Thursday, September 18, 2014

Booknotes II (Sept '14)

New Arrivals:

1. A Connecticut Yankee in Lincoln's Cabinet: Navy Secretary Gideon Welles Chronicles the Civil War edited by J. Ronald Spencer (Acorn Club - Wesleyan UP, 2014).

This book consists of Spencer's selections of 250 diary excerpts from the war years, organized into ten chapters by theme. The editor contributes general and chapter introductions, footnotes, pieces of transitional narrative, and the afterword. Those wanting the full diary should grab a copy of the Gienapp edition.

2. A Gunner in Lee's Army: The Civil War Letters of Thomas Henry Carter edited by Graham T. Dozier (UNC Pr, 2014).

Rising from battery to battalion commander, Carter was one of the stars of the ANV artillery service. Drawn from his extensive military experiences, the writings collected in the book (in the form of 100 letters home to his wife) serve as important primary source material. Keen commentary on high ranking ANV officers, campaigns fought, and home front issues are cited as key strengths of the letters.

3. The Coal River Valley in the Civil War: West Virginia Mountains, 1861 by Michael B. Graham (The Hist Pr, 2014).

Students of the 1861 campaigns in western Virginia should be excited about this promising looking study, which covers a number of obscure clashes (e.g. Boone Court House, Coal River, Pond Fork, and Kanawha Gap) fought along the economically important Coal River watershed. I was pleased to find that the author commissioned some really nice maps, as well.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Talking About History e-book

David Woodbury has conducted many interviews with prominent Civil War historians over the years. He's compiled 37 of these in a new Kindle e-book titled Talking about History: Historians Discuss the Civil War. David is providing it as a free download from now until Friday, just follow the link above.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Booknotes (Sept '14)

New Arrivals:

1. Lincoln's Political Generals: The Battlefield Performance of Seven Controversial Appointees by Benton Rain Patterson (McFarland, 2014).

A number of recent books and articles have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to revise the traditional view of the military ability of political generals (especially the Union ones) and the propriety of the appointment system that put these men in such high position. The introduction provides a pretty good rundown of the strengths and weaknesses of the system. Rather than offering his own ultimate judgement on the merits of each general, the author is more interested in presenting a balanced view of the military career of each and leaving it to the reader to decide.

2. The St. Albans Raid: Confederate Attack on Vermont by by Michelle Arnosky Sherburne (The Hist Pr, 2014).

Arcadia Publishing, that widely distributed purveyor of local photographic histories, recently acquired The History Press and the merger's influence can already be seen in this study, with its thick, glossy paper stock and even higher than usual number of illustrations. The raid has been the subject of countless book chapters and articles but (IIRC) it's been a while since the last full length treatment.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blood on the Bayou

It's still on the other side of the horizon, but we do have a tentative release date for the third volume of Don Frazier's "quadrille" detailing Civil War military actions and campaigns in Texas and Louisiana. We've all seen promising series peter out and it's great that the momentum has been maintained with this one.  The title, Blood on the Bayou: Vicksburg, Port Hudson, and the Trans-Mississippi (State House Press), clearly hints at what the content will be and is what we expected given what the author stated in past interviews.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Classic and recent Texas cavalry regimental histories

When I was writing my snapshot look at Stephen McGowen's excellent First Texas Cavalry history Horse Sweat and Powder Smoke last week I got to thinking about other Texas cavalry regimental histories. I'll begin by admitting that I've made no attempt to gather an exhaustive list, just a small number of titles that I've run into over the years. Most of these I haven't even seen in person.  There are so many Terry's Texas Rangers (8th Texas Cavalry) books that I'm not going to list them here.  The three Texas cavalry regimentals that I've reviewed on the site are Thomas Reid's Spartan Band: Burnett's 13th Texas Cavalry in the Civil War and Stephen Kirk's more non-traditionally formatted Sul Ross' Sixth Texas Cavalry: Six Shooters & Bowie Knives and A Thousand Texans: Men of the 9th Texas Cavalry.

The rest unfortunately remain unread by me. Douglas Hale's The Third Texas Cavalry in the Civil War is probably the best known of the bunch. More recent works are Martha Crabb's All Afire to Fight: The Untold Tale Of The Civil War's Ninth Texas Cavalry and Jane Johansson's Peculiar Honor: A History of the 28th Texas Cavalry 1862-1865.

