Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Photographic History of the Civil War

by Edward William Pitcher; Edited by John D. Rupnow

From the publisher:
The Civil War photographs by Mathew Brady hold a canonical place in American history. This complete collection was published in 1912. It has been unavailable for nearly 100 years.

From CWBN:
The publisher's site lists the release date of this work as being in February; we are here following Amazon's release date of July 31,

Monday, July 30, 2007

Into the Valley: A History and Tour Guide of Civil War in the Shennandoah Valley, 1861-1865

by Jim Miles

From the publisher:
The Shenandoah Valley - the mere name sounds enchanting, and its beauty and bounty have captivated the imagination of Americans for 300 years. During the four years of the Civil War, what was once an amazing geological attraction became a vital strategic asset. Possession of the Valley by the Confederacy meant an invasion route into the heart of Maryland and Pennsylvania and to the backdoor of Washington, D.C. In Union hands, the Confederacy would lose a valuable railroad, the agricultural produce of the Valley, and protection from attack via the many gaps through the mountains of Virginia.

Great generals, including Stonewall Jackson, Philip H. Sheridan, John C. Breckinridge, George A. Custer, and Jubal Early, fought desperate battles to control the Shenandoah. Armies marched rapidly and maneuvered brilliantly between green mountains and along the sparkling waters of the Shenandoah River, called Daughter of the Stars by Native Americans. The area was devastated by total war-hundreds of farms and tons of food were wantonly torched.

Into the Valley is the first book to offer a comprehensive history of every campaign that occurred in the Valley during four years of combat. The tour guides explore every battle, road, and mountain gap used by the armies and examines the charming, historic attractions of the Shenandoah, its towns and villages, mansions and mills, churches and cemeteries, monuments and museums.

The book contains hundreds of period photographs and drawings. It also is filled with modern photographs that richly illustrate the driving tours, original battle maps, fascinating sidebar articles, a chronology of key events, sources for additional travel information, a bibliography, and an index.

JIM MILES is a seasoned battlefield explorer, author, historian, and teacher who has written more than one hundred articles and several books on Southern history, archaeology, and the Civil War. The author of the best-selling Weird Georgia, Miles lives in Warner Robbins, Georgia.

115th New York in the Civil War: A Regimental History

by Mark Silo

From the publisher:
This is the full story of the 115th New York, a unit with a unique history among Union Civil War regiments. Only two weeks after leaving home, the unit surrendered at Harpers Ferry in 1862. Sent to serve out its parole in Camp Douglas, Chicago, the regiment was convicted for burning its barracks and subsequently banished to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Later absolved, the unit fought at Olustee, the Bermuda Hundred Campaign, Cold Harbor, The Battle of the Crater, and Fort Fisher, earning a place among Fox's fighting 300 union regiments, a distinction based on casualty counts. The 115th fought alongside African-American units and witnessed the liberation of thousands of slaves and captured Union soldiers. Appendices provide a chronology and regimental roster.

Civil engineer Mark Silo lives in Loudonville, New York.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Horrid Pit: The Battle of the Crater, the Civil War's Cruelest Mission

by Alan Axelrod

From the publisher:
The story of one of the most violent yet least-known episodes of the Civil War — the daring excavation of the longest military tunnel in history.

From Publishers Weekly:
One of the American Civil War's most horrific events took place on July 30, 1864: the slaughter of thousands of Union troops, including many African-Americans, in a giant pit outside Petersburg, Va.

The pit was created as a result of a poorly planned and executed Union mission to tunnel under Confederate lines and blow a hole in them, thereby opening the gates to a full frontal assault on Petersburg that, if successful, could have helped decide the war. Instead, after several hundred Confederates perished in the initial mine explosion, the Union troops entered the crater—later known as The Pit—and were gunned down. (The scene is re-created in the novel and film Cold Mountain.)

Civil War specialist Axelrod (The War Between the Spies, et al.) offers a concise, readable and creditable recounting of the Battle of the Crater, which U.S. Grant famously termed a stupendous failure. When the dust settled, the Union forces, under the inept leadership of generals Ambrose E. Burnside and George Gordon Meade, suffered more than 4,000 killed, wounded or captured. The well-led Confederates had about 1,500 casualties. The massive slaughter does not make for easy reading, but is a reminder of the horror of war at its basest level.

The Lost Fleet: How the Civil War and the Arctic Destroyed Yankee Whaling

by Marc L. Songini

From the publisher:
It’s the mid-19th century and the American whaling fleet, the wonder and envy of the maritime nations of the world, is struck by one hammer blow after another. Yankee whalers are contending with icebergs, storms, rogue whales, sharks, hostile natives, and disease. Now conditions are getting even worse, and the chances become ever slimmer a whaling master and his crew will return from a voyage safe and profitable. The scarcity of whales, the increasing dangers of going further into the Arctic, and the roving Confederate privateers are making this already difficult profession ever riskier. Many whalers give up the life—but some carry on the vocation.

