Booknote: The Civil War: a Visual History

From the publisher’s web site:

Produced with the Smithsonian Institution and released in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the start of the war, The Civil War is a unique visual history to one of the most defining moments in our country’s history.

As the sesquicentennial anniversary of the war approaches, the key events of the conflict retain a vivid resonance in the popular memory. Gettysburg, the Bloody Angle at Spotsylvania, and the Crater at Petersburg have become bywords for brutality and suffering, but also for courage and resilience.

The casualty toll of the Civil War still exceeds that of every other American war, before and since, put together. Race and states’ rights remain potent issues to this day, making the story of the Civil War as gripping today as it was when it divided the nation 150 years ago.

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Booknote: A World on Fire by Amanda Foreman

From the publisher’s web site:

Acclaimed historian Amanda Foreman follows the phenomenal success of her New York Times bestseller Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire with her long-awaited second work of nonfiction: the fascinating story of the American Civil War and the major role played by Britain and its citizens in that epic struggle.

Even before the first rumblings of secession shook the halls of Congress, British involvement in the coming schism was inevitable. Britain was dependent on the South for cotton, and in turn the Confederacy relied almost exclusively on Britain for guns, bullets, and ships. The Union sought to block any diplomacy between the two and consistently teetered on the brink of war with Britain. For four years the complex web of relationships between the countries led to defeats and victories both minute and history-making. In A World on Fire, Amanda Foreman examines the fraught relations from multiple angles while she introduces characters both humble and grand, bringing them to vivid life over the course of her sweeping and brilliant narrative.

Between 1861 and 1865, thousands of British citizens volunteered for service on both sides of the Civil War. From the first cannon blasts on Fort Sumter to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, they served as officers and infantrymen, sailors and nurses, blockade runners and spies. Through personal letters, diaries, and journals, Foreman has woven together their experiences to form a panoramic yet intimate view of the war on the front lines, in the prison camps, and in the great cities of both the Union and the Confederacy. Through the eyes of these brave volunteers we see the details of the struggle for life and the great and powerful forces that threatened to demolish a nation.

In the drawing rooms of London and the offices of Washington, on muddy fields and aboard packed ships, Foreman reveals the decisions made, the beliefs held and contested, and the personal triumphs and sacrifices that ultimately led to the reunification of America. A World on Fire is a complex and groundbreaking work that will surely cement Amanda Foreman’s position as one of the most influential historians of our time.

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Civil War Books and Resources due out in the first half of 2011

Civil War Books Coming out from Jan – Jun

May be considered ‘new’ if the paperback verion is coming out, after the hardback was published earlier.

A Western Theater slant.

Some eBooks on Kindle too; as cheap as .99 cents.

January

Gone for a Sojer Boy: The revealing Letters and Diaries of Union Soldiers in the Civil War as they endure the Siege of Charleston S.C., the Virginia Campaigns … and Captivity in Andersonville Prison by Neal E. Wixson (Jan 1, 2011)

The Southern Home Front of the Civil War (Why We Fought: the Civil War) by Roberta Baxter (Jan 1, 2011)

The Great Schism: The Dividing of Virginia during the American Civil War by John A. Cowgill (Jan 4, 2011)

From Battlefields Rising: How The Civil War Transformed American Literature by Randall Fuller (Jan 3, 2011)

The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War by Adam Arenson (Jan 3, 2011)

“Out of the Mouth of Hell”: Civil War Prisons and Escapes by Frances Harding Casstevens (Jan 6, 2011)

History of the Seventh Indiana cavalry volunteers, and the expeditions, campaigns, raids, marches, and battles of the armies with which it was connected, … and other officers of the regiment; (1876) by Thomas Sydenham Cogley (Jan 7, 2011) – Kindle eBook

General Braxton Bragg, C.s.a. by Samuel J. Martin (Jan 12, 2011)

Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee by Kent Dollar, Larry Whiteaker, and W. Calvin Dollar (Jan 11, 2011)

