mr. Kraus, who earned a degree in fine art at Edinboro University in 1976, is no stranger to working in bronze. In 2000, he created a Holocaust memorial for Temple Ohav Shalom in McCandless. In a more recent commission, he used 850 pounds of memorial plaques from various Jewish congregations that have closed to forge a new sculpture. From the plaques, he created six bronze triangles that emerge from a boulder at a Beaver Falls cemetery in Beaver County. Together, the bronze triangles form a six-pointed Star of David. But this is the first sword he has ever made. He is excited to see his work at Antietam, and to see Gen. Nagle's statue intact once more.

Text and Photo Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Caption: "Artist and Civil War historian Mike Kraus, left, and National Park Service ranger John David Hoptak at the statue of Brig. Gen. James Nagle. A new bronze sword Mr. Kraus made for the statue in his McCandless studio will be unveiled during a dedication ceremony today at Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md.It connected me to the battlefield and the memorials that were placed there. We said we care. We said we want to see it the way the veterans envisioned it. We put it back to what it was."

Middle Image Source: Schuylkill County

Bottom Image Source: Nagle with presentation sword. Save Historic Antietam Foundation

Thursday, May 27, 2010

News---May Rainfall Disrupts Stones River NBP; National Cemetery, McFadden Farm, Bragg Headquarters, Visitors Center Affected

Flooding at Stones River National Battlefield, May 1-2, 2010, Stuart K. Johnson, Superintendent, Stones River National Battlefield, Tennessee

In less than 48 hours on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2, Stones River National Battlefield received nearly 11 inches of rain. Nashville, only 30 miles to the northwest, received over 15.5 inches. Members of the park staff responded quickly and effectively to the situation and were able to keep the visitor center and headquarters building open and functional throughout, despite flooding in the basement. The facility was not permanently damaged, and flood related repairs to the elevator were undertaken the following week. A malfunctioning sump pump was also replaced.

Portions of the Battlefield and National Cemetery were flooded. The tour loop at the Nashville Pike Unit was closed for two days as was the McFadden Farm unit, which was partially flooded by the West Fork of Stones River. The Bragg Headquarters site, which is within a Murfreesboro city park, was also closed for several days. All other sites within the park--Cemetery, Fortress Rosecrans, Redoubt Brannan and Rosecrans Headquarters--remained open to the public despite some areas of standing water.

Elsewhere, several sections of replica historic fencing were damaged and
there were some areas of trail erosion and soil slumping. Nevertheless, there does not appear to be any significant, permanent damage to the park's fields, cedar glades or cultural landscapes.

CWL: The above text was supplied upon my request by Stuart K. Johnson whose contact information is below.

Image Sources: Nashville Public Radio

Stuart K. Johnson, Superintendent, Stones River National Battlefield
3501 Old Nashville Hwy, Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Phone:615-893-9501 Cell:615.944.0356 Fax:615-893-9508

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

News---Antietam National Battlefield Park Adds Museum

The Newcomer House is the future home of a history museum promoting Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties in Maryland. Antietam National Battlefield Superintendent John Howard talks Tuesday about the history museum promoting Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties that will be located in the Newcomer House along Md. 34. On the weekend of Sept. 17 to 19, a new history museum promoting Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties in Maryland will open in the Newcomer House, along Md. 34 near Antietam Creek. The museum is made possible by a cooperative agreement between the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Antietam National Battlefield.

Text and Image Source: Hagerstown Herald Mail

Off Topic----Wired For History: World War 2, A College Text, and A Web Game

Wired For History: Company, Harvard Prof Work on Web-Linked Textbook, WWII Game, Paul Restuccia, Boston Herald, May 24, 2010.

A renowned Harvard professor is teaming with a local software company to change the way students learn history.

Niall Ferguson, a revisionist economic historian best known as the author of “The Ascent of Money” book and TV series, has helped create a World War II strategy game and is also developing a Web-enabled history textbook that integrates his lectures on Western civilization with data, images and minigames for students to play at critical moments. “Today’s students want to be engaged, and those who play strategy games know more about history than those who just read today’s textbooks,” said Ferguson. “The interactive approach to learning history is going to be a game-changer.”

Dave McCool, who founded Newburyport-based Muzzy Lane Software in 2002, is a pioneer in creating complex simulations for classroom use. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad developed networking systems for Bedford-based Shiva and Chelmsford’s Aptis Communications, which he co-founded and later sold to Nortel Networks. For Muzzy Lane, McCool created the Sandstone 3-D platform, which allows seamless integration of video, audio, images, games and live chat.

McCool developed “Making History I” for the education market, licensing it to several hundred high schools and colleges as a World War II teaching aid. The company, which now employs 20 people, is also developing interactive content for clients such as McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, the MacArthur Foundation and the Defense Department’s DARPA research agency.

Ferguson has been a Muzzy Lane consultant since 2005, after responding to a request for an expert that McCool made to Harvard faculty. Ferguson has a dual appointment as a professor of European history and business administration at Harvard Business School. Ferguson said his role as a “counterfactual historian” who explores “what-ifs” drew him into the endeavor, even as McCool describes the globe-trotting prof as “the busiest person I’ve ever known.” “I also saw how much my sons have learned from playing computer strategy games,” Ferguson said. With Ferguson’s input, “Making History” has undergone a two-year reworking into a full-fledged commercial game, with the subtitle “The War of the World,” named after Ferguson’s book that analyzes the economic and ethnic forces that led to World War II.