One such man is a tall captain from Wethersfield, Connecticut, Thomas William Williams. Not only does he go out on voyage after voyage, but he even takes on board with him his tiny wife, Eliza, and his infant son and daughter.

The Lost Fleet's thrilling narrative recounts Williams' remarkable career, including a daring escape from the Confederate cruiser Alabama and a daring rescue and salvage of lost ships off Alaska's coast. A family saga, a true narrative of adventure and death on the high seas and a detailed and well-researched look at the demise of Yankee whaling--Songini has crafted an historical masterpiece.

MARC SONGINI is a Boston-area journalist whose work has appeared in the Boston Book Review, the Boston Herald, and the Boston Globe. The Lost Fleet is his fourth book, and third book on New England history. He has lived in the greater Boston area for most of his life.

Rebel and the Rose: James Semple, Julia Gardiner Tyler, and the Lost Confederate Gold

by Wesley Millett, Gerald White

From the publisher:
In April 1865 the Civil War was over for most Americans, including the more than 600,000 soldiers, North and South, who died from wounds or disease. Confederate President Jefferson Davis and much of his administration had fled Richmond, accompanied by an escort of cavalry, various hangers-on, and all that was left of the treasury.

With the Davis party was a navy paymaster, James S. Semple. In Washington, Georgia, a small town untouched by the war, he was entrusted with $86,000 in gold coin and bullion (about $1 million in today's money) and disappeared into the night. The treasure was secured in the false bottom of a carriage.

The Rebel and the Rose reveals for the first time what happened to the Confederate gold, until now a mystery. However, this historically accurate story is more than the accounting of a missing treasury. It is the story of a man on the run who stashes the gold and seeks to escape capture by fleeing through a devastated South swarming with Federal troops.

After hiding in the Okefenokee Swamp for months, Semple eventually reaches Nassau. Ultimately, he takes refuge in the North with Julia Gardiner Tyler, the widow of former U.S. President John Tyler and stepmother of Semple's estranged wife, Letitia. Semple is drawn to Julia, and she to him, by circumstances of war and its aftermath.

Unable to accept the end of the Confederacy and Union domination of the South, Semple collaborates with other disenfranchised leaders exiled in Canada, often traveling between the U.S. and Canada in clandestine activities under the alias of Allen S. James. Whenever he can travel to New York City, he spends as much time as he can with Julia and her family.

The Rebel and the Rose focuses on the symbiotic bond that develops between Semple ("the Rebel") and Tyler ("the Rose"). With well-documented detail, Wesley Millett and Gerald White examine Semple's growing passion for Julia, the fury of Letitia over her husband's relationship with the former first lady (and her stepmother), and the concerted attempt by members of the Tyler family, even today, to disguise the history of the Semples and the Tylers.

Wesley Millet has been a researcher and writer for more than twenty-five years. His articles appear regularly in more than a dozen national and international publications. Gerald White is a retired air force colonel and instructor at the Army War College. Before his retirement, he held senior leadership positions in air force intelligence. He is the author of several books on recent U.S. military operations.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Judas Field: A Novel of the Civil War

by Howard Bahr

From the publisher:
After returning from the Civil War, Cass Wakefield means to live out the rest of his days in his hometown in Mississippi. But when a childhood friend asks him to accompany her to Franklin, Tennessee, to recover the bodies of her father and brother from the battlefield where they died, Cass cannot refuse. As they make their way north in the company of two of Cass's brothers-in-arms, memories of the war emerge with overwhelming vividness. Before long the group has assembled on the haunted ground of Franklin, where past and present--the legacy of war and the narrow hope of redemption--will draw each of them to a painful reckoning.

From the Washington Post:
Howard Bahr's The Judas Field recreates this seminal moment in American history with prose that is vivid, unflinching and often incantatory. The book's pace and detail are wrenching, and it is starkly devoid of romanticism. Within the battlefield scenes, Bahr's accomplishment is magnificent: a fully realized depiction of controlled mass butchery on a field of blood, body parts and utterly obliterated human beings. The reader puts down the book with a sense of shock to find he is not actually inside a level of hell.

From Publishers Weekly:
Bahr (The Black Flower) moves back and forth between the tattered post-Reconstruction South and the war. He describes the effect of weapons on flesh in gruesome detail and brings to life a long-gone era with its strange smells, foods, fashions and principles. Though his uneducated characters often seem a little too articulate, their insights are excellent.

