Friday, May 29, 2009

News----Obama Honors Confederate and Black Soldiers on Memorial Day

Separate but Equal Wreaths are Not a Permanent Solution to the Memorial Day Conundrum, James W. Loewen, History News Networtk, May 29, 2009.
See CWL entry May 20, 2009 for petition to not set a wreath at Arlington's Confederate Memorial. Mr. Loewen, the author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, started a petition asking President Obama not to honor the Arlington Confederate Monument.

Although I had signed petitions to the President going back to the '60s, before Memorial Day 2009 I had never helped to start one. This year, the fact that neo-Confederates misconstrue the Confederate monument in Arlington National Cemetery to misconstrue the Civil War to misconstrue the Confederate cause got to me ... especially since every Memorial Day, the President of the United States lends his prestige to that monument by sending it a wreath.

We (Ed Sebesta and I) wound up with more than 60 co-signers, including major historians of the Civil War period like David Blight, Vernon Burton, and James McPherson; other distinguished historians like John Dittmer, Paul Finkelman, and Kenneth Jackson; and scholars in allied disciplines like Grey Gundaker, Florence Roisman, and Amilcar Shabazz. Leaders or former leaders of important organizations lent their names, including Josh Brown, Lee Formwalt, Susan Glisson, and Roger Kennedy. Professors of education signed, including Sonia Nieto, David Shiman, and Bill Ayers.

Ayers is on my contacts list because, more than a dozen years ago, he participated in inviting me to speak to pre-service teachers at the University of Illinois (Chicago) about ideas in my best-seller, Lies My Teacher Told Me. When sending out emails to people on my list, I considered omitting him, since I knew of his toxic fame. I emailed him anyway, because Sarah Palin had told us all he was a "pal" of President Obama, because it did not feel right to censor my contacts list, and also because I just wanted to see what would happen.

It turned out that the only name the media cared about was Ayers. The Chicago Sun-Times, for instance, headlined its story, "Radical Bill Ayers dogs Obama, even on Memorial Day." Within the story, Ayers's name does not appear until the 14th paragraph, which is appropriate. But no other signer's name appears at all — not mine, not Sebesta's, not even McPherson's, surely America's pre-eminent scholar on the period, whose Battle Cry of Freedom won the Pulitzer Prize. Today, searching for "Ayers Obama "Memorial Day" wreath yields 7,570 hits, while "McPherson Obama "Memorial Day" yields just 2,570.

On Sebesta's list of contacts was art historian Kirk Savage, whose book, Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves treats Civil War memorials. Savage penned an op-ed to the Washington Post suggesting that President Obama continue the tradition of the Confederate wreath, but also send one to the new African American Civil War Memorial in DC. (He had proposed this to Sebesta, but for reasons this essay notes, Ed rejected the idea.) The Post never did a story about our petition but did print Savage's op-ed opposing it.

Despite the Post's silence, AP and other outlets picked up the story. A minor controversy followed. HNN's posting of our petition drew 90 comments. A blog about the matter at Daily Kos spurred more than 250. Savage's op-ed generated nine pages at Many were from neo-Confederates attacking any challenge to their beloved Confederate legend. Others, however, came from people respectful of the cause of good race relations while also respectful of the dead.

Americans need to understand that Confederate Memorials come in two kinds. One type remembers and honors the dead. The other glorifies the cause and typically obfuscates what it was (which was slavery). The Arlington monument is of the second type. Donated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, erected during the Nadir of Race Relations, it does not purport to tell accurate history. It even gets the number of Confederate states wrong, implying that 14 seceded, when only 11 did. Moreover, in recent years neo-Confederates have deliberately misconstrued a black body servant, included in the bas-reliefs, as a Confederate soldier. Then they cite him as "evidence" that thousands of African Americans fought for the Confederacy. As a corollary, this claim continues, the South could not have seceded for slavery.

Why should the President privilege this monument over, say, the Confederate monument in neighboring Alexandria, a pensive statue of the former type? Why, for that matter, should the President privilege this monument over every single monument to United States troops in the Civil War?

It might be said that he no longer does. Unlike his predecessors from Wilson to W, Obama eventually followed Savage's idea and sent two wreaths, one to the Confederate monument, one to the African American monument. Doing so was certainly a significant advance over former practice. However, dual wreaths implicitly equate service for the Union and service against it. They also implicitly equate war fought to maintain and extend slavery with war eventually fought (admittedly, not at first) to end slavery. Surely both sides are not of equal moral value.

This is not the place to make the argument that the South seceded for slavery, not states' rights. Everyone knew this in 1860-61. Today anyone who believes that the Southern states left because they favored states' rights has only to search for and read "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union." Also useful is my short chapter on Gettysburg in Lies Across America, which tells why and when the states' rights myth began to be told.

To be sure, neither Savage nor the president probably intended to equate North and South. Surely, both Savage and the president meant this "solution" as a way to sidestep all such moral and historical issues and merely honor the dead on both sides. Thus the president assuages two "special interests": neo-Confederates on the one side, and African Americans (and historians) on the other. Left out are United States Civil War veterans as a whole — white and black together.

Hoping to avoid post-petition depression, I humbly suggest that important historical questions remain. Why would presidents of the United States, for almost a hundred years, send wreaths just to the Southern side — the losing side and the wrong side — of our greatest war? Did presidents ever send wreaths to U.S. Civil War monuments — perhaps to the G.A.R. monument in DC — before the Nadir of Race Relations set in? Has even one of the 2,000+ Union monuments ever received a presidential wreath on Memorial Day since the Nadir? What is the connection between race relations of the time and how we remember the past?

Text and Image Source: History News Network

Image Caption: The day after, the President’s wreath lies in a heap to the side of the Confederate monument.

Monday, May 25, 2009

CWL---Open On The Desk, In The Car and On The Nightstand: Three Books To Start The Summer

Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J. E. B. Stuart, Jeffry D. Wert, Simon and Schuster, 496 pages, illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index, $32.00.

Jeff Werts' books take up about half of a shelf of my 12 seven shelf book cases; his book on Stuart is his newest and like his others uses the familar to open up the nuances of personalities and events. His one volume history of the Army of the Potomac presents a topic that is often encountered battle by battle but rarely from beginning to end. Reading Wert's Sword of Lincoln and Glatthaar's General Lee's Army one would probably be encountering the two best books in their field.