Ferguson supplied “Making History II” with enormous amounts of economic and natural resource data for the some 224 countries modeled in the game, which was upgraded with a “Civilization”-style 3-D interface with realistic topography. He added features such as the option to either annex a defeated country, or turn it into a colony or puppet state. Ferguson is happy with how the game has turned out. “It’s a pretty good cartoon stylization of what the world was like back then,” he said. “We did had to leave out some things, so that the game is also fun to play.”

Muzzy Lane hopes to sell 50,000 to 100,000 copies of the game, which has just become available for digital download and will be on store shelves next month. And it’s seen as the first in a series of grand strategy games on 20th-century global conflict, which will feature titles on World War I, the Cold War and the current “New World Disorder.”

Ferguson, in the middle of writing a warts-and-all biography of Henry Kissinger, said he is even now exploring Cold War “what-if” scenarios with the former secretary of state that will no doubt be incorporated into a future game’s artificial intelligence. While he has penned more than a dozen books, Ferguson has also developed a number of TV series for the BBC and PBS. “I’ve learned from my work on television that multimedia is a great way of teaching history,” he said.

But when he and McCool first approached textbook publishers about multimedia textbooks five years ago, no one was listening. Now, the recession, coupled with student’s low opinion of traditional textbooks, has publishers rushing to develop them. Companies in “the educational market tend to be slow adopters, but the time has arrived,” said Ferguson.

Next year, Pearson Education plans to publish a Web-enabled textbook that uses Muzzy Lane’s Sandstone engine and Ferguson’s Harvard lectures on Western civilization. The written textbook will be augmented by a course-specific Web browser where students can get additional video, data and images and play minigames at critical historical moments. “I plan to use the Web-enabled textbook in my Harvard undergrad course,” Ferguson said.

At the business school, he envisions interactive learning complementing the traditional case studies model, including micro-corporate strategy and energy-allocation minigames. Muzzy Lane’s Sandstone platform is also being used to create an interactive textbook for McGraw-Hill as well as the ClearLab learning project to develop better ways to teach middle-school science. “The education-side market for games is just going to explode within the next five years,” McCool said. “We want to be the technology platform educational publishers use.”

CWL: Hmmmmmm . . . How about Stephen Recker (Virtual Gettysburg) and Jim McPherson (Battle Cry of Freedom) having a chat?

Text and Image Source: Boston Herald, Photo by Stuart Cahill
Middle Image Source: Channel 4
Bottom Image Source:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New and Noteworthy----1863, A Year of Turning Points: Arkansas

Civil War Arkansas, 1863: The Battle for a State, Mark K. Christ, University of Oklahoma Press, notes, bibliography, index, maps, illustrations, 321 pages, $34.95.

The Arkansas River, bisecting the state, in 1862 was a breadbasket for much of the trans-Mississippi Confederacy. Its productivity resembles Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Also like Virginia, Arkansas was reluctant to join the Confederacy. The slave holding delta and lowland counties favored secession and the western mountainous regions favored the Union. The state's assembly on December 22 1860 called for a convention to meet; on January 15, 1861 the state's senate agreed and set the date as February 18 for an election of delegates to the state's convention. Two weeks before the Arkansas convention, the Confederacy declared its existence on February 4.

For the most part, the election confirmed a strong Unionist population. The convention was set for the first Monday in August. But Lincoln's call for troops and a fear that southern and eastern Arkansas counties would leave both the Union and the northern and western counties in it compelled the convention to vote Arkansas out of the Union.

Not all Arkansans rushed to the Confederate cause. The mountainous north-central Arkansas region generated the Arkansas Peace Society, a county home guard militia of ardent Unionists. A small Confederate army proceeded from northwest Arkansas and into southwest Missouri were in engaged Federal troops at Wilson's Creek. The Battle of Wilson's Creek was on August 10, 1861, near Springfield, Missouri. It was the first major battle of the war west of the Mississippi River and is called the Bull Run of the West.

The Battle of Elkhorn Tavern (Pea Ridge) sent them back into Arkansas on March 7 and 8, 1862, in northwest Arkansas, near Bentonville. By July 12 1862 a federal army occupied Helena, one of Arkansas' major cities ranked in importance right behind Little Rock, its capital. Throughout the rest of 1862 and 1863 a vicious guerrilla war was waged and the major battles at Arkansas Post, Helena, Bayou Fourche, Fort Smith that guarded the Arkansas River as it crossed into the Indiana Territory, and Pine Bluff were fought.

Well mapped and well illustrated Civil War Arkansas: The Battle For A State lacks only a chronology of Arkansas' Civil War history. Mark K. Christ's text is clear, concise and compelling. Balancing the major army campaigns in the state, the impact of the Federal brown water navy, the guerrilla war, the Native Americans on both sides, and the slaves and contrabands, Christ has composed a story diligence, exhaustion, cruelty and luck. Presenting descriptive anecdotes from the primary sources of soldiers and civilians, Native Americans and African Americans, Christ's narrative moves the reader through Arkansas' truly uncivil civil war and how it turned on soldiers courage and civilians endurance.

