Sunday, August 28, 2022

Coming Soon (September '22 Edition)

**NEW RELEASES1** Scheduled for SEPT 2022:

Dear Uncles: The Civil War Letters of Arthur McKinstry, A Soldier in the Excelsior Brigade ed. by Rick Barram.
Engineering in the Confederate Heartland by Larry Daniel.
The Battle of Jackson, Mississippi, May 14, 1863 by Chris Mackowski.
St. Louis Civil War Sites and the Fight for Freedom by Peter Downs.
At War with King Alcohol: Debating Drinking and Masculinity in the Civil War by Megan Bever.
Civil Wars and Reconstructions in the Americas: The United States, Mexico, and Argentina, 1860–1880 by Evan Rothera.
The Confederate Military Forces in the Trans-Mississippi West, 1861-1865: A Study in Command by William Royston Geise, ed. by Michael Forsyth.
General Philip Kearny, A Very God of War: The Life & Letters of General Philip Kearny by William Styple.
Irish American Civil War Songs: Identity, Loyalty, and Nationhood by Catherine Bateson.
“If We Are Striking for Pennsylvania”: The Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac March to Gettysburg - Volume 1: June 3–21, 1863 by Scott Mingus and Eric Wittenberg.

Comments: September will be a great month for SB releases. I am especially looking forward to the Jackson battle history and seeing what was done with editing the Geise dissertation. The Daniel book on Confederate military engineering in the West also closely aligns with my reading interests.

1 - These monthly release lists are not meant to be exhaustive compilations of non-fiction releases. They do not include non-revised/expanded reprints of previously published books, special editions not distributed to reviewers, and digital-only titles. Works that only tangentially address the war years are also generally excluded. Inevitably, one or more titles on this list will get a rescheduled release (and they do not get repeated later), so revisiting the past few "Coming Soon" posts is the best way to pick up stragglers.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Booknotes: As Wolves upon a Sheep Fold

New Arrival:
As Wolves upon a Sheep Fold: The Civil War Letters of Ohio Surgeon William S. Newton edited by Aaron D. Purcell (UT Press, 2022)

Dr. William S. Newton served the officers and men of three Union regiments. He was "an assistant surgeon with the 91st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, but also spent a few months as acting surgeon with the 2nd Virginia Cavalry (US). Toward the end of the war, he was promoted to surgeon for the 193rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry." The great many surviving letters he wrote to his wife and sons (but primarily to his wife) were recently acquired by Virginia Tech, and these have been compiled and edited in As Wolves upon a Sheep Fold: The Civil War Letters of Ohio Surgeon William S. Newton, the latest volume in UT Press's Voices of the Civil War series.

In the preface, it is noted that Newton writings are part of only a handful of available firsthand accounts of service with the 91st Ohio. From the description: "Newton’s units fought in the Appalachian Highlands, mostly in Virginia and West Virginia. He treated wounded soldiers after significant battles including Opequon and Cedar Creek. In May 1864, following the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain, John Hunt Morgan’s Raiders captured Newton and other medical personnel. After three weeks, Newton and his fellow prisoners were given the option of either treating Confederate soldiers or going to Libby Prison; they chose the latter. Newton spent only three days at Libby Prison before being released, but the experience took a significant toll on his health."

Like many Civil War officers and men, Newton undoubtedly employed the time spent writing home as a temporary escape from the stresses and horrors of his regular duties. According to the introduction, Newton "focused a majority of his words on more personal matters, observations, and friends and family," rather than his medical service activities. Nevertheless, his letters "provide a window into (the peculiar nature of the) fighting in the Appalachian borderlands, where the differences between battle, guerilla warfare, and occupation were often blurred. As a noncombatant, the doctor observed life beyond troop movements and the brutality of war. Newton’s detailed letters cover his living quarters, race relations, transportation and communication, the comfort of a good meal, and the antics of his teenage son Ned."

Editor Aaron Purcell's volume preface and introduction provide the reader with historiographical context, some biographical details (not much is known about Dr. Newton's early life), and thematic outline. Bridging narrative is placed at the beginning of each chapter, and there are copious endnotes. A brief epilogue explores Newton's postwar activities. Additionally, numerous mini-bios of individuals frequently mentioned in Newton's correspondence (ex. family members, friends, associates, and army comrades) can be found in the appendix.