CWL is up to page 160 and the Second Manassas/Antietam Campaign is finished. Stuart shines while in Virginia but loses control while in Maryland. The expeditions against Catlett, Bristoe and Manassas stations are remarkable preludes to the Battle of Second Manassas. But on September 8 Stuart hosts the Sabers and Roses ball in Urbana Maryland, while the Federal cavalry occupies Poolesvile a few miles to the south and cuts Rebels off from a Potomac River ford. Wert states that "Lee's lack of undertanding of the progress of McClellan's army resulted from an apparent lack of vigilance on the part of Stuart." (p. 144) On September 11, Stuart is again dancing, Heros Von Borcke reports, with spirited Irish girls at a farmhouse west of Frederick as the Federal army is readies itself to occupy Frederick the next day. Stuart rides to Harpers Ferry with a small escort to be present at its surrender while Confederate forces are forced out of the South Mountain gaps and his cavalry is idle. Lee orders a cavalry assault on the Federal right during the afternoon of the battle of Antietam but Stuart tips his hand in the attempt by having the horse artillery put the Federal First Corps on notice that the game is still being played.

CWL recommends each of Wert's books: General James Longstreet: The Confederacy's Most Controversial Soldier , Mosby's Rangers, The Sword of Lincoln: The Army of the Potomac , Gettysburg, Day Three, A Brotherhood Of Valor: The Common Soldiers Of The Stonewall Brigade C S A And The Iron Brigade U S A and From Winchester to Cedar Creek: The Shenandoah Campaign of 1864.

Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer, Fred Kaplan, Harper Collins, 406pp, $27.95. While reading Cavalryman of the Lost Cause at Starbucks and on the patio, CWL has Lincoln: Biography of a Writer by Fred Kaplan on audio compact disk in the car; the commute to work is 45 minutes, 90 minutes round trip. In the deluge of new Lincoln biographies, CWL recommends Ron White's A. Lincoln: A Biography and Kaplan's. The more one wrestles with Lincoln intellect the more one wrestles with the question: What did Lincoln Read? Kaplan examines in his first chapter entitled 'All The Books He Could Lay His Hands On---1809-1825' Lincoln's childhood opportunities and the main ideas found in what the young impoverished reader encountered. CWL finds that Lincoln by the age of 15 is familar with the best literature in West Civilization: the Bible, Shakespeare, Aesops' Fables and the Arabian Nights. Also, Lincoln is familar and adept at the oratory of stump politics and chapel pulpits.

On the nightstand is Jacob's Run: A Novel of 1860 Wilmington (Whittler's Bench Press, $24.95). What initially attracted CWL was to this novel is that one of the authors is the founder of the Center for Civil War Photography. The other attraction is that the setting is in a Southern antebellum city, a topic in which CWL reads at least one book a year. Bob Zellers The Blue and Gray in Black and White: A History of Civil War Photography, and The Civil War In Depth, Volumes 1 and 2. Zellers and co-author John Beshears balance historic details with characters that are larger than the mundane life of a North Carlina port city. A devil-may-care newspaper reporter, a nasty plantation family, a Yankee insurance investigator, a bright, articulate slave who hides behind a thick accent and a bum leg, a second villian who is a black lowlife and owns slaves are wrapped together in the historically accurate aspect of Southern slaveholders insuring the lives of their slaves. CWL asks readers of Jacob's Run to happily suspend their disbelief and be intertained.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Will Sickles' Reputation Be Redeemed? Giving Sickles Credit Where Credit Is Due.

Civil War Presentation Trust recently interviewed James Hessler about his new book and Sickles’ battlefield preservation efforts.

Sickles at Gettysburg The Controversial Civil War General Who Committed Murder, Abandoned Little Round Top, and Declared Himself the Hero of Gettysburg, James A. Hessler, Savas Beatie Publishing, hardcover, 432pp., 20 photos and maps, bibliography, notes, index, June 2009, $32.95.

CWPT: How important were Sickles’ battlefield preservation efforts at Gettysburg?

JH: Very important. He had the political clout, celebrity, and drive to get things done. I would never call him Gettysburg’s most important preservationist, David McConaughy deserves that honor, but I’d certainly put Sickles near the top of the list. He chaired the New York Monuments Commission for almost three decades, put a lot of monuments on the battlefield, helped attack William Tipton’s commercial developments near Devil’s Den, and introduced the bill that created Gettysburg National Military Park. He even drew up the Park’s initial boundaries. The veterans cheered him when he went back to Gettysburg to give speeches. Imagine how different the reaction would be if he went back there today. Of course, money was missing from the Monument Commission’s coffers, and I cover that in the book too . . .

CWPT: Do many people know about Sickles’ preservation efforts?

JH: No. Few participants, if any, combine to be as important during and after the battle as he was. Yet the typical visitor has never heard of him, and has certainly never heard anything positive about him. Sickles even gets short notice in a lot of the histories of the battlefield, yet he put a lot of the monuments on the field, dedicated a number of them, introduced the bill, and set the boundaries. His modern critics will sometimes say that certainly someone else would have created the National Park were it not for Sickles. That is revisionism. The simple fact is that it was Sickles who got the job done. It was the most positive and lasting accomplishment in his long career and it is unknown, overlooked, or downplayed by a lot of people who enjoy the battlefield today.

CWPT: What do you hope this book will accomplish?

JH: I hope it will give Sickles’ reputation some balance and perspective. It is not a love letter to Sickles. I am certainly critical of him when he deserves it. I also hope that battle enthusiasts, particularly of the second day, will find it indispensable in understanding what happened and why. Finally, I hope that the preservationists will pause to remember that Sickles would be very supportive of their efforts, even though you might not want to give him your grandmother’s money, and that we owe a lot of the Gettysburg National Military Park we know today to Dan Sickles.

: Thank you for the interview, Mr. Hessler. We appreciate your time.

JH: You’re welcome, thank you for the opportunity. I hope your readers enjoyed it, and will look forward to learning more about Sickles.

For the entire interview go to Savas Beatie Publishing's posting of it.