Bottom Image Source: interactive National Park Service map

New and Noteworthy----So You Think You Know Gettysburg?

So You Think You Know Gettysburg? : The Stories Behind The Monuments And The Men Who Fought One of America's Epic Battles, James and Suzanne Gindelsperger, J. F. Blair Publishing, index, heavily illustrated, 2010, $18.95.

Yes I do. I've taken the Gettysburg Battlefield Licenced Guide (GLBG) test twice and expect to in December 2010, like in 2008, add 6 percentage points to my first year's score. The Gindlesperger's book is a welcomed addition to my bookshelf. With 200+ entries that are illustrated with recent photographs, So You Think is a fine immersion into the battle's and the park's significant stories.

Comparing the table of contents to possible GLBG exam questions, there is a high correlation between the topics covered and the 200+ exam questions. In eleven chapters, each having its own map, So You Think is organized as both a 'ready reference' guide and tour guide book. Important sites that are usually skipped over but are in the book are the Alms House Cemetery, the Letterman hospital site, David Acheson's grave, Signal Rock, and Timber's Farm. Fortunately, there are no ghost stories and Sach's Bridge merits only a mention that if you visit it in the evening you may find ghosts hunters. Also, the comments on the Triangular Field does not mention ghosts.

Of course, So You Think is not exhaustive. The material on Iverson's Pits does not include that Gettysburg's first airport was built on the North Carolinians' assault path. But the Camp Colt marker on the left flank of the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble assault path is noted. The Kuhn's Brickyard mural is shown; Jennie Wade's birthplace and the house where she was killed are both presented. Flank markers, building plaques, hospital signs, headquarters' upturned cannon barrels and the variety of markers and tables for corps, brigades and batteries are discussed. Not available from the text are the names of the sculptors of Confederate and Lincoln monuments; they are questions on the GLBG exam.

Blessedly, the Gindelspergers include the battlefield's farms which nearly always receive little recognition. Eleven farms are covered but somehow the Slyder Farm that offered cover to Federal sharpshooters in the path of the Longstreet's assault on the Round Tops. Overall, So You Think is an attractive addition to the bookshelves of those visiting the park or studying for the exam. On the GLBG exam there are 20 black and white photocopies of monuments. They are the bane of this test taker. I suspect that the majority of those monuments that are used for the exam can be found in So You Think.

News---Alonzo Cushing Recevies the Medal of Honor For Gettysburg July 3 Heroics

147 Years Later, Wisconsin Civil War Soldier Gets Medal, Dinesh Ramde, Associated Press, May 19, 2010

Seven score and seven years ago, a wounded Wisconsin soldier stood his ground on the Gettysburg battlefield and made a valiant stand before he was felled by a Confederate bullet. Now, thanks to the dogged efforts of modern-day supporters, 1st Lt. Alonzo Cushing shall not have died in vain, nor shall his memory have perished from the earth.

Descendants and some Civil War history buffs have been pushing the U.S. Army to award the soldier the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration. They'll soon get their wish. Secretary of the Army John McHugh has approved their request, leaving a few formal steps before the award becomes official this summer. Cushing will become one of 3,447 recipients of the medal, and the second from the Civil War honored in the last 10 years.

It's an honor that's 147 years overdue, said Margaret Zerwekh. The 90-year-old woman lives on the land in Delafield where Cushing was born, and jokes she's been adopted by the Cushing family for her efforts to see Alonzo recognized. "I was jumping up and down when I heard it was approved," said Zerwekh, who walks with two canes. "I was terribly excited."

Cushing died on July 3, 1863, the last day of the three-day battle of Gettysburg. He was 22. The West Point graduate and his men of the Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery were defending the Union position on Cemetery Ridge against Pickett's Charge, a major Confederate thrust that could have turned the tide in the war.

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was planning an invasion of the North; both sides knew how important this engagement was. Cushing commanded about 110 men and six cannons. His small force along with reinforcements stood their ground under artillery bombardment as nearly 13,000 Confederate infantrymen waited to advance. "Clap your hands as fast as you can — that's as fast as the shells are coming in," said Scott Hartwig, a historian with the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. "They were under terrific fire." The bombardment lasted two hours. Cushing was wounded in the shoulder and groin, and his battery was left with two guns and no long-range ammunition. His stricken battery should have been withdrawn and replaced with reserve forces, Hartwig said, but Cushing shouted that he would take his guns to the front lines. "What that means is, 'While I've got a man left to fight, I'll fight,'" Hartwig said. Within minutes, he was killed by a Confederate bullet to the head.

Confederate soldiers advanced into the Union fire, but finally retreated with massive casualties. The South never recovered from the defeat. The soldier's bravery so inspired one Civil War history buff that he took up Cushing's cause by launching a Facebook page titled "Give Alonzo Cushing the Medal of Honor." Phil Shapiro, a 27-year-old Air Force captain, said such heroism displayed in one of the nation's most pivotal battles deserved recognition, even at this late date. "We need to honor those people who got our country to where it is," said Shapiro, of Cabot, Ark.

