Eric posted yesterday about the wonderful assistance we’ve been receiving lately from our good friends in the Civil War community in researching for our new book project on Jubal Early’s 1864 Raid and the battles of Monocacy and Ft. Stevens. Eric called it “good karma” and he’s absolutely right.
In our search of primary sources, we compiled quite a list of material in the form of letters, diaries, recollections, manuscripts, etc. that are in the repositories of historical societies and universities around the country. Unless we suspended our jobs for several months and bought a handful of plane tickets, there’s no way that Eric and I could travel around and procure these sources by ourselves. They range in geographical locations such as Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and just about every state that was in the Confederacy.
Over the past few weeks, once we had our list of sources (which gets revised constantly) we put out a couple calls to our good friends that live near these areas… and also an email post to active online forums that we belong to, such as the Gettysburg Discussion Group and the Civil War Discussion Group. Several good-hearted folks answered us, volunteering to visit these repositories for us and to go through the material. (We are compensating them, of course, but they are as excited about doing the research as we always are.)
We have nearly a dozen people, including our own full-time researcher, working on procuring material at this point. And a good deal of the material has not been mined previously, or used in a treatment of these July 1864 actions. These folks are emailing us and letting us know what they’ve found, and it’s generating a lot of excitement for all of us.
The point, as Eric also makes it, is that this sense of volunteerism (whether a person is paid or not) and willingness to help on such a project is amazing and gratifying to see. We are going to have a considerable amount of folks to thank in our Acknowledgements section of the book – and they will be as responsible for its completion as we are. There is no way that we could complete this book, and it wouldn’t be as detailed and documented as we expect it to be, without all of their help.
In our previous two joint works, the book on Stuart’s Ride to Gettysburg and the book on the retreat from Gettysburg, the reader will see a lot of folks that we’ve thanked for their help. And moreso in the retreat book. If there were really justice in publishing ( :) ) all of their names would appear on the cover with our own.
From both Eric and me, thanks to all of you for your ongoing assistance. Among my closest friends are those that I’ve made in the Civil War community. We move away from, and lose touch, with those friends we make when we’re young – but your base of friends then begins to change and solidify when you get older. In my case, when I got married to my lovely wife nearly 5 years ago, all but one of my groomsmen were friends made in this community over the past decade or so. That speaks volumes about how tight the friendships were, still are, and will continue to be.
No man is an island, and no writer can afford to be alone when so much help is needed – and freely offered. When this book appears, it will be a cooperative effort from not just two guys, but a whole community of folks who truly care.