Image Source: Gettysburg Daily.Com May 24, 2009.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

CWL---Off Topic: Classic Literature on Stalingrad

Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad, William Craig, Readers Digest Press, 462pp, 1973.

Craig's 1973 book is a fine non-fiction account of the Stalingrad Campaign. It's title was taken for use by the producers of the 2001 Paramount Pictures film staring: Joseph Fiennes, Jude Law, Ed Harris, Rachel Weisz, Bob Hoskins and Ron Perlman. The book contains the story of Vaselli Zaitsev and Tania Chernova, Russian snipers and a duel with a master German sniper. Craig cautions that the duel may have the the creation of the Communist war propaganda bureaucracy, but the essential facts of Zaitsev and Chernova are available in documents and interviews. Craig's discussion covers about 20 pages throughout the book.

Craig's Enemy at the Gates was republished by Penguin Press in 2000 with cover artwork from the film. The film was probably from David L. Robbins 1999 novel War of the Rats. Robbins' plot is generally the same as the movie but the movie carries the name of Craig's non-fiction book.

Craig's Enemy At the Gates is a fine history that strength of which is the reliance upon interviews with the survivors of the campaign. Russians, Germans, Italians, and Romanians were interviewed. Craig's book contains startling stories from the front line soldiers to those at headquarters. Amazing accounts of cannibalism, burning wounded prisoners in their hospitals and the floor-to-floor fighting of the campaign unique. Headquarters' strategy and battlefield tactics are presented in the words of the participants. There is no doubt that Hitler carries the blame for not breaking von Paulus' army out of the kesseland that Goering the diaster of not keeping the German army supplied.

David L. Robbins' War of the Rats, 392 pages
Bantam hardcover edition, 1999 handles admirably the dual tasks of storytelling and staying close to history. Those who read historical fiction will be well satisfied by Robbins' character driven sharpshooter's dual in Stalingrad. Tania Chernova in Craig's history is truly a remarkable character who begins the campaign as one person and by the end of it is some else. Her episode of crawling through Stalingrad's public sewers to reach the Russian line shows her capacity to endure. Indeed of the two others that start the trek with her, one suffocates in the sewer lines. Robbins reinforces the Chernova's true story with enough reliance on his imagination to create a strong character who is not a stereotype of a woman among men at war. There is a striking similarity between the novel and the film. CWL is not sure if the film and the novel were started at the same year, 1998. Both did use Craig's Enemy at the Gates as a source document. For a good introduction to Stalingrad look for Voices from Stalingrad by John Bastable which CWL covered March 1 2009.

CWL---New: Lincoln's Labels---Best Known Brands of the Civil War is Essential for Reenactors and Living Historians

Lincoln's Labels: America's Best Know Brands During the Civil War, James M. Schmidt, Edinborough Press, 208 pp., 19 illustrations, index, sources, notes, 2009, $27.95

In this bicentennial year of Lincoln's birth readers are deluged with Lincoln books. James Schimdt has written one for the subscribers of Civil War Historian and Citizens' Companion magazines, who will enjoy and keep handy Lincoln's Labels as a ready reference. Members of Authenitic Campaigner will sit back and relax with this overview which explores the brand names that during the Civil War supplied food, medicine, clothing, and weapons. Civil War era soldiers and civilians used Du Pont’s gunpowder, Brooks Brothers’ uniforms, Procter & Gamble’s soap and Borden’s condensed milk.

James M. Schmidt relates a variety of rarely told stories of inventions, marketing and quartermaster purchasing. Linoln's Labels touches upon how each firm mirrors the war and how family and friendships were torn asunder, as well as how politicans and merchants conspired and crossed paths with Abraham Lincoln. Soldiers and civilians are also the focus of this book. In Chapter Five, Fire and Brimstone, the author begins the chapter on July 3 1863 on Culp's Hill with Henry J. Hunt, chief of artillery, inspecting federal artillery ammunition supplies. In Chapter Six, Medicine Man, Schmidt has uncovered and presents a truely harrowing first person account of an 11th Illinois soldier wounded in February 1862 in Tennessee.

CWL will keep his copy close by and also assign the library's copy to business majors who are CWL's U.S. history survey class. Schmidt's narrative is also accessible to an avanced placement high school audience also.

James M. Schmidt is the Civil War Medicine columnist for Civil War News and has a web log at is the author of more than 50 articles on American history. He has been featured in Chemical Heritage, Learning through History, North & South and World War II magazines . He lives near Houston, Texas.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

News----Historians Protest Tradition: President's Memorial Day Wreath on Confederate Memorial In Arlington Cementery

Scholars Ask Obama Not to Send a Wreath to Confederate Memorial Press Release by James Loewen, History News Network, May 20, 2009.

More than four dozen prominent professors, historians and authors have signed a letter asking President Barack Obama to break with a tradition that they say represents the values of white supremacy and neo-Confederacy. The group is asking Mr. Obama to be the first president since Woodrow Wilson not to send a wreath to the Arlington Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington DC on Memorial Day.

Co-signers of the letter include: James Loewen, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Vermont; Paul Finkelman, William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law, Albany Law School; James McPherson, Professor of History, Princeton University; William Lee Miller, Scholar in Ethics and Institutions at the Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia; and many others.

The letter, written by Edward Sebesta, editor of "Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction," University of Texas Press, and James Loewen details the history of the monument and the way that racist and neo-Confederate groups have used the monument to glorify the Confederacy and racist values.

The monument was given to the Federal Government by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and in 1914, and was, Sebesta writes, "intended to legitimize secession and the principles of the Confederacy and glorify the Confederacy." Prior to the administration of George H. W. Bush, the commemorative wreath was presented on or near the birthday of Jefferson Davis. The occasion has been marked on Memorial Day since the presidency of George H.W. Bush.

"It isn’t just a remembrance of the dead," Sebesta continues. "The speeches at its ground-breaking and dedication defended and held up as glorious the Confederacy and the ideas behind it and stated that the monument was to these ideals as well as the dead. It was also intended as a symbol of white nationalism, portrayed in opposition to the multiracial democracy of Reconstruction, and a celebration of the re-establishment of white supremacy in the former slave states by former Confederate soldiers. In its design it also tells wrong history, boasting fourteen shields with the coat of arms of fourteen states. Thus it claims that Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland were part of the Confederacy. They weren’t."

