Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Housekeeping

I have added a new section on the right side below the about me section. It has links to files I've created. Most of these will be symposium related but over time I can see making this section similar to what Harry has done at Bull Runnings. Or making files that are monument recaps like Jenny has done at Draw the Sword. Just something new to be aware of. Thanks.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! Last Sunday I got together with my girlfriend's family for dinner and pumpkin carving. In all we carved six pumpkins. The one I brought home she carved for me. She asked me what I wanted carved into it, I was thinking Grant on horseback but she suggested a bat. I agreed a bat would look cool, especially since Grant on horseback would probably be too difficult to pull off. Here are two pictures of the jack o lantern my girlfriend carved for me.

Along LaFayette Road

Probably the largest open area at Chickamauga is this field along the LaFayette Road on the Union right flank. It starts out across the road from Viniard Field, curves north behind the Heg monument and then curves west towards Wilder Tower. The western portion is usually referred by its modern name, Recreation Field. I don't recall seeing an official name for the portion behind the Heg monument, it might technically be an extension of Viniard Field. In any respect this area is the most open ground at Chickamauga.
This is the view behind the Heg monument looking north. Wilder's men formed a line along the tree line on the left side of the picture. The LaFayette Road runs north-south out of view on the right side of the picture. This is again looking north although this time we have moved farther north than the previous picture. The monument in the middle of the picture far in the distance is the 39th North Carolina monument. This marks the farthest penetration by the Confederates on September 19. And here is the 39th North Carolina monument.And the view looking west from the 39th North Carolina monument. This area would be Recreation Field. Lytle Hill is roughly at right center and Wilder Tower is out of view on the left.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Viniard Field

Viniard Field would be the right flank of the Union army on the battlefield. There were units that stretched down to Crawfish Springs and Lee & Gordon's Mill but the right flank of the concentrated army was in Viniard Field on September 19. On the 20th it was across the road closer to the modern Wilder Tower. The important LaFayette Road runs just behind this Union line. In the second photo you can barely see a car on a park tour road on the right side of the picture (click on the picture to bring up a larger version and you can see it then). That car has just turned off the LaFayette Road. The LaFayette Road enters the treeline somewhere behind the tall monument in the second picture.

Although Bragg's plan was to drive south along the LaFayette Road and crumple this position by turning its left flank if he had got a good penetration at Viniard Field he could have altered his plan and driven north along the road. At the very least he would have found himself between significant portions of the army and been able to cause all sorts of havoc.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Brock Field

The first two pictures show the Union line in Brock Field, it faces the left of the picture. The Confederate advance came from the left of the picture, although some units flank the Union right which would put them on the far end of the field and curving around to the right of the picture.

These next two pictures were taken from a spot behind the Union line looking out just as they would have. The main Confederate advance would be coming directly at the viewer. In relation to the first two pictures these last two were taken on the right of the line. In picture #3 a monument can be seen just to the left of the farthest left man (Ray), that monument is the farthest right monument in the first two pictures, that should give you some idea of the relationship between the pictures.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Antietam Video

As promised earlier here is the intro to Mike's Antietam video. He has also loaded his entire movie on his youtube site . It is loaded in 7 parts due to youtube file size constraints but it is all there.

Mike does a wonderful job, I'm not just saying that because he is a friend, he really does have a talent for this, check out his work and I'm sure you'll agree. His entire Spotsylvania County movie is on youtube and he has portions of his Gettysburg and Chickamauga movies on there as well.
video

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Winfrey Field

The battlefield at Chickamauga can be characterized as forests with small fields interspersed. This is more true now than it was during the battle as there were a variety of ways the forests were being thinned (farm animals eating the undergrowth and farmers chopping trees down for fences, houses and firewood). There are few expansive vistas, particularly for September 19th actions. This picture shows the view from Howell's Georgia Battery into Winfrey Field. I've always liked this picture just for the aesthetic aspects of it rather than because it shows something historically significant.
And the view looking back down that same road from in Winfrey Field. Those two cannons in the field are Confederate guns. The Confederate attack generally moved from the right to left in the picture rather than directly at the viewer. On the edge of this field (behind and to the left of the viewer) is where Colonel Philemon Baldwin, of the 6th Indiana and commanding a brigade in Johnson's division, was killed late in the day on September 19th.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Chickamauga bridges

