Archive for Books
Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era
New biography by the Ohio University Press
The wrenching events of the Civil War transformed not only the United States but also the men unexpectedly called on to lead their fellow citizens in this first modern example of total war. Jacob Dolson Cox, a former divinity student with no formal military training, was among those who rose to the challenge. In a conflict in which “political generals” often proved less than competent, Cox, the consummate citizen general, emerged as one of the best commanders in the Union army.
During his school days at Oberlin College, no one could have predicted that the intellectual, reserved, and bookish Cox possessed what he called in his writings the “military aptitude” to lead men effectively in war. His military career included helping secure West Virginia for the Union; jointly commanding the left wing of the Union army at the critical Battle of Antietam; breaking the Confederate supply line and thereby helping to precipitate the fall of Atlanta; and holding the defensive line at the Battle of Franklin, a Union victory that effectively ended the Confederate threat in the West.
At a time when there were few professional schools other than West Point, the self-made man was the standard for success; true to that mode, Cox fashioned himself into a Renaissance man. In each of his vocations and avocations—general, governor, cabinet secretary, university president, law school dean, railroad president, historian, and scientist—he was recognized as a leader. Cox’s greatest fame, however, came to him as the foremost participant historian of the Civil War. His accounts of the conflict are to this day cited by serious scholars and serve as a foundation for the interpretation of many aspects of the war.
About the Author: Eugene D. Schmiel is a retired U.S. Department of State Foreign Service officer. He was an assistant professor of history at St. Francis University (PA) and has taught at Marymount, Shenandoah, and Penn State universities. He holds the Ph.D. degree from The Ohio State University and coauthored, with his wife Kathryn, a book on life in the Foreign Service.
From the author of the prizewinning New York Times bestseller Empire of the Summer Moon comes a thrilling account of how Civil War general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson became a great and tragic American hero.
Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon, even Robert E. Lee, he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country’s greatest military figures. His brilliance at the art of war tied Abraham Lincoln and the Union high command in knots and threatened the ultimate success of the Union armies. Jackson’s strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged; he was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future.
In April 1862 Jackson was merely another Confederate general in an army fighting what seemed to be a losing cause. By June he had engineered perhaps the greatest military campaign in American history and was one of the most famous men in the Western world. He had, moreover, given the Confederate cause what it had recently lacked — hope — and struck fear into the hearts of the Union.
Rebel Yell is written with the swiftly vivid narrative that is Gwynne’s hallmark and is rich with battle lore, biographical detail, and intense conflict between historical figures. Gwynne delves deep into Jackson’s private life, including the loss of his young beloved first wife and his regimented personal habits. Rebel Yell traces Jackson’s brilliant twenty-four-month career in the Civil War, the period that encompasses his rise from obscurity to fame and legend; his stunning effect on the course of the war itself; and his tragic death, which caused both North and South to grieve the loss of a remarkable American hero.
S.C. Gwynne, author of Rebel Yell, is the author of the New York Times bestseller Empire of the Summer Moon, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National BookCritics Circle Award. He spent most of his career as a journalist, including stints with Time as bureau chief, national correspondent, and senior editor, and with Texas Monthly as executive editor. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and daughter. For more information please visit http://www.scgwynne.com.
Gray Days in Morgantown, by Clyde Cale, Jr.
On April 27, 1863, Confederate raiders under the command of General William “Grumble” Jones came to Morgantown in search of supplies and livestock. The raiders were part of a larger force led by Jones and General John Imboden sent to western Virginia to destroy railroads and industrial facilities.
The story of the raid on Morgantown is told by Clyde Cale, Jr., in a new book, Gray Days in Morgantown, published by the Monongalia Historical Society. Cale’s meticulous research uncovered many little known details of the raid. Among these seldom told stories is the fact that the raiders made a return visit to town after residents thought they had left, and surprised many who believed it was safe to bring their horses and cattle from their hiding places. This is a book that Civil War buffs and local historians will want to own.
The book is $25 by mail, posting and handling included. Checks made payable to Monongalia Historical Society may be sent to Monongalia Historical Society, PO Box 127, Morgantown WV 26507.
