Friday, October 30, 2009

Shiloh maps

This week I've been working on a Shiloh presentation I'm doing for the Rocky Mountain Civil War Round Table on December 10th. Its on the Crossroads, I'll be covering Sherman and McClernand's area from the first strike in the 53rd Ohio's camp thru the withdrawal after the noon counterattack. The round table is doing a theme lately of focusing on a small aspect of a battle. Last month was the Sunken Road at Antietam, earlier in the year was the Wheatfield of Gettysburg. I think there are others coming up but do not remember right now what they might be.

So the last few days I've been working on my maps. I scanned in the park service brochure and then edited out all the modern stuff I didn't want, like tour stops and modern names for roads. Then using the Trailhead Graphics map I put on the locations of every marker and monument. Its not perfect as the scale is different but I put each one as close as I could, and since no one is going to use my map in the field it does not need to be 100% accurate. For all the maps I used the marker's numeric designation. Later I'll either add a legend or will change the numbers to regimental designations.

First I have a map showing all the Union camp sites and I've added the brigade commanders' names and drawn lines to show how each brigade was scattered, or kept together as the case might be.

Then I made a map showing only the markers for this fighting, and my time frame only.

Then I made a map with the monuments for all the units involved. I would like to add the monuments to the markers map too but I think it will be too cluttered in this scale.

Then I made maps with just Union and Confederate positions, these versions don't show monuments but I think I have the space to add them. I also made versions that only show the positions for each division and each brigade but those are more for sorting my own notes.
This is the Union version:

And the Confederate:

Future ideas for the maps:
1) Depending on how cluttered it is, so it might be a divisional level map, draw a line between positions each regiment held so that you could clearly see where they moved to.
2) Make a map for each distinct time period that shows positions for both sides. I will be doing these, still fine tuning how many maps and the times represented.
At the actual presentation I will probably pass out a small packet of the maps (probably about 4) and then use the projector to show many more maps as I talk. So I'm willing to make a ton of maps because I know I don't have to print every single one.
I posted this early look at my maps with the hope my readers would offer some input on the whole deal.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Confederate Order of Battle for Shiloh

Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, (killed) commanding
Col. Wm. Preston, volunteer aid (OR Report)

Gen. P.G. T. Beauregard, commanding, Monday (OR Report)
Col. Jacob Thompson, volunteer aid (OR Report)

Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk (OR Report)
Maj. Smith P. Bankhead, Chief of Artillery (OR Report)
Surg W. D. Lyles, Medical Director (OR Report)

Brig. Gen. Charles Clark (wounded) (OR Report) (Supplement OR Report)
First Brigade
Col. Robert M. Russell (OR Report)
11th Louisiana (OR Report)
12th Tennessee (OR Report) (OR Report)
13th Tennessee (OR Report)
22d Tennessee
Bankhead’s Tennessee Battery

Second Brigade
Brig. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart (OR Report)
13th Arkansas (OR Report) (OR Report)
4th Tennessee (OR Report)
5th Tennessee (OR Report)
33d Tennessee (OR Report)
Stanford’s Mississippi Battery (OR Report)

Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham (wounded) (OR Report)

First Brigade
Brig. Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson (wounded) (OR Report)
Blythe's Mississippi
Walker’s 2d Tennessee
15th Tennessee
154th Senior Tennessee (OR Report) (OR Report)
Polk’s Tennessee Battery

Second Brigade
Col. William H. Stephens (OR Report) (Maney’s OR Report)
7th Kentucky (OR Report)
1st Tennessee Battalion
6th Tennessee
9th Tennessee
Smith’s Mississippi Battery

1st Mississippi (OR Report) (OR Report)
Mississippi and Alabama Battalion (OR Report)

47th Tennessee (arrived on field April 7)

Maj. Gen. Braxton Bragg (OR Report)

Brig. Gen. Daniel Ruggles (OR Report)

First Brigade
Col. Randall L. Gibson (OR Report)
1st Arkansas (OR Report)
4th Louisiana (OR Report)
13th Louisiana (OR Report)
19th Louisiana (OR Report)
Vaiden, or Bain's Mississippi Battery

Second Brigade
Brig. Gen. Patton Anderson (OR Report)
1st Florida Battalion (OR Report)
17th Louisiana (OR Report)
20th Louisiana (OR Report)
Confederate Guards Response Battalion (OR Report)
9th Texas (OR Report)
Washington (Louisiana) Artillery, Fifth Company (OR Report)

Third Brigade
Col. Preston Pond, Jr. (OR Report)
16th Louisiana (OR Report)
18th Louisiana (OR Report)
Crescent (Louisiana) Regiment (OR Report)
Orleans Guard (Louisiana) Battalion
38th Tennessee (OR Report)
Ketchum's Alabama Battery (OR Report)

