Craig Swain’s report on the Gettysburg Retreat driving tours

Buddy Craig Swain has put up a post on his blog, giving his impressions and views about part of the driving tours featured in the back of our book, One Continuous FightCraig actually drove part of each tour backwards – what he calls a “good litmus test” of a driving tour – and he’s probably right!

Craig is known as the historical “marker hunter” ’round these parts, so we know he appreciates historic ground.  He found the GPS coordinates that we include in the tours (co-author Mike Nugent’s original idea) to be very beneficial. 

Click here for the link to Craig’s post, and we heartily thank him for his candid comments about our tours and are glad he found them enjoyable and educational.

Published in: on August 25, 2008 at 11:12 am  Comments (1)  

“Armchair General” interviews Ted Savas

Click here to read a 10-question interview of SavasBeatie LLC chief Ted Savas, in which Ted discusses his publishing scope and the company’s future directions.  One of the great honors in my life is to be a SavasBeatie author, and I commend this interview to you.  Check it out.

Published in: on August 22, 2008 at 11:27 am  Comments (1)  

Faded Hoofbeats: Lt. Col. Timothy Hanley, 9th New York Cavalry

Here’s another in my profiles of “forgotten” Civil War troopers.  Timothy Hanley of the 9th New York Cavalry (known as the “Westfield Cavalry”) has long been known to me.  In my early studies of Gettysburg, his name popped up while going through the regimental history.  On July 2, the second day of the battle, Federal Cavalry Corps commander Alfred Pleasonton ordered John Buford and the two cavalry brigades off the field and to Westminster MD to rest and guard the army’s wagons.  Only (then) Capt. Timothy Hanley and a small squad of 9th New York cavalrymen, about 100 troopers or so in all, were left behind.  Assigned to Maj. Gen. Dan Sickles’ headquarters, Hanley and his troopers were kept close at hand by Sickles and either not ordered or not permitted to do much scouting on the Federal left.  Sickles later made his famous move forward toward the Peach Orchard just prior to Longstreet’s afternoon assault, and Hanley and his group remained with the 3rd Corps until late that night, when they rejoined Buford’s brigades at Westminster.  The regimental history of the 9th New York Cavalry mentions Hanley here and there, as do a few other sources, and I’ve long gotten the idea that some of his performances – particularly at Chancellorsville – showed him to have been quite a brave officer.  Unfortunately, I’d been unable to locate much biographical material on Hanley and I’ve never seen a picture of him.

I still haven’t seen a picture, but last week I happened to discover his obituary in The New York Times while looking for something else.  It was quite a revelation.  It confirmed, as I suspected, that Hanley had some type of prior military experience.  I also hadn’t realized how much a war wound affected him the rest of his life.  Here’s the text of the obituary from the April 5, 1893 issue of the Times:


Six Years It Compelled Lieut. Col. Hanley To Live On Liquid Food.

Lieut. Col. Timothy Hanley died Monday evening at the home of William Sage, 231 East One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Street, where he had been living for the last twenty years.  Col. Hanley received a bullet wound in a skirmish at Smithfield, Va., in 1864, the bullet entering his left lung and passing through his body.  He was also wounded in the arm during the same engagement.  The chest wound gave him constant trouble, and finally caused his death.  For six years he had lived entirely on liquid food.
Col. Hanley was born in Tipperary, Ireland, about fifty-eight years ago.  He began his military life in the Fourth Dragoons of the British Army, and served in the Crimean war and in India, and was in the siege of Sebastopol and Lucknow.  He received many medals from the British Government in recognition of his services.  He became a commissioned officer in the British Army, but resigned and came to this country in 1859.
Gov. Fenton commissioned him Adjutant of the Ninth New-York Cavalry, and he afterward became Lieutenant Colonel of this regiment.  He served through the war under Gen. Sheridan, and took part in forty-two engagements.  Returning from the war he served four years as Inspector in the New-York Custom House.  He then engaged in the liquor business for a number of years, but sold most of his property some years ago.  He owned a hotel in Westchester, N.Y., which he sold only a short time before his death.
Col. Hanley was unmarried, and it is not known that he has any relatives in America.  He was a member of John A. Rawlins Post, No. 80 G.A.R., and of the Limited Order of Friends, and was a Past Commander of Philip Lambrecht Post.
The funeral will take place to-day at 1 o’clock at the home of William Sage, 231 East One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Street.  The interment will be in Cypress Hills Cemetery.

The unit’s regimental history states that Hanley enrolled in the 9th New York Cavalry at age 26 on October 15, 1861 at Troy, New York.  It further states that he was mustered as Battalion Adjutant on November 3, and as captain of Company F on August 18, 1862.  Badly wounded (the chest and arm wounds mentioned in the obituary) at Smithfield, Virginia, on August 4, 1864, and promoted to lieutenant colonel as of March 1, 1865.  Hanley mustered out with the rest of the regiment on July 17, 1865 at Clouds Mills, Virginia.

Here’s a salute of the saber to Tim Hanley, a tough ol’ brogue of the Westfield Cavalry.  If anyone has any more information about him, his life or his service, I’d very much appreciate hearing it.

