Today I received a couple responses to some older posts, and thought I would provide answers here. Both of them touch on a few topics that can stand by themselves. The responses were from Charles Joyce and Don Hallstrom.
In response to the topic “Oh, to have been there…” Charles writes:
Greetings: I have enjoyed your writings on the Gettysburg Discussion Group and elsewhere, and I’m glad to learn that you’re writing an article on the June 26, 1863 action. I happen to have a CDV album that was owned by a Captain of the 127th Pennsylvania, which was William Jennings’ regiment before he commanded the 26th Pa. Militia. The album has a very nice CDV of Jennings, which you could use in your article if you wish. Let me know if you’re interested and I can send you a scan.
Charles, thank you very much for writing and for the offer of the Jennings picture. I would very much like to use it. I enjoy using illustrations provided by individuals rather than those in public repositories. I will make sure that full citation and credit are listed for you as well.
The article that Charles is referencing is a piece for Gettysburg Magazine that I’m writing about the June 26 skirmish between Gordon’s and White’s Confederate forces west of Gettysburg, against Jenning’s militia and Robert Bell’s Adams County Cavalry. Being able to use a picture from an individual’s collection would be a nice treat. Charles, if you could email a scan (at least 300 dpi and nice and clear) to me at firstname.lastname@example.org it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
In response to the post “Books, books, and more books” Don writes:
Hello J.D. I’m new to your blog and I’m enjoying it very much… Recently noticed that E(dward) Longacre has ground out another biography, Joseph Wheeler. This one is soon to be released. I wanted to get your opinion and perhaps other blogger’s opinions concerning his vast number of books. What do you think of his books? I think most of his subjects needed biographies, just not sure he was the right person to do them?
I was made aware of the Wheeler biography many months ago through Eric Wittenberg, who provided some source material for Ed’s book. On his blog, Eric also responded to this same comment from Don.
I understand the “red flag” that seems to go up concerning prolific writers, and Ed seems to get this quite often because of the 2 or 3 books he seems to write every year. I’ve seen Ed quite often, and he stated once that he tries to write 15 pages of material every day (and I can tell you, folks, that’s quite a bit). With Ed’s work ethic, and the amount of material he has available, it doesn’t surprise me though.
My take on his writing is this: As Eric mentioned in his response, I too will state that you won’t find much tactical detail in Ed’s work – however (and he will admit this) that’s not his primary focus in most of his works. Ed provides well detailed overviews of actions and campaigns in his books, and I think his talent for placing events in context is nearly unmatched. Ed is also a very talented writer. His wordsmithing makes his writing extremely easy to read and follow. And if it weren’t for Ed, guys like Wheeler, Fitz Lee, Buford, et al, might not (yet) have book-length biographies devoted to them.
His books have also provided wonderful sources and references for myself and others. His bibliographies have given me leads on many sources that I otherwise was unaware of. For instance, books of his such as Lee’s Cavalrymen, Lincoln’s Cavalrymen, The Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign, and even his Buford biography are like standard references in my library.
I do look forward to the Wheeler bio, and will purchase it once it’s released. Through Eric, I know that there will be some great post-war material included that will be interesting to see in print for the first time.
So in summation, I think Ed’s work has been indispensible to the Civil War community, both for scholars and casual readers. You’ll need to look elsewhere for that battle and campaign tactical detail you may crave, but I think that’s fine – no one author can be all things to all people.
As I mentioned earlier, Ed told me recently that he’s only penning one more Civil War book, then he’s moving on to other areas, such as WWII and Air Force topics. In my opinion, Ed’s future works will be as valuable to those other areas as they have been for the Civil War. One future book he described to me, dealing with the final weeks of WWII, is one I anticipate reading.
Thank you for the comments and questions, Charles and Don, and please keep reading here and letting me know your thoughts.