Archive for Books
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.
A book review written by Jonathan A. Noyalas on Eric J. Wittenberg’s The Battle of White Sulphur Springs has been published bythe Civil War News.
In the October 2011 issue The Civil War News, Author/historian John Michael Priest reviews the modern reprint of the History of the 12th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry by William Hewitt.
The book can purchased at The West Virginia Book Company.
The Pocahontas Times has published a review of My Reminiscences of the Civil War with the Stonewall Brigade and the Immortal 600. These memoirs were written by Captain Alfred Mallory Edgar of the Confederate 27th Virginia Infantry. Edgar was a native of Greenbrier County and lived much of his life in Pocahontas County.
The History Press has released a new title, The Battle of White Sulphur Springs: Averell Fails to Secure West Virginia, by Eric J. Wittenberg.
In August 1863, Union general William Woods Averell led a 600-mile raid culminating in the Battle of White Sulphur Springs in Greenbrier County. Col. George S. Patton, grandfather of the legendary World War II general, met Averell with a dedicated Confederate force. After a fierce two-day battle, Patton defeated Averell, forcing him to retreat. In his book, Civil War historian Eric J. Wittenberg presents an in-depth analysis of the important battle.
Wittenberg has written more than 15 published books on the Civil War. Visit his blog at http://civilwarcavalry.com.
The 193-page paperback is $21.99. It is available at The West Virginia Book Company.
Now available from 35th Star Publishing of Charleston.
My Reminiscences of the Civil War with the Stonewall Brigade and the Immortal 600
by Captain Alfred Mallory Edgar
27th Virginia Infantry, CSA
Alfred Mallory Edgar was born on July 10, 1837, in Greenbrier County, [West] Virginia, the son of Archer Edgar and Nancy Howe Pearis. Their mill, known as Edgar’s Mill, is now the site of present day Ronceverte, West Virginia. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the family owned ten slaves, five males and five females, ranging in age from 7 to 39 years old.
On May 9, 1861, at 23 years of age, Alfred volunteered for service in the Greenbrier Rifles, which would become part of the 27th Virginia Infantry, a regiment in the famous Stonewall Brigade of the Confederate Army. The Stonewall Brigade received their name from their legendary commander, General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. The 27th Virginia fought in many of the major campaigns and battles of the Civil War, including First Manassas, the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the 1864 battles of the Wilderness. Edgar was wounded in the left shoulder at the Bloody Angle at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, on May 12, 1864, and was made a prisoner of war. He was sent to Fort Delaware until he became part of a group that would be known as The Immortal 600. This group of Confederate officers were taken to Morris Island, South Carolina, at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, and exposed to enemy artillery fire for 45 days in an attempt to silence the Confederate gunners manning Fort Sumter. This was in retaliation for the Confederate Army imprisoning 50 Union Army officers and using them as human shields against federal artillery in the city of Charleston, in an attempt to stop Union artillery from firing upon the city. Edgar was finally released on June 16, 1865.
In June, 1875, he married Lydia McNeel, daughter of Col. Paul McNeel, whom he had met while a student at the old Lewisburg Academy. They settled at Hillsboro in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, where he was a farmer and stockman. Captain Edgar died in Pocahontas County on October 8, 1913, and is buried in the McNeel Cemetery.
Later in life, he wrote his reminiscences of the war. This work presents those memoirs with only minimal editing. It is the compelling personal account of a young Confederate soldier describing his dramatic experience in the Civil War and its impact on his life, family, and community.