Text Source: History News Network Tuesday,May 19, 2009

Read the Letter.

Image Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Friday, May 15, 2009

Off-Topic Novel---Do You Own The Patent On Your Body?

Next, Michael Crichton, HarperCollins, 448 pages, 2006, $29.95.

What's coming next? Twenty percent of all human genes are owned by corporations and universities. It's possible to sell human eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars. Prenuptial agreement includes testing for genetic predispositions.

Next blends facts with fiction. Economic realities and the presuppositions of morality are set along side the comically bizarre mundane world of scientific research by Crichton. Most readers who have an affinity for property rights will become angry at the CEOs, CFOs of corporations and universities in Next. Crichton focuses upon genetic engineering handled by corporations and lawyers. He challenges what's wrong with Congress' current handling of gene patents and with the laws governing human tissues. There are many plots that share elements of consumerism, finance, research and bureacracy.

Next could be placed on a bookshelf between Dr. Doolittle and The Planet of the Apes. There is a character with mixed human and chimp DNA; it is an intelligent hybrid rescued from a government research lab and is passed off as a fully human child with a defective gene. Another character is Gerard, an unusually bright parrot which does math and knows way to many rock lyrics and lines from movies. The humans at times come off as stock characters who have no or very little development through the novel. Like many Crichton novels Next is driven by what the animals will do next. Yet, readers will probably come away with two questions: How much of this is true? How worried should I feel?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

News---Battle Cry of Freedom vs. Battle Cry of Commerce

Wal-Mart vs. the Wilderness, James McPherson, Washington Post,Sunday, May 3, 2009

In May 1864, two armies clashed in a desperate struggle for the course of our nation's history. The Battle of the Wilderness was a great turning point of the Civil War -- the first clash between Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant and the beginning of the end for the beleaguered Confederacy. The fighting was so intense that the tangled underbrush caught fire, burning wounded soldiers alive.

To commemorate the bloody struggle, portions of the Wilderness -- which is near Locust Grove, Va., in Orange County -- were set aside as a national military park. However, just 21 percent of the battlefield is permanently protected; other key areas are privately held and vulnerable to development.

This vulnerability became apparent when Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced plans to build a 138,000-square-foot superstore on historically sensitive land directly across the road from the national park. The store would sit on a hill overlooking key parts of the battlefield, looming over a national treasure.

Preservationists are not opposed to Wal-Mart opening a superstore in the region. A coalition of national and local conservation groups has merely asked Wal-Mart to choose a different location. Together with more than 250 other historians, I signed a letter to the company in support of that idea. We wrote that "the Wilderness is an indelible part of our history, its very ground hallowed by the American blood spilled there, and it cannot be moved. Surely Wal-Mart can identify a site that would meet its needs without changing the very character of the battlefield."

"Wilderness Wal-Mart" supporters argue that because the proposed store site lies just beyond the park, it lacks historic significance, a profound misunderstanding of the nature of history. In the heat of battle, no unseen hand kept soldiers inside what would one day be a national park. Such boundaries are artificial, modern constructions shaped by external factors, and they have little bearing on what is or is not historic. To assume the park boundary at the Wilderness encompasses every acre of significant ground is to believe that the landscape beyond the borders of Yosemite National Park instantly ceases to be majestic.

With Civil War battlefields we have a true tool for determining historic value: the findings of the congressionally appointed Civil War Sites Advisory Commission. I was privileged to serve on this distinguished panel of historians and lawmakers, and I stand by our decision to include the area Wal-Mart is considering within the battlefield's historic boundary.

The controversy illustrates another misconception about historic preservation -- that it must occur at the expense of economic development. A properly managed historic site can be a powerful economic driver for its community, creating jobs and generating tax revenue by drawing tourists.

Recognizing this, preservationists have proposed a comprehensive planning process to balance protection of the Wilderness Battlefield with regional economic development goals, marrying respect for the old with the promise of the new. It is a process by which everyone -- Wal-Mart, local residents and the battlefield -- wins. The alternative is the type of piecemeal development that has swallowed up historic sites and destroyed the identities of countless communities. It is a scenario in which only Wal-Mart wins.

There is still time for Wal-Mart to recognize its error and identify another location. This week marks the 145th anniversary of the Battle of the Wilderness, a perfect opportunity to seek a solution in everyone's best interests. The Wilderness Battlefield is a living memorial to American sacrifice and heroism. It would be tragic if such a landmark was lost through the short-sightedness of local decision-makers and Wal-Mart's stubborn refusal to consider reasonable alternatives.

The writer is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of History at Princeton University and a past president of the American Historical Association. McPherson won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for "Battle Cry of Freedom" and is a two-time winner of the Lincoln Prize.

Text and Image Source: Washington Post, May 3, 2009

CWL: Do you remember Manassas NMP vs. Disneyland in the early/mid-1990s? The weight of popular opinion carried the day. Three set of voices cried out: the academics, the history buffs and those who would be living to close to the Civil War theme entertainment park Now there is only two voices: the academics and the history buffs. CWL talked to several northern Virginians who are living close to the proposed Walmart site and were visiting Gettysburg. They didnn't mind it. Low prices on everything including gasoline and within ten miles of home. In the Disney episode, one could sense the turning of popular opinion against the history themed amusement park. At this point, this episode is too close to call for either side.

New---Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Analyzes Sickles

Sickles at Gettysburg: The Controversial Civil War General Who Committed Murder, Abandoned Little Round Top, and Declared Himself the Hero of Gettysburg, James Hessler, Savas Beatie Publications, 432 pages, 20 photographs and maps, notes, bibliography, index, $32.95.

Sickles at Gettysburg: The Controversial Civil War General Who Committed Murder, Abandoned Little Round Top, and Declared Himself the Hero of Gettysburg, by licensed battlefield guide James Hessler, is the most deeply-researched, full-length biography to appear on this remarkable American icon. And it is long overdue.

No individual who fought at Gettysburg was more controversial, both personally and professionally, than Major General Daniel E. Sickles. By 1863, Sickles was notorious as a disgraced former Congressman who murdered his wife's lover on the streets of Washington and used America's first temporary insanity defense to escape justice. With his political career in ruins, Sickles used his connections with President Lincoln to obtain a prominent command in the Army of the Potomac's Third Corps-despite having no military experience. At Gettysburg, he openly disobeyed orders in one of the most controversial decisions in military history.