1st Alabama Cavalry Battalion (OR Report)
Prattville Dragoons (OR Report)
Mathew Rangers (OR Report)
Robins’ Cavalry (OR Report)

Brig. Gen. Jones M. Withers (OR Report)

First Brigade
Brig. Gen. Adley H. Gladden (mortally wounded)
Col. Daniel W. Adams (wounded) (OR Report) (Deas’ OR Report) (Loomis' OR Report)
21st Alabama (OR Report)
22d Alabama (OR Report) (OR Report)
25th Alabama (OR Report)
26th Alabama (OR Report)
1st Louisiana
Robertson's Alabama Battery

Second Brigade
Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers (OR Report)
5th Mississippi
7th Mississippi
9th Mississippi
10th Mississippi
52d. Tennessee
Gage's Alabama Battery

Third Brigade
Brig. Gen. John K. Jackson (OR Report) (Moore’s OR Report)
17th Alabama
18th Alabama (OR Report)
19th Alabama (OR Report)
2d Texas (OR Report)
Girardey's Georgia Battery (OR Report)

Clanton's Alabama Regiment

Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee (wounded) (OR Report)

First Brigade
Brig. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman (disabled), commanding his own and Third Brigade
Col. R. G. Shaver (disabled) (OR Report)
2d Arkansas (OR Report)
6th Arkansas
7th Arkansas (OR Report)
3d Confederate
Warren Light Artillery, or Swett's Mississippi Battery,
Pillow's Flying Artillery, or Miller's Tennessee Battery,

Second Brigade
Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne (OR Report)
15th Arkansas
6th Mississippi
Bate’s 2d Tennessee (OR Report) (OR Report)
5th (35th) Tennessee (OR Report)
23d Tennessee (OR Report)
24th Tennessee

Shoup's Battalion
Trigg's (Austin) Arkansas Battery
Calvert's (Helena) Arkansas Battery
Hubbard's Arkansas Battery

Third Brigade
Brig. Gen. Sterling A. M. Wood (disabled) (OR Report)
16th Alabama (OR Report)
8th Arkansas (OR Report)
9th (14th ) Arkansas (battalion) (OR Report)
3d Mississippi Battalion (OR Report)
27th Tennessee (OR Report)
44th Tennessee (OR Report)
55th Tennessee
Harper's (Jefferson Mississippi) Battery (OR Report) (OR Report)
Avery’s Georgia Dragoons (OR Report)

Brig. Gen. John C. Breckinridge (OR Report)

First Brigade
Col. Robert P. Trabue (OR Report)
Clifton's 4th Alabama Battalion
31st Alabama
3d Kentucky
4th Kentucky
5th Kentucky
6th Kentucky
Crew's Tennessee Battalion
Lyon's (Cobb's) Kentucky Battery
Byrne's Mississippi Battery
Morgan’s Squadron Kentucky Cavalry

Second Brigade
Brig. Gen. John S. Bowen (wounded) (Martin’s OR Report)
9th Arkansas (OR Report)
10th Arkansas
2d Confederate
1st Missouri
Pettus Flying Artillery, or Hudson's Mississippi Battery
Watson's Louisiana Battery
Thompson's Company Kentucky Cavalry

Third Brigade
Col. Winfield S. Statham, 15th Mississippi
15th Mississippi
22d Mississippi
19th Tennessee
20th Tennessee
28th Tennessee
45th Tennessee
Rutledge's Tennessee Battery
Forrest's Regiment Tennessee Cavalry

Wharton's Texas Regiment Cavalry (OR Report)
Wirt Adams's Mississippi Regiment Cavalry
McClung's Tennessee Battery
Roberts Arkansas Battery

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Principles of War

Earlier this week I talked about principles of war. I just wanted to post the list alone so it'd be easier for all of us to refer back to when needed.

Objective: Direct every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective.

Offensive: Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative.

Mass: Concentrate combat power at the decisive place and time.

Economy of Force: Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts.

Maneuver: Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power.

Unity of Command: For every objective, ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander.

Security: Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage.

Surprise: Strike the enemy at a time or place, or in a manner, for which he is unprepared.

Simplicity: Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Battlefield Preservation

At the Rocky Mountain Civil War Symposium Tim Smith talked about the "Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation," that time in the 1890's when all the factors aligned for a good amount of battlefield preservation. (Review of symposium here and here, and check out Smith's The Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation : The Decade of the 1890's and the Establishment of America's First Five Military Parks and A Chickamauga Memorial: The Establishment of America’s First Civil War National Military Park for more information).