Published in: on August 20, 2008 at 11:29 am  Leave a Comment  

“One Continuous Fight” 2nd Edition

As many of you have heard, the first print run of our latest book, One Continuous Fight: The Retreat From Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863, recently sold out.  There are still some in the distribution pipelines and at retail locations, but the warehouse is out of copies.  Eric, Mike and I couldn’t be more appreciative of the kind words, very positive reviews, and great things that have been said about the book and the fact that the first edition has sold out so quickly, just like Plenty of Blame to Go Around did shortly after its release in 2006.

Our publisher, Ted Savas, has just finalized and ordered the second edition.  I corresponded with him the past few days as we worked through a few adjustments for the manuscript before it goes to press.  A few typos had slipped into the first printing of the book, and there were a couple short participant quotes that had been accidentally repeated.  We were doing a little last-minute rearranging of some of the material for clarity, and these few typos slipped in, none of which were Savas-Beatie’s fault.  The rearranging was done after all of the editing of the manuscript had already been completed, and we as authors take responsibility for them.  In total, the first edition only has about a dozen very minor typos, and all of them were very easily and quickly fixed for the second edition.  Most readers, in fact, have told us that they didn’t even catch the typos because most were hardly noticable.

The second edition will be available in a couple weeks or so – so anyone waiting for a copy (whether ordered through Amazon, another online retailer, or a storefront) will have theirs very soon!  A few personally signed first editions are still available at regular retail price on our website, even though copies of these are now being offered online by sellers for several hundred dollars each!  We also have a few of the Signed and Numbered Special Gettysburg Editions available there, and once they’re gone they’re gone.  Special Editions of Plenty of Blame have sold out.

Readers have been wildly enthusiastic about the driving/walking tours that we’ve included in the back of the book.  There are two tours – one follows the Confederate wagon train of wounded, the other tracks the main armies to the Potomac and all of the fights and skirmishes along the way.  I continually get emails from folks who have taken one or both of the tours and have enjoyed them, and it’s great hearing that they’ve been so well received.    Going out to the places where these events happened, and seeing the actual ground, terrain features, buildings and roads is the best teacher of all.

Published in: on August 20, 2008 at 10:00 am  Comments (1)  

Leesburg VA CWRT Visit

This past Tuesday evening, I did a presentation for the good folks of the Leesburg Va Civil War Round Table at the invite of my good friend Jim Morgan.  The Round Table holds their monthly meetings in the famed Thomas Balch Library.  Prior to the meeting, I got the grand tour of the facilities, and it’s more impressive than I had imagined – it was the first time I’d been able to see the library holdings.  I will definitely be returning to spend a few days among their books, archives, maps, etc.

The subject of my talk was our new book on the retreat from Gettysburg, One Continuous FightAlong with an overview of the book, I spoke in detail about a couple related episodes that we relate in the book.  The first was the July 5, 1863 skirmish at Granite Hill southwest of Gettysburg along the Fairfield Road, a little rear-guard scrap previously unidentified until our book.  It had a local connection for Leesburg since Lt. Col. Elijah White and 250 troopers of his 35th Battalion Virginia Cavalry were literally the rear guard of the Confederate main army retreat column.  At about 6pm that day, Lige and his troopers, along with a couple of regiments of Ewell’s Corps and an artillery battery, skirmished with elements of Sedgwick’s Federal 6th Corps.  A small-scale charge by the Federals was repulsed, and the action only served to harass the rear of Ewell’s column and stymie Sedgwick’s pursuit.

The second episode I talked about was the Gettysburg retreat experience of the commander of the 4th Texas Infantry, Lt. Col. Benjamin Franklin Carter.  Carter was badly wounded in the face, hand, and leg during the assault on Little Round Top of July 2, and was taken along the retreat in the wagon train of wounded.  Too badly wounded to continue toward Hagerstown, Carter was left in the care of some citizens along the Pine Stump Road.  He was soon captured by pursuing Federals and taken to Chambersburg.  Cared for there by the mother of a Federal officer whom Carter himself had cared for during the Battle of Second Manassas until Carter was taken to a hospital and died on July 21, Carter’s experience is an amazing twist of fate.  I am currently finishing up a detailed article about Carter’s story that we will have published in Gettysburg Magazine.  The Round Table folks seemed to enjoy the talk and we had over a half hour of questions and answers that I very much enjoyed.

It was a great pleasure meeting Craig Swain, who comments here frequently and on Eric’s blog, and also meeting local historian Richard Crouch.  Richard and I share an interest in Lige White, the Loudoun Rangers, and crazy ol’ John Mobberly, and sometime-member of White’s band and also Mosby’s Rangers.  Mobberly was hunted down and killed at the end of the war, and I will be profiling him here on this blog soon.

The hospitality of the Round Table members was wonderful, and I really enjoyed my visit.  On my way out of town on Wednesday morning, I stopped at Lige White’s grave in the Union Cemetery, and also made a quick visit to White’s Ferry on the Potomac.  Loudoun County is one of the prettiest places on Earth as far as I’m concerned, and I look forward to each time I can visit.

Published in: on August 15, 2008 at 10:00 am  Comments (7)