New Smyrna Museum of History Book Discussion

Hidden History of Civil War Florida book cover

Join Robert at the New Smyrna Museum of History on Thursday, January 12, 2023 at 6:30p when he will be discussing his newest book, Hidden History of Civil War Florida. Robert is proudly published by Arcadia Publishing.

Free admission for members, non-members $8 for adults, ages 11 to 17 $5, 10 and under free.

They will have copies of all Roberts book available for sale and he will be glad to sign them for you.

For more information call the museum at 386-478-0052 or email at nsmofhistory@gmail.com .

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Book Review: Shiloh National Military Park (Images of America)

Shiloh National Military Park book cover

McCutchen, Brian K., and Timothy B. Smith. Shiloh National Military Park (Images of America). Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. 2012. ISBN 9780738591353. B/W photos. 127 pages. $21.99.

When armies under the commands of Ulysses S. Grant and Albert Sidney Johnston faced off on April 6 and 7, 1862, they could not have realized the carnage that would be left on the Tennessee battlefield. The Battle of Shiloh left almost 24,000 soldiers dead, wounded, missing, or captured, a staggering sum that included Confederate General Johnston.

In 1866, Pittsburg National Cemetery was established by the War Department; a name later changed to Shiloh National Cemetery in 1889.

Established on December 27, 1894, Shiloh National Military Park now serves as a reminder of those terrible two days of fighting that helped set in motion the events of the next three years. The park first operated under the guidance of the War Department but was moved to the National Park Service in 1933.

This 1894 legislation allowed for participating states to place monuments and memorials on the park grounds. The park as we know it today was beginning to take shape.

The Images of America series of books does an excellent job of providing access to usually older photos that the general public may not otherwise have the opportunity to view. In Shiloh National Military Park, authors Brian K. McCutchen and Timothy B. Smith achieve this standard, using images from the park collection.

McCutchen is a former park ranger at Shiloh and has served at other national parks. Timothy B. Smith is a professor of history at the University of Tennessee, Martin. He is a leading scholar on the Battle of Shiloh and has authored what many consider the definitive volume on the battle, Shiloh: Conquer or Perish.

In this Images of America title, the authors showcase just over 200 images, broken into seven chapters. As might be expected in a collection spanning longer than 150 years, some images have reproduced much better than others. Occasionally there are images that seem a bit fuzzy and hazy. This is not a major distraction however. Each image contains a caption with most being around fifty words. The captions are easy to read and bring additional life to the images. 

I particularly enjoyed the chapter titled, “Memories in Stone and Bronze: Monuments of Shiloh.” This chapter highlights just a few of the more than 150 monuments that are located throughout the 4,000+ acres of the park. As McCutchen and Smith state, “To the veterans of America’s first monster battle…the statuary was much more. It embodied full representations of the brave solders of North and South and thus told the stories that they wished to convey to future generations.: (p.57)

A little-known aspect of the battlefield that the authors cover is the cyclone of October 14, 1909. This storm, that appears to have been building throughout the day, killed seven and injured thirty-three. Damage to the park and cemetery were considerable with Congress ultimately allocating $8,000 for the national cemetery and almost $20,000 for repairs and reconstruction at the park. In just over a dozen photos, the damage to the park is shown, with trees uprooted, buildings destroyed, and monuments smashed.

The beauty of a book such as this is its simplicity. A reader can know nothing of the battle and still enjoy the rich history on the pages, the book serving as a potential gateway to further study. For those knowledgeable on the battle and the terrain of the battlefield there is still plenty to learn here. Chances are good that many of the images will be new, even to seasoned students of the battle.

This is not a new release, and the reality is, an expert such as Smith could probably release several similar volumes. Recommended for anybody studying the battle or planning to visit the Shiloh National Military Park.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.


Civil War Monitor

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Civil War Monitor is one of the leading magazines covering the war from all perspectives. With some of the best practicing historians regularly contributing articles, this is a must read for any student of the war. Click the link above of the photo to the left for exclusive subscription pricing!