No single action dictated the battlefield strategies of George Meade and Robert E. Lee more than Sickles' unauthorized advance to the Peach Orchard, and the mythic defense of Little Round Top might have occurred quite differently were it not for General Sickles. Fighting heroically, Sickles lost his leg on the field and thereafter worked to remove General Meade from command of the army. Sickles spent the remainder of his checkered life declaring himself the true hero of Gettysburg.

Although he nearly lost the battle, Sickles was one of the earliest guardians of the battlefield when he returned to Congress, created Gettysburg National Military Park, and helped preserve the field for future generations. But Dan Sickles was never far from scandal. He was eventually removed from the New York Monument Commission and nearly went to jail for misappropriation of funds.

Hessler's book is a balanced and entertaining account of Sickles' colorful life. Civil War enthusiasts who want to understand General Sickles' scandalous life, Gettysburg's battlefield strategies, the in-fighting within the Army of the Potomac, and the development of today's National Park will find Sickles at Gettysburg a must-read.

James A. Hessler works in the financial services industry and is a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park. He has taught Sickles and Gettysburg-related courses for Harrisburg Area Community College and the Gettysburg Foundation. In addition to writing articles for publication, Hessler speaks regularly at Civil War Round Tables. A native of Buffalo, NY, he resides in Gettysburg with his wife and children.

Text Source: Savas Beatie Publications/Sickles

CWL---Off Topic: Coal, A Somewhat Human History

Coal: A Human History, Barbara Freese, Penguin, 320 pages, i15 illustrations, index, notes, bibliography, paperback,$14.00.

While entering the Metro in Washington D.C.there are four posters, each depicting an myth: Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Easter Bunny and Safe Coal. When Barry Obama was confronted with a question regarding the future of coal generated electricity in America, Joe Biden shoved his face of Obama's left shoulder and said that the only place coal fired generators will be built is in China.

America loves coal but hates it smoke. Freese, an assistant attorney general of Minnesota whose task is to enforce environmental law, offers a short chronicle of a description of coal's geological formation and its the rise as a source of heat and energy. The Romans and the Chinese and other ancient civilizations used coal ornamentaly. In early Roman Britain, coal replaced wood as a heating source. After a about 1200 years, the mineral ignited in Britain the Industrial Revolution by firing the newly invented steam engine to pull water out of coal mines. Quickly the steam engines were laid on wagons and the wagons were placed on tracks to hall the coal from the mines to the ports. Freese briefly tells the discovery of coal in the Britain's American colonies, and the ensuing development of the first American coal-fired urban community, Pittsburgh.

Coal: A Human History describes the side effects of the industry on miners and the cities of Pittsburgh, Manchester and London. The book also compares the U.S.'s coal mining and electricity generation history with China's current use of coal. A cheap, warm, dirty energy source, as coal burning leaves sulfur and carbon dioxides in such quantities that both buildings and lungs suffer. Offering EPA studies, Freese states that coal emissions kill about 30,000 people a year, which is approximately the same figure of deaths caused by influenza and automobile crashes.

Fresse spends a little effort on differentiating between anthracite and bituminous coal and offers next to no information on coal labor unions or black lung disease. In Coal: A Human History people as workers and consumers receive little attention. Freese closes her monograph with a denunciation of coal; she advocates an immediate reduction of coal's primary pollutants, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, and in the future its replacement as an energy source. There is no discussion of how coal would be replaced and no substantive discussion of efforts to clean coal or store or reuse its waste.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

CWL---"... can never be whipped," Lewis Armistead, July 5 1863

"Trust In God and Fear Nothing": General Lewis A. Armistead, CSA, Wayne E. Motts, Farnsworth House Military, 5 photographs, 2 maps, notes, bibliography, 64 pages, 1994, $4.95.

Gettysburg, the 1993 film, had just followed James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedomand Ken Burns' The Civil War when I got into reenacting with the Ninth Pennsylvania Reserves. Gettysburg Pennsylvania was a wonderland of book stores, reenactment supply vendors and art galleries. It was a time before ghosts and the Farnsworth House had a large gallery and bookstore. Now the gallery has vanished and half the bookstore is a seance room. Farnsworth house in 1993 began publishing monographs on the primary characters of the battle. "Trust In God and Fear Nothing": General Lewis A. Armistead, CSA was the first in a short series that included Buford, Pickett, Reynolds, and Meade. All were reasonably price at $4.95 and still are at the American History Store at the corner of Steinwehr Avenue and Baltimore Pike.

Wayne Motts, currently the director of the Adams County Historical Society, produced a clear, concise and well cited monograph on Lewis Armistead, brigade commander in Pickett's division. Not overloaded with tangential photographs and maps, Wayne Motts used the 64 pages to provide the relevant stories of Armistead's life, career and death. There is not pretense of chapters in this booklet; CWL frequently finds these days that booklets, such as the McWhiney Foundation's series, have nearly as much white space as narrative. Motts has covered in detail Armistead's lineage, childhood, unfinished West Point education, military experiences in the Seminole War, the Mexican War and the Civil War; each page is full and only the few photographs don't fill a complete page. CWL will note that typesetting and layout was markedly different back in the early 90s; thank you Adobe Acrobat. The 52 pages of text have 96 bibliographic notes, generally from primary sources.

The Battle of Gettysburg does not overwhelm Motts presentation of Armistead's career. His Mexican War experiences, the death of his wife, and his farewell to Hancock, are presented with the primary sources left by the participants and those present. Poignant but not overwrought is Mott's telling of Armistead's charge, wounding, and death a the Spangler Farm field hospital. Mott sticks very close to the sources which are sufficient in this instance. Indeed, Mott provides a fine, well edited example of historical scholarship that would serve an advanced high school student or an undergaduate well as a model of what historians do.

