Monday, October 20, 2014

Booknotes VI (Oct '14)

Just In:

The Early Morning of War: Bull Run, 1861 by Edward G. Longacre (Univ of Okla Pr, 2014).

I am quite close to giddy at finally having my hands on the first micro-treatment of First Bull Run. The narrative part runs at just over 500 pages and with Blackburn's Ford not coming into the picture until around pg. 250 it really is a campaign history. Longacre has clearly done his homework on this one, with the manuscript section alone comprising over 20 densely packed pages of unpublished civilian and military primary sources. I am sure Harry will have a fine time picking his way through it. For a study this detailed, it's a shame that the maps are so few in number, especially for the confused, piecemeal back and forth exchanges around Henry Hill.

The author interview accompanying the press package hints at some of Longacre's unconventional conclusions. His reading of civilian letters leaves him convinced that home front morale was already falling before the campaign was even fought, and this in turn impacted military morale to a degree not previously understood. Longacre's findings also led him to question whether Joe Johnston's use of rail movement to reach the Manassas battlefield was truly an essential element in the Confederate victory. In another take on the "There stands Jackson like a stone wall!" controversy, the author promises a fresh look into the matter at an unprecedented level of detail. Suffice it to say that those adhering to the view that Bee intended a negative connotation will find a friend in Longacre.


  1. Chris EvansOctober 20, 2014

    I thought Longacre would do a great job on this.

    One of his last books was on one of the final battles of WWII in the European Theater and it was first rate. Seems like he is on a bit of a roll.


    1. According to the intro, he's been building up to this point for a long time, spending decades compiling FBR source material. Given his previous work, I had no idea he had such a deep interest in this particular battle.

    2. John FoskettOctober 21, 2014

      Well, that's good preliminary news about Longacre's read on the origins of Saint Stonewall's beatification. I have this one on order and it sounds promising.

  2. I was waiting to hear what you thought, Drew (and Harry too, but since he was bombarding my band site early this morning with Black Sabbath references re: War Pigs and Bull Run, I might have to scratch him off the serious list. LOL).

    Seriously this is welcomed news. I will order copy.

    (And I am in the Bee camp, if for no other reason than if the herd is moving left, the other direction is the right way to go.)

  3. How much coverage is given to the Shenandoah Valley operations between Johnston and Patterson?

    1. In flipping through the campaign part of the book I see lengthy passages re: Patterson throughout. In the intro, Longacre directs much of the blame for Patterson's failure toward Scott, which puts him in line with current thinking.


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