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Book Review: Civil War Generals of Indiana written by Dr. Carl E. Kramer

Civil War Generals of Indiana

Kramer, Carl E. Civil War Generals of Indiana. Charleston: History Press. 2022. 140 pages, 136 pages of text. Bibliography, b/w images. ISBN 9781467151955, $23.99.

In his acknowledgements and introduction, author Dr. Carl E. Kramer, states that this book has been an off and on-again project for more than sixty years having started it while a freshman in high school in 1961. As with any student new to Civil War studies, the term “General” can be confusing at best, thus Kramer’s long-term quest for clarity.

Let’s count down the opportunities for use of the title along with Dr. Kramer. There are those who receive appointment to the rank of general (brigadier and higher). Of course, during the Civil War that could mean in the regular army or as a general of volunteers. Promotions to the rank of general were nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

Second, you have Brevet Generals, those receiving a sort of temporary promotion to the rank but no real promotion. These brevets were often handed out based upon some noteworthy battle achievement most often made by a colonel or maybe even lieutenant colonel. You weren’t going to be made a brevet general from the rank of sergeant. Brevets to lower officer positions were also possible during the war.

The third opportunity for using the rank of general is from State Troops. These were most often militia groups and the appointment was made by the state governor.

Finally, you have those men who were just called general. They may have received the nickname for being a local leader, maybe it was sarcastic, or perhaps they gave themselves the moniker and it stuck for whatever reason. Needless to say, these men were not generals in the way Kramer is using the term.

As has been pointed out by Andrew Wagenhoffer, the issue of determining who is a Hoosier and who isn’t is a tricky one. Then, as now, people moved around. Family members often followed each other, at times following perceived economic or educational opportunities.

In determining if a “general” was eligible for inclusion, Kramer relied heavily on the standard work in the field, Generals in Blue written by Ezra Kramer. For state level generals, he relied upon Indiana in the War of the Rebellion, a multi volume report issued in 1869 and available in a reprint edition.

Determining a tie to Indiana became more difficult for Dr. Kramer as this can mean differing things to different people. Kramer settled on three criteria for inclusion in his book. The first is birth; anyone born in Indiana who met the other criteria is included. The second qualifying criteria is for men who were born elsewhere but relocated to Indiana and spent a significant part of their lives in the state. The term “significant” is not defined and so this criterion remains vague. The final criteria that merits inclusion is for men “who arrived in Indiana early in the war, played an important role in organizing the state’s military operations and maintained a significant presence after the war.” This criterion is again vague and open to interpretation as the terms important and significant are not defined.

Dover Books

Ultimately, Dr. Kramer has decided upon 121 men; including 44 full United States generals, 1 Confederate general (Francis Asbury Shoup), 62 Union brevet generals, and 14 state service generals. Twenty-one generals were born in Indiana as were 24 brevet generals.

Robert Huston Milroy courtesy Library of Congress
Major General Robert Huston Milroy
Image courtesy Library of Congress

Most of the biographies are one page long. A large number of the entries contain a photo, the majority of which are from the Library of Congress. The short length of each entry makes this book appropriate to pick up and put down at your leisure. Each biography can be read in a matter of a few minutes allowing readers the flexibility to read multiple titles without worries of being bogged down. Biographies can be read in any order with no concern about being confused.

One drawback I did note is that the book does not contain end/foot notes. There is a two-page bibliography however. For me, I would have found it helpful, or at least interesting, if Dr. Kramer had listed a recommended biography (if available) for each of the entries. Brief introductions to these interesting men could leave some readers wanting more. Overall, for a book of this nature these are minor quibbles. It is also possible that the author reached his word count limit. Arcadia/History Press try to stick to specific word counts in order to keep their titles within a page limit and thus helping control price.

For those interested in the role of Indiana in the Civil War this is a book that should be considered. Available at a budget friendly price it allows for a handy reference rather than trying to find Indiana generals at random in Warner.

Arcadia Publishing has generously provided a complimentary review copy of this book. Arcadia Publishing has also published five titles I have written as of the date of this post. This review has not been influenced by these factors and is based upon my reading of the work.

