“Stuart’s Ride to Gettysburg” Event Information

I will be attending the July 3 event in which approximately 200 mounted Confederate cavalry reenactors will be recreating a portion of Jeb Stuart’s ride to Gettysburg.  There is an article in this June’s issue of Civil War News by Deborah Fitts, detailing most of the information.  Here’s some from the article:

HANOVER, PA – On July 3 mounted troopers will reenact the famous ride of Confederate cavalry Jeb Stuart to Hanover 145 years ago, this time as a benefit for the Land Conservancy of Adams County.

About 200 cavalry and at least one field piece will participate.  The cavalry will bivouac the night of July 2 on the grounds of the Union Mills homestead, a historic property in Union Mills, Md., 17 miles south of Gettysburg.  The following morning visitors will be invited to join in a pancake breakfast from 7 to 11 am.

Tickets for the all-you-can-eat breakfast, at $6 per person, will be available at the homestead.  The meal will also include sausage, apple sauce, coffee and juice.  More information is available from the homestead at (410) 848-2288.  All proceeds from the breakfast will benefit Union Mills Homestead.

The troopers will depart the homestead at 9:30 am on July 3.  Their route north will take them across the Pennsylvania border and the Mason-Dixon line.  Instead of heading to downtown Hanover where Stuart engaged in battle, they will ride cross-country to the farm of Peter and Sharon Sheppard, who are ardent supporters of conservation.

The gates of the Sheppard farm will open to the public at 11 am on July 3.  The property is located on Westminster Road near the Long Arm Reservoir.  A battle reenactment is scheduled for 6 pm.  Prior to the battle, ticket-holders may walk through the picketed camps in the woods above the battlefield and adjacent to the reservoir.

Tickets for the Sheppard farm reenactment are available from the Land Conservancy and may be purchased by calling (717) 334-2828 or by going online at LCACnet.org.  All proceeds will benefit land preservation.

Admission is $10 for adults over 18, $5 for students 12 to 18, and free for children under 12.  Advance ticket purchases are encouraged since tickets could be limited on the day of the event.  The reenactment will be held rain or shine.

I will be watching the ride, which promises to be quite impressive, and will have the Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg signed book available at the Sheppard farm location.  My coauthor on the Gettysburg retreat book One Continuous Fight, Mike Nugent, will be with me and we’ll have signed copies of that as well.  Each book will feature a special book plate.

Please help support the Land Conservancy, which has saved some 5,300 historic acres in Adams County, and hope to see many of you there!

Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 11:12 am  Comments (4)  

“One Continuous Fight” Sails

Last night I spoke with Ted Savas, Marketing Director of Savas Beatie LLC, and he informed me that our new book One Continuous Fight: The Retreat From Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863 was shipped out from the printer in Michigan yesterday (Wednesday).  So, all you kind folks who have purchased a copy from Savas, ourselves, or any other online venue will be receiving your copy soon!  I was astonished to find out that the first print run (which was sizable) is already pretty much spoken for once the orders hit the warehouse.  A large amount of books are being sent to Gettysburg as I write this, so that I, Eric, and Mike can sign them next week and then they’ll be shipped to customers.

Eric and I were very suprised when Plenty of Blame to Go Around sold out its initial print run just five business days after release, so we’re quite humbled that our new one has done so well already.  We deeply appreciate all of you who have pre-ordered it or are planning to purchase it.  We hope you enjoy the book as much as we did researching and writing it, and that it adds to the scholarship of the Gettysburg story.

Incidentally, when I spoke with Ted last night, he, a friend, and their teenage sons were on their way into an Iron Maiden concert.  I’ll have to check today to see if Ted strained his neck doing all that headbanging.  I did hear once, though, that he’s quit the mosh pit – one time the folks forgot to catch him.  That was the end of that.

Regardless, I bet Bob Younger or Jim McClean never attended a Maiden bash!

