Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Booknotes II (Jan 08)

Regular rundown of book purchases or review copies received this month (Part 2):

Le Roy Fitch: The Civil War Career of a Union River Gunboat Commander by Myron J. Smith, Jr. (McFarland, 2007). I enjoyed Mr. Smith's Fitch article from the current issue of North & South magazine (10:4), and am pleased to have received his book length treatment of that officer's career. It looks impressively detailed, far far more than the typical work of this sort.

Small Arms at Gettysburg: Infantry and Cavalry Weapons in America's Greatest Battle by Joseph G. Bilby (Westholme, 2007). I've also been meaning to read Bilby's other recent work, A Revolution in Arms: A History of the First Repeating Rifles , but have yet to obtain a copy. This book appears to examine the tactical use, effectiveness, etc. of certain weapons through the lens of specific historical scenarios from the Battle of Gettysburg. An interesting concept, if my characterization is accurate.

Hurst's Wurst: Colonel Fielding Hurst and the Sixth Tennessee Cavalry U.S.A. by Kevin D. McCann (McCann Publications, 4th ed., 2007). Modern regimental histories of Tennessee (U.S.) units are rare (I can't think of any other recent examples). Overall, those raised in the western part of the state have received far less attention than their East Tennessee comrades, and this attractive self-publishing effort looks to contain some useful information.

War Stories: The Civil War in West Virginia ed. by David Phillips (Gauley Mount Press, 1991-OP). This looks like a collection of articles, diary entries, letters, etc.; cursorily indexed but unfortunately not annotated.

The Iowa Northern Border Brigade by Marshall McKusick (Iowa: Office of the State Archaeologist, 1975-OP). This unit was an Iowa militia organization formed in response to the 1862 Sioux uprising in Minnesota. If no one else, I would venture to guess that fellow blogger Dave Woodbury would be interested in this one.

Sixty-Six Miles in Thirty-Nine Hours: The Retreat from Fort Davidson, Pilot Knob to the Battle of Leasburg by Gary Scheel (Scheel, 2002). This is one of those spiral bound, self-publishing efforts that one is ordinarily wary of. On the face of it, it does have some good things going for it. The narrative is annotated and appears largely based on first person accounts. It also includes a Union casualty list for the Pilot Knob to Leasburg phase of the Price Raid. Scheel has also written a regimental history of the 31st Missouri titled Rain, Mud & Swamps.

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