The next big wave of preservation would not happen until the 1920s when several other battlefields were preserved on a much smaller scale. These parks were much smaller because of the financial cost involved and also because urbanization had often covered much of the battlefield. That is why we do not have a Stones River, Franklin or Atlanta battlefield park preserved on the scale of Chickamauga. In the 1890's Congress had other opportunities but for a variety of factors they ended up creating those five big parks (Chickamauga-Chattanooga, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Antietam and Gettysburg). And they did study to some degree creating other parks, I forget how many Tim said, but I think it was nearly two dozen battlefields.

That got me to thinking, if the veterans had been able to preserve one more battlefield in the 1890's (and preserve it on a large scale like Chickamauga or Shiloh) which battlefield should they have preserved? I have too many options to narrow down to just one more battlefield.

Perryville is in great shape, though still not a national park, so while it would have been great if it had been preserved in the 1890's we lucked out.

If TVA had not happened then it would have been great to preserve Fort Henry. I'm not sure it would add a whole lot to the story but it still feels weird that a battlefield is now at the bottom of a lake. Of course if it had been preserved then TVA would have faced another obstacle and might not have happened. In the course of American history the creation of TVA is probably more important than preserving a single fort (unless that fort had a huge impact on history, Fort Henry while important was not a supremely important event).

I would like if there was more ground at Corinth and Iuka to study but those were not huge battles. I think a sixth park should have been a large battle.

I'm not sure how you preserve Atlanta. There are three battles for the city but none of those are the final word on the fate of the city. Plus they are spread out. The same goes for the other battles of the Georgia campaign. While I would love if every one was preserved none are really that huge battle that cries out for total preservation.

Its a shame how little of Franklin is preserved and I would love for it have been the sixth one in the 1890's. It would also have preserved an 1864 field so that, in theory, the visitor centers could have worked together to tell the entire story of the war. I think it should have been the sixth large battlefield.

My other choice for the sixth large battlefield is Stones River, and the two are very close in my mind. I think I'd give the edge to Franklin only because it would provide an excellent chance to link the story of the war across the battlefields, and being in 1864 it would help bring to a close the war. People could do a loop going from Shiloh to Vicksburg to Chickamauga, and Chattanooga) and end up at Franklin. A one week vacation/pilgrimage could tell the story of most of the war. But if not Franklin then I think it should have been Stones River. I think Stones River is an interesting battle to study, lots of maneuver and fighting, and only a small portion is saved. I heard a ranger there once say that if he had been forced to only save 10% of the battlefield this is the 10% he would have picked, and while the 10% saved might be an important 10% there is so much more to this battlefield that has disappeared since the 1890's.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Superintendent vacancy at Gettysburg

As you might have heard over the past day or so John Latschar, Superintendent at Gettysburg, has found himself in a bit of trouble over sexually explicit photos found on his computer. This morning it has been reported that he has been reassigned to a desk job within the National Park Service. Which means that there is an opening at Gettysburg.

Dear Jonathan Jarvis,
As you have probably read events for the Civil War's sesquicentennial have started to happen. The first event was the recent retracing of John Brown's night march to Harper's Ferry that helped bring the impending conflict closer to the minds of all Americans. And now you have a superintendent vacancy at one of the crown jewels of the National Park system, Gettysburg.

The most recent superintendent, John Latschar, did a tremendous job in returning the battlefield to its 1863 appearance. I know the locals and environmentalists didn't always agree with him but Gettysburg historians are generally very pleased with the condition of the field.

But this work is not done. It would be very troubling if the next superintendent came in and erased all of the hard work that has been in the recent years returning the battlefield to its original appearance. The work must continue. But there is an opportunity here to do so much more.

If you hire me to be the next superintendent I promise that by Gettysburg's sesquicentennial you will have a battlefield more closely resembling its 1863 appearance than at any time since then.

Here is my plan:
First we must continue the work of cutting down woodlots that were not there in 1863 and replanting the woodlots and orchards that have since disappeared.

Second, we should make an annual effort to plant each field with the same crop that it was at the time of the battle.

Third (and my most revolutionary step) we should remove from the battlefield area all things that would not have been there in 1863, with a few exceptions. The monuments, markers and tablets will remain of course, as well as the cemetery and museum. But then all concrete roads and power lines should be removed. Any building in the area between the first day's fight and the southern part of the battlefield that was not there on July 3rd needs to be removed. I realize this means a lot of gas stations, hotels, homes and restaurants will need to be removed but they can be relocated on the periphery. We then will need to build 2 small visitor's centers on the edges of the battlefield (most likely on near York Pike and Highway 15, and another west of the battlefield on the Chambersburg Pike) where people can park their cars and then choose to enter the park by foot, horse or buggy. The only place modern transportation will be allowed is on the Baltimore Pike between the current visitor's center and Highway 15.

