Fear not, loyal readers (all three of you), the rumor that I clumsily tripped and fell off the internet is unproven (no one’s seen me on crutches, and the cast comes off tomorrow). The past couple of weeks have been really hectic in “real life”, and this, coupled with an embarrassment of riches in the new material category, has kept me from posting.
This will, of necessity, be a catching up and preview post. This should be a busy week for Crossed Sabers, however. Upcoming posts will include a couple of Fiddler’s Green posts, including a rare enlisted man’s story thanks to a helpful descendant. There will probably be several short vignettes of some folks who’ve popped up a lot in research recently.
I have managed a bit of reading lately, finishing two of this year’s birthday presents. I thought Roger Hunt’s mid-Atlantic volume of his Colonels in Blue series was tremendous. Hunt did an excellent job with the book, and I even found two cavalry regulars hiding in there, Paddy Starr and Andrew Evans. Both of them were in the 6th Cavalry, causing yet another review of their potential Fiddler’s Green entries. For those interested in more on Starr, check J.D. Petruzzi’s Hoofbeats and Cold Steel. His feature there in his Faded Hoofbeats series is the definitive work I’ve seen on him. My only disappointment with the book was that one of the people I was really looking for, Theo Rodenbough, wasn’t there. This certainly wasn’t Roger’s fault, however, since Rodenbough’s in a different work — Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue, which is now on the wish list.
The other book was Eric Wittenberg’s Protecting the Flank, a work on the cavalry battles in the vicinity of what is now East Cavalry Field on the 2nd and 3rd days of the battle of Gettysburg. I’m a big fan of Eric’s writing, and this book didn’t disappoint. I am now much more informed on the cavalry actions on the Army of the Potomac’s right flank during the battle, and the bibliography yielded another possible source or two for the 6th Cavalry history (so that’s where D.McM. Gregg’s papers are!).
One could point out that if I had all that time to read, I also had time to post, and to this I can only plead a lack of focus. There’s been a bit of new material arriving lately as well, thanks to some generous readers. I was able to obtain copies of William Emory’s papers from 1861 and 1862, as well as two sets of letters by privates of the 6th Cavalry. Stu Richards was kind enough to send along spare copies of two rolls of microfilm, one with the ordnance returns of Union regiments for 1862 and 1863, and the other containing the 5th Cavalry’s regimental returns for the first half of the war. So I should be able to revisit the Exodus from Texas series with some numbers, as well as provide Harry Smeltzer over at Bull Runnings with some hard numbers for the First Bull Run campaign. Thanks again, Stu! And of course Patty Millich seems to turn up something interesting every few days and send it my way as well.
The microfilms from NARA containing the 4th U.S. Cavalry regimental returns are due any day now, so I’d better either starts saving quarters for the library’s microfilm printer or start searching eBay or Craig’s List for one of my own. Hmm, scratch that second option, sounds like a possible straw/ camel issue with my wife.
I noticed last week, that both Jim Miller at Civil War Notebook and Brett Schulte at TOCWOC have posted their nonfiction Civil War libraries, and this is a project that I’m considering as well. Now if I could just decide to go with Word or Excel. I think Word will win, as it’s easier to compile bibliographies and footnotes that way later.