Monday, August 23, 2021

Various Things

1. A regular reader recently notified me that Craig Swain's website is back. It is still under construction and also undergoing a bit of a rebranding (in addition to Civil War matters, Craig will also be getting into modern subjects on the site), but I've bookmarked the link [you can find it here] and will be checking back frequently to see how things are going. Welcome back, Craig.

2. Accounts of the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay begin with the surprise sinking of the Canonicus-class monitor USS Tecumseh, an event that doesn't get a whole lot of attention beyond inducing from the reader a brief shudder of horror at the grim fate of most of the crew trapped within (the vessel went under so fast that only a small number could escape) before moving on the famous damning of torpedoes, battering of the Tennessee into submission, and Union victory. Hopefully, the story will finally get the attention it deserves in David Smithweck's The USS Tecumseh in Mobile Bay: The Sinking of a Civil War Ironclad. Look for it in October.

3. A number of Savas Beatie titles recently popped up on the long-range radar (2022 and beyond). Among the major releases are The Maps of Spotsylvania through Cold Harbor and “If We Are Striking for Pennsylvania” (the latter the first of a pair of volumes covering the march to Gettysburg by both armies), but there are three others that closely align with my interests.

Perhaps no one is more qualified than Richard Hatcher to discuss Fort Sumter, and I've been looking forward to reading his ECW title on the topic. However, the publication date keeps getting pushed back. Perhaps the reason behind that is the author has been fleshing out the subject for a full-length study. I'm not sure if the ECW entry has been entirely abandoned in favor of this larger scale treatment, but they share the same title (though the subtitles differ) so I am thinking that that might be the case. Thunder in the Harbor: Fort Sumter and the Civil War will cover the fort's role in the entire conflict.

Also related to the Charleston campaign is James Morgan's Six Miles from Charleston, Five Minutes to Hell: The Battle of Secessionville. Patrick Brennan's Secessionville study remains my favorite military history related to Civil War Charleston, and, given the quality of Morgan's earlier work on a small but significant Civil War battle, I am looking forward to the new take on the same subject.

Finally, I am no fan at all of Joe Johnston's military character and generalship, but he is intimately connected with many topics that interest me greatly, including the Vicksburg, Atlanta, and Peninsula campaigns. Thus, I was excited to discover news of an upcoming two-volume reassessment of the general by Richard McMurry. As the title suggests, The Civil Wars of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston: Volume 1: Virginia to Mississippi, 1861-1863 addresses the general's Civil War career from the war's beginning through the failure to relieve Vicksburg. Out of all of the books in this group, this one interests me most.


  1. I hope there are a lot more ECW volumes planned such as Six Miles from Charleston, Five Minutes to Hell: The Battle of Seccessionville. It is the perfect series to focus on smaller battles/theaters such as the Trans-Mississippi, Western Virginia and South Carolina.

    1. I've long hoped it would turn out that way, too. Hasn't really gone that direction yet, but you never now.

    2. We are, indeed, working in that direction, with several ideas now in the development pipeline.

      Rick's ECW book on Fort Sumter took on an excellent life of its own, so in consultation with Ted Savas, Savas Beatie is parlaying it into a full-length study. I've read the manuscript, and it's excellent.

      Thanks for your ongoing support!

    3. Good to see Joe Johnston's Civil War career getting a fresh appraisal.


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