The following are the most obscure, at least by my reckoning. From the previous decade are Chuck Carlock's History of the Tenth Texas Cavalry Dismounted Regiment, 1861-1865: "If We Ever Got Whipped, I Don't Recollect It" and Allen Hatley's Reluctant Rebels; the Eleventh Texas Cavalry Regiment. The rest go back further in time. Terrell's Texas Cavalry: Wild Horsemen of the Plains in the Civil War by John Spencer is from 1982 and three more examples -- Robert Weddle's Plow-horse Cavalry: The Caney Creek Boys of the Thirty-fourth Texas, Suffering To Silence: 29th Texas Cavalry, CSA, Regimental History by John Grady and Bradford Felmly, and Carl Duaine's Dead Men Wore Boots: 32nd Texas Volunteer Cavalry, CSA - 1862-1865 -- were published in the 60s and 70s. A few years ago, I was able to borrow copies of the Spencer and Weddle books but only had them enough time for a brief skim.  As I recall, they both seemed worth a deeper look, though I haven't done so. Of the rest I know absolutely nothing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pittman: "REBELS IN THE ROCKIES: Confederate Irregulars in the Western Territories"

[Rebels in the Rockies: Confederate Irregulars in the Western Territories by Walter Earl Pittman (McFarland 800-253-2187, 2014). Softcover, maps, photos, notes, bibliography, index. 260 pp. ISBN:978-0-7864-7820-0 $39.95]

Beyond its usefulness as a fine introduction to General Henry H. Sibley's 1861-62 Confederate campaign in New Mexico and Arizona, the most original feature of Walter Pittman's New Mexico and the Civil War (The History Press, 2011) was the emphasis placed on scout company operations. The author's new study Rebels in the Rockies: Confederate Irregulars in the Western Territories goes into far more depth on the subject, additionally extending its scope to Colorado and many other points west.

Rebels in the Rockies begins with a detailed recounting of the formation of the four primary Confederate irregular companies that participated in the New Mexico invasion -- the San Elizario Spy Company, Arizona Guards, Arizona Rangers, and the "Brigands." The biographical treatments of the leaders of these mounted bands are quite good, as is Pittman's framing of the frontier milieu from which the men in the ranks, who tended to be older and wealthier than the typical Confederate soldiers, were drawn. Unfortunately, once the campaigning begins the source material associated with these units tends to dry up. According to Pittman, record keeping was almost non-existent and official documents were either lost or destroyed by war's end. Knowledge of their actions and movements during the New Mexico Campaign mostly comes from other Confederates and their Union opponents. This makes the campaign's rather lengthy narrative more detached and non-specific to the irregulars than one might have hoped, but apparently this could not be helped. Despite their unruly nature, the companies did have an excellent battlefield reputation and were among the most reliable units in Sibley's expedition.

The other major theater of events examined in the book is Colorado Territory. Scholarship in the arena of pro-Confederate activities in Colorado remains fairly sparse, with Daniel Ellis Conner's A Confederate in the Colorado Gold Fields [an edited version of which was published decades ago by University of Oklahoma Press] being perhaps the best known primary source. Pittman cites a figure of 30-40% of the population originating from southern and border states, and he provides a fairly hefty amount of background information related to Colorado's most prominent citizens of pro-southern sympathies, including the individual reputed to be the richest man in the territory.

No solid evidence of insurgent activities or organized Confederate plots in Colorado exists, but many of these leading figures, who either left the territory on their own volition or were expelled by suspicious and increasingly repressive Union authorities, later returned as irregular fighters. The two missions with the highest profile, those of George Madison (1862) and the Reynolds Gang (1864), are well documented by Pittman in two lengthy chapters. With Union authorities possessing vastly superior intelligence and communications networks, both enterprises ended badly. Captain Madison, tasked in 1862 with Confederate recruitment and disruption of enemy communications in Colorado, had some early success but his base at Mace's Hole was discovered and soundly broken up by Union forces. The Reynolds Gang, subject to an intense and effective manhunt after a stagecoach robbery, was entirely dispersed or captured. In a notorious incident, five of the prisoners were murdered by their Union captors.