From Library Journal:
This beautiful novel turns the tables on our view of war; the combatants we meet are witty and wry, and we can't help but be charmed by the descriptions of their dusty, dreary, less than honorable and unheroic routine. The final return to Franklin brings the memories to life and changes everyone involved. Highly recommended.

From Kirkus:
Carefully written and nuanced, akin to Frederick Busch's Night Inspector as much as to Michael Shaara's Killer Angels.

From CWBN:
Howard Bahr's previous novels showed a strong Faulkner influence; his interest in the Civil war seems secondary to writing very good literature. We have no doubt that this will be regarded not just as a good Civil War novel but a good novel altogether. (This is the first softcover edition of last year's hardcover release.)

Wolf of the Deep: Raphael Semmes and the Notorious Confederate Raider CSS Alabama

by Stephen Fox

From the publisher:
The absorbing story of Raphael Semmes and the CSS Alabama, the Confederate raider that destroyed Union ocean shipping and took more prizes than any other raider in naval history.

In July 1862, the Confederate captain Raphael Semmes received orders to report to Liverpool, where he would take command of a secret new British-built steam warship. His mission: to prey on Union commercial vessels and undermine the North’s ability to continue the war.

At the helm of the Alabama, Semmes would become the most hated and feared man in ports up and down the Union coast – as well as a Confederate legend. Now, with unparalleled authority, depth, and a vivid sense of the excitement and danger of the time, Stephen Fox tells the story of Captain Semmes’s remarkable wartime exploits.

We follow Semmes as he burns one ship after another – newspaper headlines calling for his head – and eludes capture time and again, ravaging Union commerce and chilling Anglo-Union relations. When the tide turns in favor of the North, foreign ports become less willing to take in the Alabama and Semmes finds himself wandering the oceans with a restless crew on a deteriorating ship, his ability to outwit the Union captains diminishing rapidly. Finally, in June 1864, we watch as a gunship traps the Alabama at Cherbourg, France, sinking her – though not her captain – in a battle that was reported around the world.

Entertaining and highly informative, Wolf of the Deep is at once an account of the overlooked naval side of the Civil War, an intimate portrait of life at sea, and an overdue appreciation of a great naval commander.

Stephen Fox is an independent historian who received a Ph.D. in history from Brown University. He is the author of six previous books, including Transatlantic, a history of the great Atlantic steamships. He is based in Boston, Massachusetts.

From Publishers Weekly:
This well-conceived and executed military biography will have extra appeal for those who are familiar with nautical terms.

The American Civil War: A Hands-on History

by Christopher J. Olsen

From the publisher:
Succinct, with a brace of original documents following each chapter, Christopher J. Olsen’s The American Civil War is the ideal introduction to American history’s most famous, and infamous, chapter. Covering events from 1850 and the mounting political pressures to split the Union into opposing sections, through the four years of bloodshed and waning Confederate fortunes, to Lincoln’s assassination and the advent of Reconstruction, The American Civil War covers the entire sectional conflict and at every juncture emphasizes the decisions and circumstances, large and small, that determined the course of events.

From Publishers Weekly:
Olsen, who teaches history at Indiana State University, has produced a tightly written book ideal for anyone looking for a quick introduction to one of the most important periods in American history.

From Booklist:
A manifestation of the constitutional impasse was the rise of the sectional Republican Party, and Olsen makes telling observations about the influence of its coalitional elements on the war. He covers military campaigns and battles; however, hewing to his major-issues approach, he underscores the financial and manpower demands of each side's war machine. All of these factors flow into the author's consideration of the Civil War's length, its bitterness, and the incomplete deliverance Union victory afforded to emancipated blacks. A trenchant survey history.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Civil War Almanac (Almanacs of American Wars)

by John C. Fredriksen

From the publisher:
The Civil War was a defining event in U.S. history—a time when Americans fought against one another to decide the fate of the nation.

The new Civil War Almanac contains a detailed, day-by-day chronology of the events and people of this monumental war, along with an A-to-Z dictionary offering biographical information on leading military and political figures involved in the conflict.

Written by the author of the award-winning Revolutionary War Almanac, this comprehensive reference also contains numerous illustrations and maps, an appendix, and an extensive bibliography for further research.

John C. Fredriksen holds a Ph.D. in American history from Providence College. He works as a freelance writer and researcher, and is the author of American Military Leaders and Facts On File's Biographical Dictionary of Modern World Leaders.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hell's Broke Loose in Georgia: Survival in a Civil War Regiment

by Scott Walker

From the publisher:
A new kind of regimental history that reveals soldiers’ inner struggles and longings

"Darling, I never wanted to gow home as bad in my life as I doo now and if they don’t give mee a furlow I am going any how." Written in December 1862 by Private Wright Vinson in Tennessee to his wife, Christiana, in Georgia, these lines go to the heart of why Scott Walker wrote this history of the Fifty-seventh Georgia Infantry, a unit of the famed Mercer’s Brigade.