Personal recollections and experiences concerning the Battle of Stone River (1889) by Milo S Hascall (Jan 13, 2011) – Kindle eBook

The Regular brigade of the Fourteenth army corps, the Army of the Cumberland, in the battle of Stone River, or Murfreesboro’, Tennessee, from December … 3d, 1863, both dates inclusive (1883) by Frederick Phisterer (Jan 13, 2011) – Kindle eBook

“Co. Aytch” Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment or, A Side Show of the Big Show (Civil War) by Sam R. Watkins (Jan 16, 2011) – Kindle eBook

Grant and Sherman: Civil War Memoirs (Library of America) by Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Mary D. McFeely, and William S. McFeely (Jan 20, 2011)

REMINISCENCES, INCIDENTS, BATTLES, MARCHES and CAMP LIFE OF THE OLD 4th MICHIGAN INFANTRY IN WAR OF REBELLION, 1861 TO 1864 by O. S. BARRETT (Jan 27, 2011) – Kindle eBook

February

The Notorious “Bull” Nelson: Murdered Civil War General by Donald A. Clark (Feb 1, 2011)

Savannah, Immortal City: An Epic lV Volume History: A City & People That Forged A Living Link Between America, Past and Present by Barry Sheehy, Vaughnette Goode-Walker, and Cindy Wallace (Feb 1, 2011)

Upcountry South Carolina Goes to War: Letters of the Anderson, Brockman, and Moore Families, 1853-1865 by Tom Moore Craig and Melissa A. Walker (Jan 31, 2011)

The Civil War: The First Year Told by Those Who Lived It (Library of America #212) by Brooks D. Simpson, Stephen W. Sears, and Aaron Sheehan-Dean (Feb 3, 2011)

The Civil War in Mississippi: Major Campaigns and Battles (Heritage of Mississippi) by Michael B. Ballard (Feb 1, 2011)

Life in Civil War America by Michael J. Varhola (Feb 27, 2011)

Columbia Civil War Landmarks (SC) by Tom Elmore (Feb 18, 2011)

NPR American Chronicles: The Civil War by NPR and Neal Conan (Feb 16, 2011) Audio.

The L&N Railroad in the Civil War: A Vital North-South Link and the Struggle to Control It by Dan Lee (Feb 15, 2011)

March

Generals South, Generals North: The Commanders of the Civil War Reconsidered by Alan Axelrod (Mar 1, 2011)

The Ideals Guide to American Civil War Places by Julie Shively (Mar 1, 2011)

Shifting Loyalties: The Union Occupation of Eastern North Carolina by Judkin Browning (Feb 10, 2011)

Lincoln Revisited: New Insights from the Lincoln Forum by Harold Holzer, Dawn Vogel, and John Y. Simon (Mar 14, 2011)

Marching Through Georgia: Story of Soldiers and Civilians During Sherman’s Campaign by Lee B. Kennett (Mar 8, 2011) – Kindle eBook

Battlefields of the Civil War: The Battles that Shaped America by Peter Cozzens (Mar 1, 2011)

Civil War America: 1850-1870 by Paul Johnson (Mar 15, 2011)

The Confederate Nation: 1861-1865 by Emory M. Thomas (Mar 15, 2011)

The Civil War: A Visual History by DK Publishing (Mar 21, 2011)

Lincoln on Race and Slavery by Henry Louis Gates and Donald Yacovone (Mar 21, 2011)

The Civil War Vault by Whitman Publishing (Mar 20, 2011)

America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation by David R. Goldfield (Mar 15, 2011)

Daughters of the Union: Northern Women Fight the Civil War by Nina Silber (Mar 31, 2011)

Germans of Charleston, Richmond and New Orleans During the Civil War Period, 1850-1870 by Andrea Mehrlunder (Mar 31, 2011)

Great Civil War Heroes and Their Battles by Walton H. Rawls (Mar 29, 2011)