Published in: on May 29, 2008 at 9:54 am  Leave a Comment  

Enjoyable night in York

I really had a terrific time last evening in York Pa, speaking to their Round Table in the meeting room of the York County Heritage Trust.  I was invited by my good friend and fellow author Scott Mingus, an active member of the RT who has put a lot of effort into it.  The RT is very fortunate to meet in the beautiful building of the Heritage Trust on Market Street, which features quite a library, book shop, and displays. 

I didn’t count, but I think there was something like 40 or more members present, and we had a great time with the Q&A session and comments from members – that’s always my favorite part.  A special treat was having member Joe Posinski and his wife along – Joe does a very impressive living history persona of Jeb Stuart and I’m so glad they were able to come to the meeting and participate.  I spoke for a little less than an hour about Jeb Stuart’s ride to Gettysburg and the resulting controversy, and the Q&A session went for about another hour.  I learned as much as I taught!

Thanks again to Scott, RT President Kathy Friel, and Heritage Trust Librarian Lila Fourhman and all the members for such a great night.  Kathy Friel, by the way, is related to Federal cavalry commander Gen. David McMurtrie Gregg through the McMurtrie side of his family.  About 6 folks brought their copies of my first book to sign, and several others bought them.  I donated a signed copy to the library, and I will definitely be going back soon to spend some time going through their archives.

Published in: on May 22, 2008 at 1:49 pm  Comments (1)  

York Pa CWRT talk

Tomorrow (Wednesday) I’m heading to York Pa to speak to the CWRT there at the invitation of my good friend, Scott Mingus.  I look forward to seeing Scott again and all the friends of the Round Table.  I’ll be talking about Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg, which is also a topic that Scott has worked on for some time.  The material that he has unearthed in the areas west and north of Gettysburg in relation to Stuart’s ride prior to the battle have been very interesting indeed.  I’ll also mention the new book, One Continuous Fight on the retreat from Gettysburg, which will be shipping from the warehouse at the end of the month.

I really look forward to the evening and will post a report when I return on Thursday.  Then, it’ll be a week off, with the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, and after that following week we gear up for the busy first weekend of June in Gettysburg for lots of book signings.  With one event after another throughout June and early July, it’ll be a busy summer!

Published in: on May 20, 2008 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gettysburg Discussion Group special book signing June 6

During the weekend that the three of us co-authors on the latest book One Continuous Fight are in Gettysburg for several books signings, we’ll also have a special signing for members of the Gettysburg Discussion Group (GDG).  That weekend of June 6 through 8 is the group’s muster weekend, so we were fortunately able to schedule a special signing, and each book will feature a GDG bookplate.

The signing for the members will take place on Friday, June 6, from 5:00 pm to 6:15 pm in the meeting room at the Holiday Inn.  Following that, we will head over to the Gallery 30 for the signing previously scheduled there.  I’ve also updated the weekend’s itinerary that I previously posted here.

Published in: on May 19, 2008 at 3:55 pm  Comments (3)  

The Monterey Pass Battlefield Association

I’d like to commend a terrific website to my readers – The Monterey Pass Battlefield Association, run by historian John Miller.  John also has the terrific Emmitsburg.net website.  The Battle of Monterey Pass receives an entire chapter-length treatment in our new book One Continuous Fight on the retreat from Gettysburg.  Taking place in a dark, pounding rainstorm the night of July 4, 1863 between the troopers of Federal Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick and retreating Confederate forces, the battle is one of the little-known but very interesting fights during the ten days of the retreat.  The battlefield is also unprotected because it is entirely in various private hands.

John’s website is terrific and I encourage you to take a look at it.  At the end of September this year, there will be a program on the battle at the Pass, and the three of us – myself, Eric Wittenberg, and Mike Nugent – have been invited to participate.  I will post more here as the details are worked out.