All but a few members of the Fifty-seventh lived within a close radius of eighty miles from each other. More than just an account of their military engagements, this is a collective biography of a close-knit group. Relatives and neighbors served and died side by side in the Fifty-seventh, and Walker excels at showing how family ties, friendships, and other intimate dynamics played out in wartime settings. Humane but not sentimental, the history abounds in episodes of real feeling: a starving soldier’s theft of a pie; another’s open confession, in a letter to his wife, that he may desert; a slave’s travails as a camp orderly.

Drawing on memoirs and a trove of unpublished letters and diaries, Walker follows the soldiers of the Fifty-seventh as they push far into Unionist Kentucky, starve at the siege of Vicksburg, guard Union prisoners at the Andersonville stockade, defend Atlanta from Sherman, and more. Hardened fighters who would wish hell on an incompetent superior but break down at the sight of a dying Yankee, these are real people, as rarely seen in other Civil War histories.

Scott Walker is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Waco, Texas, the author of nine books, and an adjunct professor at Baylor University.

"The letters, diaries, and other information Scott Walker located and utilized on the soldiers and families of the 57th Georgia infantry are among the finest I've ever encountered. He has done complete justice to these superb primary sources by writing a narrative that is richly descriptive yet focused and restrained. Walker allows the soldiers and their families to speak for themselves while placing their words and deeds in a clear and meaningful context." — T. Michael Parrish, Linden G. Bowers Professor of American History, Baylor University, author of Richard Taylor and editor of Brothers In Gray

"Civil War regimental histories are thick on the ground now, but Hell's Broke Loose in Georgia is a different sort of creature, a penetrating look at the inner world and lives of men who marched, ate, slept, fought, and died together. Not so much a unit history as a 'family' portrait of men bound by the war, Scott Walker's book offers a glimpse of the personality and inner world of almost all Civil War units, North and South alike. This is the part of regimental history that too many regimental historians overlook." —William C. Davis, Director of Programs, Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, Virginia Tech, and author of Look Away! and Jefferson Davis

"Scott Walker has produced history that is at the same time very old and quite new. He relies upon a rich trove of letters and diaries to focus his narrative upon the coming-of-age experiences and vivid observations of men and boys who served in the Fifty-seventh Georgia Infantry Regiment. Walker also offers a species of the 'new' military history—a drama set in blood and mud instead of command posts in which common soldiers instead of generals are the principal characters. This is an excellent book." — Emory M. Thomas, Regent's Professor of History, University of Georgia, and author of Robert E. Lee and The Confederate Nation

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mr. Lincoln Goes to War

by William Marvel

From the publisher:
This exciting work of groundbreaking history investigates the mystery of how the Civil War began, reconsidering the big question: Was it inevitable?

Marvel vividly depicts President Lincoln’s first year in office, from his inauguration through the rising crisis of secession and the first several months of the war. Drawing on original sources and examining previously overlooked factors, Marvel leads the reader inexorably to the conclusion that Lincoln not only missed opportunities to avoid war but actually fanned the flames - and often acted unconstitutionally in prosecuting the war once it had begun.

The story unfolds with Marvel’s keen eye for the telling detail, on the battlefield as well as in the White House. This is revisionist history at its best and necessary reading for Civil War and Lincoln devotees alike.

From Publishers Weekly:
Establishing slavery as the Civil War's central issue has fostered an acceptance of the conflict's inevitability among academic and popular historians alike. Marvel, author of several prize-winning books on the Civil War (Lee's Last Retreat, etc.), combines an iconoclastic approach with extensive research to challenge this conventional wisdom.

Focusing on the North's road to war in 1861, he argues that Abraham Lincoln made armed force a first choice, rather than a last resort, in addressing the Union's breakup. While conceding the complex problems Lincoln faced, and the corresponding limitations on his options, Marvel describes the president's course of action as "destructive and unimaginative." The confrontation at Fort Sumter ended any chance of avoiding conflict, he writes, and the North's amateurish conduct of initial military operations, culminating in the defeats at Bull Run, Wilson's Creek and Ball's Bluff, encouraged an emerging Confederacy's belief that war was its best option. More generally, Lincoln's early and comprehensive infringement of such constitutional rights as habeas corpus set dangerous precedents for future autocratic executives.