Zerwekh first started campaigning for Cushing in 1987 by writing to Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire. Proxmire entered comments into the Congressional Record, she said, and she assumed that was as far as it would go. But current Sen. Russ Feingold later pitched in and helped Zerwekh and others petition the Army. After a lengthy review of historical records, the Army agreed earlier this year to recommend the medal.

More than 1,500 soldiers from the Civil War have received the Medal of Honor, according to the Defense Department. The last honoree for Civil War service was Cpl. Andrew Jackson Smith of Clinton, Ill., who received the medal in 2001. The Cushing name is prominent in the southeastern Wisconsin town of Delafield. A monument to Cushing and two of his brothers — Naval Cmdr. William Cushing and Army 1st Lt. Howard Cushing — stands at Cushing Memorial Park, where the town holds most of its Memorial Day celebrations.

Shapiro, the Facebook fan, said he thought of Alonzo Cushing plenty of times last year as he faced a number of dangerous situations during a five-month stint in Iraq. "I'd think about what Cushing accomplished, what he was able to deal with at age 22," Shapiro said. "I thought if he could do that then I can certainly deal with whatever I'm facing."

Text Source: Yahoo News
Top Image Source: Buffalo News
Second Image Source: MOH

Monday, May 17, 2010

News---Stones' River Battlefield Flooded By May 16 Thunderstorms

About 30 miles south of Nashville, Tennessee is the National Park which commemorates the December 30 1862-January 3 1863 battle of Stones' River. Within Stones' National Military Park boundaries is the 20 acres Stones' River National Cemetery, with 6,850 internments of which 2562 are unidentified. Just outside the cemetery is the Hazen's Brigade Monument was built by Federal soldiers during the spring of 1863.

It is the oldest surviving American Civil War monument standing in its original location. An even earlier monument was erected after the Battle of Manassas in Virginia but is no longer extant.

The thunderstorms of May 16 filled the Tennessee River which flooded Nashville. The deluge also flooded Stones' River which spilled over its banks and covered part of the Stones River National Military Park. At top left is a photo of the cemetery at Hazens' Monument.

Image Sources: Nashville Public Radio

Thursday, May 13, 2010

News---Fort Stevens, Wilderness, Cedar Creek, Thoroughfare Gap, South Mountain Among Most Endangered Virginia & Maryland Battlefields

Fort Stevens among Most Endangered Civil War Battlefields, Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, May 13, 2010;

The Civil War Preservation Trust announced Thursday that Washington's beleaguered Fort Stevens, where Abraham Lincoln came under enemy gunfire in 1864, has again been placed on the trust's annual list of most endangered Civil War battlefields.

The fort, off Georgia Avenue at 13th and Quackenbos streets NW, is one of 10 endangered Civil War sites threatened by development and other factors across the country, the trust said as it in issued its annual "History Under Siege" report at the National Press Club. The list comes ahead of next year's 150th anniversary of the war.

"All across the country, our nation's irreplaceable battlefields -- these tangible links to our shared history -- are threatened by inappropriate development, misguided public policy . . . and, in some cases, simple apathy," the trust's president, James Lighthizer, said in written statement. "Next year marks the sesquicentennial of the bloodiest conflict in our nation's history, and [this] . . . is an opportune time to shine a spotlight on the places that tell America's story." Also on the endangered list are three sites in Virginia, one in Maryland and one in Pennsylvania.

Fort Stevens, which also made the list in 2006, was among the ring of forts that protected Washington from Confederate forces during the war. Lincoln came under rebel sniper fire when he visited the fort in 1864 during a Confederate campaign that reached the city's suburbs. The fort has largely been absorbed into the city's Brightwood neighborhood and now faces the construction of a large church community center planned in the vicinity, the trust said.

In Virginia, the trust listed the Wilderness battlefield, west of Fredericksburg, as endangered. The Wilderness was the site of a bloody struggle in 1864 between the chief armies of the Union and Confederacy in the war's eastern theater. It was the first battle between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, both of whom suffered heavy casualties, and marked the beginning of the war of attrition that eventually led to Lee's surrender nearly a year later. The trust said the battlefield is threatened by a massive commercial development that could put a Wal-Mart and other retailers near its border.

Also in Virginia, the trust said the Cedar Creek battlefield, site of a another 1864 battle, near Strasburg, is threatened by the expansion of a limestone mine. Cedar Creek also made the list in 2008. The third endangered Virginia battlefield is at Thoroughfare Gap, near Haymarket in Prince William County, where the site of an 1862 battle is threatened by the possible erection of a tall cell phone tower. In Maryland, the trust said the South Mountain battlefield, near Frederick, was threatened by the possibility of the construction of a natural gas compression station.

And at Gettysburg, just across the Maryland border in Pennsylvania, the trust said the war's most storied field still is threatened by the possibility of a gambling casino on the outskirts of town. The Washington-based trust says its endangered list has helped protect more than 29,000 acres of battlefield in 20 states.

"Nothing creates an emotional connection between present and past like walking in the footsteps of our Civil War soldiers," Civil War author Jeff Shaara, who also appeared at the list's unveiling, said in the statement. "I hope that by drawing attention to endangered Civil War battlefields, Americans will this see hallowed ground in a new way and understand that these sites must be preserved for future generations to experience."