Slavery in the Upper Mississippi Valley, 1787-1865: A History of Human Bondage in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin by Christopher P. Lehman (Mar 29, 2011)

April

The Union War by Gary W. Gallagher (Apr 4, 2011)

The Won Cause: Black and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic (Civil War America) by Barbara A. Gannon (Mar 21, 2011)

Leaving Home in Dark Blue: Chronicling Ohio’s Civil War Experience through Memoirs and Literature by Curt Brown (Apr 1, 2011)

Breaking the Heartland: The Civil War in Georgia by John D. Fowler and David B. Parker (Apr 2011)

Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War by Andrew F. Smith (Apr 12, 2011) – Kindle eBook

Fort Pillow, a Civil War Massacre, and Public Memory (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War) by John Cimprich (Apr 8, 2011)

1861: The Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart (Apr 5, 2011) – Kindle eBook

This Great Struggle: America’s Civil War by Steven E. Woodworth (Apr 16, 2011)

Andersonvilles of the North: The Myths and Realities of Northern Treatment of Civil War Confederate Prisoners by James M. Gillispie (Apr 28, 2011)

The 11th Missouri Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War: A History and Roster by Dennis W. Belcher (Apr 26, 2011)

Tennessee in the Civil War: Selected Contemporary Accounts of Military and Other Events, Month by Month by James B., Jr. Jones (Apr 26, 2011)

The Civil War Box Set: With American Homer: Reflections on Shelby Foote and His Classic The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote and Jon Meacham (Apr 19, 2011)

Touring the Carolina’s Civil War Sites (Touring the Backroads) by Clint Johnson (May 1, 2011)

Confederate Naval Forces on Western Waters: The Defense of the Mississippi River and Its Tributaries by R. Thomas Campbell (Apr 30, 2011)

May

The Dogs of War: 1861 (Pivotal Moments in American History) by Emory M. Thomas (May 13, 2011)

The Seven-Day Scholar: The Civil War: Exploring History One Week at a Time by Dennis Gaffney and Peter Gaffney (May 10, 2011)

The CSS Arkansas: A Confederate Ironclad on the Western Waters by Myron J., Jr. Smith and George E., Jr. Wright (May 31, 2011)

Confederate Generals in the Western Theater, Vol. 3: Essays on America’s Civil War by Lawrence L. Hewitt and Arthur W. Bergeron Jr. (May 30, 2011)

Fugitive Slaves and the Underground Railroad in the Kentucky Borderland by J. Blaine Hudson (May 30, 2011)

The Enemy Within: Fears of Corruption in the Civil War North (A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era) by Michael Thomas Smith (May 26, 2011)

Colonels in Blue–Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia: A Civil War Biographical Dictionary by Roger D. Hunt (May 25, 2011)

Civil War 150 (Illustrated Living History Series) by Civil War Preservation Trust (May 17, 2011)

June

Mightier than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America by David S. Reynolds (Jun 13, 2011)

Albert Taylor Bledsoe: Defender of the Old South and Architect of the Lost Cause (Southern Biography Series) by Terry A. Barnhart (Jun 10, 2011)

Confederate Invention: The Story of the Confederate States Patent Office and Its Inventors (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War) by H. Jackson Knight (Jun 10, 2011)

Gray and the Blue, The: A Comic Strip History of the Civil War by Charles Hayes (Jun 1, 2011)

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Kentucky Soldiers and Their Regiments in the Civil War (compiled by Steven L. Wright)

One of the best things about resources available on the American Civil War is that many are published, written or compiled by amateur historians who have developed a niche that few if any professional types would go in the direction of. Kentucky Soldiers and Their Regiments in the Civil War (compiled by Steven L. Wright) is just such a contribution.  Wright’s important work is doubtless a labor of love and Kentucky Soldiers fills a gap that will serve researchers on Kentucky Civil War soldiers unlike any other resource available presently.