Reed's Bridge is now barely noticeable as a bridge, except for the change in the guardrail. this would have been the Union's view.
Looking off the side of the bridge. I would guess that the stonework at the bottom is the remnants of a previous bridge at the site but that is just my guess.
And Alexander's Bridge. This is a very narrow bridge but considering it sees very little traffic it does not have to be too wide. This picture is from the Rocky Mountain Civil War Roundtable's study group trip in April 2003. I must admit too that I did not take this picture, fellow traveler Bob H. took it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chickamauga Creek

Every time I've been to Chickamauga the creek is muddy. Maybe that's its normal condition. These shots were taken from Alexander's Bridge. While Minty held Reed's Bridge Wilder held Alexander's Bridge. Tomorrow I should have some pictures from the Reed's Bridge area.

View along Reed's Bridge Road

After doing my multiple Chickamauga monument posts I realized that I forgot to show some of the terrain. Here is a shot of Union left flank along the Reed's Bridge road from the Confederate perspective. Unfortunately what this primarily shows is how chocked with trees the battlefield is today. This area was forested during the battle but not to this extent.


Monday, October 22, 2007

World Series

Just a quick reminder that I'm still open to a bet with a Boston area blogger. Not sure if there is a Civil War blogger in the Boston area but if there is contact me and we'll figure something out. Tickets go on sale today. Go Rockies!

Friday, October 19, 2007

AP American History

Recently there have been some posts on various blogs about how little college graduates know of American History. Last night I was wandering the library and saw a study guide for the AP American History test, I picked it up wondering what they expect high school seniors to know for the AP test. Yikes. This book is so full of errors that I seriously wonder if these kids know anything of the war.

The first section that caught my eye was the "Key People" section. There were nearly as many women listed as Confederates. I don't doubt that women made a key effort to the war but to list 3 women and 5 Confederates seems to give them much more credit than is necessary. The Confederates listed were not even that big of figures which puzzled me. They were General Stonewall Jackson, General Stand Watie, John Slidell, James Mason and General John Johnston. I think they meant Joe Johnston. Except for Jackson I don't think the others really contributed much. Slidell and Mason came the closest to achieving their goals by being captured by an overzealous Union captain. Watie is on the list because of his status as an Indian fighting for the Confederacy not for anything he accomplished on the battlefield. The women listed were Clara Barton, Dorothea Dix and Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell (who I had to look up, she was the first woman doctor in the US). Two other civilians were listed, Clement Vallandigham and Hinton Helper. The list also has 6 Union officers, pretty standard commanders except no mention of Grant or Sherman (Grant is listed in the "Key People" section for Reconstruction). The reason give for Meade is that he was the Union commander at Gettysburg and "did not follow rout of Confederates." This seems kinda harsh. First off I don't think the Confederate retreat can be classified a rout and secondly Meade did pursue, just not fast enough to give battle but he probably was not in any condition to offer a huge battle anyway.

Some of the other problems with the book came from its over generalization or simple poor word choice. In reviewing the positives and negatives of each side during mobilization it said that the Union had twice as many soldiers but a smaller army, that should probably have read twice as many possible soldiers. The Confederacy also had "more and better officers." I think early in the war a generalization could be made that the South's officer corps in general was better, but I don't think anyone would ever say the South had more officers.

In its section of African Americans in the army it says "When white soldiers refused to serve with blacks, a few states, like Massachusetts, formed all-black regiments, often led by white officers." This makes it sound like there were integrated units until whites said no thanks, and then they made all black units. And "often led by white officers" would indicate that there were times that the black regiments were led by black officers. These are both wrong. I do seem to recall a black becoming a commissioned officer late in the war, or just after the war, but a google search this morning didn't turn up much. In any case that would be only one regiment out 180,000 men. It also said that the Confiscation Act of 1861 said that any slaves who fled their masters would be free forever. I was under the impression that it, officially, freed only those escaped slaves who had worked for the Confederacy. In reality it did free all escaped slaves but the Act did not free actually do so.

The Union military objectives are listed, in order, as; capture Richmond, gain control of the Mississippi and blockade Southern ports. And this is what they eventually did but I don't think the capture of Richmond was really the top priority. Maybe to Horace Greeley it was but I think Lincoln was more concerned with just putting an end to it. In the end that meant destroying much of Lee's army and Sherman tearing up the South before Richmond could fall. It also says that capturing Richmond would weaken Southern morale. This is true but to a point. I think if McClellan, Burnside or Hooker had captured Richmond it would not have ended the war, the government would have just gone elsewhere; perhaps to Charleston, Atlanta, Montgomery or where ever else seemed good.