Text Source: Washington Post

Top Image Source: Cedar Creek

Second Image Source: Fort Stevens

Third Image Source: Cedar Creek

Vexed by Vexillology? ----The Six Flags of the Confederacy

Tom Clemens, Hagerstown Community College professor and scholar writing on the Maryland Campaign, provides a six minute lesson on the six flags of the Confederacy. Actually its the four flags of the Confederacy with one precursor and one modern adaptation.

Here is the the YouTube link to the lesson. Tom's most recent published work is the first of two edited volumes of Ezra Carman’s account of the Maryland Campaign. Here is the link for it.

Image: First National Confederate Flag with the seven stars for the deep South early secession states. This flag was updated by adding stars for the second wave of secession that occurred during April 1861.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Off Topic---A Preface to Satan: The Devil We Know, Maybe

Satan in America: The Devil We Know, W. Scott Poole, Rowan and Littlefield Publishing, bibliographic essays, 242 pp., index, $39.95

The Preface: 'Night Stalker': American Exceptionalism and the Reality of Evil, ix-xxiv.

There is not much connective tissue among Poole's generalizations. Poole slides from Richard Ramirez (Night Stalker of the mid-1980s), to he Pequot War of colonial Massachusetts, on to the Philippine Insurrection at the turn of the century, and then winds up at the MyLai Massacre of 1968. Poole believes that war and serial killers are synonymous. "The American nation is not alone in perpetuating evil," he states. Moral evil is the substance of the human experience and humanity's tendency to destroy. For Poole, history and culture stands in contradiction to each other. History does not allow humanity to stand apart from the reality of evil but the contemporary white, suburban American culture's goal is to isolate individuals from pain and the awareness of pain. History is at war with culture.

To explain this struggle Poole relies on Sigmund Freud's vast but disputed generalizations and ipso facto declarations. Monotheism created Satan; white, American culture has embraced monotheism; white American culture has created Satan. "The study of American history is not the story of . . . the devil's decline into invisibility. Rather, is is a study of his ascent." The image of Satan is integral to all aspects of American culture. (xv)

Poole states that 'radical evil has been part of America's collective history.' Slavery, territorial expansion, the Mexican War, the variety of wars with the Native Americans are indicative of a serpent that 'coils at the root' of American liberty tree. Racism, sexism and classism are the works of the 'conservative forces with American society'. (xvii)

Poole ranks evil countries; 1. Nazi Germany, 2. Stalinist Russia, 3. America. The United States' understanding of its own evil has been clouded by mythology structured by religion. (xx) 'A culture gets the devil it deserves,' states Poole. American leaders have marginalized groups and views them as being Satanic. (xxi) Also, a belief in Satan correlates with a restriction of civil liberties. (xxii) 'America is the fallen angel that never knew it fell,' states Poole. (xxii) So, Poole sees America as the fallen angel, Lucifer, Satan.

Man, I am glad W. Scott Poole did not disguise or hide his interpretative framework. Now, Satan in America can be read in light of its own prejudice. CWL turns to the first chapter and wonders: Is Lucifer a victim of America too? Was Saddam and the Ayatollah right?

New & On The Library's Shelves---The Great Valley Road of Virginia In The Heart and Mind

The Great Valley Road of Virginia: Shenandoah Landscapes from Prehistory to the Present, Warren R. Hofstra et al., University of Virginia Press, 320 pages, extensive maps, photographs, charts and illustrations, notes, index, 2010, $50.00.

The Great Valley Road of Virginia contains historic landscapes from frontier to modern times. It is not a coffee table book but is an fine combination of academic history and popular culture. An accessible narrative with a foundation of solid research in local, state and regional documents contains much on the American Civil War and ranges from the Shenandoah Valley's prehistory to the presetn.

Native Americans had used this great Appalachian valley for kinship and commerce travelling before Europeans began their settlements. A segment of a path that began in southeastern Pennsylvania and ended in northern Georgia, the Valley Road was essential to Native American communities. Americans used the Valley Road as a route through the Cumberland Gap to Tennessee and Kentucky.

When the Valley Road became a turnpike and played a vital role in the economic and social life of Virginia and the South before the Civil War. During the war it was the focus of two great Confederate military campaigns: Jackson's in 1862 and Early's in 1864. After the war the Valley Road was essential to the recovery of western Virginia. US Route 11 and Interstate 81 now carry the traffic.

There are eight chapters in the book; the 30 page fifth chapter that covers 1836 to 1865 is entitled 'Strategy and Sublimity: A Gallery of Valley Pike Images during the Civil War'. There are 24 illustrations selected by an associate professor of art; the text is written by an associate professor of history. Both are on the faculty of at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. For anyone who reads and studies Civil War history, The Great Valley Road of Virginia: Shenandoah Landscapes from Prehistory to the Present offers much in every chapter. The mindset aand cultural heritage of Virginia troops from the Shenanhoah Valley is revealed on nearly every page. CWL recommends this book to those who wish to understand what Virgina's western soldiers brought to the war.