Marvel's characterization of Lincoln as a victim of tunnel vision, who launched a war without considering how devastating it might become, incorporates a certain present-mindedness. His willingness to consider the positive prospects of accepting secession is informed by a barely concealed subtext: the existence of the United States as we know it has not been an unmixed blessing. This well-constructed, comprehensively documented revisionist exercise merits consideration and reflection.

From Library Journal:
Historian Marvel (Lee's Last Retreat: The Flight to Appomattox) insists that the positive outcome of the Civil War and the deification of Lincoln as a great war leader have obscured many of the actual facts. He offers an alternate historical view, arguing that Lincoln misread the political situation during the secession winter preceding the attack on Fort Sumter, mishandled the crisis at the fort, abused the power of his office, trampled on civil liberties and democratic processes to keep Maryland and Missouri in the Union, and stumbled through cabinet decisions about how to prosecute the war.

In grim and vivid detail, he recounts the military blundering that made the war more terrible than it might have been were another man in Lincoln's position. Marvel writes with authority and vigor in relating military actions but relies on conjecture in supposing political alignments and peaceful resolutions had Lincoln not been so aggressive and unyielding in insisting the Union not disassemble. Nonetheless, this provocative book will fuel the current raging debates on presidential powers, leadership, the causes and conduct of the Civil War, and the possibilities of peace. Highly recommended.

From Kirkus:
The Railsplitter as tyrant, warmonger and Machiavellian strategist. Did Lincoln cause the Civil War?

Historian Marvel (The Monitor Chronicles, 2000, etc.) says yes, but then adds a qualification or two. Certainly, he writes, Lincoln could have taken the advice of Cabinet members, newspaper editors and plenty of Northern voters by allowing the South to secede, in which case, Marvel ventures, slavery would have at least been a localized problem, likely to disappear in time. Lincoln, however, "eschewed diplomacy" and replied to the capture of Fort Sumter-which, Lincoln's secret agents had already told him, was inevitably to fall to the South-by raising an army and threatening invasion. He had already hinted at such intentions in his inaugural speech, knowing that trouble was on the way; indeed, as Marvel writes, Sumter, which supposedly touched off the war, was but the latest of many federal installations that the secessionists had taken, to which then-President James Buchanan had responded by not doing anything. Any attempt to enforce federal law in the South, Lincoln's advisors told him, "would precipitate war."

By Marvel's account, Lincoln welcomed the prospect, for the Union needed a renewed forging of bonds and federal authority needed to be extended over states' rights-an argument still played out in the Capitol today. In any event, Marvel argues, Lincoln willingly violated the Constitution to preserve the Union by, for one thing, suspending the writ of habeas corpus, and he came very close to establishing a dictatorship (of the Roman, not Nazi, variety). "Lincoln gradually arrogated so much authority to his office that his own dominant party dared not pass that power on to a member ofthe opposition," Marvel notes, so that Republicans raced to strip away presidential powers when Democrat Andrew Johnson took office after Lincoln's assassination. Sure to touch off discussion, if not controversy, in professional circles; readers with a penchant for iconoclasm will want to have a look, too.

From CWBN:
Mr. Lincoln Goes to War represents a swing of the pendulum back to the reigning historiography of a generation ago, an historiography called "The Blundering Generation." Crudely put, this line of thought made the war the result of discrete political choices. Represented by historians such as J. G. Randall, it was overcome by the present-day "Inevitability of War" school represented by such as James McPherson. The Inevitables have been so successful that it is easy to forget that they were the original revisionists, that inevitability is fundamentally non-historic, and that the open question is probably "which decisions caused war" not whether any decisions caused war. Mr. Marvel may not have picked out the right decisions, he may color the decisions in lurid hues, but he is more than welcome to bring political Civil War decisions out of the long-standing "no discussion" zone. In that he joins Edward Ayers.

This is the first paperback edition of this title. The exact day of release for this June title is uknown.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kill the Devil

by T.K. Marion

From the publisher:
"The President of the United States of America had a terrible headache…” So begins T. K. Marion’s novel, Kill the Devil. The book bridges two embattled minds: the author’s and that of the nation’s sixteenth commander-in-chief. In Lincoln, Marion found a man beset with depression, an illness the author knows only too well, himself a victim of bipolar disorder.

Kill the Devil is a story of ordinary men called upon to perform extraordinary deeds. The time is 1864. The Union objective: end the war! The plan: assassinate Confederate General Robert E. Lee. “If we eliminate him, the South will collapse,” insists the president’s top military advisor. Distraught by the seemingly endless conflict, Abraham Lincoln reluctantly gives his consent. For the handpicked assassin, Captain Jonathan Westmoreland, a roller-coaster ride of daring and intrigue ensues.

