The new blog

I have just set up the new “Hoofbeats and Cold Steel” blog on Google Blogger (BlogSpot).  The new link is here (  Please update your links and URLs.  I’ll keep this old blog up for a while as I import it into the new blog, then I’ll delete it.

WordPress’ software has been rather screwed up lately, and it became very difficult to use.  Blogger’s software is much better, easier to work with, and I’m happy with the new host.  See you over there!

Published in: on December 18, 2008 at 12:20 pm  Comments (2)  

White’s Ford Regional Park

I just received a note from Paul Gilbert, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and who maintains a blog called Regional Parks.  The Authority is in the process of purchasing 275 acres of land owned by Confederate Lt. Col. Elijah Viers “Lige” White where White’s Ford stands.  The land is slated to be known as White’s Ford Regional Park.

Prior to the Civil War, White purchased a large farm there (he was originally from Poolesville MD across the Potomac).  A ford on the property became known as White’s Ford, and was used constantly by both Confederates and Federals throughout the war.  Following the war, White operated a ferry there called the “Jubal Early” – a ferry that is still in operation today.

I have always loved the nearby Leesburg VA area – I’ve been there many times, most recently this past summer when I spoke to the Leesburg Civil War Roundtable.  Whenever I make a visit, in addition to exploring the history of the area and surrounding Loudoun County, I never fail to make a stop at White’s gravesite in Union Cemetery and also at the ford to watch a ferry trip or two.

Elijah White, his 35th Battalion Virginia Cavalry, and cavalrymen and “guerillas” of the Loudoun County area have been a special interest of mine for many years.  I’m ecstatic that the Authority is able to purchase this land and save it for future generations – it is still pristine and can now remain so.

See Paul’s blog post here, including a beautiful photograph of the area.

Published in: on December 15, 2008 at 12:32 pm  Comments (15)  

“America’s Civil War Magazine” March 2009 article

In the March 2009 issue of America’s Civil War magazine will be an article based on the Gettysburg Battlefield Rock Carvings section of the new book by me and Steve Stanley, The Complete Gettysburg GuideOur new book features about two dozen of all the known rock carvings on the battlefield.  Many folks are familiar with the most famous of these carvings, such as the inscription on a boulder atop Little Round Top indicating the rock on which Col. Strong Vincent stood when mortally wounded.  However, there are many other carvings (some done by veterans of the battle) not as well known, including some that were made nearly 20 years before the battle.   The magazine had chosen about a dozen of the carvings featured in our book.  Maps by Steve Stanley accompany the article, and will assist the reader to find the carvings.  Just like in the book, GPS coordinates for each carving are also included.

Please watch for the article – it will give you a sneak preview of that section of the new book.

Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 4:38 pm  Comments (4)  

“Complete Gettysburg Guide” specifics

Over the past several days, I’ve received quite a number of emails from folks asking about specifics regarding the new book, The Complete Gettysburg Guide, by me and cartographer/photographer Steve Stanley.  Folks would like to know exactly what tours are in it, what the maps are like, etc., and how the book is different than the legion of other Gettysburg tour books available.

For starters, the book features very detailed walking and driving tours usually not included in any other guide.  The main battlefield aside, there are detailed tours of:

* The June 26 skirmish at Marsh Creek
* The June 26 fight at the Witmer Farm (Bailey’s Hill)
* The July 2 fight at Brinkerhoff’s Ridge
* The July 2 fight at Hunterstown
* The July 3 fight at East Cavalry Field
* The July 3 fighting at South Cavalry Field
* The July 3 fight at Fairfield

The main battlefield tour, broken down by July 1 and then the 2nd and 3rd together, contains details of terrain, farms, troop movements, monuments, trivia, etc. not found in other tours.  70 maps, all in full color by Steve, accompany the tours – and one unique feature is that they (where applicable) also contain the existing Park roads shaded in.  This way, you can stand on the ground and see exactly where the troop movements and actions take place around you, even when you don’t have a historical road to pinpoint your location.  It’s a fabulous feature.  For instance, you can stand along Buford Avenue northwest of town and watch the action of Iverson’s attack unfold in front of you.  And for all the tours, Steve has mapped out actions NEVER done before in detail – for instance, the June 26 skirmish at Marsh Creek along the Chambersburg Pike between Gordon’s Brigade/Elijah White’s Cavalry and the 26th PA Militia/Bell’s Adams County Cavalry.  The fight at the Witmer Farm is mapped in detail for the first time.  The opening skirmishes of the battles of Fairfield and Hunterstown have never been mapped before – but you’ll find them in this book.  You will see details mapped of Pickett’s Charge, Barlow’s Knoll, Little Round Top, etc. like they’ve never been done.