I know my plan is expensive and will be met by opposition by people who will be forced to relocate. But they live in modern intrusions on the battlefield, the battlefield was there first, they choose to live in Gettysburg and many probably picked it for its historical value. Its time to return that historical value. We can create a battlefield that very closely resembles the way it was those three momentous days in July. People will flock to Gettysburg. Even if they recently visited the park they will want to come again to see its improved look. This increased visitation will allow us to slash the cost of the museum (and cyclorama and movie) and make family vacations more affordable. The new transportation visitor centers will also have some display room for artifacts so that more of the huge Gettysburg collection can be shown.

Thank you for your consideration.

Nick Kurtz

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Principles of War: US Grant

Yesterday I covered Albert Sidney Johnston in the Shiloh campaign based on a modern list of principles of war. Today its Grant's turn.

Objective: Did he direct every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective? Yes. On the first day it was more about holding ground when possible so that other parts of the army were not opened up to attack. This worked well with the exception of the Hornets' Nest and there Prentiss had an earlier opportunity to leave, he just held on to late. On the second day the objective is clear, recapture what was lost, this was attainable and was decisive.

Offensive: Did he seize, retain, and exploit the initiative? His opportunity for this comes on the second day and he does a wonderful job of doing this. On the first day Sherman and McClernand lead a counter attack that seizes and exploits the initiative but they do not retain it. They also act on their own so we cannot credit Grant with this.

Mass: Did he concentrate combat power at the decisive place and time? This one is a little tough to answer. He does do a good job of parceling out his reserve units on the first day sending Hurlbut to the far left and WHL Wallace into the center. A few other regiments and brigades are separated from their parent unit and are sent out to other portions of the field. But what is the decisive point on the battlefield? Yesterday I said for the Confederates it was the Peach Orchard as that then led to the fall of the Hornets' Nest. But perhaps the decisive point on the battlefield is the final line at Pittsburg Landing. In that case Beauregard did a poor job (Johnston was dead by this time) in that he did not commit to the attack and canceled the attack that was naturally being made. And then Grant does a good job because the final line has all available men ready for the attack. On the second day Grant really doesn't concentrate his men for a decisive blow, he simply swamps the Confederates with too many men (many of them fresh from Lew Wallace and Don Carlos Buell) all along the line. Overall I guess I would say that Grant did a good job with this principle.

Economy of Force: Did he allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts? In a sense there was no secondary efforts. Grant faced Confederates everywhere on both days so he had his men spread out roughly evenly both days. Not sure what he could have done differently on this front.

Maneuver: Did he place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power? Not sure what is meant by flexible application, Grant surely didn't shuffle men to overpower one particular point. On the first day he reinforced areas that needed it. On the second day his men were spread out everywhere, in about the same strength everywhere, there was just too many Union soldiers to be held back forever. I think I'll answer no for this one. After the battle he had an opportunity at Fallen Timbers to do more, especially if he had sent out more men than he did, so we should probably mark him down a bit for that as well.

Unity of Command: Did he ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander, for every objective? I think he did okay on this one and it was more by luck than be design. He did not assign a commander to an area he just ended up with relatively good commanders in each area. Sherman and McClernand did a good job on the right. WHL Wallace and Prentiss did not face as rough a task in the center as post battle writings would indicate but they did good with the task they faced. They stayed in the position longer than they needed to but they were following Grant's orders to the fullest ("hold at all hazards") I think Hurlbut did a good job on the left although he hardly seems to get any acclaim for it.

Security: Did he permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage? One of Grant's failings. The Confederates gained the unexpected advantage with the early morning attack. Grant and Sherman may later claim that they were prepared but the manner (slightly foreshadowing the next principle) definitely was a surprise.

Surprise: Did he strike the enemy at a time or place, or in a manner, for which he is unprepared? As I just mentioned Grant was on the receiving end on this one. The manner definitely surprised him and caught him unprepared. One could argue that the place was not so much a surprise as there was only a limited front the Confederates could attack, unless they went for Lew Wallace well north of the main camp. The place was unprepared as there were no entrenchments made prior to April 6th, some will be made that night. And the timing was a bit of a surprise. The evidence had been mounting that the Confederates were more active near the camps, so I think realistically Grant figured there would be some sort of fight in the coming week. But I think he imagined it as a fight between a few companies or regiments, not 100,000 men engaged for two full days. Grant's attack on the second day doe snot catch the Confederates unprepared, the only way he could have accomplished this is if he had made a flank attack, that would have meet the manner portion of the principle. But a flank attack would have been nearly impossible to make due to the creeks and swamps that defined the edges of the battlefield.

Simplicity: Did he prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding? A bit of both. Certainly Lew Wallace did not receive clear orders or there would not have been any controversy over his march. Most everyone else did get clear orders but those orders were rather simple, hold on as best you can and retreat slowly. Prentiss was told to hold to the last when Grant might have meant hold until it really didn't need to be held any more, but Grant probably hoped his final line might not be right at the Landing. If Hurlbut, Sherman and McClernand had been able to create a final line that connected to the Hornets' Nest position than those earlier orders were perfect. But once everyone else had retreated Prentiss should have joined them, he waited too long and it cost the army about 2000 men captured. As army commander Grant deserves some blame for Prentiss staying too long; once it was clear Prentiss was alone Grant probably should have sent orders to join everyone at the Landing.

