My sixth book in the mapping series has been published! The Maps of Fredericksburg could be my best work yet, but then I say that about all of my books when they first appear.
This volume is about the same length of most of the others– about 125 full-color maps with accompanying text. The publisher has actually lowered the retail price from $39.95 to $37.95. You can get it cheaper from Amazon. I can also sell you a personally inscribed copy at a lower price than retail. Just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Like all of the campaign studies I’ve completed, I learned so much. What stands out about this campaign is:
- Burnside’s reluctance to assume command of the Army of the Potomac
- The problems with securing enough pontoon boats to bridge the Rappahannock River
- Burnside’s muddled plans to attack Lee on the heights behind and below Fredericksburg
- The utter senseless destruction of Fredericksburg by the Union artillery and infantry
- How close Meade and Gibbon’s divisions came to successfully piercing the Confederate line
- How 21 Union brigades could be thrown against Marye’s Heights in succession
I am finishing up the Maps of the Cavalry at Gettysburg and the Maps of Spotsylvania (including North Anna and Cold Harbor). More on these in future posts. The next new map project will be the Maps of the Petersburg/Appomattox Campaign. Oh, and I am working with Sean Chick on a Maps of the Shiloh Campaign. He is doing the text and I am completing the maps.
It’s been while since I posted anything and lots has happened in my life. I retired in June, 2017 and my wife and I moved to Fairfield, PA a couple of months ago. Many may know it is just west of Gettysburg, which is bustling with all kinds of activities. I have been writing (will update that on a future post) and my wife has gained a studio behind our new home (which was built in 1871-72).
I am also a Gettysburg Licensed Historian, which means I give tours of the town. I am not thinking of becoming a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide anytime soon.
Retirement is great!
The first draft was finally completed about a month ago and I was ready to finish revising and getting it off to my editor. What campaign next, I thought. My editor, Ted Savas, said “not so fast.” We discussed ideas for the remainder of the war and he made a good point. Why have North Anna and Cold Harbor as a separate volume? Combine them with the Spotsylvania volume and go up to 144 maps (instead of the 110 that I had been anticipating for just that one campaign).
So, I am hard at work finishing this volume. I am finishing up the North Anna fights and will soon move south with the two armies.
Good news on a slightly different front– Ted indicates that he will probably start editing the Fredericksburg volume soon.
One more year to retirement! I hope to really ramp up my writing at that time. In the meantime, I am making some good progress on a variety of topics.
- The Maps of the Wilderness Campaign continues to be well received.
- Check out these two recent reviews:
- My Maps of the Fredericksburg Campaign is now with Ted Savas with a 2017 possible release date. This is one of my favorite books of the series.
- My Maps of the Spotsylvania Campaign, which is the second installment of the Overland Campaign series, is up to May 14 (Myer’s Hill). I will end this one on May 20, 1864.
- The Gettysburg Encyclopedia continues to prod along. I am finishing up about two dozen entries, and then it will be ready for editing. This will be a massive work.
Hope you all are enjoying this HOT summer.
My fifth map book is finally out: The Maps of the Wilderness. It follows in the footsteps of the Maps of First Bull Run, Maps of Antietam, Maps of Gettysburg, and Maps of Bristoe Station/Mine Run.
This one runs 324 pages and contains 24 maps sets with 120 original full-page color maps. The book begins with the armies in winter quarters. This section covers the changes in the armies, particularly the arrival of U.S. Grant. The action really begins on May 2, when Grant finalizes his plans for the Army of the Potomac.
The action covers the movement of the Union army through the Wilderness and Lee’s response, leading to the early encounter on May 5. The fighting along the Orange Turnpike and the Orange Plank Road is covered in detail.
Then I cover the actions, or inactions, of the Confederates during the night of May 5-6. The latter opens with a massive attack along the Plank Road and this is detailed in many maps, as is the arrival of Longstreet’s First Corps, its flank attack, and the final attacks on the Union works along Brock Road.
John Gordon’s flank attack is also covered in some detail as it had so much potential and created so much havoc.
A number of cavalry actions are also covered in this volume. The book ends with the armies moving toward Spotsylvania Court House on May 7.
I believe that the book turned out quite well. In future posts I will detail specific sections of the book.
Like so many others, my version of a “dream” weekend is spending it at a battlefield. This upcoming Labor Day Weekend will be very special, as I will be at two battlefields to sign books. The schedule is:
Gettysburg Visitor Center
September 5, 2015
11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Antietam Visitor’s Center
September 6, 2015
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Hope to see you there!
I have been remiss in not posting more frequently to this blog, but life keeps getting in the way. I am closing in on retirement within the next two years, so I should have more time to post.
I am happy to announce that my Maps of the Wilderness book is now at the printer and is slated to be out by January, 2016.