Bottom Two Photos: The George Spangler Farm which became the 11th Corps' field hospital at Gettysburg. In this summer kitchen Lewis Armistead died, more from exhaustion than his wounds, concludes Waynes Motts from an eyewitness account. In the summer of 2008, the Gettysburg Foundation bought the farm and the first rehabilitation occurred in April 2009. See the April 24 entry on Civil War Librarian for the event. (Photograph: Rea Andrew Redd, April 2009)

News---Gettysburg' Electric Map May Revive Faltering Steinwehr Avenue Business District

Electric Map May Have Hound A Home, Scot Andrew Pitzer, Gettysburg Times, Tuesday, May 12, 2009.

A nonprofit group is working with the National Park Service to keep the historic Electric Map in Gettysburg. Historic Gettysburg-Adams County is talking to the park about obtaining the map and featuring it in a new museum, possibly along Steinwehr Avenue. “It’s quite possible that it could be coming out of storage,” HGAC President Curt Musselman said Monday morning.

Musselman was the guest of broadcaster Fred Snyder during the Breakfast Nook program on 1320 WGET. Musselman’s group has been working to obtain the map for “about a year,” and the group has set up a task force to acquire it. “We’re going to build a museum — a map museum — making the Electric Map a centerpiece for that,” said Judi McGee, chairwoman of the HGAC task force.

“The map itself will be restored,” McGee said. “We’ll also be able to preserve and restore some other period maps along the way and some artifacts.” She promised that the map will be staying in the Borough of Gettysburg, although she did not name specific sites. “We’re looking at an adaptive re-use of an old building,” McGee told Snyder. “We’re also looking at building something new. We’re looking at a number of sites.”

Steinwehr Avenue businessman Eric Uberman said Monday that he has land beside his American Civil War Museum to accommodate the group. He called the property an “optimum site” for the Electric Map. “We’re cooperating with them — we’re not buying the map,” said Uberman. “We have the space,” continued Uberman. “It’s the spot that has the most visibility, it’s in Gettysburg, and it’s literally right where the map was before.”

Gettysburg National Military Park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon confirmed Monday afternoon that the park is talking to the group, but stressed that “it’s very early in the process.” The park has entertained offers for the map in the past, but nothing panned out. “Their goals would certainly be in sync with the Park Service’s goals, which would be to display the Electric Map once again to the visiting public,” said Lawhon. “The goal is to work cooperatively and re-open it to the public.”

Uberman’s property is located across the street from the entrance to the old visitor center. He thinks that the map would “do wonders” in revitalizing Steinwehr Avenue, which has seen a dramatic drop-off in commerce since the old visitor center closed. “It would be a tremendous boost to Steinwehr,” said Uberman. “I really hope that the town fathers support this group. It would be a tremendous tax benefit to the area, and maybe pull back some of the revenue that has been lost since the new visitor center opened.”

The map was cut into four pieces in March and moved out of the old park visitor center. It is now being stored in a park facility along the Hanover Road, just east of Gettysburg. The map was not incorporated into the plans for the new $103 million Battlefield Visitor Center, which opened in April 2008 along the Baltimore Pike. “I just think in their new design, the Electric Map didn’t fit in,” Musselman said. “Some day again, people will be able to see it.”

McGee noted that “there are some issues there with asbestos and construction that we need to address,” and that talks are ongoing between the federal government and HGAC. HGAC has worked with the Park Service on other projects, said Musselman. The group is aiming to have the map on display again in time for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, which occurs in 2013. “That would sort of be the time-line on the project, so don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen,” Musselman said. “Everything would take time. It’s not just a little project.”

The map entertained millions of tourists over the years, when it was the park’s primary attraction. It used 625 flashing Christmas bulbs to illustrate the movement of troops during the Battle of Gettysburg. Opponents argue that the map’s technology is obsolete, while proponents believe that it’s an iconic American treasure. The current map dates back to 1962-63, although the original map dates back to the 1930s.

See the complete transcript of the Breakfast Nook interview by visiting

Text Source: Gettysburg Times May 12, 2009

Photo:Emily O'Neil's father, Joseph Rosensteel, created the Electric Map at the Gettysburg Battlefield Visitors Center. (Jeb Kairchbaum, Baltimore Sun, October 18, 2007)

Review From H-Net: Civil War: Campaign for Corinth, Mississippi, Pivitol 1862 Battle

H-Net Review Publication: 'An Important Battle Packaged for Beginners'

Steven Nathaniel Dossman, Campaign for Corinth: Blood in Mississippi. Civil War Campaigns and Commanders Series. Abilene McWhiney Foundation Press, 2006. 128 pp. $14.95 (paper), Reviewed by Daniel Sauerwein (Department of History, University of North Dakota)Published on H-CivWar (March, 2009) Commissioned by Hugh F. Dubrulle

An Important Battle Packaged for Beginners

Steven Nathaniel Dossman, a McWhiney Fellow, has produced a simple yet important examination of the campaign and battle for the Mississippi rail junction of Corinth in 1862. From this work, the reader will obtain a basic understanding of the battle, major figures involved, and overall importance of this battle to the Civil War. The Corinth campaign was an important event in the Civil War that is worth studying as it allowed the Union army to push further into the Confederacy in the West. Dossman used many good sources, including the Official Records of the War of Rebellion (1880) and Ulysses S. Grant's memoirs, to provide the necessary information on the campaign.

This book has several great strengths. The first is its readability. The prose is simple and to the point; it does not bog the reader down. The reader is treated to more of a story than a typical scholarly analysis of a campaign, making the book especially valuable and refreshing for beginning students of history, although it may frustrate scholars who are looking for a new examination of the event.

Dossman includes numerous useful features--brief biographies, images, maps, and appendices--all of which will assist readers in gaining a better understanding of the campaign and battle. Biographical sketches of many prominent officers on both sides provide background for the men associated with the battle, campaign, the western theater, and the war as a whole. The biographies will be helpful to readers unfamiliar with the leaders of the Civil War armies. In addition to the biographies, the book provides many images that detail battle scenes. These offer a visual break that complements the text and aids in comprehension of the battle. Furthermore, Dossman includes simple yet artistic maps to detail the movements of opposing forces in the various battles and skirmishes that were part of the Corinth campaign. Several appendices, which provide the orders of battle for the campaign, will also aid readers in understanding the battle. These additions discuss not only which units were involved, but also where and how the armies were organized.