For more information, contact Richard E. Walters, at 304-594-2290, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
West Virginia, “Child of the Storm,” was the only state formed as a result of the Civil War. The struggle between eastern and western Virginia over voting rights, taxation, and economic development can be traced back to the formation of the Republic. John Brown’s 1859 raid on the United States Arsenal at Harpers Ferry played a major role in the Civil War, which started in western Virginia with the destruction of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad property. When Virginia voted to secede and join the slave-holding Confederacy, the counties of western Virginia formed the pro-Union government known as the Restored Government of Virginia in Wheeling. West Virginia witnessed battles, engagements, and guerrilla actions during the four years of the Civil War. West Virginia in the Civil War chronicles the role West Virginians played in the Civil War through the use of vintage photographs.
An autographed book is available from the author for $23.00 postpaid. The book will be mailed in a padded reinforced envelope. Richard A. Wolfe, 38 Gregory Lane, Bridgeport, WV 26330. Email: email@example.com.
In 1939, Festus S. Summers wrote The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in the Civil War. Primarily a corporate history of the B&O during the war years, it has remained the only title on the subject for over seven decades! Now there is The War Came by Train.
Beginning with the B&O’s reaction to John Brown’s Raid in 1859 and ending with the demobilization of the Union Army in 1865, the author has written a highly detailed yet readable history of America’s most famous railroad during the Civil War. Daniel Carroll Toomey blends the overall strategy and political aims of that time period with the battles, raids, and daily operational challenges of a Civil War railroad. He introduces an array of little known personalities who worked for, attacked, defended or travelled on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. He also shows in numerous instances how the railroad and the telegraph combined to conquer time and distance on the battlefield and ushered in the era of modern warfare with the introduction of armored railcars, hospital trains and large scale troop movements.
The hard bound book contains 304 pages, 100 illustrations, 4 maps, end notes, bibliography and index. An added bonus, Appendix A contains detailed information on every B&O locomotive cited in the text.
The book can be ordered online directly from the B&O Railroad Museum Store.
For more information on the B&O Railroad Museum, visit borail.org.
On May 2, 1863, Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson led his Second Corps around the unsuspecting Army of the Potomac on one of the most daring flank marches in history. His surprise flank attack-launched with the five simple words “You can go forward, then” – collapsed a Union corps in one of the most stunning accomplishments of the war. Flushed with victory, Jackson decided to continue attacking into the night. He and members of his staff rode beyond the lines to scout the ground while his units reorganized. However, Southern soldiers mistook the riders for Union cavalry and opened fire, mortally wounding Jackson at the apogee of his military career. One of the rounds broke Jackson’s left arm, which required amputation. A week later Old Jack was dead.
Calamity at Chancellorsville: The Wounding and Death of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson is the first full-length examination of Jackson’s final days. Contrary to popular belief, eyewitnesses often disagreed regarding key facts relating to the events surrounding Jackson’s reconnaissance, wounding, harrowing journey out of harm’s way, medical care, and death. These accounts, for example, conflict regarding where Jackson was fatally wounded and even the road he was on when struck. If he wasn’t wounded where history has recorded, then who delivered the fatal volley? How many times did he fall from the stretcher? What medical treatment did he receive? What type of amputation did Dr. Hunter McGuire perform? Did Jackson really utter his famous last words, “Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees?” What was the cause of his death?
Author Mathew W. Lively utilizes extensive primary source material and a firm understanding of the area to re-examine the gripping story of the final days of one of the Confederacy’s greatest generals, and how Southerners came to view Jackson’s death during and after the conflict. Dr. Lively begins his compelling narrative with a visit from Jackson’s family prior to the battle of Chancellorsville, then follows his course through the conflict to its fatal outcome.
Instead of revising history, Dr. Lively offers up a fresh new perspective. Calamity at Chancellorsville will stand as the definitive account of one of the most important and surprisingly misunderstood events of the American Civil War.
About the Author: Mathew W. Lively is a West Virginia native and practicing physician. He currently serves as a Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. The recipient of two master’s degrees in addition to his medical degree, he has been an active teacher of medical students and resident physicians for the past fifteen years. He is the author of numerous scientific articles in the medical literature, several of which focus on medical history topics. A life-long student of Civil War history, he has combined his interests and medical knowledge in a book on the death of Stonewall Jackson.