A few battles are discussed but the effects of the battle on the war is what this book gets at. It again makes a few over generalizations. It says when Grant captured Vicksburg it opened the entire Mississippi. Port Hudson was still holding out but did fall soon. Then it said that when Grant took Chattanooga Lincoln put him in command of the entire army. I think Chattanooga sealed Lincoln's decision but nothing happened for a few months.

In the section on the blockade it said that the tightening blockade forced the Confederates to turn church bells into cannon since nothing was coming in. But I thought this happened much sooner than 1864. I was under the impression that this happened as early as 1862, never on a huge scale but was being done. Is there a foundry expert out there to enlighten me?

Talking about Lincoln's 10 per cent Reconstruction plan the book said that Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana and Virginia had formed governments based on this plan before the assassination. I'm not sure on this one but seriously doubt Virginia did this. There just doesn't seem to be enough time for them to have formed a new government. The other three states had been occupied for quite awhile so they had the time to form new governments. Virginia doesn't seem to have had the time, unless the new government was based in Fredericksburg or Manassas.

Post war politics is referred to as "the bloody flag." I've always heard to it as "the bloody shirt."

In the the sample test section it says that Lincoln never believed in black suffrage. Yet in its own book it says that Lincoln eventually came around to believe in limited black suffrage, for soldiers and the very intelligent. Online I found a site that says in an April 11, 1865 speech Lincoln advocated black voting rights for the highly intelligent and soldiers. The source the website cites is Basler's collected works so even though I have not yet confirmed it I believe the website to be correct.

In all this book really scared me that this is what they teach high schoolers for the AP American History test. There were a ton of errors, plus things like "John Johnston" make me wonder if anyone reviewed it at all. Its no wonder that college graduates couldn't answer simple fact tests.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Shenandoah Valley Study Group

Next week (October 25th) the Rocky Mountain Civil War Roundtable starts up its next study group. We are doing Jackson's 1862 campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. Should make for an interesting study and a good trip. We do this every year. First we study a battle or campaign in depth. Last year we broke Antietam down into 7 parts (that was just for the fighting on September 17, there were many other meetings covering events before and after). Our Valley campaign study won't be nearly as in depth, partly because there isn't enough source material to break every battle down into multiple meetings and also because if we broke every battle down this study might takes years instead of just 1. We'll conclude our study with a trip to the battlefields to walk them and get a better appreciation for how and why events transpired as they did. This trip will most likely be in October 2008.

I have compiled a reading list for the study group, just some of the major works. I also have a reading list that includes just about every magazine article and book published on the campaign. It's available here. Anyone in the Denver area can join. If you'd like more information about joining us leave me a comment.

