Faces of the Civil War: An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories

One of my favorite books in my sizeable Civil War library is Faces of the Civil War: An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories by Ron Coddington. This volume was published in 2004 by Johns Hopkins Press and the Confederate counterpart was published in 2008.

https://i0.wp.com/facesofwar.com/faces_civil_war_200DPI.jpgThese two books are simply one of the best gift ideas anyone could possibly give to other people who might even just have a modest interest in Civil War history.

The Union volume is 288 pages and includes 77 halftones of CDVs of identified Union soldiers who fought in the American Civil War. The soldier’s images in the book are a little bigger than the original CDV which adds to the pleasure of buffs like me who are used to seeing CDVs that are smaller.

The soldiers Coddington selected to be in this book are placed in chronological order (of the war) in terms of what war-experience the author chose to highlight to carry the overall story of the book forward from the beginning of the war until the very end.  Coddington starts out with the statement, “Every soldier has a story to tell.” Not only does the author manage to select just the right micro-story from a soldier’s macro-story from the war, but he weaves nearly separate stories into one cohesive narrative. The reader experiences the Civil War through these biographical meta-narratives from an emotional and personal connection.

I also appreciate the quality of this book. The pages themselves are of the highest quality. You need to buy Coddington’s books and keep them near a coffee table so you can show them to friends or family members who stop by.

Reviewed by Kraig McNutt.


Faces of the Civil War
(Q.M. Sgt. Henry Augustus Blanchard, Thirteenth New York Cavalry, pictured at right)

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Brady Civil War photos pop in this oversized book

I was near a Books-a-Million store this past weekend and I always like checking the bargain table for Civil War books. I was not disappointed. I picked up a copy of Wayne Youngblood’s Mathew B. Brady: America’s First Great Photographer in hardcover for about $20 bucks. That is a great price.

I’ve seen all these pictures before but not in this size. The book is 16.7 x 11.7 x 1.2 inches. These pictures are huge and some of them are full size, taking up two entire pages.  It is 256 pages of sheer delight.

I’m gonna buy another copy and frame some of the pictures. Go find your closest Books-a-Million store and get your own copy.

Reviewed by Kraig McNutt.

Mathew Brady, Civil War photographer

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Receding Tide: Vicksburg and Gettysburg

Booknote: this book has not been reviewed yet.  Want to be the lead reviewer?

Receding Tide: Vicksburg and Gettysburg- The Campaigns That Changed the Civil War. By Edwin C. Bearss.

From the publisher:

It’s a poignant irony in American history that on Independence Day, 1863, not one but two pivotal battles ended in Union victory, marked the high tide of Confederate military fortune, and ultimately doomed the South’s effort at secession. But on July 4, 1863, after six months of siege, Ulysses Grant’s Union army finally took Vicksburg and the Confederate west.

On the very same day, Robert E. Lee was in Pennsylvania, parrying the threat to Vicksburg with a daring push north to Gettysburg. For two days the battle had raged; on the next, July 4, 1863, Pickett’s Charge was thrown back, a magnificently brave but fruitless assault, and the fate of the Confederacy was sealed, though nearly two more years of bitter fighting remained until the war came to an end.

In Receding Tide, Edwin Cole Bearss draws from his popular tours to chronicle these two widely separated but simultaneous clashes and their dramatic conclusion. As the recognized expert on both Vicksburg and Gettysburg, Bearss tells the fascinating story of this single momentous day in our country’s history, offering his readers narratives, maps, illustrations, characteristic wit, dramatic new insights and unerringly intimate knowledge of terrain, tactics, and the colorful personalities of America’s citizen soldiers, Northern and Southern alike.

Posted in Booknote, Eastern theater, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, The North, Western Theater | Leave a comment

Nelson County: A Portrait of the Civil War

Booknote: this book has not been reviewed yet.  Want to be the lead reviewer?

Nelson County: A Portrait of the Civil WarNelson County: A Portrait of the Civil War (Civil War Series: Kentucky), Arcadia Publishing, 1999.