To Find Out More: Great Valley Road

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New and Noteworthy---Ezra Carmen's Classic Maryland Campaign, Annotated

Maryland Campaign of September 1862: Volume 1, South Mountain, Ezra Carman and Thomas Clemens, Savas Beatie Publishing, 624 pages, 10 black and white photos, 10 maps, notes, bibliograhy, index, $37.50

When Robert E. Lee marched his Army of Northern Virginia into Maryland in early September 1862, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan moved his reorganized and revitalized Army of the Potomac to meet him. The campaign included some of the bloodiest, most dramatic, and influential combat of the entire Civil War. Combined with Southern failures in the Western Theater, the fighting dashed the Confederacy's best hope for independence, convinced President Abraham Lincoln to announce the Emancipation Proclamation, and left America with what is still its bloodiest day in history.

One of the campaign's participants was Ezra A. Carman, the colonel of the 13th New Jersey Infantry. Wounded earlier in the war, Carman would achieve brigade command and fight in more than twenty battles before being mustered out as a brevet brigadier general. After the horrific fighting of September 17, 1862, he recorded in his diary that he was preparing "a good map of the Antietam battle and a full account of the action." Unbeknownst to the young officer, the project would become the most significant work of his life.

Appointed as the "Historical Expert" to the Antietam Battlefield Board in 1894, Carman and the other members solicited accounts from hundreds of veterans, scoured through thousands of letters and maps, and assimilated the material into the hundreds of cast iron tablets that still mark the field today. Carman also wrote an 1,800-page manuscript on the campaign, from its start in northern Virginia through McClellan's removal from command in November 1862. Although it remained unpublished for more than a century, many historians and students of the war consider it to be the best overall treatment of the campaign ever written.

Dr. Thomas G. Clemens (editor), recognized internationally as one of the foremost historians of the Maryland Campaign, has spent more than two decades studying Antietam and editing and richly annotating Carman's exhaustively written manuscript. The result is 'The Maryland Campaign of September 1862', Carman's magisterial account published for the first time in two volumes. Jammed with firsthand accounts, personal anecdotes, maps, photos, a biographical dictionary, and a database of veterans' accounts of the fighting, this long-awaited study will be read and appreciated as battle history at its finest.

About the Authors: Ezra Ayres Carman was born in Oak Tree, New Jersey, on February 27, 1834, and educated at Western Military Academy in Kentucky. He fought with New Jersey organizations throughout the Civil War, mustering out as a brevet brigadier general. He was appointed to the Antietam National Cemetery Board of Trustees and later to the Antietam Battlefield Board in 1894. Carman also served on the Chattanooga-Chickamauga Battlefield Commission. He died in 1909 on Christmas day and was buried just below the Custis-Lee mansion in Arlington Cemetery.

Thomas G. Clemens earned his doctoral degree at George Mason University, where he studied under Maryland Campaign historian Dr. Joseph L. Harsh. Tom has published a wide variety of magazine articles and book reviews, has appeared in several documentary programs, and is a licensed tour guide at Antietam National Battlefield. An instructor at Hagerstown Community College, he also helped found and is the current president of Save Historic Antietam Foundation, Inc., a preservation group dedicated to saving historic properties.

Ethan S. Rafuse, author of McClellan's War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union and Antietam, and South Mountain, and Harpers Ferry: A Battlefield Guide: "Ezra Carman's long-unpublished history of the 1862 Maryland Campaign is an essential source on the operations that produced the bloodiest day in American military history and largest surrender of U.S. troops before World War II and there is no one better qualified than Thomas Clemens to bring it to print. Not only does this volume make Carman's study broadly accessible to students of the war, but Clemens's many years studying the events of September 1862 and unmatched knowledge of Carman and his work enable him to skillfully and authoritatively explain and scrutinize Carman's take on events. In addition to being a magnificent contribution to literature on the Civil War, this outstanding book will also advance the process of securing Clemens a place alongside Carman and Harsh in the pantheon of Maryland Campaign scholars. I cannot recommend it highly enough."

Text Source: Savas Beatie Publishing and

Second Image Source: Save Historic Antietam Foundation

New and Noteworthy---War Horse: A History of the Military Horse and Rider

War Horse: A History of the Military Horse and Rider, Louis A. DiMarco, Westholme Publishing, 432 pages, 50 black and white illustrations, notes, bibliography, $29.95.

For more than four thousand years, the horse and rider have been an integral part of warfare. Armed with weapons and accessories ranging from a simple javelin to the hand-held laser designator, the horse and rider have fought from the steppes of central Asia to the plains of North America. Understanding the employment of the military horse is key to understanding the successes and the limitations of military operations and campaigns throughout history. Over the centuries, horses have been used to pull chariots, support armor-laden knights, move scouts rapidly over harsh terrain, and carry waves of tightly formed cavalry.

In War Horse: A History of the Military Horse and Rider, Louis A. DiMarco discusses all of the uses of horses in battle, including the Greek, Persian, and Roman cavalry, the medieval knight and his mount, the horse warriors—Huns, Mongols, Arabs, and Cossacks—the mounted formations of Frederick the Great and Napoleon, and mounted unconventional fighters, such as American Indians, the Boers, and partisans during World War II. The book also covers the weapons and forces which were developed to oppose horsemen, including longbowmen, pike armies, cannon, muskets, and machine guns. The development of organizations and tactics are addressed beginning with those of the chariot armies and traced through the evolution of cavalry formations from Alexander the Great to the Red Army of World War II.

