Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Book News: A Bloody Day at Gaines' Mill

I know that I've become a bit of a broken record when it comes to continued neglect of the 1862 Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days battles. Atlanta and Petersburg were once in the same boat, but both campaigns have really taken off of late and continue to leave the Peninsula far back in their wake. There has been some good recent work on the intersection between medicine and war (the swampy nature of much of the Peninsula makes it a good laboratory for that kind of study) along with emancipation on the Peninsula before it became general policy, but none of the Seven Days battles have received full-length standalone treatment yet (though Brian Burton's history of the entire week of fighting remains a satisfactory overview), and we could use another Seven Pines book along with an updated account of the entire campaign (Sears's To the Gates of Richmond is over 25 years old). Major studies of Gaines' Mill from R.E.L. Krick and Malvern Hill from Frank O'Reilly have been long rumored, but no concrete news has emerged in a long time.

What news has popped up recently is of A Bloody Day at Gaines' Mill: The Battlefield Debut of the Army of Northern Virginia, June 27, 1862 (McFarland, Sept 2018) from Virginia attorney Elmer R. Woodard, III. There's not much information available so far. This appears to be Woodard's first book, or at least my casual online search didn't uncover anything else. The publisher's description is pretty coy. The sub-200 page count doesn't necessarily mean the monograph will lack detail as McFarland typically packs a lot of text into their 7x10 page format. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

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