Wright, a resident of Hodgenville, Kentucky, has a personal interest in a couple Kentucky regiments himself. To aid his own research he bought a microfilm reader years ago and started acquiring microfilm of various period newspapers like the Chattanooga Daily Gazette, the Louisville Daily Courier, the Nashville Daily Union among others. The compiler has been painstakingly combing thru these newspapers an indexing them for references to Kentucky units.  Thankfully, because many Kentucky served with units from other states (e.g., Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, etc.), the resource goes beyond its title of Kentucky Soldiers and Their Regiments in the Civil War.

Not only does each volume – there are five in all – have an index, but each volume is organized chronologically by individual names, locations, and military organizations.  One only need browse through any volume, locate a date, then read through some brief citations of actual newspaper copy pertaining to Kentucky units. Wright documents the resource he pulls from for each citation.

There are five volumes (paperback) in this set:

  • Volume I, 1861 (182 pages)  $25.00
  • Volume II, 1862 (260 pages)  $29.00
  • Volume III, 1863 (313 pages)  $35.00
  • Volume IV, 1864 (383 pages)  $42.00
  • Volume V, 1865 (295 pages)  $33.00

The complete set is $140.00

This resource is invaluable to Kentucky Civil War researchers (both Union and Confederate, including Home Guards and other State troops), and researchers interested in units and places in Tennessee and Indiana will also be ably served by Wright’s work.

To order the set send a check for $140.00 (includes shipping and tax) to:

Steven L. Wright, 105 Livingood Lane, Hodgenville, KY 42748

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New journal debuting March 2011 – The Journal of the Civil War Era

The University of North Carolina Press has recently announced:

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 Journal of the Civil War Erathe 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.

Read the full story

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Ron Coddington Interview

I recently reviewed Faces of the Civil War: An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories by Ron Coddington.

Ron has placed a really neat timeline of the writing process for the Union book on his web site.  Check it out.

This interview is based on his book focusing on Union soldiers.

Author Ronald S. Coddington

Photo by Denny Gainer

1. What is your favorite 2-3 stories in there and why?

Tough question! I feel as though I’ve come to know each of these men personally, and so find it difficult to pick and choose. The book is filled with stories of courage, endurance, tragedy and transformation that touch me in many ways. The narrative and images reveal human nature and make the 150 years and several generations that separate us from these men disappear. These are the men whose grandfathers fought the Revolution, and whose grandsons became part of what Tom Brokaw labels the “The Greatest Generation.”

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One anecdote I like to relate happened after my first copy of Faces of the Civil War arrived in the mail from The Johns Hopkins University Press. At the time I worked at USA TODAY, and brought it into the office to show it off to my co-workers like a proud father with his first child. The first person I shared it with sat in the cube next to mine. I handed her the book and she immediately flipped to the index. Curious I thought, but, as she is a researcher by profession, it seemed to make sense. I watched as she ran her finger down a page. Then her finger stopped and she paused. Then she looked up at me and said, “This is my great-grandfather!” She referred to Pvt. Samuel Noyes of the Twelfth New Hampshire Infantry. Noyes left school to enlist, suffered a wound at Gettysburg, and went on to become an officer in the First U.S. Infantry. He barely survived the war, dying of tuberculosis in 1870. His wife and a child survived him.

What is the chance that one of the 77 soldiers in my book (one of 2.2 million Union volunteers) would be a direct ancestor to the woman who sits next to me? This is one of many unusual connections I’ve made over the years.

2. Which couple stories seem to be favorites of your readers who have communicated to you?

The story most often mentioned by most readers is that of 1st Lt. Amos Rhoads of the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry. The extreme effort by his wife to recover her husband’s remains is among the most poignant accounts of the war I’ve ever come across. A number of stories take second place — too many to name.