There are also tours of:

* Dozens of the major field hospitals surrounding Gettysburg, including Camp Letterman
* A historical walking tour of the town of Gettysburg
* A tour of all known rock carvings (some by veterans of the battle) on the battlefield – this is one of the most interesting features to many folks!
* Walking tour of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery (you’ll find the 9 or 10 Confederates mistakenly buried here, the first soldier buried, misidentifications, etc. and much more)
* Walking tour of historic Evergreen Cemetery

Global Positioning (GPS) coordinates are also included for rock carvings, hospital sites, sites on the other battlefields, etc., to assist the tourist in finding locations.  You can take your GPS device or navigator unit with you, and know that you’re on exactly the right spot.

The book is indexed and there’s a complete bibliography of sources.  Publisher Ted Savas is producing the book in hardcover that can easily be taken out on the field and in town, and the book is in full color.  Dozens of Steve’s beautiful full color photos grace the book.  Many, many Park Rangers, Licensed Battlefield Guides, Licensed Town Guides, historians and friends have assisted us to make this book FULL of many things you’ve never known about the battle and the field, and we truly think it will be a journey of discovery to take this book “out there” with you.

Well-known and popular Gettysburg National Military Park Ranger Eric Campbell penned the Forward to the book.  Eric appreciates the importance of the ground and terrain like no one else, and we are honored that he has given his imprimatur to this work.

Click here to go to Amazon’s page for the book.  Signed copies, as well as the Special Signed and Numbered Gettysburg Edition (limited to 100 copies with a specially designed book plate by Steve) are available from us once it’s released about May 15.  The book is about 320 pages total.

As I continue to get specific questions about the book, I’ll post them and explain them here.

Published in: on December 2, 2008 at 1:19 am  Comments (14)  

This is what it’s all about

The week before last, when I brought the day’s mail to the office, I saw an envelope embossed with the Texas State House in the corner.  The return address was a state senator, Bob Deuell, from the Lone Star State.  Why the heck would I be getting a letter from a Texas State legislator? I thought.  Before opening it, I quickly racked my brain for an answer.  I thought of my days as a college student – let’s see… did I know any girls then from Texas?  Did any of them and I… well…

Then I noticed “M.D.” after his name.  Oooo, I thought.  A senator and a doctor.  Am I being sued?  I’ve never been to Texas, so I couldn’t have wrecked into his car or anything.  Wait, maybe he was recently here in Pennsylvania.  What could I have done?

When I opened it, inside was a letter on which the State House was again embossed at the top.  The letter, dated November 9, was entirely hand-written.  I hope Senator Deuell doesn’t mind, but here’s the text of the letter:

Dear Mr. Petruzzi,

My compliments on your book, One Continuous Fight.

I grew up in Martinsburg, W.V. and hunted & fished the Potomac from Williamsport & Shepardstown in the 1960’s.  My mother lives in Falling Waters.

I attended medical school in Richmond (MCU) & did my Family Medicine residency in Harrisburg, Pa.  Needless to say your book hit home.  I have read over 100 books on the War.  Yours is one of the best.

By the way, at MCU one of my attending physicians was Dr. Hunter H. McGuire.

With warmest regards,

Bob Deuell

It doesn’t get any better than that.  All kidding about my college days aside, the letter really made my day once I read it.  My co-authors Eric Wittenberg and Mike Nugent feel the same, and our publisher Ted Savas was very impressed.  It is the appreciation for your work by your readers that keeps you going.  Criticism, too – we learn from both and it makes us better researchers and writers.

I wrote Senator Deuell back on behalf of Eric and Mike, and also sent him a special bookplate signed by the three of us to place inside his copy of One Continuous FightAnd I thought it was very interesting that he had practiced with Dr. Hunter McGuire… evidently, medicine still runs in that family!

Published in: on December 1, 2008 at 12:07 pm  Comments (3)