In all I think Grant did a good job on four of the principles with one that was a bit of both. Yesterday I rated Johnston as good on three with two mixed. I'm not sure any commander fought a battle and met all nine principles. It'll be fun to tackle some other battles in the future, I hope to make a series of this, maybe doing a battle every other week, or as the mood strikes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Principles of War: AS Johnston

The other day I was going through a pile of xeroxes I had made months earlier and stumbled on this nugget that I had since forgotten about. It is a list of principles of war. I showed it to a buddy who is a retired colonel and he said that this is an army list and not something some author created. He said other countries’ armies have similar lists and he went through them briefly with me. Anyway here is the list and then I thought I’d examine Albert Sidney Johnston in the Shiloh campaign by this list.

Objective: Direct every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective.

Offensive: Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative.

Mass: Concentrate combat power at the decisive place and time.

Economy of Force: Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts.

Maneuver: Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power.

Unity of Command: For every objective, ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander.

Security: Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage.

Surprise: Strike the enemy at a time or place, or in a manner, for which he is unprepared.

Simplicity: Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding.

So now Johnston’s review
Objective: Did he direct every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective? Not really. Johnston and Beauregard were operating on different plans. They committed troops to battle in different areas. Now if one plan had been stuck with then it might meet this criteria with the main debate being if the objective was attainable.

Offensive: Did he seize, retain, and exploit the initiative? As best he could while alive, yes. Of course there are going to be lulls in a battle and some missed opportunities, but by and large Johnston did a good job on this score.

Mass: Did he concentrate combat power at the decisive place and time? Yes and no. The original attack did not really do this as each corps was stretched across the width of the battlefield. Then Beauregard sends men towards the Crossroads (which I don’t think could be called the decisive point as taking this position did not win the battle). To finally make the Peach Orchard line fall, which led to the capture of Prentiss’ men, Johnston did concentrate his power. Although there were not too many brigades to concentrate he did what he could with what he had. There was not a huge attack with every brigade at his disposal but he funneled the men he had into the attack that finally caused the Peach Orchard area to fall. Not a huge concentration so my yes on this question is lukewarm at best.

Economy of Force: Did he allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts? No, because Beauregard and Johnston worked at cross purposes. Beauregard tended to funnel men into the attack on Sherman and McClernand on the Confederate left while Johnston was on the right directing the attacks. The allocation of combat power was seriously messed up.

Maneuver: Did he place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power? No. The Union fell back to a nice line near Pittsburg Landing.

Unity of Command: Did he ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander, for every objective? No. The attack plan with each corps attacking in one long line meant that the corps commanders never had control over their corps.

Security: Did he permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage? No. The Confederates were the one that gained the unexpected advantage with the early morning attack. Johnston finally scores one solidly in his column.

Surprise: Did he strike the enemy at a time or place, or in a manner, for which he is unprepared? Once again this one is clearly one Johnston did right. Truthfully for this one and the previous one the Union did a lot wrong to allow Johnston to do well with surprise and security but he still did well.

Simplicity: Did he prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding? I almost want to say yes because allow the method of attack was flawed it was understandable. Everyone joined the battle fairly well. But Beauregard’s orders and Johnston’s plan were not the same. Beauregard orders forced the action towards the Landing while Johnston was hoping to turn the Union away from the Landing.

For the nine principles I give Johnston good scores on three with two others that are a little of both. Tomorrow I’ll tackle Grant’s performance at Shiloh.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Diabetes Charity Walk

For the third consecutive year I will be participating in the "Step Out" Diabetes charity walk in Denver. Its a great walk to be part of. We walk through an interesting old part of Denver along the Platte River and Cherry Creek (in this area gold was discovered in 1858 spurring a rush in 1859 that forced the creation of Colorado as a territory); there are always interesting vendors and games to play, plus we raise money to find a cure for diabetes.

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 wife too as she struggles daily with diabetes.

The Center for Disease Control says that 23.6 million Americans suffered from diabetes in 2007. This was 7.8% of our population. They also estimate that roughly 57 million Americans had pre-diabetes conditions. That means about a quarter of this country (over 80 million people) currently deals with diabetes in some form, although for many of them they do not realize the condition they are in. In 2007 it was estimated that over 1 million people were diagnosed with diabetes each year so in the two years since the CDC released its latest numbers the total number infected is now even higher.