While the book's primary focus is on New Mexico-Arizona and Colorado, pro-Confederate activities in other western states and territories are summarized in brief. Pittman also follows at some length the continuing service of Brigands veterans attached to Texas cavalry units through the 1863-64 campaigns in Louisiana. In the end, the author arrives at the inevitable conclusion that pro-Confederate efforts in the Far West were a failure. With the disastrous conclusion of the New Mexico Campaign, they were never again able to seriously threaten federal control of the western territories. At best, Confederate irregulars were able to periodically distract local federal forces. An important related point raised by Pittman is just how effective Union authorities were in policing the vast open West. With limited resources, they squashed all threats and kept sizable civilian populations of uncertain loyalties well under control during the entire war. This effort is worth a book length study of its own. For all the above reasons, Rebels in the Rockies is recommended reading for those seeking a more detailed treatment of Confederate aspirations in the Far West.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Hmmm

My feeling that 2014 has been a below average one in terms of new book arrivals at CWBA home base appears to have some substance. I don't record total number of books received each year but a quick Booknotes hand count for identical periods (JAN - AUG) for 2013 and 2014 reveals a 33% decrease. A big drop for sure but what it really means I have no idea. The 2014 drought periods have been longer and more numerous than years past, but since I am only counting books that arrive in my own mailbox it would be wrong to use this isolated example to draw any conclusions about Civil War publishing in general. I do have a fairly large wishlist of fall titles so things may be looking up. Of course, those authors and publishers who do continue to regularly send new releases my way are much appreciated.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Empire and Liberty

One of the more gratifying aspects of Sesquicentennial publishing has been the sudden appearance of titles dealing with the conflict years in the Far West. I remarked earlier about Civil War Wests: Testing the Limits of the United States (Feb '15), but the same publisher (University of California Press) will be releasing yet another subject-related essay collection the following month Empire and Liberty: The Civil War and the West edited by Virginia Scharff (March '15). Something Civil War-y got into UC Press's cheerios.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

"Horse Sweat and Powder Smoke: The First Texas Cavalry in the Civil War"

Being busy in school at the time, Stanley McGowen's Horse Sweat and Powder Smoke: The First Texas Cavalry in the Civil War (TAMU, 1999) slipped by me when it first appeared. A decent number of modern Texas cavalry unit studies have been published before and since [many of the earlier ones quite pricey], but this one is my favorite to date. Even 15 years later, it's not too late to get a brand new, shrinkwrapped copy, either, as the book remains in print and widely available.

Modern regimental studies of units raised in the Trans-Mississippi and remaining there during their entire service are rare and the First, in its several forms, has the added bonus of having a fascinatingly disparate range of duties. From February 1861, the job of the First Texas Mounted Rifles (a 12-month regiment) was primarily to patrol the Texas frontier and protect settlers from frequent Comanche and Kiowa attacks. When this initial enlistment period expired in spring 1862, four companies formed the nucleus of a cavalry battalion that guarded the coast but also dealt with internal troubles stirred up by pro-Union German immigrants.  Officers and men from the old First fought in the Neuces battle but apparently did not directly participate in the prisoner murders that tainted the aftermath. In May 1863, the regiment was reconstituted as the First Texas Cavalry. The Texans spent much of the remaining period of the war on the move safeguarding the essential cross border cotton trade, defending the state from a number of Union amphibious operations (their duty stations ranging up and down the entire coastline between Fort Brown and the Texas-Louisiana border), and campaigning in Louisiana with Confederate forces opposing the Union army's 1863 Texas Overland Expedition and 1864 Red River Campaign.

The study does not include a roster and the demographic analysis of the men that served in the ranks is fairly minimal by today's standards. The large number of German-Americans in the regiment will interest many readers more familiar with stories surrounding the pro-Union element among German-Texan citizenry.  McGowen provides detailed mini-biographies of their officers (including that of the talented professional soldier that would eventually lead the regiment, Augustus Buchel) but unfortunately wasn't able to uncover much common soldier source material documenting the source of their Confederate loyalties and what they thought about their unionist neighbors

McGowen does devote a great deal of space in the book to the difficulties of frontier military service in the Confederacy, including how the Texans dealt with scarcities in food, supplies, weapons, horses, equipment, and medical services in camp and on campaign. Horse Sweat and Powder Smoke really is a noteworthy original when it comes to Trans-Mississippi regimental histories. From Indian fighting to border security to suppressing armed internal dissent to defending coastal and overland routes from Union invasion, the variety of roles performed by the men of the First Texas Cavalry almost perfectly encapsulates the entire range of Civil War Texas military experiences.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

B&G Volume XXX Issue #6

The last Blue and Gray Magazine issue from Vol. 30 will ship this week.  The subject is the Battle of Tupelo and the author Tom Parson.  Parson also has a book length treatment of the same coming out the following month (good timing) -- Work for Giants: The Campaign and Battle of Tupelo/Harrisburg, Mississippi, June-July 1864 -- through Kent State University Press. 

The magazine usually does a fairly good job of varying theaters, but this one will also mark the 15th issue since the beloved General's Tour last ventured into the Trans-Mississippi. I hope the wait for another visit won't be too much longer. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Butkovich: "THE BATTLE OF ALLATOONA PASS: Civil War Skirmish in Bartow County, Georgia"

[The Battle of Allatoona Pass: Civil War Skirmish in Bartow County, Georgia by Brad Butkovich (The History Press, 2014). Softcover, maps, photos, notes, appendices, bibliography, index. Pages main/total:148/190. ISBN:978-1-62619-461-8 $19.99]

Brad Butkovich's The Battle of Allatoona Pass: Civil War Skirmish in Bartow County, Georgia is a matchless rendering of John Bell Hood's October 1864 operation to break the Western & Atlantic Railroad between Marietta and the Etowah River bridge, with, of course, special attention paid to its most significant battle, the bloody failed assault on the fortified pass at Allatoona. After such a long drought, students of the Atlanta Campaign and beyond must be gratified to finally witness a small but steady publication run of high quality battle histories associated with it.

Butkovich's narrative is finely balanced, with equal levels of scrutiny devoted to the preparations of both combatants. With Hood's main body concentrated west of the railroad at Lost Mountain, Major General Samuel G. French's three-brigade [those of Sears, Cockrell, and Ector (now under Young)] division struck out north to attack Allatoona. Union detachments guarding towns, bridges, and other strategic points along the railroad were alerted, with brigade-sized reinforcements under Brigadier General John M. Corse arriving at Allatoona by rail just before French appeared on the scene, making the sides roughly even. Butkovich expertly describes the natural topography surrounding Allatoona [the most notable defensive features, a pair of high hills bisected by a steep, man-made gorge crossable by a footbridge] as well as the design and positioning of the complex of rifle pits, trenches, redoubts, and forts constructed by Union engineers atop the high ground. The possibility of filling in the railroad passage through the gorge with debris and blocking it for an extended period of time, along with the position's apparent vulnerability (before it was reinforced), all were reasons behind Confederate selection of Allatoona as the main point of attack. Other sites were targeted, as well. The author also notes the complete ineffectualness of the mounted arms of both sides, with the Union's well conceived signal corps system being the only bright spot in the arena of communications and intelligence gathering during the operation.

With seemingly no company unaccounted for, Butkovich's meticulous tactical rendering of the battle itself is truly impressive. His full grasp of how specific terrain features in combination with skillful defensive works placement thwarted the Confederate attack deeply informs the narrative. Readers hoping for an extensively mapped study to rival Scaife's classic 1864 Georgia campaign cartography will not be disappointed. The numerous author-created maps present a complete picture of the battlefield landscape and point out the positions of all the units (in places, all the way down to company scale) at crucial points in the engagement.

After reading Butkovich's account, French's assault appears foolhardy only in hindsight. His decision to concentrate his brigades and launch a converging attack on a single point (the western end of the Allatoona defenses) was a proper one, and would probably have succeeded had the Union defenders not been dealt the immense good fortune of being heavily reinforced at the very last moment. Given the relatively small numbers of soldiers directly involved in the battle (2,000 - 2,500 for each side), Allatoona was incredibly bloody, with the attackers suffering 40% casualties and the defenders 32%.

The study also includes useful supplementary material. Detailed orders of battle with numbers data are available in the appendix section, as is information about the mysterious "unknown soldier" grave site located nearby and the Allatoona blockhouse that diverted Confederate attention and strength from the main attack.

One can never say never, but it is difficult to imagine a better battle history of Allatoona Pass emerging in the future. Surpassing all prior treatments by a wide mark, The Battle of Allatoona Pass fully meets, and frequently exceeds, the demanding expectations of today's Civil War battle study devotees. With this publication and his earlier Pickett's Mill manuscript, Butkovich is making a name for himself in the military historiography of the 1864 Georgia campaigns and one greatly looks forward to his next project.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Booknotes III (Aug '14)

New Arrivals:

1. Winnie Davis: Daughter of the Lost Cause by Heath Hardage Lee (Potomac Books, 2014).

According to the press release, this is the first biography of the famous "Daughter of the Confederacy" to appear in print. After spending much of her life abroad, "(h)er controversial engagement in 1890 to a Northerner lawyer whose grandfather was a famous abolitionist, and her later move to work as a writer in New York City, shocked her friends, family, and the Southern groups who worshipped her. Faced with the pressures of a community who violently rejected the match, Winnie desperately attempted to reconcile her prominent Old South history with her personal desire for tolerance and acceptance of her personal choices."

2. Collaborators for Emancipation: Abraham Lincoln and Owen Lovejoy by William F. Moore & Jane Ann Moore (Univ of Ill Pr, 2014).

The younger brother of famously murdered abolitionist newspaper editor Elijah Lovejoy, Illinois's Owen Lovejoy became a prominent antislavery radical himself. This study examines in depth the Lovejoy-Lincoln connection. "Exploring the men's politics, personal traits, and religious convictions, the book traces their separate paths in life as well as their frequent interactions. Collaborators for Emancipation shows how Lincoln and Lovejoy influenced one another and analyzes the strategies and systems of belief each brought to the epic controversies of slavery versus abolition and union versus disunion." The Moores are co-directors of the Lovejoy Society and editors of his papers.

3. "Stand to It and Give Them Hell": Gettysburg as the Soldiers Experienced it from Cemetery Ridge to Little Round Top, July 2, 1863 by John Michael Priest (Savas Beatie, 2014).

During my early Civil War reading, Priest's Antietam: The Soldiers' Battle was one of my favorite books. This new study follows a similar format of presenting the action through the eyes of individual soldiers, with the field of battle being the second day of Gettysburg at Cemetery Ridge, the Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield, Devil's Den and other famous July 2 locations. The professionally produced maps are a big upgrade from the hand-drawn affairs present in the author's earlier books.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Merchant: "SOUTH CAROLINA FIRE-EATER: The Life of Laurence Massillon Keitt, 1824-1864"

[South Carolina Fire-Eater: The Life of Laurence Massillon Keitt, 1824-1864 by Holt Merchant (University of South Carolina Press, 2014). Hardcover, 2 maps, photos, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. Pages main/total:205/271. ISBN:978-1-61117-349-9 $39.95]

South Carolinian Laurence M. Keitt is mostly recognized by Civil War readers as a second tier Deep South Fire-Eater who assisted Preston Brooks during the infamous Sumner caning incident and suffered a mortal wound at Cold Harbor leading a poorly orchestrated frontal attack. Concise, but well researched and offering a comprehensive portrait of Keitt's public career, Holt Merchant's South Carolina Fire-Eater: The Life of Laurence Massillon Keitt, 1824-1864 is a compelling biographical treatment of a man supremely dedicated to disunion but, after achieving this cherished goal, could only watch as others seized the reins of the new Confederacy.

Before entering the national scene, Keitt was a lawyer and state legislator. According to Merchant, the records of Keitt's cases were destroyed during the war so it is not possible today to adequately assess his level of ability or his place in any important cases. Much like his later time with the U.S. Congress, Keitt's career as a state lawmaker was fairly undistinguished, his most important achievement apparently being to fireproof the state archives. History was often on his mind and he hoped to be a published author at some point.

Merchant's characterization of Keitt's political actions and ideology offers readers a clear sense of what made South Carolina Fire-Eaters a different breed from even other Deep South leaders of similar persuasion. In the 1850s, wherever there was a crowd that would listen, he delivered fiery speeches denouncing all political parties (Republicans, Democrats, and Know Nothings alike). Keitt wanted his state to have no part in national political parties. As a U.S. Representative, sectional deal making was of no consideration, his only concerns tied to limiting the powers of the federal government and maintaining a fiercely partisan defense of the interests of South Carolina and slavery. Disunion always seemed to be the ultimate goal. As long as men like Keitt held sway during the 1850s, Merchant offers the impression that no compromise that could have led to South Carolina remaining within the Union was possible.