In sum, As Wolves upon a Sheep Fold "provides new insights into the medical and social history of the war, the war in Western Virginia, local and regional history, the perspective of a noncombatant, life on the home front, and the porous lines between home and battlefront."

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Booknotes: Thirteen Months in Dixie

New Arrival:
Thirteen Months in Dixie, or, the Adventures of a Federal Prisoner in Texas: Including the Red River Campaign, Imprisonment at Camp Ford, and Escape Overland to Liberated Shreveport, 1864-1865 by W.F. Oscar Federhen, edited by Jeaninne Surette Honstein & Steven A. Knowlton (Savas Beatie, 2022).

As Lorien Foote recently wrote about in her excellent 2016 study The Yankee Plague: Escaped Union Prisoners and the Collapse of the Confederacy, Union POW escape narratives were popular reading in the decades following the end of the war. Though unpublished until now, the story of Oscar Federhen is "a rollicking tale of adventure, captivity, hardship, and heroism" that would have fit the zeitgeist.

Oscar Federhen was a late-war replacement destined to never fight in a battle with his unit, the 13th Independent Battery, Massachusetts Light Artillery. Misfortune struck "when he shipped out to Louisiana in the spring of 1864 to participate in the Red River Campaign. Not long after his arrival at the front, a combination of ill-luck and bad timing led to his capture. Federhen was marched overland to Tyler, Texas, where he was held as a prisoner of war in Camp Ford, the largest POW camp west of the Mississippi River." After numerous captures and escapes, the apparently quite resourceful Federhen finally was able to join his battery in the final days of the war.

More from the description: "Federhen wrote his recollections in lively engaging style not long after the war (according to the preface, most likely around 1877), "but they sat unpublished until Jeaninne Surette Honstein and Steven Knowlton carefully transcribed and annotated his incredible manuscript. Numerous illustrations grace the pages, including two from Federhen’s own pen." Historian Knowlton provides footnotes that both offer context to Federhen's sometimes fanciful memoir and assess its veracity. The result of Honstein and Knowlton's work is Thirteen Months in Dixie, or, the Adventures of a Federal Prisoner in Texas: Including the Red River Campaign, Imprisonment at Camp Ford, and Escape Overland to Liberated Shreveport, 1864-1865.

Thirteen Months in Dixie "recounts Federhen’s always thrilling and occasionally horrifying ordeals as a starving prisoner. The captured artillerist tried his hand at escaping several times and faced sadistic guards and vicious hounds before finally succeeding. But his ordeal was just beginning. The young soldier faced a series of challenges as he made his way cross-country through northeast Texas to reach Union lines. Federhen had to dodge regular Confederates, brigands, and even Comanches in his effort to get home. He rode for a time with Rebel irregular cavalry (a Yankee of German descent usually finding himself on the other end of a Quantrill Raider's pistol barrel), "during which he witnessed robberies and even cold-blooded murder. When he was recaptured and thought to be a potential deserter, he escaped yet again and continued his bid for freedom."

This is the first volume of publisher Savas Beatie's new Battles & Leaders series. As noted on the series page, topics to be covered are pretty open-ended. Those coming up are more 'battles and leaders'-y, with the next two covering the first Battle of Jackson, MS and the Johnson-Gilmor cavalry raid. There's also a Tupelo volume that hasn't been formally announced yet.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Review - "Colonels in Blue—U.S. Colored Troops, U.S. Armed Forces, Staff Officers and Special Units: A Civil War Biographical Dictionary" by Roger Hunt

[Colonels in Blue—U.S. Colored Troops, U.S. Armed Forces, Staff Officers and Special Units: A Civil War Biographical Dictionary by Roger D. Hunt (McFarland, 2022). Softcover, photos, bibliography, index. Pages:xi,320. ISBN:978-1-4766-8619-6. $39.95]

Roger Hunt's Colonels in Blue—U.S. Colored Troops, U.S. Armed Forces, Staff Officers and Special Units: A Civil War Biographical Dictionary is the eighth and final installment in the author's authoritative Colonels in Blue series. Now researchers and other interested individuals have ready access to the field's most comprehensive collection of biographical details for individuals who "attained the rank of colonel in the Union Army but failed to win promotion to brigadier general or brevet brigadier general" in federal, state, and territorial service during the American Civil War.