As I said before, my wife has diabetes. If you’ve never been around a diabetic than you have no idea how big a part of their life it is. Everything my wife does has to be considered in light of the diabetes. This is much more than just constantly monitoring her blood sugar levels, and what she eats or when to take insulin. Some things are simple and require no thought. But other things require a bit more vigilance from her. And by now she's been dealing with Type 1 Diabetes long enough that she knows what she can and cannot eat, and what she must do to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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 with this post and if in the process some money gets donated to the American Diabetes Association for research for a cure that would be wonderful.

Diabetes is currently the 7th leading cause of death as listed on death certificates. The CDC though thinks that this is under reported as 35-40% of diabetics didn't have their diabetes listed at all on the death certificate and only 10-15% of diabetics listed diabetes as the primary cause of death. Most likely the other 85-90% of diabetics deaths were attributed to some of the things diabetes does to your body; like heart disease and kidney disease. Diabetes also causes high blood pressure, blindness (the leading cause of new blindness cases for the over 20 crowd) and nervous system disease (primarily a loss of sensation in the feet).

All of this scares me. It seems to me that if I can maintain a healthy lifestyle (or in my case do some improvements to get back to healthy and then walk the straight path again) and prevent type 2 diabetes that likely the other health problems will take care of themselves too. The life style that would prevent type 2 diabetes would also be healthy enough to prevent heart and kidney disease, assuming no other factors like family history.

Also I've said a bit about type 1 and type 2 diabetes but have not really defined it. The easiest way I know how to describe it is that in Type 2 diabetes you can "control" it with diet and exercise. You may have to take insulin but diet and exercise will also help lower your blood sugar level. In fact some people with Type 2 can diet and exercise enough that they can stop taking insulin. Type 1 diabetics do not have this luxury. Diet and exercise do still help them but they will always have to take insulin. Their pancreas just does not produce enough of it. With diet and exercise they may have to take a little less insulin but they will have to do daily injections, or have an insulin pump for the rest of their lives.

Beyond my wife, type 2, I've had other diabetics in my family. Most of them have had type 2, which happens to many Americans as we age. I'm sure the Wisconsin lifestyle of everything fried, with plenty of cheese and butter has not helped prevent my family members from getting diabetes as they aged. I'm guilty of that one too, I love cheese and I loved things fried, I love fried cheese too. My dad's mom had diabetes. I'm not sure how old I was but when I was young she had to have part of her leg amputated and my only memories of her are laying in a hospital bed at home. When we went there on vacation I spent a lot of time in her room, watching tv and talking. I know from pictures that there were vacations where she had two full legs and played with me. The first time I saw those pictures I was kinda shocked because I had no memory of that at all. Eventually she died of a heart attack but since heart disease is one of the things that diabetes causes her heart attack was probably diabetes related.

For more information visit the American Diabetes Association online. To donate to the walk I’ll be participating in go to my page.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Symposium Presenters

First off let me apologize for not providing a full recap of what each presenter said. I took notes not to provide a verbatim account here, I took notes mostly of things I thought were important or thought provoking.

The first speaker was Russel Beatie and he covered the corps structure in the Army of the Potomac from the its beginnings through the battle of Gettysburg with some discussion of how it would look on the eve of the 1864 Virginia campaign.

Beatie said a few things I do not agree with, that's the beauty of an event like this, you can talk to him immediately about why he came to conclusions he did. The first thing he said I didn't agree with is that Lincoln was an "abomination as a military president." I think Lincoln did struggle figuring out how to be commander in chief, trying to be hands off at times but then thinking he needed to very hands on at other times. I'm not going to say he didn't make mistakes but he did pilot the Union to victory. Might it have come sooner if he made some better decisions? Possibly. Beatie pointed out that giving army commands to Pope, Hooker and Burnside showed Lincoln's poor personnel decisions, but on the other hand when he made those decisions he did not have a huge pool of leaders to choose from. Beatie also said that only experience identifies people who are qualified; Lincoln never figured it out while Grant and Meade did. Again, I don't think this is a 100% fair attack on Lincoln as some of his greater blunders in picking leaders came early in the war when the level of experience was low across the board. As the war progresses he does pick Meade and Grant for higher commands, so if Grant and Meade are his examples of leaders who picked good subordinates than shouldn't Lincoln get some credit for putting those two men in high command?

One thing Beatie said that I found somewhat funny is that Burnside was the worst performance at Antietam. I found this humorous because I don't agree with him, but also because the next presenter, Stephen Recker, said that Burnside was the hero of Antietam since he was the only corps commander to take the position he was ordered to take.

Recker used a prototype of Virtual Antietam during his presentation (Virtual Gettysburg is already done and sold well at the event) and it was amazing to see. If my own budget wasn't so tight right now I probably would have left with a copy of Virtual Gettysburg and had my name on a list for Virtual Antietam.