If you would like to read book reviews of other Arcadia/History Press titles, please click HERE. 

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.


Civil War Monitor
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For some of the best in Civil War writing, I invite you to click the photo or link to subscribe to Civil War MonitorIn each issue leading scholars tackle the Civil War head on. Every issue contains book reviews helping you decide on what to read next. Beautifully laid out, this is a bi-monthly magazine you will want to keep for future reference.

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Library Additions: Lady Rebels of Civil War Missouri written by Larry Wood

Lady Rebels of Civil War Missouri book cover

Lady Rebels of Civil War Missouri

Wood, Larry, Lady Rebels of Civil War Missouri. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. 2022. 154 pages, 129 pages of text. Bibliography, notes, index, b/w photos. ISBN 9781467150095, $23.99.

Thank you to my good friends at Arcadia Publishing for providing a complimentary review copy. A more detailed review will be forthcoming.

Although war was traditionally the purview of men, the realities of America’s Civil War often brought women into the conflict. They served as nurses, sutlers, and washerwomen. Some even disguised themselves as men and joined the fight on the battlefield. In the border state of Missouri, where Southern sympathies ran deep, women sometimes clashed with occupying Union forces because of illegal, covert activities like spying, smuggling, and delivering mail. When caught and arrested, the women were often imprisoned or banished from the state. In at least a couple of cases, they were even sentenced to death. Join award-winning author Larry Wood as he chronicles the misadventures and ordeals of the lady rebels of Missouri.

You may review other blog posts related to Arcadia Publishing by clicking HERE.

To learn more about the military role of Missouri in the Civil War I recommend The Civil War in Missouri: A Military History written by Louis S. Gerteis.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products. 

 

To keep up with some of the best current writing on the Civil War, I strongly recommend a subscription to Civil War Monitor I have subscribed for several years and the content is always top notch. Every other month you will get articles written by some of the most knowledgeable historians in the field. These articles are not written for academics but rather for a broader audience. The book reviews will guide you to some of the best in Civil War scholarship from a variety of academic and trade publishers. Click the link or image below for exclusive savings.


Civil War Monitor

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Library Additions: Civil War Generals of Indiana

Civil War Generals of Indiana

Kramer, Carl E. Civil War Generals of Indiana. Charleston: History Press. 2022. 140 pages, 136 pages of text. Bibliography, b/w images. ISBN 9781467151955, $23.99.

Thank you to the good folks at Arcadia Publishing/History Press for providing a complimentary copy of Civil War Generals of Indiana. A book review will be coming in the near future.

When the Civil War erupted, the Union and the Confederacy faced the challenge of organizing huge armies of volunteers with little or no military experience. Crucial to this task was finding generals, and Indiana answered this call with approximately 120 of them. Though a competent division and corps commander, Ambrose E. Burnside’s leadership of the Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg proved disastrous. Jefferson Columbus was a relentless commander but murdering his superior in a Louisville hotel halted his probable rise to major general. As commander of the Louisville Legion, Lovell H. Rousseau was the only Civil War general commissioned by a city.

Compiling years of research, historian Carl E. Kramer provides biographical sketches of every identifiable Indiana general who attained full-rank, brevet, and state-service status in the tragic struggle.

You may find more information on Dr. Kramer by using this link.

To view similar posts including prior reviews of Arcadia Publishing titles, please CLICK HERE.

Indianapolis MonthlySubscribe to Indianapolis Monthly to keep up with all the great things going on in the great state of Indiana!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

History Talks at Halifax Historical Museum

New Smyrna Beach Postcard History
New Smyrna Beach Postcard History
New Smyrna Beach Postcard history published by Arcadia Publishing

Join us on September 3rd at 10:30 am for our new “History Talks” speakers’ program with Robert Redd. Enjoy coffee and donuts provided by Krispy Kreme donuts on International Speedway Blvd, as Robert discusses his book on New Smyrna Beach postcards. There will be an assortment of books for sale. Robert Redd is the former Director of the New Smyrna Museum of History, a graduate of Stetson University and American Public University, and serves as the County of Volusia Cultural Coordinator.