Hunt's project sees its completion through this volume's thorough scouring of all avenues of federal service. Included are colonels of US Colored Troops (the volume's largest section); Regular Army colonels of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, along with US Army bureau chiefs and staff corps; US Marine Corps; US Sharpshooters; US Veteran Volunteers (1 engineer and 9 infantry regiments); US Volunteers (6 late-war infantry regiments); Veteran Reserve Corps; Aides-de-Camp; Chief Quartermasters; Depot Commissaries of Subsistence; and Miscellaneous. Each of the eleven sections referenced above begins with a unit table that lists each commanding colonel, his muster in date, and his date of exit through either resignation, promotion, discharge, dismissal, death, or mustering out of service.

Within each section, the colonels are arranged alphabetically. Where applicable and/or known, individual entries include a brief Civil War service history, birth and death date and place, occupation(s), civilian public offices/honors, educational background, burial place, a miscellaneous section (most commonly consisting of residence information), and a full reference list. The service history sketch lists appointments, promotions, higher formation attachments, episodes of incapacitation (through sickness/wounds/capture), and battle honors. One also frequently finds disciplinary notes related to personal or professional conduct in service, mainly for those colonels who committed acts of severe misconduct or were for a variety of reasons judged militarily unfit for command. The bullet point-type presentation format (rather than paragraph narrative) saves both page space and user time in looking up essential dates and bits of information. The reference list that concludes each entry draws upon a large amount and variety of sources, including books, periodicals, government documents (ex. pension records), archival collections, and a vast number of newspaper articles.

A salient feature of Hunt's research is the amount of effort put into finding photographs of as many colonels as possible. The success rate appears to be something more than half, which is rather impressive given the challenges of finding images of the many obscure officers featured in these books. Some colonels even have more than one photo included. Assuredly, many of these images are published for the first time in the pages of this series. At this point, Hunt undoubtedly possesses one of the largest, if not the largest, personal collection of these photographs.

Every serious Civil War researcher and writer will benefit immensely from having access to Hunt's Colonels in Blue series. The reference material accessibly arranged in each volume is especially relevant to authors of military history narratives, where a very large proportion of pages have some from of discussion related to officers of this rank. Highly recommended.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Booknotes: The Nashville and Decatur in the Civil War

New Arrival:
The Nashville and Decatur in the Civil War: History of an Embattled Railroad by Walter R. Green, Jr. (McFarland, 2022).

Much has been made of the war's wear and tear on Confederate railroads and how the general lack of maintenance due to manpower and resource constraints caused a precipitous decline in efficiency and sharp increase in accidents. However, the Confederacy must have derived at least some benefit from the newness of many of their tracks. It was April 1861 when the last spike of the Mobile & Ohio was driven in at Columbus, Kentucky. "(I)n operation five months before the start of the Civil War and 17 months before the Federals took control of Nashville and the railroad," the Nashville & Decatur was similarly new.

Though not as prominently featured in the annals of the western war as the Memphis & Charleston, Western & Atlantic, Louisville & Nashville, and aforementioned Mobile & Ohio, the Nashville & Decatur Railroad nevertheless proved to be an important logistical cog in the lengthy struggles over control of Middle Tennessee and the ability of Union forces to sustain or further their conquest of the Confederate heartland. "Running through Central Tennessee to Alabama, the highly contested line passed through Confederate-held territory, where rebels and their sympathizers continually sabotaged bridges, trestles and track."

Walter Green's The Nashville and Decatur in the Civil War: History of an Embattled Railroad is the "first full-length work on the N&D Railroad." The study "emphasizes (the N&D's) importance in the Western Theater and brings to light the four key men who kept it open for the duration of the war. Significant military activities in the region are described, along with the contraband camp, military complex and other features surrounding the railroad's only tunnel." Bridges, trestles, and fortifications associated with the railroad are another major feature, that focus perhaps being derived from Green's professional background in structural and civil engineering. The author also includes information about railroad operation before and after the war.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Booknotes: Tar Heels in Gray

New Arrival:
Tar Heels in Gray: Life in the 30th North Carolina Infantry in the Civil War by John B. Cameron (McFarland, 2021)

Organized in October 1861, the 30th North Carolina Volunteer Infantry spent its training and early service in its home state. Rushed to the Virginia Peninsula the following year to join the Army of Northern Virginia in its defense of Richmond, the regiment stayed with Lee's army for the duration of the war. Feeling that the history of that hard-fought battle service is already well documented through Michael Taylor's To Drive the Enemy from Southern Soil (1998) and William Venner's 2018 book The 30th North Carolina Infantry in the Civil War (I have no familiarity with the former but reviewed the latter here), author John Cameron focuses instead on examining unit demographics and providing us with a comprehensive social history of the regiment.

