Midwest Book Review of “One Continuous Fight”

My apologies to my readers for the lack of posting the past couple of weeks.  Two things have been demanding my attention lately (well, beside that dang thing – work – that keeps getting in my way!  First, One Continuous Fight is going into its second edition as we speak, and I’ve been doing some work on fixing some typos and other small revisions that needed to be done before it goes to the printer.  Secondly, I’m currently working on the final touches for my new book, set for release in mid-May 2009 and also published by Savas Beatie.  I will be revealing details about this book as time goes on and we get closer to release date.  I’m very excited about this project, and it’s a work I have been wanting to do for many years.

In the meantime, today a wonderful review of One Continuous Fight appeared on the book’s Amazon page, and I, Eric, and Mike are very humbled and appreciative of it.  It’s by Richard N. Larsen and we couldn’t be happier by such kind words:

This truly is a work of epic proportions

September 12, 2008

By Midwest Book Review

If you ever wondered what happened to Robert E. Lee’s army of northern Virginia in the ten days following its defeat at Gettysburg on Pennsylvania July 3, 1863, look no further than One Continuous Fight. Herein, Jeb Stuart is redeemed in the eyes of Lee for poor scouting reports prior to July 1st. Meade explains why he didn’t intercept Lee’s broken army during the retreat. Learn of the twenty or so skirmishes between Southern and Northern cavalry in places like Funkstown, Boonsboro and finally Falling Waters, suffer with the slow moving, 17 mile long Confederate wagon train carrying the wounded and the lame, including captured union soldiers for ten days from Gettysburg to Williamsport, Maryland.

Never before have I seen such broad range of resources, from diaries to documents, letters, newspaper accounts, military, civilians along the route of retreat, Confederate and Union.

This truly is work of epic proportions, taken on by three well known Civil War historians and experts on cavalry action. There is even a detailed modern driving tour for those of you who can still afford gasoline, from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Williamsport, Maryland.

Richard N. Larsen

Published in: on September 12, 2008 at 4:13 pm  Comments (4)  

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)  

Research fun

On a recent tip from a fellow student of The Late Unpleasantness, I got a copy of an 1863 diary of a trooper in the 8th Illinois Cavalry that’s located in the research library of a Pennsylvania college.  To my knowledge, this diary has never been used before in any capacity, and it’s a simply fabulous daily snapshot of life in the Federal Cavalry in 1863.  There are wonderful entries of each important action and battle during the year.  The trooper kept good notes for every single day of the year without exception, and I’ve been having fun working at transcribing it from his original longhand.  I passed on the June 9 Battle of Brandy Station material to Eric, and he recently worked it into the manuscript of the 3-volume study of Gettysburg Campaign cavalry actions we’re currently working on.  The diary is yielding an enormous amount of material that will find its way into the volumes.

My researcher also recently sent me a couple large envelopes with lots of primary material that he’s uncovered.  One bit of it is the recollections of a South Carolina cavalryman that served in Gen. Wade Hampton’s brigade.  This trooper makes many comments about the officers he served under, and I found one to be particularly interesting – and revealing.  It’s his impressions of Jeb Stuart, and it’s quite unlike any other.  While so many contemporary comments about Stuart are positive, this fella had little good to say about Jeb.  Here’s what he wrote in a contemporary observation:

I wish to say what I think of Stuart right now… He looks more like a clown and fool than a soldier, nor can you see him without a feeling of contempt for him; yet he is generous and brave – two qualities that redeem a multitude of faults.  You seldom see him on foot but on horse-back.  He wears a roundabout coat, the sleeves and collar of which are gorgeous with stars and trimmings.  His hat has some sort of insignia on it, I do not know what, with two long drooping ostrich plumes in it – high top dragoon boots with brass spurs and very fine, elaborate housing for his horse completes his outfit.  Red hair and long red beard make up the man that is thoroughly and firmly persuaded that J.E.B. Stuart is the great man of this war.  He keeps old Mike Sweeney at his headquarters to play the banjo for him, and he has a song that he sings most all the time (“Old Joe Hooker Come Out of the Wilderness”).
I do not know whether that this raid around McClellan originated from Stuart or not, but it sounds like him, as I don’t think that Gen. Lee would have thought of such a fool thing.

Well, you have to love someone who doesn’t pull any punches.  And it’s certainly a bit different than most contemporary observations of Jeb that I’ve ever read.

Published in: on July 31, 2008 at 4:08 pm  Comments (8)  

Monterey Pass Battlefield Association Seminar

Historian John Miller has put up a little teaser on his Monterey Pass Battlefield website about the seminar coming up on November 8.  Click on the link to read more.  John has asked me and my co-authors on the Gettysburg retreat book, Eric Wittenberg and Mike Nugent, to be the keynote speakers at the event.

The fight at the Monterey Pass is one of my favorites of the Gettysburg Campaign to study.  Taking place during a pitch-black rainstorm late on the night of July 4, Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick’s 3rd Federal Cavalry Division troopers were pitted against a rear guard protecting the escaping wagon trains of Ewell’s column.  We have an entire chapter devoted to the fight in our book One Continuous Fight, containing the most updated and detailed scholarship on the scrap.  I love exploring the area – the pass (as well as nearby Fairfield Pass) is some of the most beautiful country in that part of the Commonwealth, and since the terrain and roads are virtually unchanged save for the asphalt, interpretation of the fighting is easy to understand and appreciate.