Published in: on May 16, 2008 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

“One Continuous Fight” Special Edition

In the previous post, I described the Signed and Numbered Limited Gettysburg Edition that we’re offering for the new book on our website.  The Special Edition, which will feature a unique bookplate and signed by Eric Wittenberg, myself, and Mike Nugent –  is limited to 75 copies.  Each one is numbered, and are being sold ONLY through the website on a first-come first-served basis.  The bookplate, which can be seen in the below post and features an image similar to the book cover with the addition of pounding horse hooves, makes the edition very unique indeed.

Since we released the website last night, orders have been pouring in for both the Special Edition and regular signed copies – for which we are very grateful and humbled by the interest!  We’d like anyone who wants a copy of the Special Edition to have one, so please don’t delay if you’d like to order one.  We’ll be shipping all books out as soon as we get them and sign them (the first week of June) and all books will be reserved in the order that orders are received through the website.

Thank you for the orders received thus far!

One Continuous Fight book website

Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 10:53 am  Comments (1)  

GettysburgRetreat.com website unveiled

Eric Wittenberg, Mike Nugent and I are very proud to release the new website for our upcoming book on the Gettysburg Retreat – One Continuous Fight. 


There’s lots of information on the site, such as Contents, Excerpts, Reviews, Author information and interview, Events and Media, and also a secure Ordering page for signed copies of the book. 

On the Ordering page, you can also reserve a copy of the Special Signed and Numbered Limited Gettysburg Edition, which is limited to only 75 copies.  The first few are spoken for, but the rest will be sold only through the website and on a first-come, first-served basis.  Through the PayPal ordering system, we will keep track of exactly when orders come in and they will be numbered and mailed out on that basis.  Each special edition will have a custom book plate inside the front of the book, signed by the three of us.  The book plate is really beautiful and can be seen to the right – it is similar to the cover of the book, but has these really nifty pounding horse hooves that evoke a terrific image of cavalry on the chase!

Once these Special Editions are gone, they’re gone.  Number 75 will be the last one, and if you want the lowest number possible you need to begin ordering as of today.  Incidentally the Special Editions of our book on Stuart’s ride to Gettysburg went very quickly, and almost immediately began showing up on the secondary market for over twice the price… and they’re pretty impossible to find for sale anywhere right now.

Every regular edition sold through the website will be personally inscribed and signed by each of us.  We will begin shipping all books around the first week of June right after its release.

Watch the website for additional content and updates as time goes on and additional events are scheduled.

Published in: on May 12, 2008 at 9:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

The realities of writing

Buddy Eric Wittenberg has made a very revealing series of posts over the past couple of weeks entitled “Things I Wish I Knew Then But Know Now” about the realities (oftentimes harsh realities) of writing about the Civil War.  His posts could apply equally as well to any type of historical writing.  There are 7 installments to Eric’s series and the first one is here.

His posts should be required reading for anyone considering, or starting out, writing about Civil War subjects.  Eric’s insights may not prevent every novice writer from making certain mistakes or experiencing particular common pitfalls, but at least one would realize they’d been warned.  Eric’s insights weren’t meant to turn any promising authors off from pursuing their dreams, but instead to make them aware of the realities of the nuts and bolts of the researching, costs, writing, publishing, and marketing aspects.

In just thinking about the various well-reasoned subjects that Eric posted about, I also thought of another this morning: Be prepared for criticism of your work.  You gotta have a thick skin, folks.  Criticism, both good and bad, of your work will only make you better at your researching, thinking, and writing.  If you’re willing to put your work out there in print in front of thousands of people, you have to be prepared to take some heat.  Some of it will be useful, others not.  Like some authors, some readers have an agenda – and they won’t like your interpretations.  We all get tomatoes thrown at us, and you just have to learn to duck and smile.  But much of the criticism you receive will be very helpful – it will point out weaknesses in your research and you’ll learn a good lesson from it. 

Let’s face it – regarding Civil War history, there are many things that are hard and fast facts.  Many other things are open to interpretation.  And sometimes things in each category can move back and forth – for instance, if some primary source comes to light for the first time and modifies something we previously thought was hard and fast.  You have to learn that a subject you write about may be looked at differently down the road.  Be able to adjust to that.