Cameron is most intent upon answering the following questions: "What was the war actually like for these men? What was their economic status? To what extent were they involved in the institution of slavery? What were their lives like in the Army? What did they believe they were fighting for and did those views change over time?" He bases his answers to those questions on a diverse collection of primary sources. "In addition to the author's personal collection of letters and other contemporary records," the book "draws upon newly discovered letters, diaries, memoirs, census records, and published works."

Early chapters look at regimental organization and camp life. With a third of its men entering the ranks through conscription, that topic and unit discipline are the subject of another chapter. Several useful charts and tables support the section discussing prewar occupations, social status, wealth, slave ownership, literacy, physical characteristics, etc. What the men felt about slavery, religion, and the war itself is also explored. Supported by more quantitative analysis, death by disease along with various other topics related to attrition and battle casualties are examined at length. The final section looks at food shortages in the army and other reasons behind the regiment's high rate of desertion from the war's midpoint onward. Cameron's study "depicts Civil War soldiers as they were, rather than as appendages to famous generals or symbols of myth. It focuses on the realities of the men themselves, not their battles."

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Review - "North Carolina's Confederate Hospitals 1861-1863, Volume I" by Wade Sokolosky

[North Carolina's Confederate Hospitals 1861-1863, Volume I by Wade Sokolosky (Fox Run Publishing, 2022). Hardcover, 6 maps, photographs, illustrations, tables, footnotes, appendix section, bibliography, index. Pages main/total:vi,180/243. ISBN:978-1-945602-23-8. $32.95]

Scholarship published over the past few decades has dramatically improved our understanding of the professionalism, compassion, scientific curiosity, and innovative drive displayed by many practitioners of Civil War military medicine. What effect this revisionist work has had on the wider reading public's generally dim view of the army physician is anyone's guess. Hopefully, the popular stereotype of the Civil War surgeon only too happy to ply his patients with blue mass and cut off an injured limb at the drop of a hat are long gone. A more accurate picture of Civil War military hospitals has also matured over time. A notable new contribution to that expanding literature is Wade Sokolosky's North Carolina's Confederate Hospitals 1861-1863, Volume I.

At its heart, Sokolosky's book is an organizational history of the military hospital system in North Carolina. The early sections present, through both synthesis and the author's own considerable primary source research, a state-level picture of an evolving bureaucracy that was both informed by and frequently clashed with the national-level management system documented so well in Guy Hasegawa's recent book Matchless Organization: The Confederate Army Medical Department (2020, SIU Press) [review]. The tireless activities of many physicians, from state Surgeon General to hospital directors, are explored in the book, as are the roles of female matrons, nurses, and volunteers. As indicated by the author, the experiences of black hospital attendants, who served in sizable numbers according to hospital rolls, cannot be revealed in detail due to source limitations.

A major theme of the book is how the state's logistical apparatus and military events, particularly the latter, shaped the establishment, location, and scale of North Carolina's military hospital system. With the entire coastline threatened by Union army and naval forces in 1861-62, a corresponding influx of defenders led to the establishment of a number of general hospitals in vulnerable forward positions. The startling success of the 1862 Burnside Expedition forced relocation inland, but the need to be tied to railroads also placed those facilities in the path of subsequent infantry and cavalry raids launched from the Union Army's recently seized coastal bases. Proximity to the Virginia front and the bloody escalation of the fighting there also forced an expansion of North Carolina hospital capacity.

Where documentation exists, physical descriptions of the hospitals, their capacity, their staff, and their local sources of support (or, in some cases, opposition) are also conveyed in the book. In addition to the state's system of general hospitals, the more controversial wayside hospitals are also discussed at length. Meant to handle convalescents, visiting family, and transient patients, wayside hospitals proved effective, but critics still saw them as a waste of resources. In contrast to general hospitals, wayside hospitals in North Carolina were more often able to maintain state and private management.