John and his folks are doing yeoman’s work as they labor to save the area and bring publicity to the area’s history in the Civil War, and they deserve hearty kudos.  Historians such as Ted Alexander, Kent Masterson Brown and John Miller himself will be in attendance.

Watch John’s website for updates, and please plan to attend if you can.  If you want to get “off the beaten path” and learn about some of the “other” events surrounding Gettysburg, you’ll appreciate this event.

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 1:16 pm  Comments (1)  

Great time at the Chambersburg Seminar

From this past Wednesday through Sunday, I participated in Ted Alexander’s Chambersburg Civil War Seminar.  It was a great time not only getting to stomp lots of battlefield ground, but meeting old friends and making new ones.  I finally got to meet Jeffry Wert – Eric and myself had a great panel discussion with Jeff to close the event on Sunday morning.  Jeff is a terrific guy and we got to talk a great deal when Eric and I took him to dinner at Dave and Jane’s Crab House near the Mason Dixon line south of Fairfield on Saturday night.  There we met Gettysburg locals Dave Moore and his wife Carol, and the Master of Adams County – Dean Shultz – and his wife Judy also met us for dinner.  Yes, I shocked everyone again with my eating prowess and we left the table in quite a mess!  Of course, this great seafood restaurant is used to that.

I made fast friends with the folks who work Ted’s seminar and do so much work behind the scenes to make it a terrific and successful event year after year.  It was wonderful meeting folks such as Ethan Rafuse, John Schildt, and Steve French.  Steve and I have corresponded over the years but it’s always nice when you get to shake the hand of a friend.

On Thursday, Eric and I gave about 20 folks a full-day tour of Jeb Stuart’s ride to Gettysburg based on our first book, and at the end we threw in a tour of Fairfield for them as well.  On Friday Eric and I took the day to make a run to DC, where we got to see Forts Stevens and DeRussy.  DeRussy sits in the heavy woods in Rock Creek State Park, and I was amazed that one is able to walk all over the parapets.  We visited the beautifully restored Lincoln Cottage at the Soldier’s Home, and visit that I recommend to all. 

On Saturday, after spending the morning in Gettysburg, Eric (with a little assist from me) gave a tour of South Cavalry Field – Merritt’s and Farnsworth’s actions – to a group of about 8 folks.  At the end, we threw in another tour of Fairfield for this group, and I spent a little time at the end wrapping up all the events of the Reserve Brigade for the folks.

Saturday morning, Eric and I joined Jeff Wert for a panel discussion of Stuart’s role in the Gettysburg Campaign, and then we had lunch and parted ways.  It was a wonderful four days and I learned much more than I taught – which is always a winner for me.  Once again, I bought way too many books, and I’m hoping that Jim McLean of Butternut&Blue names that new wing on his house after me…

Ted Alexander is planning several cavalry-related topics for next year, so I’m very much looking forward to participating in future events.  Everyone involved deserves a hearty congrats for all their hard work in making the event a rousing success, and for raising some $5000 for battlefield preservation.  If you haven’t attended this event, please consider doing so.

Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 4:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Galloping to Chambersburg

Tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday) I’ll be heading off to Chambersburg to participate in Ted Alexander’s Mother of All Gettysburg Seminars.  There will be a nice reception Wednesday evening at Seminar headquarters (the Chambersburg Quality Inn).  On Thursday, Eric Wittenberg and I will be leading an all-day bus tour of Jeb Stuart’s ride from Westminster MD to Gettysburg.  Eric and I have a lot of fun leading this particular tour, and we enjoy showing folks sights that people rarely get to see (or understand).  One of them is a recent addition, and something that didn’t make it into the tour in our book – the precise location of the initial skirmish that started the Hanover fight of June 30, 1863.  Working with local historians and pouring over old maps and road traces last month, I was able to finally re-discover the route taken by Capt. Thaddeus Freeland of the 18th PA Cavalry’s rear guard detail, and where the clash happened between his troopers and an advance guard of Col. John Chambliss’ 13th VA Cavalry.  We’ll be showing the folks that location.

On Friday, Eric and I are going to make a run to the DC area to check out Ft. Stevens and several other sites.  Saturday I have a tour or two I wish to attend, and in the afternoon Eric will be leading a walk of Farnsworth’s Charge on South Cavalry Field.  Then on Sunday morning, Eric and I and others are participating in a panel discussion entitled “Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Stuart’s Ride Revisited.”  I’m looking forward to that.

Many of the country’s top Gettysburg/Civil War historians are participating, and it’s great company to be in – Ed Bearss of course, Ted Alexander, Joe Bilby, Eric Campbell, Steve French, Gary Kross, Dave Martin, Ethan Rafuse, Richard Sauers, Dean Shultz, Wayne Wachsmuth, and Jeff Wert just to name a few.

I look forward to seeing many friends at the conference, and making many new ones.  I’ll give a full report next week when I return.

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