Literacy and Libation!

“Buy a book, have a beer!”

If you were to come into the Reliance Mine Saloon on Steinwehr Avenue in Gettysburg during Friday and Saturday evenings, this June 6 and 7, you might hear that phrase being yelled out quite often.

Folks who frequent “The Mine,” which is located in the Quality motel, know that it’s a highly venerated spot in town, and the place where you’ll often find large crowds enjoying drinks, fellowship, music, etc.¬† Well, one of our co-authors on the One Continuous Fight book, Mike Nugent, recently came up with a great idea.¬† And I suppose it may have something to do with his background from the Emerald Isle ūüôā

We’ll be in Gettysburg that weekend doing signings of our books at various locations, and Friday and Saturday nights (probably from 9:00 pm to ?) we’ll be doing signings right in the Mine.¬† We contacted the owner of the Quality and Mine about doing so, and he was thankfully all for the idea.¬† We can be found in the Mine just about every evening we’re there anyway (the fact that our names are on a couple chairs is just coincidental, I assure you) and the events will be beneficial to all – we may sell a few books, and it will perhaps bring more traffic into the bar.¬† Plus, each book signed and sold at The Mine will have a special bookplate in it – it will feature a graphic such as a photo of The Mine itself, plus the date.¬† In addition, each one will be specially numbered.¬† You have to be there to get one!

I’ll post more detailed information here as we work out the details.¬† So if you’ll be in or near Gettysburg the weekend of June 6-7, come on into The Mine starting at 9:00 pm Friday and Saturday, let us sign a book for you, and have a toast with us!¬† We’ll have both One Continuous Fight and Plenty of Blame to Go Around available both nights.

Published in: on March 26, 2008 at 11:50 am  Comments (6)  

Final lookie

Over the past few days, we’re giving our new book on the retreat from Gettysburg, One Continuous Fight, the very final edits.¬† This is the last time we can go over the entirety of the book prior to its release to the printer.¬† Publisher Ted Savas and I have been picking up just a few typos here and there, but other than that it looks as though everything is ready to go.¬† The maps (done by the very talented Ed Coleman) look gorgeous, the pictures and illustrations are just terrific, and I anxiously await the next 30 days or so to finally see this book!

Published in: on March 26, 2008 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Mop-top diversion

I’m going to take a bit of a well-earned diversion from work and writing later today.¬† This afternoon, I’m driving to that shining gem of the East – Buffalo, New York – to see a little concert that I’ve been looking forward to for some time.¬† There is a band called “Beatle Magic” that is, from all reports, an excellent Beatles tribute band.¬† They¬†have a website that gives a lot of details on the band, their performances, and is loaded with pictures.¬† They are performing at the Tralf, which will give the performance a kind of night club atmosphere tonite.

I was born in 1965, so my appreciation of music came a bit late in the Beatles era – but when about 4 or 5 years old I had already long listened to Beatles music and was very familiar with it.¬† In fact, one of my earliest “music memories” was the release of “Hey Jude.”¬† Wow – I loved that song.¬† I loved it when my little AM radio played the long version.¬† I hated it when they played that short version.¬† Needless to say, I was very familiar with those last couple years of the band’s music, and was heartbroken when they broke up.¬† It wasn’t long before I discovered their earlier music, and ever since I’ve been an unabashed Beatles fan.¬† Over the years I’ve collected all their music.¬† Today, not only do I have all the albums on CD, but I also have (gently put away in protective cases, of course) every vinyl album and many of the 45s.¬† I have a very rare UK-only release of one of their first LPs that a friend got for me when stationed in England, and just about all of those “extra” LPs released in the 80’s and 90’s… ones such as “Beatles Rarities” and the like.¬† I even have one of the very rare “Yesterday” LPs that has the “butcher cover” instead of the replacement cover that shows the Fab Four sitting around a large luggage trunk.¬† How many of those scrapped covers do you see around anymore?

I got to see the Beatlemania film when it came out shortly after John Lennon’s murder in 1980, and just recently bought a hard-to-find VHS of the film.¬† The darn thing’s never been released on DVD and probably never will.¬† But at least I have the tape!

I’m looking forward to the performance tonite.¬† My wife isn’t really into the music, but since I have three tickets I’ll be taking her sister and one of her brothers with me.¬† Her brother is a big Fab Four fan, and her sister lives in Buffalo.¬† We’ll have a good time.¬† I enjoy spending time with them, and the show will be a really nice break from the work lately.¬† Plus, I just know that once I hear the music, it will slip me back in time nearly 40 years ago… I suspect I’ll feel like that little kid again, lying in bed and listening to my little radio, trying to keep it down so my parents don’t know I’m not asleep yet.

Take me back, John, Paul, George and Ringo… take me back.¬† I’m ready.

Published in: on March 20, 2008 at 10:29 am  Comments (7)  

Writing, writing, and well… writing

So, guess what I’ve been doing lately?