As Sokolosky abundantly demonstrates, management of the hospital system in North Carolina during this period mirrored many other aspects of the Confederate war effort in that it was subjected to frequent and often intense States Rights versus centralization clashes. With North Carolina governor Vance being one of the most ardent defenders of state prerogatives, that tug and pull between Richmond and Raleigh was present at all levels of medical department leadership and management. Who should manage, supply, and fund general hospitals in North Carolina was an ongoing subject of debate. As the war progressed, however, the forces of centralized integration gathered momentum, and by December 1863 the Confederate Medical Department was in charge of all of North Carolina's general hospitals and the majority of its wayside hospitals.

With fresh data and insights drawn from extensive original research, Wade Sokolosky's North Carolina's Confederate Hospitals, 1861-1863 provides us with the first comprehensive history of the personnel, organization, and management of military hospitals in the Old North State during the first half of the Civil War. The quality of this study certainly heightens the anticipation level for the second and final volume, which will document further expansion of Confederate hospitals in the more central part of the state and explain how the great military events of 1865 (e.g. Sherman's Carolinas Campaign and the fall of Wilmington) pushed the entire system to the point of collapse.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Booknotes: When Hell Came to Sharpsburg

New Arrival:
When Hell Came to Sharpsburg: The Battle of Antietam and its Impact on the Civilians Who Called it Home by Steven Cowie (Savas Beatie, 2022).

Of course, we're all familiar with, either by reading or by reputation, the host of fine books that document in great detail the military history of the 1862 Maryland Campaign and its climactic battle fought along Antietam Creek. We might be getting the best treatment yet when the second volume of Scott Hartwig's campaign history is eventually published (according to the author, the final touches were submitted earlier this year). The opening chapters of Steven Cowie's When Hell Came to Sharpsburg offer their own summary of the battle, albeit with special focus placed on the fighting's effects on the local townspeople and their property both inside Sharpsburg and among the many outlying farms that would lend their family names to notorious scenes of death and destruction.

As its subtitle suggests, Cowie's Antietam book concentrates on the aftermath of the great battle in its myriad of consequences to soldiers, civilians, property owners, and the landscape itself. When Hell Came to Sharpsburg "investigates how the battle and opposing armies wreaked emotional, physical, and financial havoc on the people of Sharpsburg."

The field hospitals that took care of the wounded of both sides are examined in one chapter. Another delves into the supply problems the Army of the Potomac experienced after the battle, a crisis that some believe significantly handcuffed McClellan's ability to pursue Lee's retreating army. The destructive effects of the battle on the town, nearby farms, and the natural and improved landscapes in general are surveyed in great detail. Also documented in the book is the Antietam disease outbreak that was a direct result of the battle's ecological fallout that, among other things, contaminated groundwater and facilitated airborne disease transmission.

The long-term effects of the battle and the struggles to rebuild are also addressed at length. Local resources were appropriated by both sides and those needed to be replenished. The struggles of local citizens to obtain federal compensation for their property losses are discussed in a chapter exploring widespread local frustrations with the Act of July 4, 1864 claims process. In the book, Cowie "carefully and meticulously follows the fortunes of individual families like the Mummas, Roulettes, Millers, and many others—ordinary folk thrust into harrowing circumstances—and their struggle to recover from their unexpected and often devastating losses." The final chapter looks at, among other issues (one of those being military cemetery interment), the Bowman Act of 1883 and how it provided Sharpsburg citizens with another opportunity to press their claims.