The absence of a clear section on historiography hinders this book's usefulness to an academic audience. While Dossman does draw on some scholars, such as Peter Cozzens, he neglects others, like James McPherson and Steven Woodworth. His neglect of contemporary historiography may cause academics to ignore this work. However, general readers and students will breathe a sigh of relief at not having to wade through a review of the literature on the subject. Furthermore, many of his sources are older and reflect more traditional schools of historical thought. They do not, for example, discuss social history or issues associated with minorities. While this work provides necessary factual information surrounding the campaign, it presents an old-fashioned interpretation.

In addition, while the biographical sketches are useful for persons unfamiliar with the war and battle, they also present a problem. They break the flow of the book, forcing the reader to constantly pause and take a detour from the narrative. A different location for these sketches would have solved this problem; such material is better suited for an appendix, where readers can look at it after reading the book.

Overall, Dossman has provided a simple work on an important campaign during the Civil War. This book is a good start for those new to history, as it presents the battle in an easy to understand format. It is also useful for high school classrooms, as well as undergraduate classes, since it will provide students with basic knowledge of the battle. Academics may find elements of Dossman's work problematic, but perhaps it will lead other scholars to write more about the battle, incorporating social history and newer schools of thought while reshaping the existing historiography. Campaign for Corinth is a good start for this renewed examination of this event by future scholars. Yet, due to problems with scholarship, interpretation, and organization, this work shows room for improvement.

Citation: Daniel Sauerwein. Review of Dossman, Steven Nathaniel, Campaign for Corinth: Blood in Mississippi. H-CivWar, H-Net Reviews. March, 2009. URL: H-Net

CWL: The McWhiney Series is uneven with a notably superficial effort as Longstreet in the West that is overly padded with tangential maps and photos. On the other hand some volumes are very successful such as The Emergence of Total War Daniel E. Sutherland in which the author examines The Second Manassas Campaign and various elements of the war upon civilians. Those seeking a more thorough discussion of the Corinth campaign should examin Struggle for the Heartland: The Campaigns from Fort Henry to Corinth by Stephen D. Engle and The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth by Peter Cozzens.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

New---Was The South Becoming Like The North?

Modernizing a Slave Economy: The Economic Vision of the Confederate Nation, John Majewski, 256 pages, The University of North Carolina Press, $39.95.

University of North Carolina Press' Civil War America series usually breaks new ground. Modernizing a Slave Economy: The Economic Vision of the Confederate Nation is not an exception. How closely was the South to become economically like the North before the Civil War? If the war hadn't occurred when it occurred would the South have become a modern economic society with a healthy mix of agriculture and industry?

What would separate Union and Confederate countries look like if the South had won the Civil War? In fact, this was something that southern secessionists actively debated. Imagining themselves as nation-builders, they understood the importance of a plan for the economic structure of the Confederacy. The traditional view assumes that Confederate slave-based agrarianism went hand in hand with a natural hostility toward industry and commerce. Turning conventional wisdom on its head, John Majewski's analysis finds that secessionists strongly believed in industrial development and state-led modernization. They blamed the South's lack of development on Union policies of discriminatory taxes on southern commerce and unfair subsidies for northern industry.

Majewski argues that Confederates' opposition to a strong central government was politically tied to their struggle against northern legislative dominance. Once the Confederacy was formed, those who had advocated states' rights in the national legislature in order to defend against northern political dominance quickly came to support centralized power and a strong executive for war making and nation building.

Early Reviews:
"Majewski makes an argument that is quite novel for antebellum history in its consideration of the possible economic role to be played by government in the South. Well researched and clearly presented, Majewski's analysis merits attention and discussion." Stanley Engerman, University of Rochester and author of Time on The Cross a groundbreaking study of the economics of Southern slavery

"A well-crafted and insightful analysis of the arguments favoring economic development in the antebellum South and their connection to the creation of a southern nation. Writing with clarity and grace about important economic questions, Majewski offers a fresh approach to the old problem of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of Confederate nationalism."
--George C. Rable, Charles Summersell Chair in Southern History, University of Alabama, author of Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!

John Majewski is professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is author of A House Dividing: Economic Development in Pennsylvania and Virginia before the Civil War.

Source of some of the text: University of North Carolina Press

CWL---The Great March To The Sea

Southern Storm: Sherman's March To The Sea, Noah Trudeau, 35 maps, 42 black and white illustrations, order of battle, notes, bibliography, index, 671 pp., Harper Collins, 2008,$35.00.

Trudeau, former National Public Radio program producer and popular Civil War historian, addresses William T. Sherman's 1864 Atlanta to Savannah march through Georgia. Sherman's chief objective was to demonstrate to the Confederacy that there was no place in the South safe from Union troops. Industry and agriculture that supported the South's ability to make war was put to the torch as well as many civilian homes. Trudeau addresses the destruction and finds that it was similar to and did not exceed other campaigns by Northern and Southern armies. Nevertheless, the campaign shocked Georgians who had not experienced the war in any way other than sending soldiers, commissary goods, and armaments forth.

Confederate resistance was limited and what small defensive efforts were taken they were uncoordinated; there was not theatre commander to direct the Confederate resistance. The author does not go to great depths regarding Richmond's lack of leadership on this issue. Over and over again Trudeau shows that Sherman’s orders allowed his army have a great deal of latitude about what to burn and what to take. In a very thorough manner 60,000 Federal soldiers seized Georiga's food and forage. The destruction of Georgia railroads was one of the chief goals of the campaign and was thoroughly accomplished.

Trudeau concludes that Sherman's operational generalship was vastly superior to the Confederate resistance. Also Trudeau frequently shows that the Federal wing and corps commanders made significant tactical decisions. Both wing commanders, Howard Slocum as well as the cavalry corps commander, Kilpatrick, were Army of the Potomac veterans with mixed records in the east. The relationship between Sherman's operational decisions and the other commanders tactical decisions was founded upon the army's engineer officers who produced quickly superior maps for brigade, divisions and corps commanders. Trudeau offers abundant civilians' voices as well as those from enlisted Federal and Confederate ranks. His work is an enlisted men's, civilians' and generals' story.