Here is our main reading list:
· Allen, William. History of the Campaign of Gen. T.J. (Stonewall) Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Phila: Lippincott, 1880. 175 p.
· _____. Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862. Richmond, VA: Gartz, 1878. 30 p.
· Armstrong, Richard L. The Battle of McDowell, March ll May 18, 1862: Jackson's Valley Campaign. Lynchburg, VA: H.E. Howard, 1990. 122 p.
· Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Vol. 2. NY: Yoseloff, 1956. . See pp. 278-313 for a series of pertinent articles.
· Beck, Brandon H. Three Battles of Winchester: A History and Guided Tour. Berryville, VA: Country Pubs, 1988. 40 p.
· Beck, Brandon H., & Grunder, Charles S. The First Battle of Winchester: May 25, 1862. Lynchburg, VA: H.E. Howard, 1992. 111 p.
· Clark, Champ. Decoying the Yanks: Jackson's Valley Campaign. Alexandria, VA: Time Life, 1985. l76 p.
· Colt, Margaretta B. Defend the Valley: A Shenandoah Family in the Civil War. NY: Orion Books, 1994. 441 p.
· Ecelbarger, Gary L. “We Are in For It!: The First Battle of Kernstown, March 23, 1862. Shippensburg, PA: White Mane, 1997. 370 p.
· Gallagher, Gary, ed. The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862. Chapel Hill, NC: U NC, 2003. 255 p. Series of essays focusing on command/commanders.
· Kearsey, Alexander H. C. A Study of the Strategy and Tactics of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign l86l l862 With Six Maps. Aldershot: Gale & Polden, 1930. 70 p. .
· Kellogg, Sanford C. The Shenandoah Valley and Virginia, 1861 to 1865: A War Study. NY: Neale, 1930. 247 p.
· Krick, Robert K. Conquering the Valley: Stonewall Jackson at Port Republic. NY: William Morrow, 1996. 594 p.
· Mahon, Michael G. The Shenandoah Valley 1861-1865: The Destruction of the Granary of the Confederacy.
· Martin, David G. Jackson's Valley Campaign, November 1861 June 1862. NY: Gallery, 1988. 184 p.
· _____. Jackson’s Valley Campaign: November 1861-June 1862. Conshohocken, PA: Combined Books, 1994. 223 p.
· Nelson, John H. “’Bombard and Be Damned’: The Effects of Jackson’s Valley Campaign on Hancock, Maryland and Fulton County, Pennsylvania.” McConnellsburg, PA: Keystone, 72 p.
· Phillips, Edward H. The Lower Shenandoah Valley in the Civil War: The Impact of War Upon the Civilian Population and Upon Civil Institutions. Lynchburg, VA: H.E. Howard, 1993. 224 p.
· Standing Ground: The Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley. Strasburg, VA: Shenandoah Pub House, 1996. 217 p. .
· Tanner, Robert G. Stonewall in the Valley: Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Spring 1862. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1996. 599 p. Reprint of 1976 ed w/ revisions.
· Wayland, John W. Stonewall Jackson's Way: Route, Method, Achievement. Staunton, VA: McClure, 1940. 244 p.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Symposium Registration

The Rocky Mountain Civil War Symposium is coming along very well. We recently completed our registration flyer that we will send out and post around town and online. Click here for a copy of our registration flyer. Its early but you can register now for the symposium. Operators are standing by.

The flyer does not mention the presenters or topics, that is part of the poster than will be posted in the same places. That poster is not quite complete but I can share the info with you. Our theme is the War in the West 1861-1862. We have a pretty good group of Western Theater authors who have been published extensively on a variety of Western Theater topics.

Sam Davis Elliott will be talking about Confederate General Alexander P. Stewart. James Lee McDonough will provide an overview of the Western Theater. Timothy B. Smith will talk about Shiloh. Kenneth W. Noe will take us to Perryville. And Matt Spruill will conclude our Western battles with Stones River.

I think its a pretty balanced panel. Not too heavy on battles, although battles are important, with a good biography in the mix and a nice overview.

The event would not be complete without other activities and we will have some of those. We will have at least one display of period items from a local collector, plus a variety of booksellers so that hopefully nearly every book written by a presenter will be available for sale. There will also be time set aside for the authors to sign their books.

Diabetes Walk Reminder

Just wanted to post a reminder about the October 20 charity walk in Denver for the American Diabetes Association. Come out and walk with me. If you live in another town check out the visit the American Diabetes Association online to see when the walk in your area is. You can also make a donation there or just learn more about this horrible disease.

More than 20 million Americans suffer from diabetes and more than 40 million people have pre-diabetes conditions. For more information visit the American Diabetes Association online. To donate to the walk I’ll be participating in go to my page

I also posted about this last week. My original post on the subject.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rocktober

The Rockies have done the unbelievable. A month ago this team was far outside the wildcard race. They then reeled off 13 victories in the final 14 games to force a one game playoff to determine the wildcard winner. This counted as the final regular season game and they won that in dramatic fashion in extra innings to advance to the real playoffs. There they swept the Phillies in 3 and have now swept the Diamondbacks in 4 to earn a trip to the World Series. Woe to the team who ends up facing us. That's an incredible 21 wins in 22 games. Five teams in baseball history have reeled off such runs but only one before did it late in the season, the 1935 Cubs. Only one team ever started the playoffs 7-0, the 1976 Big Red Machine (back then 7 wins was enough to be crowned world champs).

To any fellow bloggers from Boston or Cleveland are you up to a little wager? I was thinking something along the lines of a guest post about how your team is the greatest to be placed on both blogs. And a picture of the loser wearing the winner's hat. Any other ideas? Any challengers?