It was a very difficult book to write, as the actions were so confused and confusing. I think I did a pretty good job of accurately capturing the action. Several individuals really helped me in my endeavors, including Greg Mertz, Kris White, and Phill Greenwaldt.
After completing the Wilderness book, I got right to work on the Maps of the Fredericksburg Campaign, and I am pleased to report that it has also been completed. You probably won’t see it until early 2017.
I have started my seventh map book…more on that one soon.
Many people ask me why I get up at 3:00 a.m. every morning to work on my Civil War map books. I can’t really explain it, but I am on a mission to map every campaign in the Eastern Theater of the Civil War. I have a good start– four campaigns (First Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, Bristoe/Mine Run) are published and one is with Ted Savas, my editor. The greatest satisfaction comes from meeting readers who have enjoyed/benefited from my efforts. Not so great are the individuals who want to nitpick about this topic or that. I never engage them, but merely smile and say that there are many different perspectives and no one will ever know for sure.
I have never won and award for my work and probably won’t ever, but it is always satisfying when I read the responses to my books on Amazon. Now, Andrew Wagenhoffer has listed my Bristoe Station/Mine Run book as one of the best in 2014. To see the entire list, go to http://www.cwba.blogspot.in/search/label/Magazines%20and%20Journals
I walked the fields of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania many times while mapping the campaigns of the Eastern Theater of the Civil War. Studying the Civil War is my passion and to date, I wrote ten books because of it. The time that I devote to my studies of the Civil War, however; is limited by my “day” job as President of the College of Southern Maryland. This also restricts the time I can devote to nonprofit organizations. I felt compelled to make the time when the opportunity was presented to become a member of the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust (CVBT) Board.
During battlefield visits, I am dismayed by the destruction of these sacred sites. Standing at the location of the mill race, now Kenwood Avenue in Fredericksburg, it is impossible to see the ground the men in blue traversed to ultimately be slaughtered before Marye’s Heights. The town of Fredericksburg has changed over the years, as the ever growing population engulfed those sacred grounds. The same is true at the Wilderness battlefield, where a housing development around Grant Lake has sprung up on the ground that saw very heavy fighting during May 5 and 6, 1864. On May 5, Henry Heth’s Division’s left flank valiantly held off charge after charge of an overwhelming number of Union troops. Gen. Wadsworth’s division traversed this ground on its journey to crush the Confederate defensive line on the early morning of May 6 and was the scene of heavy fighting as Longstreet’s men appeared later that morning. Many other troops thrashed their way through the thickets here. However, access to these sacred grounds is barred because of the private residences that dot the landscape.
The heroic efforts of the Civil War Trust and the Gettysburg Foundation are celebrated for preserving historic sites. Less well-known is the CVBT, which concentrates its efforts in preserving the Fredericksburg-Chancellorsville- Wilderness- Spotsylvania battlefields. It is a big job as the population of Fredericksburg and its surrounding counties has increased 120 percent since 1970, four times the rate of growth of the rest of Virginia. The organization can count many successes over the years, including the preservation of over 1,000 acres of sacred land. They not only preserve the land itself but also act as advocates for battlefield preservation in general.
While the relationship between the Gettysburg Foundation and the rangers at the Gettysburg National Military Park are renowned and applauded, the relationship between the CVBT and the personnel at the Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania National Military Park complexes is equally strong. The synergy has helped strengthen both entities.
For me, writing a check is not enough. I need to give back to those men who made the ultimate sacrifice by contributing my time and knowledge. That’s one of the reasons I write books and why I have decided to join a committed band of individuals who have such a passion for our nation’s heritage. There is much more work to be done and it is my hope that more people will lend their support to this outstanding organization. Please take a moment to visit the CVBT website (http://www.cvbt.org).
I always look forward to Gettysburg’s Sacred Trust program. I usually am asked to give a presentation on Gettysburg, and then I sign books for awhile. This year was a bit different, as they had plenty of speakers, so I just signed book for awhile on July 4. I met some great people from all over the U.S. They all had one thing in common– a passion for Gettysburg. I am always so pleased to learn that many people carry my Maps of Gettysburg around the battlefield. One visitor also mentioned that a ranger at the Antietam battlefield was carrying around my book during a tour. That’s why I am writing these books. Not only do I learn so much about a campaign, I am able to share my new insights with others. Few Civil War historians make a ton of money on their projects– they do it for the passion to learn and to share.
What I found so odd this year was that the vast majority of presentations (21 out 26) were not on Gettysburg. I may be wrong, but I think most people go to Gettysburg to learn about Gettysburg and the same is true of Sacred Trust. Check out the list of presentations: http://www.gettysburgfoundation.org/149/sacred-trust-event-schedule
What do you think? Am I wrong?