Quarrier Press has released a reprint of Stan Cohen’s classic book, A Pictorial Guide to West Virginia’s Civil War Sites.
Over 400 photographs, maps, and drawings. Includes 230 sites connected to the Civil War such as battlefields, cemeteries, buildings, and houses. The book divides the sites by county, giving the significance of and directions to each site. This guidebook provides an opportunity for a hands on approach to learning about the Civil War.
The book can be ordered online at The West Virginia Book Company.
Author/historian Steve French has recently published his third book on Civil War action in the eastern panhandle and surrounding region.
The new title, Rebel Chronicles: Raiders, Scouts, and Train Robbers of the Upper Potomac, is divided into three parts, and includes a foreword by Edwin C. Bearrs.
Part 1: 8 chapters dealing with Potomac Scouts Captain Redmond Burke and Lieutenant Andrew Leopold, and 4 chapters covering the Valley Scout Captain John Corbin Blackford.
Part 2: 3 chapters on the Highland Raiders and the Raids on Little Cacapon, Paw Paw, Capon Bridge, South Fork and Saint George.
Part 3: 3 chapters of Train Robberies. The Winchester & Potomac Robbery, The Brown’s Shop Robbery and the Greenback Raid Robbery.
Ted Alexander, Chief Historian, Antietam National Battlefield says: “Steve’s book is buttressed by a vast array of sources, many of them never before utilized in any other studies. The bibliography alone is worth the price of this book. Some scholars have thrown out the challenge that there is nothing new to write about on the Civil War. Let them read Rebel Chronicles. Steve French has provided us with a fresh look at an often ignored phase of Civil War History.”
Rebel Chronicles is available for purchase at Battlefields and Beyond, Butternut and Blue, Confederate Shop, or by contacting the author. [Send $22.95 + $3 s/h to 8604 Martinsburg Rd., Hedgesville, WV 25427]
About the author: Steve French is the author of Imboden’s Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign, winner of the 2008 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award and the 2009 Gettysburg Civil War Round Table Book Award, and The Jones-Imboden Raid Against the B&O Railroad at Rowlesburg, Virginia, April 1863. He is also the editor of Four Years Along the Tilhance: The Diary of Elisha Manor. His more than seventy Civil War and other historical articles have appeared in The Washington Times, Gettysburg Magazine, North &South Magazine, The Southern Cavalry Review, Maryland Cracker Barrel Magazine, The Morgan Messenger, and Crossfire: The Magazine of the American Civil War Round Table (UK).
The Civil War Trust recently had the chance to sit down with Nicholas Redding, author of a new book, Civil War Shepherdstown: Victory and Defeat in West Virginia’s Oldest Town. This new book describes and analyzes the story of a town caught on the border of north and south and the experience of its citizens. The book also offers driving tours of nearby sites, including the Shepherdstown Battlefield.
Nicholas Redding, executive director of Historic Long Branch in Clarke County, Virginia, is the Civil War Trust’s former deputy director for advocacy.
By Joe Geiger, Jr.
This book seeks to provide a detailed look at military activities along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike from mid-September 1861 to the first week of April 1862. This campaign, fought primarily in Pocahontas County, Virginia, included the Battle of Greenbrier River, in which nearly 7,000 soldiers clashed in what was primarily an artillery duel; the Battle of Allegheny Mountain, the bloodiest battle of the first year of the war in present-day West Virginia; the January 1862 raid on Huntersville; and numerous other skirmishes, raids, expeditions, incidents and events.
The evidence shows that although Union forces never planned an offensive eastward along the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike after Major General George B. McClellan departed from western Virginia, Confederate leaders were convinced that failure to defend this road would result in a Union advance toward Staunton, a belief that doomed hundreds of Confederate soldiers to spend a winter in a most inhospitable land.
The soldiers who lived through these tumultuous times would remember their experiences in this remote region for the rest of their lives, and this endeavor was undertaken and completed so that their sacrifices and experiences are documented and preserved for future generations. They would undoubtedly be pleased to be remembered.
About the Author: Joe Geiger is the director of Archives and History at the West Virginia Division of Culture. Geiger has published numerous scholarly articles and a book, Civil War in Cabell County, West Virginia, 1861-1865.