He focused on Burnside's final attack, calling it the Pickett's Charge of Antietam. Basing this on numbers involved and the ground covered. Another thing he said was that if the Union had captured Nicodemus Heights on the 16th there probably would not have been a battle at all. He thought this was probably the lost opportunity of the battle.

Next up was Bradley Gottfried who went through the best and worst performing brigades at Gettysburg. There were many reasons a brigade might fall into either category. They might benefit from a strong position on the ground, or have high moral. Or they might be fresh troops, attacking a tough position, or their commander might not be very good.

The slides moved too quick for me to take copious notes of the good and bad brigades but I did manage to write a few down. Gottfried gave high marks to Perrin, Vincent, Stannard, McCandless, Greene and the Iron Brigade. Some of the poor performers were Mahone, Smith, Fisher, Brockenbrough, Ames and von Gilsa.

Lance Herdegen then talked about the Iron Brigade from their inception through Gettysburg. This was a talk I was looking forward to as my family is all from Wisconsin and I've always enjoyed reading about the Iron Brigade's exploits. So I mostly sat back and soaked it all in and took very few notes. Luckily the college was videotaping the entire day so later I might be able to post some clips here.

Our final presenter was Tim Smith, a Western Theater historian who also has done a ton of work on the history of preservation and the formation of the battlefields into national parks. The method of preservation at Antietam, mainly buying roadways and not much other land, is usually called the Antietam Plan but Smith argues that it should be called the Chattanooga Plan as that is where it was first implemented. At Chattanooga it was the method used mostly because there were few large tracts left to buy in the 1890s, the town had grown over the battlefield already, while at Antietam the decision was based more on financial concerns. The other main method in the 1890s was buying close to 100% of the battlefield, as was done at Chickamauga (and later at Shiloh). Gettysburg was a bit of a hybrid of both methods as there are areas that large chunks of land were purchased and there are other areas were small strips were purchased.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Final Book Sales

The symposium is now over. We do have some books leftover and I wanted to let my readers have a chance at these great deals.

Brigades of Gettysburg by Bradley M Gottfried (cloth) - Symposium Price $30.00, Retail Price $50.00

Artillery of Gettysburg - Gottfried by Bradley M Gottfried (cloth) - Symposium Price $15.00, Retail Price $24.95

Maps of Gettysburg: The Gettysburg Campaign June 3 – July 13 by Bradley M Gottfried (cloth) - Symposium Price $30.00, Retail Price $39.95

Maps of First Bull Run by Bradley M Gottfried (cloth) - Symposium Price $27.00, Retail Price $34.95

Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 by Timothy B Smith (cloth) - Symposium Price $20.00, Retail Price $32.95

On Many a Bloody Field: Four Years in the Iron Brigade by Alan D. Gaff (paper), Symposium Price $10.00, Retail Price $17.95

Iron Brigade: A Military History by Alan Nolan (paper) - Symposium Price $15.00, Retail Price $19.95

Dear Sarah: Letters Home from a Soldier of the Iron Brigade by Coralou Peel Lassen (cloth) - Symposium Price $10.00, Retail Price $24.95

Sherman's Horsemen by David Evans (paper) - Symposium Price $16.00, Retail Price $27.95

McClellan's War by Etahn Rafuse (cloth) - Symposium Price $23.00, Retail Price $35.00

Myth of the Lost Cause by Gary Gallagher & Alan Nolan (cloth) - Symposium Price $13.00, Retail Price $19.95
Email me at shilohnick at msn dot come to place your order.

Symposium Review

The Community College of Aurora is a great partner in the Rocky Mountain Civil War Symposium because they give us a great space, and plenty of it.

This is our entry way, which should make it quite clear to anyone wandering in that this is a Civil War event, Lee is featured prominently and we had two Civil War prints for raffle set up right when they first came in.
On the other side of the entry way was our registration table and the food line, right now its set up for breakfast. Breakfast and lunch are included in the ticket price.

The big screen was working, technology is sometimes iffy but today it worked well.

A view of the auditorium as people start to fill in. This was pretty early, by the end we had almost 60 paid attendees.
Our book room, which had a ton more books for sale than last year. It also was a bigger room than last year.

Round table member Brent Brown set up a small part of his saber collection. I got my picture pretty late in the day, earlier there were tags on each saber identifying what it was.

Later I'll post more details of the talks but our schedule was:
Russel Beatie talked about the corps structure in the Army of the Potomac from its inception through Gettysburg.
Stephen Recker spoke about the 9th Corps at Antietam (and giving a wonderful view of Virtual Antietam).
Bradley Gottfried covered the best and worst performing brigades at Gettysburg.
Lance Herdegen reviewed the Iron's Brigades involvement in the Antietam and Gettysburg campaigns.
Tim Smith compared the differing preservation methods used at Antietam and Gettysburg.
Left to right is Tim Smith, Stephen Recker, Wesley Harris, Ted Savas, Russel Beatie, Bradley Gottfried and Lance Herdegen. Harris is a new author in the Savas-Beatie stable and Savas came out partly because we had so many of his authors speaking at the event. Only Recker has not been published by Savas-Beatie.