Matt Holliday hitting the 3 run homer that proved to be the winning runs. At the time it made the score 6-1 but the Diamondbacks made it 6-4 near the end.
Todd Helton recording the final out of the game. The top picture shows Helton and Troy Tulowitzki starting the celebration.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Peer Review Process

Last week I promised some more information on the peer review process and here it is. This is what UT Press does, I'd imagine other publishers are pretty similar.

The reviewer has 4 possible recommendations. There is:
1) I strongly recommend publication
2) I recommend publication. I offer some suggestions for revision, but the author's adoption of these should be left to the discretion of the press.
3) I recommend the press proceed with consideration of the manuscript if the revisions suggested in the attached report are made.
4) I do not recommend publication.

My buddy who has been published thru UT a few times said that usually the first report comes back marked #3, very rarely is it marked #2. My first review came back marked #3. Those changes were made and the same reviewer read it again and marked it #2. That second version was also sent to a second reviewer and he marked it #2.

UT also sends out a list of questions the reviewer should think about as they read the manuscript. I'm not going to retype the list as its pretty lengthy but it mostly deals with things like; is the scholarship sound, does the manuscript make any significant contribution to its field, how does it fit in with other books in its field, could the organization of the book be improved, are there any stylistic revisions needed and finally what other suggestions for revision are there? The UT editor also includes a cover letter in which he highlights the changes he thinks are most needed.

In my case it is kinda interesting that some of the things the first reviewer wanted added (and I did add) the second reviewer wanted removed. For instance the nature of my book meant that there was not a large bibliography and it was suggested that I add some of the major secondary books on the battle so that readers would have an idea of where to go to learn more about the battle. The second reviewer did not like this idea believing the bibliography should only reflect books that were cited in the book. I see his point (in fact that is how I had originally done it) but that meant that no modern treatment of the battle appeared in the bibliography. Perhaps this could be solved with a section titled "For Further Reading."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Antietam Video

Last night Mike presented his video of the study group's Antietam trip to the Rocky Mountain Civil War Round. It was another fabulous production except for referring to me as Crash in the credits, geez you smash up one car and you get labeled Crash.

He is putting sections of the movie online on his youtube site . The Antietam portions are not up yet but he'll get them up soon (although I don't think it will happen until sometime next week, but I'll keep you informed). Clips from his older movies (Chickamauga, Gettysburg and Spotsylvania County) are already on his youtube site for you to peruse now.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Rant

Regular readers probably know that I had a book project killed due to one bad review. One reviewer wrote very positive things about the project and another wrote nearly the opposite. The publisher decided to kill the project even though they admitted that the negative reviewer was probably wrong, but that if they fought him on the issue it probably would not end well. So they gave up the fight. I'm taking the project elsewhere and have been working on making corrections, even some of the corrections offered up by the very negative reviewer.

About a month ago I found out that the negative reviewer [I've never used his name and won't start now although there might be enough details in here for someone to figure it out] published a book a year ago that somehow passed everyone's radar. I got the book thru interlibrary loan mostly to see if he followed his own suggestions. The main suggestion that rankled me was that every time I mentioned a battle or a personality I needed to include at least a paragraph of background. For instance in an introductory chapter I was explaining that the war in early 1862 was going badly for the Confederates, and rattled off a list of defeats; Mill Springs in Kentucky, the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, Pea Ridge in Missouri and the advance of McClellan on the peninsula towards Richmond. According to this reviewer I needed a paragraph to explain the battles and leaders just mentioned. A simple sentence or two now morphed into like 6 paragraphs. If the intent of the book was to detail the war in 1862 that would make sense but the book was about Shiloh and bios of McClellan and Joe Johnston etc really had no place in the book.

So I was interested to see if he followed his own advice. And he did. And it was really cumbersome to read. Two of the worst examples of this sort; the author actually was editing a veteran's memoirs. The veteran mentioned the county farm, which is a rural poorhouse. For me a simple note that the county farm is a rural example of a poorhouse would have been sufficient. The editor proceeded to write nearly 200 words giving the history of poor houses in America and even mentioned the New Deal. Another time the veteran made a reference to Waterloo, the point being that every regiment eventually faces a supreme test of combat and this is their Waterloo. A note explaining that point would have been fine but the editor went on to explain the number of men involved in the battle of Waterloo, the countries represented, the leaders commanding the armies and the outcome. I didn't count the words this time but it again struck me as overkill. There are other times when he provided notes for things that did not seem to me to need notes. For instance the veteran said some cannons were shotted, and the editor added a note to explain that shotted meant loaded.

Another instance of overkill I actually can commend the editor for. The veteran often listed casualties for the big battles, and the names of the men he enlisted with. The editor went through and for each man gave as much info as the Iowa roster had, info such as age, occupation and location of enlistment and if he survived the war. It didn't add much to the story but if one of those soldiers had been a relative of mine I would have loved seeing that extra touch.

One thing about the notes that really bothered me was that they were at the end of the chapter. I would have preferred foot notes or end of book notes. Being at the end of the chapter really interrupted the flow of the book. I would have preferred foot notes and when a long list of casualties appeared a note directing the reader to a roster at the end of the book (since footnotes at that point would have simply filled the page). This is what the editor did when it came to the big name personalities. He simply had a note directing the reader to the biographical section at the end. In general I thought the notes were too lengthy and there were too many of them (the veteran had 190 pages and the editor added 95 pages of notes in a very small type).

The regiment in the book served under Sherman throughout the war. It was first engaged at Arkansas Post, then at Vicksburg, Chattanooga, the Atlanta campaign, the March to the Sea and through the Carolinas. The memoir was not too useful for battle descriptions. In one case the veteran wrote, after saying the regiment moved forward to the assault, "To describe that moment requires an abler pen than mine. The very earth trembled while the roar of artillery, screeching of shells, and zipping of minie balls, mingled with the sharp and heavy guns of the navy; the dense smoke that enveloped the field and the cries of the wounded and dying can better be imagined than described." Of course the editor added a 100 word note on the history of the creation of the minie ball. And while I understand that individual soldiers saw very little of a battlefield when I read the battle section of a memoir I want more than "I can't write the scene well enough, imagine it for yourself, it was loud and smoky."

A final complaint; there is no bibliography. The notes do offer a full citation so one could search out the editors sources but I thought including a bibliography was pretty standard stuff.

An oddity; this book was published by a small publisher in Helena, Montana that has published very little history and what they have published is on Montana's old west legacy. When I think about great Civil War publishers my mind quickly goes to Montana. Oh sure most people would think one of the big university presses (Tennessee, LSU, North Carolina, Texas A&M, even Nebraska's Bison Books) or one of the various independent publishers (Savas Beatie and Ironclad spring to mind), but somehow this editor went with a little publisher in Montana that has never published a Civil War book before. Why? Did he strike out at the other publishers I just named? As best I can tell the editor is not from Montana and the veteran apparently did not move to Montana after the war. I think going with this small publisher was a mistake because as best I can tell from searching the internet the book has not been reviewed by many people at all, I only found two reviews online and one of them was a simple paragraph that gave an overview that could have been obtained from the dust jacket.

If I did not have a beef against the editor would I buy this book? Yes if I wanted a book for the non battle moments in the life of a soldier. This book is good for that. If I wanted a book for great first hand accounts of battles this is not it. That is not fault of the editor, as stated earlier the veteran simply did not include them. Perhaps he was smart enough in his old age not to write battle scenes that he was not sure of. In my case I have enough books that simply tell the story of solider life so I do not need this one. But if I needed another one this one would be worthy of inclusion. Of course since I haven't told you the editor's name, the veteran's name or regiment, or the name of the publisher it will be kinda hard for you to add it to your bookshelf.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Civil War Preservation Trust

Like many of you (hopefully many of you) I am a member of the Civil War Preservation Trust. This is a great organization that helps preserve our hallowed ground. They are the only national organization doing this although there are several organizations who operate at a local level. Recently I got a mailing for the Slaughter Pen at Fredericksburg, and their continuing efforts to raise the many millions to save this land for good. I'm not sure why I was drawn to the fine print this time but when I read it I saw that their financial statement was on file with my state's Secretary of State office. I went online and turned the report into a pdf which can be viewed here.

When we give to any charity I think part of us always wonders who much of it goes towards doing the activity we think we're supporting (preserving hallowed ground or cancer research) and how much is spent on daily operations that while important are not what we think of when we send in our money. This CWPT report shows that they seem to do a pretty good job in that respect. According to the report CWPT's revenue was $19,651,615. That number is way more than I expected. They spent $19,415,174 of it. Of that $279,701 went to administration and $785,597 to fundraising. The remaining $18,349,876 was spent on "program services." There is no way from this small report to be certain but it appears that only 5.5% was spent on daily operations (this assumes of course that "program services" means money spent protecting hallowed ground and not for anything else). I'm not sure what the industry standard is but 5.5% seems like a small amount to me.

Later in the report it says that $80,284 was paid to a professional fundraiser. I would be interested to know how much that fundraiser brought it. This is also something I don't really know if the total is way too much or not. If the professional brought in more than his percentage of the costs it would be good. What I mean is that his cost was roughly 10% of the fundraising costs. If that other fundraising brought in $2 million then the professional should have brought in at least $200,000 to be worthwhile.

The final oddity I noticed is where the report listed assets and liabilities. The CWPT has liabilities of $14,060,756 which I assume is loans on various tracts that are not paid off yet, plus maybe some employee costs (health care or 401k or something along those lines). The assets though were $48,622,072 which I found mind boggling. I guess that is land they own that has not been turned over to the NPS (and some may never be if there is no nearby park for it to be a unit of). I truly was amazed that they have this many assets, whatever it may be.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Lincoln: The Presidential Archives Book Review


Lincoln: The Presidential Archives by Chuck Wills.

This is an interesting book in that you get to hold reproductions of various artifacts of Lincoln's life. There are eight pockets that hold articles from various periods of his life. For his boyhood is a page from his arithmetic book. His pre-Presidential life is also depicted with a copy of his marriage license, and his patent application. His Presidential years are presented with military and personal touches. On the personal end is a letter from Mary Todd Lincoln in New York City. Militarily are some letters to and from Grant and Sherman, the telegram informing Lincoln of the New York City draft riot, a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.

It is neat to hold copies of the originals of these items but none of these items is exactly new. I've seen Lincoln's drawings before for his patent application. The various letters have appeared before as text versions in a variety of books. This book is more for the new or general student of Lincoln or the war. The book is also a general Lincoln biography with tons of nice photographs and drawings. It is a good general book that I would recommend to a general audience. If you are a devoted Lincoln reader that is probably very little in this book you have not seen before.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Wilder Tower

Probably the most recognizable monument at Chickamauga is the Wilder Tower. Probably very few people have been to the battlefield and not seen the monument. It is on the south end of the Union lines in an area that Wilder's Lightning Brigade was at. The brigade veterans erected this observation tower, although the views it offers are of areas that did not see much fighting. The view though is still nice especially since it is the only observation tower of any sort left on the battlefield. The War Department originally erected a few to aid study of the fighting but they have all long since disappeared.

Looking to the east. At the far end of the distant field is the LaFayette Road. On the first day the Confederates pierced the line in this area and advanced into the field before falling back. On the second day Confederates again advanced over this ground but there was very little opposition in this area until they got closer to the tower.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Diabetes

Once again I’m posting about something personal rather than Civil War related. October 20th I will be taking part in a charity walk for the American Diabetes Association. My girlfriend has diabetes and there is a history of diabetes in my own family. Diabetes is a unique disease in that each person who has it reacts differently to the various medications and lifestyle changes prescribed. Some medications work wonders for some people but not at all for others. Finding what works and what doesn’t takes time. There is no cure, just various methods of controlling diabetes. I worry that someday I might get this disease because of my family history. I worry about the health of my girlfriend too as she struggles daily with diabetes.

Doing the charity walk will be a small step from me in fighting this disease. But obviously I cannot do much alone. I’m asking for your support. You can help by donating directly to the American Diabetes Association, participating in a walk in your hometown, or contact a legislator about a variety of diabetes related bills. I don’t mean this to sound like begging for dollars. If you donate to the American Diabetes Association at all I will be happy, if your donation is for my walk that’d be great but not necessary. If this just makes you have your own blood sugar tested to see if you are at risk, or might already have diabetes, that’d be great too. Mostly I’m hoping to raise a little awareness and if in the process some money gets donated to the American Diabetes Association for research for a cure that would be wonderful.

More than 20 million Americans suffer from diabetes and more than 40 million people have pre-diabetes conditions. For more information visit the American Diabetes Association online To donate to the walk I’ll be participating in go to my page


Here's my sweetie and her son. This is why I walk.