From the publisher:

The occupation of Bardstown and Nelson County, Kentucky, by Union troops began in September of 1861 and ended in September of 1865 a turbulent time in the neutral county, and a piece of history rarely explored by Kentuckians. In this unprecedented visual journey, discover the unique role that Nelson County and Kentucky played in the Civil War as a military crossroads and the site of many Union training camps. More than 80 different Union units were involved in skirmishes and set up camps in Nelson County during the war. The county’s turnpikes and railroads dictated the movement of many troops and supplies through the area both Union and Confederate. Included in these pages are historical images, maps, documents, and vivid accounts passed down from generation to generation that bring the war to life. From the Confederate invasion of 1862 and the Guerrilla activities of 1864-1865 to the last surrender at Samuel’s Depot on July 26 and the aftermath of the war, A Portrait of the Civil War in Nelson County offers a unique perspective of the war’s effects on one county and its people.

Posted in Booknote, Kentucky, Neutral states | Leave a comment

Civil War Battles: The Maps of Jedediah Hotchkiss

Booknote: This book has not been reviewed yet.Darrin Dickey (darrin@pastigo.com) is one of the panel reviewers. We still need a lead-reviewer for this book.

Civil War Battles: The Maps of Jedediah Hotchkiss. Author: Chester G Hearn. Thunder Bay Books, 16o pp. 50 maps inclusive of 5 pull out maps

From the publisher

https://i1.wp.com/www.thunderbaybooks.com/PublicStore/images/temp/212-86-Product_LargeToMediumImage.jpegMeet Jedediah Hotchkiss, one of the greatest men to serve the Confederacy. Though you may not have heard of him, he was an invaluable asset to generals “Stonewall” Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jubal Early. Jed Hotchkiss was one of the first great American cartographers, whose maps were drawn with amazing precision and impeccable craftsmanship. Discover the story of the Civil War as it unfolds through the chronology of Hotchkiss’s maps.
  • Civil War Battles traces the battles, marches, and actions of the Civil War through the maps and journals of Jed Hotchkiss, as well as diaries, journals and other primary sources written by Civil War soldiers.
  • Hotchkiss’ maps provide a unique chronology of the Civil War from early 1861 through March 1865.
  • This beautiful book includes 45 of Hotchkiss’ smaller maps, covering every battle and campaign in which Hotchkiss left a record. To further bring Hotchkiss’ history to life, there are also several animated action scenes, including a scouting expedition at Stony Creek.
  • For closer inspection, five of Hotchkiss’ largest, most spectacular maps are included as special fold-out pieces that you can frame and hang on your wall.


Posted in Booknote, Eastern theater, Reference | Leave a comment

The 10th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War: A History and Roster

The 10th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War: A History and Roster. by Dennis W. Belcher. Published by McFarland Publishing (800-253-2187)

Reviewed by Kraig McNutt.

I just have two main issues with this book. One, I wish it were in hardcover. Two, I wish it were twice as thick. If you have an affinity for regimental histories and also for Union Kentucky regiments then you’re in for a real treat. Belcher did a tremendous job researching this book. He has an ancestor in the 10th Kentucky Infantry and it’s that kind of personal connection that turns works like these into labors of love.

The 10th saw lots of action in the Western Theater, including Tullahoma, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge, and Atlanta. It is filled with personal accounts including 25 war-time letters written by different men in the regiment.

Like most regimental histories, it includes official records of the regiment’s activities, 60 photos, 14 maps, and detailed rosters and descriptions of the unit’s soldiers.

https://i2.wp.com/farm2.static.flickr.com/1277/4599663032_b1916e7261_o.jpgThe 10th Kentucky had 867 men at the beginning of the war and only 140 men made it home to Kentucky after the war. The regiment suffered a 40-percent casualty rate at Chickamauga, and helped break Confederate lines at Jonesboro.

Belcher spent eight years researching this unit and has a top-notch web site he maintains to gather more information on the 10th Kentucky.