Previously, I’d mentioned that some authors/historians seem to have an “agenda.”  We all know some whom we call, for lack of a better modifier, “contrarians.”  Some seem to be out to change the historical record no matter what that takes – ignoring some evidence while reinterpreting other evidence.  For some reason, they’re not happy that Gen. Joe Schmo’s cavalry charge happened in a particular place.  Or that a particular unit was in a certain area of a battlefield for a rather mundane reason – they have to make their location a grandiose part of a much larger plan, attempting to reinterpret an entire battle.  No matter that there’s no evidence for these reinterpretations, and that existing evidence, in fact, refutes their new “theories.”  If you’re going to stick your neck out and attempt to change what historians feel to be established fact, then be prepared to take the heat in a mature way and back your interpretations with evidence.  If you’re proven right, you will be deservedly lauded.  If not, you have to roll with it.

So, when you get published (whether it be articles, books, or contributory material) you become somewhat of a public figure.  As in politics, you will get commentary, praise, and criticism from all sides.  Be prepared for it, and deal with it.  Learn from it.  Grow from it.  Stand your ground when necessary and warranted, and be willing to adjust when necessary and warranted.  Let’s face it, all of us authors will blow it from time to time – we will screw up the narration of an event.  We’ll put the wrong person in the wrong place.  We will map something incorrectly.  We’ll put the wrong date on something.  If we keep in mind that we weren’t “there,” and that everything we study and write about is based on the evidence that’s out there, we’ll be able to take shots from readers who, in many cases, may know more about something than we ourselves do.

For one more angle, I would also like to commend a couple of fantastic posts by my publisher, Ted Savas, on his personal blog.  Recently he’s been posting about the “view” from the publisher’s angle, and his posts go hand in hand with Eric’s eye-opening series.  See the first by Ted here, and the second here.  Just as there are many myths about authors and writers, there are many misinterpetations when it comes to publishers.  Ted’s very insightful posts will educate all of us about what publishers must deal with in today’s marketplace and the ever-changing demands of the consumer.

In the end, if you’re a budding author of any genre, don’t let any of what I, Eric, Ted, or others have to say turn you away from it.  Write.  Do it.  And love it.  Giving birth to a book is like putting breath into a child.  You’ll likely never see your investments back, you’ll get criticism, praise, and you’ll be constantly frustrated.

And you will love and treasure every moment of it.  Simply seeing my wife and family smile when one of my articles or books comes out puts a burst of wind into my sails, and I can’t wait to sink my money and time into the next project and do it all over again.

You’ll see.  So stay with it.

Published in: on May 9, 2008 at 10:47 am  Comments (5)  

“America’s Civil War” July issue article

My latest article in America’s Civil War magazine just hit newsstands and subscribers’ mailboxes.  Titled “Six Weeks In The Saddle,” the article is a synopsis of Brig. Gen. John Buford’s Federal cavalry division participation in the Gettysburg Campaign, and is accompanied by the 4-map study that I’ve posted about here earlier.  The maps detail the major actions of Buford’s cavalry during July 1 and the morning of July 2, most of the events mapped for the very first time.  Once again, I very much enjoyed working with master cartographer Steve Stanley on those maps.

Just a couple of minor errors crept into the article during the editing process of the magazine.  One is on page 27 – the 2nd and 3rd Federal cavalry divisions were commanded by David Gregg and Alfred Duffie respectively, not the other way around.  And the caption for the picture on that page states that Buford staffer Albert P. Morrow missed Gettysburg – he indeed didn’t join Buford’s staff until August 1863, but he was at Gettysburg, serving as a lieutenant of the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry (also known as “Rush’s Lancers”).  Morrow was in action on what is today known as South Cavalry Field, on July 3.

I hope the readers enjoy the article, and especially the map study.  Years of work and an enormous amount of digging in very obscure sources contributed to putting those maps together, something I always wished to see in print.  Steve did a fantastic job with them.

Published in: on May 5, 2008 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment