Saturday, January 23, 2016


As esteemed Army of Northern Virginia historian Robert K. Krick notes in his foreword to the upcoming Sharpshooter: The Selected Letters and Papers of Maj. Eugene Blackford, C.S.A., Volume I (CFS Press, FEB 2016), the Blackford family out of Fredericksburg and Lynchburg, Virginia are source royalty when it comes to the war in the eastern theater from the Confederate perspective. Easily the most famous figure is W.W. Blackford, whose memoir War Years with Jeb Stuart was published in 1945 and populates the notes and bibliography sections of countless books and articles. But brother C.M. Blackford's Letters from Lee's Army is up there with it. Then there are works from artillerist L.M Blackford, engineer B.L. Blackford, and now Eugene Blackford. In creating his fine study of the sharpshooter battalions of the Army of Northern Virginia, Shock Troops of the Confederacy (2006), author Fred L. Ray leaned heavily on the writings of 5th Alabama infantry major Eugene Blackford and soon the first of three volumes of Blackford letter, diary and memoir materials will be released.

Volume I includes a selected body of letters from January 1861 through May 1863, which contain useful firsthand accounts of First Bull Run, Seven Pines, Gaines's Mill, Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville while also treating readers to a wide range of lively opinions on other matters like camp life, unit politics and the officer corps of the army. Ray pens an introduction and epilogue for each of the book's ten chapters, as well as many brief transitional pieces within. A number of maps (including some interesting sketches made by Blackford himself), photos, and drawings are also scattered about the book's pages and Ray's chapter notes clarify persons, places and events mentioned in Blackford's letters.

Much more information about the book can be found at:
• Pre-order page:

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