In addition, the author examines the training and equipping of the rider and details the types of horses used as military mounts at different points in history, the breeding systems that produced those horses, and the techniques used to train and control them. Finally, the book reviews the importance of the horse and rider to battle and military operations throughout history, and concludes with a survey of the current military use of horses. War Horse is a comprehensive look at this oldest and most important aspect of military history, the relationship between human and animal, a weapons system that has been central to warfare longer than any other.

Louis A. DiMarco teaches military history at the Army Command and Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. A graduate of the United States Military Academy and retired lieutenant colonel, he is author of numerous military history articles as well as army manuals dealing with cavalry (mechanized), reconnaissance, and urban warfare.

Text and Book Cover Source: Westholme Publishing

Second Image Source: Second Cavalry

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

News---Virginia's 150th: Serious, All-Inclusive

Virginia Seeks Balance In Marking Civil War's 150th Anniversary, Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post, May 3, 2010.

When Virginia and the rest of the nation set out to mark the 100th anniversary of the Civil War in 1961, the party got off to a rocky start. Intricate plans were made to mark the military conquests of the Confederate and Union armies, but little attention was paid to the experience of individuals -- soldiers, civilians and slaves.

A massive reenactment of the Battle of Bull Run at Manassas was marred by too little water and too few bathrooms. Most jarringly, some adopted the events as an opportunity to celebrate the Confederacy in the face of the burgeoning civil rights movement. At last, President John F. Kennedy called on a 31-year-old historian to take over as the centennial's executive director, refocusing it on sober education.

Virginia has turned to the same man -- James I. Robertson Jr., a history professor at Virginia Tech and a Civil War expert -- to help the state avoid the same kinds of problems as it prepares to mark next year's 150th anniversary of the start of the war. With Robertson's guidance, a commission established by the General Assembly to plan the state's sesquicentennial events has spent four years trying to avoid the impression that they will amount to a celebration of the Confederacy.

There are no Confederate battle flags on the commission's homepage. One of its first events is a scholarly conference titled "Race, Slavery and the Civil War: The Tough Stuff of American History and Memory." Commission members, a bipartisan collection of 15 legislators, historians and others, even shy from the word "celebrate," preferring to use "commemorate" instead. "We're going to make it a serious thing, an all-inclusive thing," Robertson said. Virginia officials hope they can attract tourist dollars from war buffs from across the country during four years of events in the state with more Civil War battlefields than any other. The commission, founded in 2006, is funded through a $2 million annual appropriation from the legislature, as well as private grants. But they are keenly aware that Virginia was the capital of the Confederacy and home to many of its most famous figures. The commonwealth got a reminder of the sensitivities involved when Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) declared last month Confederate History Month, a proclamation he said would bring attention to the 150th anniversary.

McDonnell quickly apologized after facing stinging national criticism for omitting references to slavery. But an amended version that called slavery an abomination did not satisfy those who thought it was still too deferential to Virginia's role in a losing rebellion. At a recent event marking the preservation of a new 85-acre section of the battlefield at Chancellorsville, McDonnell told a crowd that the 150th anniversary will be about more than the Confederacy.

"I think people from all over this country and around the world will come here next year to learn the Civil War battles," he said on a podium set up in front of rolling field that saw a bloody Confederate charge during the 1863 battle. "They will also come to learn of a battle that pitted brother against brother and divided this nation like no other event in American history. They will pause to see the sites, like this one here at Chancellorsville, of the most bloody conflict on American soil. They will also pause to reflect on the fact that this was the war that eliminated the abomination of slavery from American soil."

After the event, McDonnell said the anniversary will provide additional opportunities to preserve battlefields as well as to educate Virginia's children. "I look forward to being a champion for racial reconciliation during that time," he said. One place he might start is at the September conference on slavery at Norfolk State University, which has 1,200 registrants. It will be chaired by James O. Horton, professor emeritus of African American history at George Mason University and an expert on slavery. Horton called the conference "very important to understanding the Civil War, understanding the issues that really shaped the tremendous and heated debates of history."

Slavery plays an important role, too, in a two-disc DVD set that's been produced by the commission and distributed to every school in the state. It emphasizes the experience of soldiers on both sides, African Americans -- free and enslaved -- as well as civilians on the home front. And in February, a 3,000-square-foot exhibit will open at the Virginia Historical Society with an emphasis on telling the Civil War story from all perspectives. After a run in Richmond, the exhibit will tour the state. The commission also has plans for high-tech kiosks at state parks and other sites with information about local battlefields and databases of soldiers who fought there, allowing visitors to track their ancestors. The Library of Virginia will make a major push to digitize newly unearthed Civil War-related letters and diaries.

The commission's work has not been without critics. The Richmond Free Press, a black-owned newspaper, has run several editorials criticizing the commission as a waste of taxpayer money whose work is bound to invite four years of Confederate flag waving. "Most eighth-graders know that Virginia's participation [in the war] was hardly worthy of promoting," publisher Raymond H. Boone wrote last year.