T. K. Marion is a native of Tidewater, Virginia, and the proud son of a career naval officer. An alumnus of Penn’s Wharton School, he contributes much of his free time appearing at public forums related to education and mental health. Partial proceeds of Kill the Devil and subsequent novels by T. K. Marion will fund the “Thirteen Stars Scholarship Foundation” for persons afflicted with cystic fibrosis. (The foundation is currently under construction.) Marion’s next novel, East Wind, Rain, is a Cold War espionage thriller and scheduled for release in 2008.

From CWBN:
This title was announced (via press release) yesterday. At the time of posting it was not listed by Amazon or B&N. We have linked here to the book's website, which contains ordering information.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

101 Things You Didn't Know About the Civil War: Places, Battles, Generals--Essential Facts About the War That Divided America

by Thomas Turner

From the publisher:
Do you know:

* Which state was the first to secede from the Union?
* Who the Mata Hari of the Civil War was?
* Which Bible passage Southerners most often used to justify slavery?

You'll find the answers to these intriguing questions and more in 101 Things You didn't Know About the Civil War. Packed with fascinating details about the people, places, and events that defined our nation's most contentious conflict, this tell-all guide reveals the inside scoop on the:

* Issue of slavery and its impact on the war
* Great--and not-so-great--leaders and generals
* Battles fought and lost--and fought again
* Particular horrors of this war
* Women, children, and African Americans in the war

Complete with a helpful timeline, 101 Things You Didn't Know About the Civil War is your go-to guide for facts of the war that dramatically altered the course of American history.

Thomas Turner, Ph.D., is a professor of history at Bridgewater State College, in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this June title is unknown.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

U. S. Sharpshooters: Berdan's Civil War Elite

by Roy M. Marcot

From the publisher:
This detailed and beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Col. Hiram Berdan's brilliant conception: the U.S. SharpShooters, a specialized 2-regiment unit of marksmen recruited from the farming and backwoods communities of the North. Known for their distinctive green uniforms, Sharps breech-loading rifles, and risky tactics, the SharpShooters fought at battles such as the Peninsula, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness.

The book covers their training, tactics, and weapons and is a must-have for Civil War enthusiasts and anyone interested in the history of special forces. Features paintings by acclaimed Civil War artist Don Troiani.

Roy Marcot has written several books, including Remington: America s Oldest Gunmaker , The History of Remington Firearms, and Hiram Berdan: Chief of SharpShooters. He is a member of the American Society of Arms Collectors.

Desperate Engagement: How a Little-Known Civil War Battle Saved Washington, D.C., and Changed American History

by Marc Leepson

From Publishers Weekly:
How small can a Civil War battle be and still claim the mantle of war-changing decisiveness? That proposition is tested in this engaging account of the 1864 Battle of Monocacy Junction, in which some 16,000 Confederate troops trounced 5,800 bluecoats on a Maryland field. Not a surprising outcome, but Leepson contends that Union Gen. Lew Wallace's doomed stand held up Confederate Gen. Jubal Early's surprise lunge at Washington, D.C.—which was held only by a hapless force of invalids, militia and government clerks—by one crucial day. The result was a photo finish, with Union reinforcements arriving in the nick of time to save the capital from capture (hence the decisiveness).

Leepson lucidly narrates the campaign, adding color commentary about Early's panoply of abhorrent personal traits and the incompetence, apathy and possible drunkenness that prevailed among Union commanders, along with plenty of vignettes of the horror and pathos of war. He also debunks the campaign's premier anecdote, which has Lincoln coming under rebel fire while looking out from Washington's ramparts (true, he finds) and getting chewed out — Get down, you fool — by a young Capt. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (false). Gettysburg it ain't, but it's still a hard-fought, dramatic episode that Leepson brings vividly to life.

Monday, July 9, 2007

100 Things to Know: Battle of Gettysburg

by Sandy Allison

From the publisher:
100 surprising and interesting facts about the Battle of Gettysburg help you become an instant expert. In July 1863, two American armies fought a 3-day battle that would shape the future of the young country. Why the conflict began, how it was won and how it was lost, what the soldiers experienced, who was in command, the aftermath of the horrific fighting—are all described in vivid and poignant detail.

Solid information presented in a fun-to-read format.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this June title is uknown.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Civil War Leadership and Mexican War Experience

by Kevin Dougherty

From the publisher:
A great many commanders in the American Civil War (1861-1865) served in the Mexican War (1846-1848). Civil War Leadership and Mexican War Experience explores the influence of the earlier war on those men who would become leaders of Federal and Confederate forces.