Ted Savas also spoke briefly during the lunch hour about some publishing related issues. He also showed off an advance copy of Dave Powell's "Maps of Chickamauga." This should be out in a few weeks so we took some orders at the event.

Near the end of the event we had a panel discussion that went well. I think we could have gone longer than an hour but an hour is probably a good length of time, don't want to over do it either.

And then we capped the day with an author signing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Symposium thank yous

With any big project no one person does all the work. This year I was the symposium coordinator, a job I enjoyed and am willing to do again, however I think next year I might step aside and let someone else run the show. I worked with a lot of good people, both round table members and outsiders.

Among the outsiders were a good amount of publishers. We didn't end up ordering from all the publishers we could but this time around publishers seemed much more willing to deal with us. I'm not sure if that was part luck or due to the economy (and publishers looking for every dollar possible). I would like to thank Dino Battista at University of North Carolina Press, Brad Larson at Longleaf, Mary Beth Hass and Jennifer Coyle at Indiana University Press, Christina Lumbis at DaCapo, Kristin Hambleton at Stackpole and John Hussey at Kentucky University Press. There are two publishers though who have been much bigger parts of our symposium efforts, in both years. One are the good folks at the University of Tennessee Press, especially Tom Post and Tom Wells; besides ordering assistance they provided some giveaways for door prize drawings. The other is the Savas Beatie, which got involved in a much larger way this year partly because nearly every presenter has been published by them. I was helped greatly by Ted Savas, Sarah Keeney, Tammy Hall and Veronica Kane; they provided a ton of assistance, going above and beyond just ordering issues.

Our marketing efforts are always a source of concern. As I said the other day I know we will put on a good show, I worry about getting people to see that show. There are quite a few people who helped get the word out about our event but a few people did even extra work, helping to promote next year's event already. I would like to say thank you to Pat Anderson at Learning Academy, Erin Wilson at The Teaching Company, Barb Gibson at Four Mile House in Denver, Beth Godin and Matthew Borowick at Civil War News and Patricia Harris at Civil War Courier.

Additionally some of my fellow bloggers helped promote the event. Jim Rosebrock, John Hoptak and Mannie Gentile posted full descriptions of the event on thier blog and I'm grateful for the help. Anytime I can return the favor they just need to ask.

Among round table members we got a lot of support. Ian Duncanson, Jim Powers, Brad Edwards and Kathy Spruill helped run the book room. Ned Grauel and Gary Kurtz drove our presenters all around town and spent much of Friday at the airport. Dave Townsend was our liaison with the Community College of Aurora, a truly great event partner. We get an amazing event space through that partnership. Ron Berg made fabulous brochures. Any time I asked him for a brochure he'd always create a fantastic brochure well before any deadline (brochures for next year are already made in fact). Mike Lang was a fabulous emcee and also showed his award winning Antietam video during the lunch break, I heard many people say how great the video was. Len Bertagnolli ran our registration table and tallied the results of questionnaire (much quicker than I expected). Joe Serrano fixed up our website and allowed us to sell tickets online, which about a quarter of attendees used. Dave Armagast, Matt Spruill, Larry Peterson, Ray Polster and Craig Osieczanek also helped contribute to the final product, (I hope I didn't miss anyone, please accept my apologies if I did). Brent Brown volunteered to set up a display from his extensive saber collection, which was a nice touch. Also Tim Kissel, of Trailhead Graphics Maps, generously donated a portion of his day's sales to the round table. Its because of members like these that I know we can put on a fabulous event.

My wife was also a big help with the event. I know she got tired of me bouncing ideas off her but she was a huge help. She also got involved in the process by creating some fabulous gift bags that we gave to every presenter and also laying the ground work for our Friday night event. I'm sure she's as glad as I am that the event is over.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sympsoium recap

I'm proud to say that the Rocky Mountain Civil War Symposium was a success. We are at the point where I have no doubt we'll put on a quality show, all I worry about now is getting people in to see the show. Attendance this year was a bit down from last year. We had 57 paid attendees, last year was 64. Its not a huge drop and we secured deals on hotels and airfare that meant the profit margin was about the same as last year, a final tally is not yet possible as book sales continue. But once we sell those final books we should be around where we were last year; we lose money but not too much. Next month the symposium committee will meet and figure out how to make the next event even bigger.

I'll post some pictures and a review of the presentations tomorrow. But today it feels good to have most of the symposium work done. Now its just a matter of tallying up the final bills, and returning the books we can return. Then I can take a break from symposium activities for awhile.