3. How many Union CDVs did not get in the book?

I included almost every identified image in my collection at the time. Since completing the manuscript in 2003, I’ve collected a number of additional photographs. Many of these are featured in “Faces of War,” a monthly column I research and write for the Civil War News.

A side note: Hundreds of thousands of cartes de visite of soldiers and citizens survive from the Civil War period, an almost infinite source of material for research.

4. Will there be a series for the Union/CSA subjects?

I’ve never thought seriously about the idea of a series, although you might think of both books and my forthcoming volume on African Americans as one. The best outcome I can imagine is that my books (and column) will help raise awareness of the importance of the visual record of the citizen soldiers who volunteered, and that these unique photographs are preserved and documented for future generations in some form.

In context, my work builds on the 1970s and 1980s pioneer efforts of William A. Albaugh’s Confederate Faces and More Confederate Faces, and William A. Turner’s Even More Confederate Faces. These men led the way after the centennial of the Civil War, when little information was available about these images, and perhaps even less value attached to them. Since then, these precious images have become highly sought after and appreciated for their historic value. More and more of these photographs are included in today’s books. I hope other current academic and non-academic historians, and those who follow us, will add to and build the body of scholarship around the role and experience of soldiers below the rank of colonel through the use of period photographs.

Someday, I’d love to see a single database that contains high-resolution scans of all extant wartime cartes de visite, tintypes and ambrotypes of Union and Confederate soldiers.

General questions:

1. How is the African American volume coming?

I am on schedule to complete the manuscript in mid-2011. If all goes according to plan, the book will be released to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the passage of Congressional acts that lead to the formation of the first African American regiments during the war.

This book will follow the same format as my others. However, to accurately capture the African American war experience, this volume departs in two subtle ways from the Union and Confederate books. Because men of color were not legally allowed to be soldiers until almost midway through the war, I am including a small group of those who served as aides and in other support roles, the only serious alternatives for African Americans who wanted to get directly involved in the war effort. Also, for the first time I am including tintypes and ambrotypes. Identified, wartime images of African Americans are the rarest of the rare, so I’ve had to broaden my search beyond the carte de visite format to locate enough photographs to support a book.

By the way, many good people I spoke with early on were skeptical about the possibilities of doing this book because they thought I’d not be able to find enough images, and, if I did, that their stories would not be very interesting because they served primarily behind the front lines. I’m here to tell you that they were wrong on both counts! I currently have enough photographs for the book. And I’ve found that many of these soldiers saw action and participated in some of the most dramatic moments of the war, including the fall of Richmond and other events. These are the transformative stories of the war, from slaves to soldiers to freedmen.

2. Have you been able to find CSA African American soldiers in uniform?

None so far. I have found one wartime image of a white Confederate soldier and his African American servant. Both men are identified. Their stories and the image are scheduled to be included in the book.

3. Do you plan on a future book on women in CDVs?

My editor and I discussed a possible book on wartime civilians, which would include women, men and children, and their direct and indirect role in the war. Definitely could be a future project!

4. Do you own an original copy of all the CDVs in your books?

I own all the cartes de visite in the Union book, but only two in the Confederate volume. To date, I have two identified African American images in my collection, and both will be included.

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Historical Markers of Williamson County Tennessee, Revised

Williamson County, Tennessee historian Rick Warwick published the initial volume of Historical Markers of Williamson County Tennessee in 1999. In the past eleven years the county has added an additional 69 two-sided highway markers and 14 Tennessee Civil War Trail markers, thus the need for a revised edition of this fine resource.  The result is Historical Markers of Williamson County Tennessee, Revised (A Pictorial Guide).

The Tennessee Civil War Trail markers are in the very end of the book and are in color. All of the 2-sided highway markers, or accompany photos are still in black-n-white.

A must-have for the Williamson County, Tennessee history buff. A great resource to keep in your vehicle to enjoy learning about the county as you drive around.

Reviewed by Kraig McNutt.

Historical Markers of Williamson County Tennessee, Revised is awarded four carbines

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