About Me

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I am a lifelong student of military history with particular interest in the Battle of Antietam. I work for the federal government in Washington DC and have two young adult children who I love very much. I currently volunteer at Antietam and devote much time to the study of this battle and the Maryland Campaign. I enjoy collecting notable contemporary quotations by and about the men of Antietam. Since 2013 I have been conducting in depth research on the regular artillery companies of the Union Army and their leaders. I hope to turn this into a book on this subject in the future. My perspective comes from a 28-year career in the U.S. Army. Travels took me to World War II battlefields in Europe and the Pacific where American valor ended the tyranny of Nazism and Empire. But our country faced its own greatest challenge 80 years earlier during the Civil War. And it was the critical late summer of 1862, when Robert E. Lee launched the Maryland Campaign. It is an incredible story of drama, carnage, bravery, and missed opportunities that culminated around the fields and woodlots of peaceful Sharpsburg MD. So join me as I make this journey South from the North Woods.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Recent Acquisitions

In my travels lately I came across some books that I happily added to my collection. Asheville North Carolina boasts some great used bookshops. I spent the 4th of July in that fine city as my son and I headed cross-country to Yuma.

At the Battery Park Book Exchange, part book store and part wine cellar, I acquired four books:

A.P. Hill: Lee’s Forgotten General by William W. Hassler. I have Robertson’s biography on Hill but since he is one of the subjects of Antietam Leadership Lessons program, the more I can find out about him the more perspective I can add to my program.

Lee’s Tarnished Lieutenant: James Longstreet and His Place in Southern History by William Garret Piston. Longstreet is likewise a subject in my leadership program. I have Jeffrey Wert’s biography and Longstreet’s own wartime account, but once again, the more that I ca learn about “Old Pete,” the happier I am.

A Guide to Civil War Sites in Maryland: Blue and Gray in a Border State by Susan Cooke Soderburg is a handy little book that contains a lot of background and trivia type information about Maryland. Since this is my stomping ground for tours, I picked up this book to learn a little more about some of the less well-known places in this part of the state.

Columbiad – A Quarterly Review of the War Between the States, Volume 1, Number 1. This is the inaugural edition of the Columbiad, a journal on Civil War history that made its appearance in 1997. Volume 1, Number 1 has a number of articles that are interesting to someone with an interest in the Maryland Campaign. For Maryland Campaigners, it includes an article by Tom Clemens on the Original Iron Brigade, namely Walter Phelps’s New York brigade, an article by David E. Long on Wartime Diplomacy: Lincoln and the Election of 1862, and finally an article by Kathleen Ernst on Bradley Johnson and the First Maryland Infantry Regiment called “That Gallant Band of Marylanders.” There are several other great articles in this first edition including an analysis by Gary Gallagher of Jackson vs. Early and their respective Valley Campaigns, a look at the generalship of Henry Halleck by Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones, a review of the Perryville Campaign by Peter Cozzens and finally a thought provoking article called the Professional Historian and the “Popular” Historian by Mark Grimsley. Clearly the editors pulled out all the stops for this first edition of their journal. I was real excited to find this one and enjoyed reading it over in the last few days.

At The Captain’s Bookshelf, also in Asheville, speaking of Perryville, I discovered Kenneth Noe’s Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle. I have always wanted to learn about the Confederate invasions in the west during the late summer of 1862 and this book does not disappoint. Well documented with many maps and photographs, it is a very detailed treatment of this campaign and the leaders and soldiers on both sides.

I did not have to go far to buy my final book. Antietam’s bookstore recently stocked up on a number of military histories. Not all of them pertain to the American Civil War. They are heavily discounted and there are some very good titles now on hand. Several weeks ago I purchased Lincoln and His Admirals by Craig Symonds from this collection. Today, I found Sheridan’s Lieutenants by David Coffey at a price I couldn’t refuse. The book focuses on the last year of the war and the key role that Sheridan and his lieutenants played in the final victory over Robert E. Lee. I casually perused the Sheridan book when I got home and found that I couldn’t put it down. Not a long work (145 pages) it is well documented and contains ten good maps and 25 illustrations.

My spasm of browsing and buying at bookstores is over (for now). True, I can usually do better buying on line, even if I include postage, but for me, there is nothing like spending an afternoon browsing in a fine used book store with a great work you always wanted to see in your hands. It is one of the finer things in life.

1 comment:

  1. Spot on Jim. U would love Dallas, where they have a giant bookstore called half price books