This event is free for Members. Non-members are $10.00.

All of Robert’s books will be available for purchase.

This event is sponsored by Krispy Kreme Donuts and Arcadia Publishing.

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Book Review–Central Florida’s World War II Veterans

Central Florida's World War II Veterans

Grenier, Bob. Central Florida’s World War II Veterans (Images of America). Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. 2016. 128 pages, b/w photos. ISBN 9781467116794, $21.99.

The Greatest Generation, those who fought World War II in whatever function, is silently, yet rapidly, passing on to their reward. When you stop to think that the end of World War II was more than 75 years ago you can easily fathom that it will not be long until the last veterans from the war pass.

Author Bob Grenier, who wears many hats including historian, museum curator, Walt Disney World employee, politician, historical activist, and more, has written what I find to be a very fitting tribute to the common soldier. This is not a book glamorizing the Generals or the Colonels, or even the Lieutenants. This is not a book glamorizing war nor condemning the enemy.

Robert M. McTueous Marine Corps photo
Robert M. McTureous,  Jr., Medal of Honor recipient. Photo courtesy United States Marine Corps

Instead, this is a book that reminds us of the soldiers who went to serve in faraway lands they might not have been able to find on a map were real people. They were fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, husbands, or boyfriends. In some cases, they were daughters, wives, sisters, aunts, or girl friends who served in organizations like WAVES, or as nurses, or were part of the Red Cross. Many of these brave women led the charge from the home front, planting Victory Gardens, recycling materials, working in manufacturing roles, single handedly caring for families, and struggling to keep morale high at home and abroad.  Their importance and contributions should not be forgotten. Not all the men in the book survived. Some, like Medal of Honor recipient Robert M. McTureous, Jr., paid the ultimate price.

The book is broken down geographically into eight chapters with a concluding chapter titled Florida’s Gallant Sons and Daughters. The chapters feature soldiers who lived in or moved to an area and also highlights local markers or memorials to the War. Each chapter is loaded with photos; some contemporary, some from the war, some personal such as wedding photos, and some are memorials and remembrances. All tell a story though, and through the limited text allowed for each image, Grenier helps evoke a feeling of the image whether it be happy, sad, uncertain, confident, or scared.

This book reminds us how precious life is and that our time is fleeting. A generation called the greatest is rapidly leaving us. It will be left for us, the living, to remember them. With this slim volume, Bob Grenier has provided us a way to remember the men and women who helped stop Axis forces and allow the American way of life to continue. One cannot finish this volume and not be moved. Highly recommended.

To learn more about World War II, I recommend a subscription to World War II magazine. World War II magazine covers every aspect of history’s greatest modern conflict with vivid, revealing, and evocative writing from top historians and journalists

**For full disclosure: Mr. Grenier is a friend of mine, and this book is published by the same publisher I am published by. I did however purchase my copy of his book at full retail price, and Mr. Grenier has in no way asked for me to write a review. The review is based upon my own reading and viewing of the book.

If you enjoyed Bob’s look at World War II veterans, I recommend you find a copy of his similar book for Civil War veterans. This book covers both Union and Confederate soldiers and shows how the war and its aftermath played a considerable role in the future development of Central Florida.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

 

 


World War II

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Keep up with the latest in World War II scholarship with a subscription to World War II magazine. Written by leading authorities, each issue contains numerous articles on all aspects of the war.  Click the photo or the link to receive an exclusive subscription offer.

 

HistoryCon at Museum of Arts and Sciences

2 Civil War Books

Authors Robert Redd and Bob Grenier will be attending the inaugural summer edition of HistoryCon at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach. Bob and Robert will both have copies of their books available for purchase. Both authors are proudly published by Arcadia Publishing.

For more details visit HistoryCon on the web.

Admission to HistoryCon is included with museum admission.

HistoryCon

July 30, 2022 10am-3pm

Museum of Arts and Sciences

353 S. Nova Road

Daytona Beach, FL 32114