For more information:

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

1. Organizing the 10th Kentucky      3
2. 10th Kentucky Infantry 1862      23
3. 1863 Through Tullahoma      57
4. Chickamauga      73
5. Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge      98
6. Atlanta Campaign      116

Epilogue: Postwar Biographical Information for the Officers      145
A. 10th Kentucky Roster from the Kentucky Adjutant General’s Report, 1866      161
B. 10th Kentucky Information from the Regimental Record Book      177
C. 10th Kentucky Men Buried at National and Soldiers’ Cemeteries
(Rolls of Honor)      194
D. Letters Written by the Men of the 10th Kentucky Infantry      197
Chapter Notes      213
Bibliography 219
Index 223

Posted in Kentucky, Reference, Regimental History | Leave a comment

Univ Tenn Press announces a new series

The Western Theater in the Civil War
Gary D. Joiner, Series Editor

The 2010 Spring catalog states this about the new series:

The series seeks to capitalize on an emerging trend in the historiography of the nation’s greatest conflict: a more general determination that events in the West, far from being a sideshow to those in the East, were as critical, or even more decisive, to the final outcome of the war. The primary goal of the series is to publish cutting-edge scholarship on the Civil War and during Reconstruction. The series may include monographs, biographies or autobiographies, and edited volumes. Prospective candidates will draw on previously untapped sources, introduce creative perspectives and methodologies, and contribute to the ongoing debate about the place of the Western Theater in understanding the Civil War.

Dr. Joiner is Assistant Professor of History with Louisiana State University Shreveport.  Their web site says this about him:

Gary D. Joiner earned his Bachelor of Arts with a double major in history and geography (1973) and Master of Arts in history (1975) degrees from Louisiana Tech University. He is completing doctoral studies at Lancaster University in England. He also has conducted postgraduate work in classical, military and regional archaeology. He is a professional cartographer specializing in geographic information systems. He taught Louisiana history and western civilization at Bossier Parish Community College (1991-1995) and served as adjunct instructor at LSU in Shreveport (1995-1997), teaching Louisiana History. He has been a full-time instructor in the Department of History and Social Sciences since 1997. He is the director of the Red River Regional Studies Center on the LSU-S campus. Mr. Joiner teaches Louisiana history, Civil War and Reconstruction, modern Middle East, ancient Greek history, Louisiana geography, remote sensing, and independent studies in history and geography.

Mr. Joiner’s research interests include the exploration, study, and preservation of Civil War battlefields, nineteenth century steamboats, Civil War map interpretation, regional history and the preservation of historic sites. He is the chief consulting cartographer for the Civil War Preservation Trust. His recent research projects include the mapping of the Vicksburg National Military Park for the National Park Service; mapping the battlefields of Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, Monett’s Ferry, Mansura, and Yellow Bayou in Louisiana for the Civil War Preservation Trust; mapping the battlefields of Poison Springs, Jenkin’s Ferry, Elkin’s Ferry, and Prairie d’Ane in Arkansas for the Civil War Preservation Trust; and mapping the Petersburg Campaign in Virginia for the Civil War Preservation. He has also conducted historical surveys for the National Park Service, The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Louisiana Division of Archaeology, and the City of Shreveport, among others.

Mr. Joiner’s publications include: “The Union Naval Expedition on the Red River Campaign” in Civil War Regiments, Vol. IV, No. 2, 1994 (co-author), “Photographs and Drawings” The American Civil War: Handbook of Literature and Research, Greenwood Press, 1996, Red River Steamboats, Arcadia Publishing, 1999 (co-author), Shreveport-Bossier History, Historical Publishing, 2000 (co-author), One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign in 1864, Scholarly Resources (February 2003), and The Red River Campaign: Studies in Union and Confederate Leadership in Louisiana, Parabellum Press, 2002 (editor). He is the editor of the forthcoming (2003) The Vicksburg Campaign Studies in Union and Confederate Leadership, Parabellum Press.

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