Military historian Kevin Dougherty sets the context with a discussion of professional soldiering before both wars. He then depicts the unique experiences of twenty-six men in Mexico, thirteen who would later serve the Confederacy and thirteen who would remain with the Union. He traces how tactics they used and reactions they had to Civil War combat reveal a remarkable connection to what they learned campaigning against Santa Anna and other Mexican generals.

Personalities discussed range from well-known leaders such as Ulysses S. Grant to lesser-known figures such as John Winder; from geniuses such as Robert E. Lee to mediocrities such as Gideon Pillow; and from aged heroes such as Winfield Scott to developing practitioners such as William Sherman. No other volume so exclusively and thoroughly focuses on connections of service in both wars.

Two appendixes in the book list 194 Federal generals and 142 Confederate generals who served in Mexico. The impact of these experiences on major tactical decisions in the Civil War is far-reaching.

A retired U.S. Army officer, Kevin Dougherty teaches history at the University of Southern Mississippi. His books include The Coastal War in North and South Carolina.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this June title is uknown.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Divided Heart: Letters of Sally Baxter Hampton, 1853–1862

by Anna Fripp Hampton, ed.

From the publisher:
Moving among intellectual circles that included Francis Lieber, Charles Francis Adams, Samuel Gridley, and Julia Ward Howe, Sally Baxter (1833–1862) was the beautiful New York belle who captivated William Makepeace Thackeray, personifying his heroine Beatrix Esmond, and who then married Frank Hampton of the famous South Carolina family and became mistress of Woodlands plantation.

Hampton left a small collection of letters to her New York relations that are both informative and entertaining. In a clear and uninhibited style, she tells the poignant story of her short life as she reports on social events and plantation life and records her observations on local politics and the impending Civil War.

"What these letters do . . . is authenticate and corroborate a vertically cut and frozen vision into the past, when neither wealth, nor status, nor will could prevail over events." — Journal of Southern History

"These forty-seven letter are still important because of Sally's particular identity and because they add yet another dimension to the role of women during the Civil War. Best of all, A Divided Heart is delightfully entertaining." — North Carolina Historical Review

"The book will help provide a realistic understanding of Southern society during the Civil War years." — Augusta Chronicle

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this June title is uknown.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Glory Enough for All: Sheridan's Second Raid and the Battle of Trevilian Station

by Eric J. Wittenberg

From the publisher:
After the ferocious fighting at Cold Harbor, Virginia, in June 1864, Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ordered his cavalry, commanded by Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, to distract the Confederate forces opposing the Army of the Potomac. Glory Enough for All chronicles the battle that resulted when Confederate cavalry pursued and caught their Federal foes at Trevilian Station, Virginia, perhaps the only truly decisive cavalry battle of the American Civil War.

Eric J. Wittenberg tells the stories of the men who fought there, including eight Medal of Honor winners and one Confederate whose death at Trevilian Station made him the third of three brothers to die in the service of Company A of the Fourth Virginia Cavalry. He also addresses the little-known but critical cavalry battle at Samaria (Saint Mary's) Church on June 24, 1864, where Union Brig. Gen. David N. Gregg's division was nearly destroyed.

The only modern strategic analysis of the battle, Glory Enough for All challenges prevailing interpretations of General Sheridan and of the Union cavalry. Wittenberg shows that the outcome of Trevilian Station ultimately prolonged Grant's efforts to end the Civil War.

From Civil War News:
A fast-paced, in-depth narrative that captures the confusion, horror and heroism of battle. . . . Judicious placement of maps, numerous photographs and notes that provide additional detail and documentation are the crowning touch to this volume. Readers interested in cavalry operations and the Eastern Theater will welcome this contribution.

From Booknews:
Wittenberg (a Civil War historian, no university affiliation) provides a detailed strategic analysis of the cavalry battle at Trevilian Station. He chronicles the battle, tells the stories of those who fought in it, re-assesses the performance of Major General Philip H. Sheridan, and discusses the impact of the battle. Appendixes outline the order of battle, as well as the strengths and losses of both sides.

From CWBN:
The hardback edition of this release appeared in 2001; the book therefore predates Wittenberg's full revision of Sheridan's reputation in his 2002 Little Phil: A Reassessment of the Civil War Leadership of General Philip H. Sheridan. In Little Phil the author spent some time on the analysis of Sheridan's second raid, so these two may be seen as companion volumes.

You can visit Eric Wittenberg's blog by clicking here.

Civil War Sites, 2nd Edition: The Official Guide to the Civil War Discovery Trail

by Civil War Preservation Trust

From the publisher:
This easy-to-use guide, completely revised and updated in clear, concise prose, features more than hundreds of sites in 31 states--solemn battlefields, gracious mansions, state parks, cemeteries, memorials, museums, and more.