At the same time, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans say the commission is running a politically correct event that will ignore their ancestors' sacrifices. "I think they're so afraid of offending someone, hurting someone's feelings, that they're just going to do this generic, bland commemoration, where at the end, we know we've commemorated something, but we're not quite sure what," said Frank Earnest, a Virginia Beach resident and chief of the heritage defense for the group.

This article continues at this Text Source: Washington Post

Top Image Source: Robertson

Middle Image Souce: Virginia 150th

Bottom Image Source: Richmond Virginia's 150th

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Rifled Muskets: Reality and Myth---GNMP's Scott Hartwig Looks at Earl Hess' Work

The Rifled Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth, Earl J. Hess, University Press of Kansas, 2008. Pp. 288. Cloth, $29.95.

D. Scott Hartwig, Gettysburg National Military Park in Civil War History June 1, 2010, pp 230-232. :

"It is commonly believed that the introduction of the rifled musket on a mass scale revolutionized warfare during the American Civil War but that the generals failed to appreciate its real impact and blindly continued to employ outmoded tactics, until 1864 when losses drove both armies to dig in and fight from entrenchments. Earl Hess challenges this conclusion, arguing that many of the assumptions about the rifled musket’s impact on the war either do not hold up under careful study or are exaggerated. His evidence is impressive and persuasive.

Hess builds the context of his case with a brief but adequate survey of the history of the smoothbore and rifled musket heritage before the Civil War. This is followed by a review of both the U.S. and C.S. governments’ efforts to equip their soldiers with rifled muskets and an examination of the gun culture of Civil War soldiers. The heart of the book is the study of the rifled musket in battle, which includes chapters on skirmishing and sharpshooting/sniping.

By analyzing data about numerous battles from a variety of contemporary sources Hess draws some interesting conclusions. Most infantry combat with rifled muskets took place at relatively short range, an average of just under 100 yards. That combat did not regularly occur beyond this range had to do with terrain but more with the problems inherent with the parabolic trajectory of the minie ball. To fire at a target, say 300 yards away, the individual soldier had to set the sight on his rifle for the range before firing. Because of the slow trajectory of the bullet, it traveled in an arc to reach its target at longer ranges. For over the third of the distance a bullet fired at a target at this range traveled above the height of an average man, which meant that anyone advancing in this particular zone was safe. Since soldiers did very little target practice and the process of hitting targets at longer ranges was complicated for combat conditions, most infantry officers did not let their men begin firing until the enemy was within the same range of a smoothbore musket, which was effective.

Since combat generally took place within the effective range of smoothbores, Hess argues that the linear tactics developed for smoothbore weapons remained relevant and effective and were used successfully on numerous battlefields. It is difficult to disagree with this conclusion since the rate of fire of the rifled musket was no greater than that of the smoothbore, and there had been no improvements in command and control at the tactical level. Command still consisted of voice or hand signals.

But eventually both armies began to dig in regularly and the standard explanation for this is the lethality of the rifled musket forced men to burrow to reduce casualties. Hess disputes this and contends that what drove the trench combat which characterized the Atlanta Campaign and Overland Campaign of 1864 was the daily close proximity of the two armies. With constant contact the possibility of enemy attack was ever present, which created the need to fortify lines to defend against it, and that even had the armies been armed with smoothbores they would have done so.

To support his case that rifle muskets did not render combat more deadly, Hess draws a comparison between the Civil War’s major battles and sixteen major battles fought with smoothbores in Europe from 1704 to 1815. The battles fought with smoothbores were far bloodier. Hess has not written the last word on the rifled musket and its influence on the Civil War, but he has produced an important, well-documented book that provides the first systematic study of the rifle’s true impact on the battlefield.

Image of Scott Hartwig: Bull Runnings

Monday, May 03, 2010

New---366 Decisions of Lincoln's Presidency

366 Days in Abraham Lincoln's Presidency: The Private, Political, and Military Decisions of America's Greatest President, Stephen A. Wynalda, Skyhorse Publishing, 624 pages, 24 illustrations, $29.95.

"For the first time ever, the intimate thoughts and political decisions of Abraham Lincoln’s entire presidency—day by day. In a startlingly innovative format, journalist Stephen A. Wynalda has constructed a painstakingly detailed day-by-day breakdown of president Abraham Lincoln’s decisions in office—including his signing of the Homestead Act on May 20, 1862; his signing of the legislation enacting the first federal income tax on August 5, 1861; and more personal incidents like the day his eleven-year-old son, Willie, died. Revealed are Lincoln’s private frustrations on September 28, 1862, as he wrote to vice president Hannibal Hamlin, “The North responds to the [Emancipation] proclamation sufficiently with breath; but breath alone kills no rebels.”

"366 Days in Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency includes fascinating facts like how Lincoln hated to hunt but loved to fire guns near the unfinished Washington monument, how he was the only president to own a patent, and how he recited Scottish poetry to relieve stress. As Scottish historian Hugh Blair said, “It is from private life, from familiar, domestic, and seemingly trivial occurrences, that we most often receive light into the real character. Covering 366 nonconsecutive days (including a leap day) of Lincoln’s presidency, this is a rich, exciting new perspective of our most famous president."

Text and Image Source: Skyhorse Publishing