The army's engineers also transported and installed pontoons and repaired and built bridges from materials on hand. Houses closest to the river nearly always were torn down to provide materials for bridge construction. It appears most destruction of family dwellings that occurred during the campaign was done in order to build bridges. At the operational level, Sherman kept the Confederate commanders guessing as to his destination. Was it Charleston or was it Columbia South Carolina? What it Mobile, Alabama? Was it Savannah, Georgia? This lack of knowing kept Confederate forces fractured.

Trudeau moderately approaches the campaign's myths and gently turns them over. Not necessarily brutal but similar to other armies' campaigns, Sherman's March was neither a lark nor complete desolation. Confederate soldiers fought bravely and against the odds but were often ill-led and themselves victims of meager central planning. Did Sherman abandon runaway slaves to following Rebel guerrillas? Yes. Sherman's policy allowed single families to join the march as employed servants but he refused to escort large bands of runaways through Georgia. As his army lived off the land, he would not allow it to forage for large numbers of blacks. He never put Andersonville prison on the list of the campaign's objectives due to the fact the the army could not absorb 24,000 diseased and starving prisoners and still march.

CWL notes that the maps were very handy and contained weather information; this is similar to Trudeau's maps in Gettysburg that had a clock and weather temperatures. CWL relied upon Earl McElfresh's watercolor campaign map to see the large operational picture and gain an understanding of the terrain and the numerous rivers that had to be crossed. McElfresh Maps are essential additions to CWL's library and are frequently consulted while on guided tours and reading books. The maps are printed on durable paper yet CWL has so frequently consulted the Gettysburg and the Antietam maps and that he has replaced them once.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

New This Month---The Hated President

The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln: The Story of America's Most Reviled President Larry Tagg, Savas Beatie Publishing, 30 photos and illustrations, 456 pages, $32.95

Today, Abraham Lincoln is a beloved American icon, widely considered to be our best president. It was not always so. Larry Tagg's The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln is the first study of its kind to concentrate on what Lincoln's contemporaries actually thought of him during his lifetime. Be forewarned: your preconceived notions are about to be shattered.

Torn by civil war, the era in which our sixteenth president lived and governed was the most rough-and-tumble in the history of American politics. The violence of the criticism aimed at Lincoln by the great men of his time on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line is simply startling. Indeed, the breadth and depth of the spectacular prejudice against him is often shocking for its cruelty, intensity, and unrelenting vigor. The plain truth is that Mr. Lincoln was deeply reviled by many who knew him personally, and by hundreds of thousands who only knew of him.

Boisterous and venomous enough to be good entertainment, The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln rests upon a wide foundation of research that includes years of searching through contemporary newspapers. Tagg includes extensive treatment of the political context that begat Lincoln's predicament, riding with the president to Washington, and walking with him through the bleak years of war and up to and beyond assassination. Throughout, Tagg entertains with a lively writing style, outstanding storytelling verve, and an unconventional, against-the-grain perspective that is sure to delight readers of all stripes.

Lincoln's humanity has been unintentionally trivialized by some historians and writers who have hidden away the real man in a patina of bronze. Once readers learn the truth of how others viewed him, they will better understand the man he was, and how history is better viewed through a long-distance lens than contemporaneously.

The bicentennial of Lincoln's birth will be celebrated in 2009 and will be the biggest year ever for public interest in Abraham Lincoln. The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission created and funded by Congress will "inform the public about the impact Abraham Lincoln had on the development of our nation." The year will also witness the release of Steven Spielberg's long-awaited movie on President Lincoln. Of all the Lincoln books slated for publication, The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln will be the "must-read" title for general readers and scholars alike.

Born in Lincoln, Illinois, Larry Tagg graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. A bass player/singer of world renown, Larry co-founded and enjoyed substantial commercial success with "Bourgeois Tagg" in the mid-1980s. He went on to play bass for Todd Rundgren, Heart, Hall and Oates, and other acts. He currently teaches high school English and drama in Sacramento, California. Larry is the author of the bestselling book The Generals of Gettysburg, a selection of the Military Book Club.

CWL: Larry Tagg's The Generals of Gettysburg is an essential book for aspiring Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide exam takers. CWL looks forward to putting this on the summer reading stack.

For a Reader's Review: James Durney

Text Source: Savas Beatie Publishing

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Forthcoming: The Letters of Israel B. Richardson

Until Antietam: The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army, Jack C. Mack, Southern Illinois University Press; October 19, 2009, 288 pages, $29.95.

While researching this book, Jack C. Mason made the kind of discovery that historians dream of. He found more than one-hundred unpublished and unknown letters from Union general Israel B. Richardson to his family, written from his time as a West Point cadet until the day before his fatal wounding at the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history. Using these freshly uncovered primary sources as well as extensive research in secondary materials, Mason has written the first-ever biography of Israel Bush Richardson.

Richardson’s letters span more than twenty years of service in the U.S. Army. He served on the front lines of the Seminole War, chasing Indians through the swamps of Florida; fought in every important battle of the Mexican-American War, during which he distinguished himself by capturing a Mexican artillery piece and turning it against the enemy at the Battle of Cerro Gordo; guarded dangerous outposts in southwest New Mexico; and raised a regiment at the start of the Civil War that would become the 2nd Michigan. During the Civil War, Richardson fought at the First Battle of Bull Run, patrolled the area south of Washington, D.C., and led his division in the Peninsular Campaign. He rose quickly through the ranks of the Union Army over the first year of the war, as he was admired for his common sense, motivating leadership, and straightforward approach to combat.

Mason traces Richardson’s growth as a soldier, through his experiences and the guidance of his superiors, and then as a leader whose style reflected the actions of the former commanders he respected. Though he was a disciplinarian, Richardson took a relaxed attitude toward military rules, earning him the affection of his men. Unfortunately, his military career was cut short just as high-ranking officials began to recognize his aggressive leadership. He was shot while leading his men at Antietam and died on November 4, 1862.

Until Antietam brings to life a talented and fearless Civil War infantry leader. Richardson’s story, placed within the context of nineteenth-century warfare, exemplifies how one soldier’s life influenced his commanders, his men, and the army as a whole.

Jack C. Mason is a Department of Army civilian and a lieutenant colonel in the U. S. Army Reserve. He serves as an instructor for the Command and General Staff College and has published several articles in Army magazine.

Text Source:
Image Source: Richardson canon at Antietam