Specific directions, hours, and contact information help to plan the trip; evocative description and detailed maps help orient you when you're there. Also, boxed sidebars highlight select people and events of the Civil War.

From CWBN:
As of this posting, there is no news about the new guide on CWPT's web site. We therefore do not know what has changed in this update of the 1998 edition. A description of the 1998 edition (whish updated a 1996 release) appears below:
The Civil War Discovery Trail — more than 400 sites in 24 states — tells the real story of the Civil War & its impact on America. Includes a description & details of every site — battlefields, antebellum plantations, Underground Railroad sites, historic homes, state parks, cemeteries, memorials, museums, & more. An easy-to-use, state-by-state organization that lets you locate the sites quickly & easily. Also contains a brief historical look at a nation divided, plus an overview of each states role in the War. Plus, a complete reenactment & special events calendar. Detailed, accurate orientation maps that help you plan your itinerary.

The Mysterious Private Thompson: The Double Life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, Civil War Soldier

by Laura Leedy Gansler

From the publisher:
Resurrecting a lost hero of the Civil War, The Mysterious Private Thompson tells the remarkable story of Sarah Emma Edmonds (1841–98), who disguised herself as a man and defended her country at a time of war. Drawing on Edmonds's journals and those of the men she served with, Laura Leedy Gansler recreates Edmonds’s experience in some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, including both the First and the Second Battle of Bull Run, the Peninsula Campaign, and the Battle of Fredericksburg, during which she served with distinction in combat as a “male” nurse and braved enemy fire as a mail carrier. Gansler also investigates Edmonds's claim to have been a spy, going behind enemy lines disguised as a slave (by staining her skin with silver nitrate), as a Confederate soldier, and even, ironically, as a peddler woman. After two years of valiant service, the young soldier, who twice rejected medical attention for injuries sustained in the line of duty for fear of being discovered, was struck down with malaria. Rather than risk detection by a military doctor, “Franklin Thompson” disappeared and was marked down as a deserter. Twenty years later, having resumed her female identity, Edmonds emerged from obscurity to fight for her pension and reunite with her surprised former comrades, who had not known their brother-in-arms was a woman. This intimate portrait is, above all, a personal drama about the lengths one daring woman was willing to go to chart her own destiny.

From Booklist:
Gansler chronicles the intriguing life and times of a woman who served as a man during the Civil War. Fleeing from home at age 17 to escape an abusive father and avoid an unwanted marriage, Sarah Edmonds lived as a man for two years before she heeded Lincoln's call for more troops and enlisted in the Second Michigan Infantry. Performing her duties with distinction, she won the respect and admiration of the men she served alongside, even after they discovered, many years later, her astounding secret. Resuming her female identity and marrying after the war, she lived a relatively tranquil life until she decided to seek a military pension 20 years later. Enthusiastically supported by her former comrades-in-arms, she became the only woman to secure a soldier's pension for her Civil War service. Although questions remain whether she also served--as she claimed--as a Union spy, Edmond's -gender--bending Civil War experiences are well worth checking out.

From Publishers Weekly:
This modest but solid biography presents the energetic life of Sarah Edmonds (1841–1898), a Nova Scotia woman and Civil War soldier who served in the Second Michigan Volunteer Infantry under the name Franklin Thompson. Fleeing an abusive father and an unwanted marriage, 17-year old Sarah disguised herself as a man and made a living as a traveling book salesman. When war broke out, she found a place in one of the early volunteer regiments and served for two years. She appears to have had at least two lovers or at least men who knew her true identity, but spent much of her service as a medical orderly, mail courier and (allegedly) Union spy. After the war she settled in Texas, married, raised two adopted children and eventually claimed a pension under her wartime name, with the enthusiastic support of most of her old comrades. Gansler (Class Action) has done her homework on the Civil War with more than average thoroughness, writing clearly and without jargon, and leaves the question of Sarah's spying undecided. Clearly laid down, however, is the portrait of a young woman who made and carried out major life decisions with honor, clarity and ability.

Abolitionists in Northern Courts: The Pamphlet Literature

by Paul Finkelman

From the publisher:
Reprinted from the Garland series Slavery, Race and the American Legal System, 1700-1872, the 13 pamphlets in this collection address cases that led to the abolition of slavery, cases against free blacks and abolitionists and cases dealing with race laws.

"The volumes in this series belong in every library used for research, and in particular at all law school libraries. They will prove valuable to historians, lawyers, law teachers and students, and all persons interested in the problems of slavery and race in American experience." - William M. Wiecek, American Journal of Legal History 33 (1989).