Keitt's rhetorical skills undoubtedly had significant impact on the secession movement but any hopes of having a large role in shaping the creation of the new nation that he so tirelessly fought for were quickly dashed. Much of this was likely due to his ungovernable temper. Creating powerful enemies and almost entirely lacking in discretion, he was no statesman. As part of the South Carolina delegation in Montgomery, Keitt could only watch as others drafted the Confederate constitution and selected comparative moderates to high office.

Briefing serving in the Confederate Congress, where he was an outspoken critic of the Davis administration, Keitt resigned in 1862 to enter the army. Appointed to lead the 20th South Carolina, Colonel Keitt spent much of the war defending Charleston. Centering on Sullivan's Island, his area of responsibility was the northern flank of the harbor defenses, the most quiescent sector. Keitt first serious taste of combat occurred when he was sent to Morris Island. There he was praised for his stalwart defense of the island and skillful extraction of the Battery Wagner garrison. Keitt's first opportunity to direct units in the open field was in Virginia at the Battle of Cold Harbor. Inexperience, combined with an urgent desire to prove himself as a battlefield leader, led him to launch a poorly crafted frontal assault against entrenched Union cavalry that failed badly, with brigade commander Keitt mortally wounded in the process. As he does not attempt a detailed reassessment of this attack and Keitt's role in it, Merchant likely believes that no reason exists to contradict the conventional interpretation.

With notable breadth and depth of sources listed, the bibliography of South Carolina Fire-Eater has all the hallmarks of a well researched biography. Merchant uses the correspondence between Keitt and his wife to provide readers clues to Keitt's inner life. His letters to Sue often express genuine regret for those times when his temper got out of control. Curiously, in 1864, Keitt also became circumspect about how personally responsible he was for bringing about such death and destruction to his section, promising his wife that after the war he would devote himself to some form of redress. One wonders whether other Fire-Eaters expressed similar feelings. Still, it remains difficult to glean features of Keitt's personality, how he interacted with intimate friends and family, from the narrative.  The book does not liberally allow Keitt to express himself in his own words, with Merchant instead preferring to synopsize the content of letters and other primary sources.

Laurence M. Keitt is a Civil War era political and military figure deserving of a modern scholarly biography, and Holt Merchant's effort to provide one succeeds quite nicely. With its keen insights into Fire-Eater ideology, even those readers without a specific interest in Keitt himself will gain a deeper understanding of the political movement that, in its most extreme South Carolina form, came to be devoted to the destruction of the Union.

More CWBA reviews of USC Press titles:
* A Confederate Englishman: The Civil War Letters of Henry Wemyss Feilden
* Promotion or the Bottom of the River: The Blue and Gray Naval Careers of Alexander F. Warley, South Carolinian
* Faith, Valor, and Devotion: The Civil War Letters of William Porcher DuBose and A Palmetto Boy: Civil War-Era Diaries and Letters of James Adams Tillman
* Twilight on the South Carolina Rice Fields: Letters of the Heyward Family, 1862-1871
* Never for Want of Powder: The Confederate Powder Works in Augusta, Georgia
* Upcountry South Carolina Goes to War: Letters of the Anderson, Brockman, and Moore Families, 1853-1865
* Cuban Confederate Colonel: The Life of Ambrosio Jose Gonzales
* The Good Fight That Didn't End: Henry P. Goddard's Accounts of Civil War and Peace
* Guardian of Savannah: Fort McAllister, Georgia, in the Civil War and Beyond
* High Seas And Yankee Gunboats: A Blockade-Running Adventure From The Diary Of James Dickson
* Vital Rails: The Charleston & Savannah Railroad and the Civil War in Coastal South Carolina

Thursday, August 21, 2014

About that Patrick Cleburne diary

Does anyone know the story behind its discovery?  A cursory online search for news stories turned up nothing. I can see why it might remain under wraps until publication but I would have thought at least some kind of headline would have appeared between 2009 and now [the diary was one of the items reported missing from Cleburne's body when it arrived at Carnton].  Given Cleburne's popularity and with 1864 being the most controversial year of his celebrated Confederate service (with his proposal to arm slaves and high profile involvement and death during Hood's Tennessee campaign), it should be a pretty big deal.