My apologies for my lack of posting the past few days.  Last week, co-author Eric sent the printed galley of our book One Continuous Fight for me to edit.  I finished it Friday (after re-writing a couple pages that we needed to fix, and modifying a couple of maps) and then forwarded the galley to co-author Mike Nugent.  The book is nearly 600 pages without the index, and I spent a total of about 10 hours over three days going through it.  Once Mike is done going through it, Savas makes our changes and off to the printer it goes. 

Cartographer Steve Stanley completed the maps for the four-map study of Buford’s cavalry (1st and 2nd brigades) at Gettysburg on July 1 and 2 that will appear in this July’s issue of America’s Civil War magazine.¬† I went through them all Friday, approved them, and they’re set to go along with the narrative that accompanies the maps.¬† Plus, I also finished an accompanying feature article on Buford in the entire Gettysburg Campaign that editor Dana Shoaf asked me to do.¬† I got that done yesterday and sent it off to him.¬† I have a few more pictures for the article to send, and that will complete the project.

I also got started on a couple articles based on our new book that will appear in several magazines this summer, in support of the book’s release.¬† One (which we completed a few months ago) will appear in the July issue of Gettysburg Magazine, another in an upcoming issue of Civil War Times, and we’re submitting another for North&South.¬† More than simply excerpts, these are stand-alone narratives of several of the very interesting actions that took place during the retreat from Gettysburg, such as the battles of Monterey Pass, Funkstown, and Falling Waters, and also the saga of one mortally wounded Confederate officer that we believe readers will find fascinating.

So, a new book appears soon but there’s no time to slack off!

Published in: on March 18, 2008 at 11:33 am  Comments (2)  

Details on July 2 Event at Hunterstown PA

Yesterday, I was notified by Hunterstown Historical Society President Laurie Harding that the book signing I’ll be having following the Hunterstown monument dedication will take place on the front porch of the¬†Jacob Grass Hotel.¬† The Grass Hotel was Federal Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick’s headquarters during the July 2, 1863 cavalry battle there with Wade Hampton’s Confederate troopers.¬† The owner of the Grass Hotel, Mr. Ron Myers,¬†is very aware of the history of his home and the area, and has done much to preserve the building.¬† I’m honored that he has opened his property to this event, and I’m really hoping for a tour of the home.¬† In all these years I’ve never seen the inside of it.

Here is the current schedule of the day’s events, which can be found on the Society’s website:

The dedication of the new Hunterstown Monument
¬†¬†¬†¬†depicting Norvell Churchill “saving” the life of
   Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer.
     The Churchill Family will be coming to
     Gettysburg / Hunterstown for this event
   and will be bringing the family sword with them!

                  July 2nd, 2008 
                Hunterstown, PA.     
11 am   Monument Dedication

   Roger and Laurie Harding, Co-Founders,
         Hunterstown Historical Society
   George Zepick, Chaplain, Grand Rapids
 Troy Harman, NPS Ranger and Historian
 Mike Vallone, Gettysburg Battlefield Guide
  Dave Broene, Grand Rapids Roundtable
      Pat Stephens, Great-Grandaughter
               of Norvell Churchill
           The Churchill Family
Stephen Alexander, Custer Re-enactor
          PA State Official
       J. David Petruzzi, Author
      Jared Frederick, Artist
  Panoramic Artist, Jim Phelps,
¬†will be on hand to “Photo Document”
      this historic event.   Armor Guard and Gun Salute
      Michigan re-enactors

¬†Unveiling of first Hunterstown battle¬†painting …
                  by Artist, Jared Frederick
  (depicting Custer and Churchill on the Hunterstown Road)

2009 “Hunterstown” Calendar will be available for sale!
                 by Artist, Edwin L. Green

¬† Afterwards….4th Annual Walking Tour of “The Battle of Hunterstown”
 Gettysburg Battlefield Guide, Mike Vallone, will be giving the tour.
¬† Afterwards…..Picnic Lunch (Location to be announced)
-Tour of the Great Conewago Presbyterian Church and Cemetary

¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†– Hunterstown Artifact Display –
   Also, all Hunterstown fundraiser items
       will be on display and for sale.
All proceeds will go to Hunterstown Historical Society.

        Afternoon Speakers
            (times be announced)
¬† Deb McCauslin, “For the Cause”

¬†Also…a Special Evening Presentation…

           by General Ulysses Grant
             and Mrs. Julia Grant
           Live music by Rick Garland
                  Oh Be Joyful!
         Author J. D. Petruzzi  
¬†¬† “Plenty of Blame To Go Around: Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg” and “One Continuous Fight: The Retreat From Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863”
         will be signing his books.

          Also, Dick Hamilton
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Author, “Oh Hast Thou Forgotten”,
     Michigan Cavalry in the Civil War:
         The Gettysburg Campaign

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† And much…much more!