More from the description: Cowie's research "unearthed a trove of previously unused archival accounts and examined scores of primary sources such as letters, diaries, regimental histories, and official reports." Enhancing the text and its documentation, all of the chapters are "(p)acked with explanatory footnotes, original maps, and photographs." At 500+ pages this volume is far beyond a casual read, but it looks like anyone with a special interest in Antietam will want to add it to the collection.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Review - "Chicago to Appomattox: The 39th Illinois Infantry in the Civil War" by Jason Baker

[Chicago to Appomattox: The 39th Illinois Infantry in the Civil War by Jason B. Baker (McFarland, 2022). Softcover, maps, photos, illustrations, roster, notes, bibliography. Pages main/total:viii,201/302. ISBN:978-1-4766-8620-2. $39.95 ]

A populous western state with enormous political influence, Illinois wielded its great military strength in leadership and men almost exclusively in the Civil War West. Only a handful of Illinois units served in the eastern theater, with the 8th Illinois Cavalry arguably the most prominent among them. Another regiment that found its way to the Virginia front early in the conflict was the 39th Illinois Volunteer Infantry (the "Yates Phalanx"), its 1861-65 Civil War odyssey ably recounted by Jason Baker in Chicago to Appomattox: The 39th Illinois Infantry in the Civil War.

Every Civil War student is acutely aware of the central role played by governors in the process of organizing state volunteer regiments for federal service. Though Baker finds scant evidence of any special involvement on the part of Illinois governor Richard Yates's during the regiment's formative period, it does seem more than likely that the "Yates Phalanx" moniker adopted by the 39th possessed at least some element of currying political favor. Yates was responsible for the 39th ending up in the eastern theater, though selection was a happenstance of availability and timing rather than the result of any particular design.

Understanding that the manuscript's research was conducted during pandemic conditions that, for example, shut down archives for personal visits, readers will find the bibliography to be more internet-heavy than most and rather limited in number and range of sources in comparison to many other book projects of this type. With those limitations in mind, Baker's synthesis of the material is well executed. Framing his study around the 1889 history of the regiment authored by its surgeon, Dr. Charles Clark, along with a handful of previously published diaries and letters, Baker's narrative incorporates a fairly rich collection of first-hand observations of the regiment's leadership, organization, and wartime adventures on and off the battlefield.

In recounting the 39th's campaign and battle involvement, Baker describes the regiment's own experiences in some detail, always situating those events within the ebbs and flows of the surrounding battle in a manner readily comprehended by the reader (though some more maps would have helped). Wider context related to regional campaigns and national strategy is also frequently offered.

The regiment saw its first action in 1862 in the mountains of northwestern Virginia and in the adjacent Shenandoah Valley. From there it was garrison duty in eastern Virginia, with the regiment settling in around Suffolk. By January 1863, the 39th found itself shipped to the Charleston front. There, it was heavily involved in the prep work for the amphibious leap from Folly Island to Morris Island, receiving praise for its efforts and fortitude but at the same time not being placed in the front line for the bloodiest action during assault and siege operations against Battery Wagner. As the year ended, much of the regiment was furloughed. That winter also marked a major transition in the 39th's war experience, which up to that time had largely consisted of reserve and other behind the scenes functions. That would abruptly change in the coming spring.

As recounted in depth in the book, the Bermuda Hundred and Overland campaigns launched in the spring of 1864 inaugurated both a new phase of the war in the East and by far the most bloody period of the 39th's Civil War service. Beginning with the Battle of Drewry's Bluff, during which the heavily engaged regiment played a key role in bolstering the Union left on May 12, the unit embarked upon a trying year of intense, front-line service at, among other places, Ware Bottom Church (where, on May 20, the 39th Illinois was apparently a bright spot in what a recent Bermuda Hundred campaign history termed an underappreciated Confederate victory), Deep Bottom, Darbytown Road, and Fort Gregg. In suffering the vast majority of its 144 combat deaths and 411 woundings in action during this final year of the war, the 39th Illinois had more than done its duty.

More information about individuals who served in the regiment can be found in the capsule biographies that begin each chapter and in the epilogue discussing the postwar lives of a select group of 39th Illinois veterans. In the appendix section, Baker also reproduces, with some new additions (ex. company summaries and data tables) and revisions, the detailed set of company rosters originally compiled by Dr. Clark.

Every volunteer regiment that fought its way through the horrors of the Civil War deserves its own modern study, and Jason Baker's Chicago to Appomattox offers both a solid account of the 39th Illinois's wartime history from recruitment to discharge and a useful collection of reference material related to its officers and men. Regimental histories are indispensable resources in researching campaigns and battles, and Baker's contribution to the unit study literature should find its way into the bibliographies of future books addressing a number of topics, particularly the 1863 fighting in and around Charleston's sea island defenses and the late-war battles in Virginia fought by the Army of the James.