Antietam Video

Some of you might know that this blog started following the Rocky Mountain Civil War Round Table's study group trip to Antietam (geez that's a mouthful). I had too many pictures and stories to share than I could fit in the round table's newsletter (I am the newsletter editor). So I made this blog and since then have branched off into many other topics, but with a lot of battlefield photography. My buddy Mike was my travel partner, though after we blew an engine and wrecked a second car I'm sure we were both wondering who was the bad luck charm, and he put together an amazing video of our travels. He does this with every trip and its mostly a battlefield documentary but does have a segment on the travels.



Next Thursday (October 11) at the round table's monthly meeting Mike will present his video. He also has some clips of older movies available on his youtube site and has promised that Antietam clips will be posted in the near future. I will also have a clip available on here some time next week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

US Regular Infantry @ Chickamauga

Of the four monuments for US Regulars all but one feature the image of a soldier firing behind breastworks. These make for some interesting monuments, I especially like the 15th and 16th monuments.

15th US Regulars:

16th US Regulars:

18th US Regulars:
19th US Regulars:

Also in case you're wondering I foresee many more days of Chickamauga posts. Chickamauga is on my mind because that is the book project I am currently working on. Plus Chickamauga has a lot of interesting monuments.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Pardon the Interuption

I know this is a Civil War blog but I am also a sports nut and a Colorado fan. Rockies, Avs, Nuggets, Broncos, CU Buffaloes, (I'll even root for the CSU Rams when they are not playing my alma mater). This was an exciting weekend. First my Buffs beat #3 Oklahoma 27-24. The Buffs are not going to win too many games but you can see the improvement they're making and maybe down the road we'll challenge again for Big 12 titles. Upsetting Oklahoma was huge and if we beat Nebraska to end the season it will be a great year. (Basically if we are not going to win the Big 12 beating Nebraska turns a mediocre season into a good season).

And the Rockies have had a great run to finish the season. Over the weekend they forced a tiebreaker game with the Padres to determine the wildcard winner. Last night in dramatic fashion they won the tiebreaker game and entered the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. In the 13th inning the Padres took a 2 run lead, 8-6. But in the bottom half of the inning the Rockies hit back-to-back doubles to leadoff the inning, followed with a triple to tie the score and scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly. I'm still not sure the runner touched home to score that winning run but the umpire said safe and so it stands (a few innings earlier a home run was ruled a double because the umpire didn't see if the ball bounced off a first row seat or the top of the fence before coming back into play, if that homer had counted the game never goes into extra innings, karma payback? maybe). The National League teams are all pretty closely bunched in terms of record so the Rockies are not prohibitive underdogs even though they are the wildcard. In fact with the win last night they have 90 wins which ties them for most wins in the NL, took us an extra game to get there though. We have as good a chance as any NL team of going to the World Series.


Of course the weekend wasn't entirely great as the Broncos lost, but I really didn't expect them to do much in Indianapolis. And the Avs start their season this week. Its a great time to be a Colorado sports fan.

US Regular Artillery @ Chickamauga

There are four Regular Army battery monuments at Chickamauga.
Battery H, 4th US Artillery in Kelly Field. The view is looking north along the LaFayette Road.
Battery I, 4th US Artillery on Snodgrass Hill. The Snodgrass house is just behind the monument (out of view on the left of the picture).
Battery M, 4th US Artillery on the edge of Poe Field:
Another view of the battery along the park tour route.
Battery H, 5th US Artillery. I'd like to give a good description of the area its in but its kinda stuck in the middle of the forest. It is south of the Reed's Bridge road and west of Jay's Mill. This is a first day position.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A few other Confederate Monuments

Officially most of these are actually "markers" not monuments.


All of the Kentucky markers, Union and Confederate, look like this. No time listed, just the regiment name. South Carolina has two styles. This one is for brigades. Again, no times listed.
And this one is for regiments (with no times listed).
Georgia's regimental markers are much larger and could be called monuments. The design near the top changes slightly for each unit. A cartridge box, as shown here, for the infantry, a horse shoe for the cavalry and crossed cannon for the artillery. Times are listed which makes them much more useful for research purposes.
Tennessee's are probably the simplist of the markers. Just a large rectangle. Times are listed which is helpful.
When doing my Tennessee monument post a few days ago I completely forgot about this monument to the 25th Tennessee. It is on Snodgrass ridge. In the foreground you can see a Tennessee marker that has a large chip out of it. In fact I found 3 or 4 Tennesse markers that had chips or large scraps on them. Some might be accidental damage caused by park service mowers but some did not look as accidental.