         Open to the Public.
    No advance tickets required.

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 9:35 am  Comments (3)  

Upcoming Events

The scheduling of speaking and book signing events for this year is progressing.  Last year it was quite a whirlwind after the release of the book Plenty of Blame To Go Around.  I think I spoke to the great folks of about a dozen roundtables, and had quite a few signings in Gettysburg, Westminster Md, and here at home.

Our new book’s release on May 1, One Continuous Fight, will have its Gettysburg kick-off during the weekend of June 6 in Gettysburg, although I will have it available when I speak to the Round Table of nearby York on May 19.

19 –
Book signing at the Gettysburg Gift Center on Steinwehr Avenue in Gettysburg, 10am to 12 noon
Book signing at the Farnsworth House bookstore on Baltimore Avenue in Gettysburg, 1pm to 3pm

Talk and signing for the York Civil War Round Table

6 –
Talk and signing at Gettysburg’s Gallery 30 from 5:30pm to 8pm – 30 York Street
9:00 pm until ? – Signing (with Mike Nugent) at the Reliance Mine Saloon on Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg
7 – 9:00 pm until ? – Signing (with Mike Nugent) at the Reliance Mine Saloon on Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg
28 – Signing at the Gettysburg Book and Ephemeria Show from 9am to 5pm at the Butternut&Blue table

2 –
Short presentation at the Monument Dedication in Hunterstown PA by the Hunterstown Preservation Society, with a book signing afterwards – each book that day will be specially numbered, and feature a bookplate for the Society and the event
3 – Book signing at the Reenactment of the Battle of Hanover in Hanover PA – each book that day will also be specially numbered with special bookplates for the event; sponsored by the Hanover Evening Sun and editor Marc Charisse

I’ll add more as they get scheduled, especially around the Gettysburg battle anniversary weekend.

Published in: on March 3, 2008 at 4:50 pm  Comments (2)  

A Study in Maps II

Last night and today, I finished the final map for the four-map piece I discussed below, on Buford’s cavalry at Gettysburg.¬† This last map (which is actually #3 of the 4) was left for last because I knew it would be the most difficult.¬† The map is actually a split-map, which shows (on the top half) Col. Devin’s brigade’s actions north of town about 1pm as Rodes’ sharpshooters and skirmishers begin pushing the Federal cavalry over Oak Hill and down the Newville Road.¬† The bottom half of the map details Col. Gamble’s brigade’s actions near the Schultz house and south of the Fairfield Road about 4pm, which draws off Lane’s Confederate brigade from Pender’s assault against the Federal lines from the Lutheran Seminary.

There have been some basic, rudimentary maps done of the latter action, but not in the detail that I’ve shown.¬† And usually, most of the few maps of it I’ve seen have Gamble’s 8th Illinois Cavalry regiment in the wrong place.¬† They were massed, mounted, south of the Fairfield Road just west of the David McMillan house and nearly to Willoughby Run (one of the troopers describes the left of the line in “an orchard” and a position from which they could see the creek).¬† You’ll finally see the regiment’s proper position on this map.

Of the two actions, however, plotting Devin’s skirmish in the early afternoon of July 1 north of town proved to be the most difficult.¬† In my 30 years of studying it, in fact, I’ve never seen a map of it at all.¬† Brad Gottfriend, in his wonderful recent book The Maps of Gettysburg, doesn’t begin his maps in this area until Rodes’ full attack about 2:30pm.¬† David Martin didn’t map it in his book, and neither did Harry Pfanz.¬† I can’t blame any of them, because for most students the action here doesn’t get “exciting” until the attacks on the right flank of the Federal I and XI Corps begin.

Devin, however, dismounted nearly his entire brigade (about 1000 troopers when you subtract horseholders) and spread them from north of Oak Hill, across the Newville Road, and across the Harrisburg Pike.¬† The troopers north of Oak Hill and on the Newville Road confronted the advance of Rodes’ Division, especially his sharpshooters under Blackford.¬† I’ve had a pretty good handle on Devin’s dispositions over the years, and the past few days I dug deep into every primary source at hand just to map sure I would map it as accurately as possible.

For the first time, it will provide students (especially Day One nerds like me) a map to get a handle on Devin’s delaying action against Rodes (and later against Early as he advances on the Harrisburg Road), before the full-scale infantry fighting takes place north of town.¬† Devin’s actions here have really gotten overlooked until now.¬† Had his troopers not put up a decently stubborn fight against Rodes’ advance, the southerners may very well have advanced upon the right of the I Corps earlier than they did, rather than pausing on Oak Hill as Rodes assessed the situation.

It’s been fun (and sometimes a little nerve-wracking!) putting the maps together.¬† Over the next couple of days cartographer Steve Stanley will be emailing the maps back to me for revisions, etc., and I’ll get to see my scribbling turned into professional work.

Published in: on March 3, 2008 at 3:00 pm  Leave a Comment