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 .

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

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.

**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.

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

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Personal Updates and a New Start

First off, my apologies. My posts have been erratic at best but they should become more regular soon. Life has been pretty hectic but a couple of things are calming down or going away. I will have more time to devote to this page.

First off, for those who know me, you will know I have been attending graduate school. I am happy to announce that I have completed my degree and shortly will have my diploma for my M.A. in History with a specialization in Public History. Thank you to my professors and fellow students at American Public University System for helping me make this a reality. There was no way I was going to be able to do this at a traditional school with my work and personal demands. The closest institution offering such a degree is an hour and a half drive each way, if not longer due to traffic. Working a full time job and trying to handle that was never going to work.  Don’t be afraid to try one of the major online universities.

Second, I have been hard at work on a manuscript for Arcadia Publishing. I am happy to report that I am in the home stretch on this book and will soon be submitting the manuscript for review. The working title is Hidden History of Civil War Florida. I am working on image captions currently. After that, another read through to find what are no doubt even more errors or areas that need rework. My goal is to submit on Valentine’s Day. We’ll see. This will be my fifth book with Arcadia and I hope it to be my best and most widely received. I will be sure to keep everybody informed and let you see the cover once designed.

So, let me know, what would you like for me to write about in this blog? Are there history or travel subjects you think would be interesting. Florida based is preferred at this point but there’s no real need to limit things. Book reviews? Restaurant or travel reviews? Public art displays? Museum exhibits?

Posted on Leave a comment

Library Additions December 2021 (1)–South Carolina in 1865

Stokes, Karen. South Carolina in 1865. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2021. 143 pages, 134
pages of text. Notes, bibliography, b/w photos. ISBN 9781467151344, $21.99.

Thank you to my friends at Arcadia Publishing for providing a complimentary review copy. A
review will be posted at a later date.

From the publisher website.

South Carolina in 1865 written by Karen Stokes

The year 1865 brought an end to the war in America, but it also ended a civilization that had existed for nearly two centuries in South Carolina. Plantations, churches, farms, factories and whole villages and towns were pillaged and burned by General William T. Sherman’s army, and a once thriving and wealthy state was reduced to poverty. While Columbia burned, besieging Union troops swept in and occupied the undefended city of Charleston, which Sherman called “a mere desolated wreck,” and then launched raids into the surrounding countryside, including the rich plantation lands of Berkeley County. The surviving records of this period are numerous and revealing, and author Karen Stokes presents many of the eyewitness accounts and memoirs of those who lived through it.

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Library Additions–October 2021 (1)

USS Tecumseh in Mobile Bay book cover
USS Tecumseh in Mobile Bay book cover
The USS Tecumseh in Mobile Bay

Smithweck, David. The USS Tecumseh in Mobile Bay: The Sinking of a Civil War Ironclad. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2021. 158 pages, 126 pages of text. Three appendices, index, bibliography, notes, b/w images. ISBN 9781467149747, $21.99.

Thank you to Arcadia Publishing for providing a review copy of The USS Tecumseh in Mobile Bay: The Sinking of a Civil War Ironclad  written by David Smithweck. Look for a review in the future. 

In April 1861, Lincoln declared a blockade on Southern ports. It was only a matter of time before the Union navy would pay a visit to the bustling Confederate harbor in Mobile Bay. Engineers built elaborate obstructions and batteries, and three rows of torpedoes were laid from Fort Morgan to Fort Gaines. Then, in August 1864, the inevitable came. A navy fleet of fourteen wooden ships lashed two by two and four iron monitors entered the lower bay, with the USS Tecumseh in the lead. A torpedo, poised to strike for two years, found the Tecumseh and sank it in minutes, taking ninety-three crewmen with it. Join author David Smithweck on an exploration of the ironclad that still lies upside down at the bottom of Mobile Bay.

Learn about other titles from Arcadia Publishing by clicking 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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Book Review: Hidden History of Civil War Tennessee

Jones, James B., Jr. Hidden History of Civil War Tennessee. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing,
2013. Bibliography, endnotes, b/w photos.126 pages, 100 pages of text. ISBN 9781609498993,
$19.99.

The Civil War produced stories too numerous to ever be covered, no matter the number of
words. These stories range from the big picture issues of slavery and battles, all the way through local impacts on communities and individuals. Volumes in the Arcadia Publishing Hidden History series often focus on more localized stories. These may be more well-known events all the way through smaller locally recognized happenings. These stories are always of interest and help expand our knowledge of how the war influenced our country.

Author James B. Jones, Jr. served as a public historian on the staff of the Tennessee Historical
Commission and served as editor of their newsletter, The Courier.

Jones covers six major topics in his book; most of which I would propose are unknown to
readers. The first chapter discusses the safety and vigilance committees of west and middle
Tennessee in the early years of the war. In reality, these were really misnomers for those not
loyal to the Confederacy or those having the slightest hint of Union sympathies. Violence and
intimidation were common by these groups. Voter intimidation was a common tactic and even
those who were not drummed out of town often did not vote knowing their ballot would be
discovered.

The following two chapters deal with public health issues. The topics of prostitution and
venereal disease were a major concern during the war years. Efforts to rid cities such as
Nashville of prostitutes failed. Rather than continue to fight this issue officials made efforts to
control the trade. It was mandated that prostitutes register and be licensed after being tested for
disease. These registration fees often helped cover the health care expenses of other workers. The
influx of military troops helped bring other public health issues to the fore. The city of
Murfreesboro suffered from smallpox in November 1863. Other cities, particularly large ones
such as Nashville suffered from poor sewage, inadequate waste removal, and vermin infestation.

James Negley: Photo courtesy Library of Congress https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2017894192/

The next chapters are more military in focus. Jones tells the story of Colonel John M. Hughs, the guerilla leader of the twenty-fifth Tennessee Infantry. This is followed by a chapter dealing the several days long Negley’s Raid of 1862. This Union attack helped drive Confederate forces from Chattanooga. In the minds of many Union brass, the actions of the raiders helped turn many local Union supports to the Confederates.

In the final full chapter, Jones discusses the occupation of Memphis by Union troops under the command of William T. Sherman. Sherman faced multiple problems during this early stage of the war. His first method of keeping control was to control the press. Despite being able to control the local narrative there were logistical problems not so easy to solve. These included a swelling contraband population. He then faced feeding, housing, and clothing these new arrivals. Multiple currencies were in circulation and with it came problems in issues of trade. Illegal trade with enemy troops, especially in cotton, became so onerous that Sherman expelled the traders and speculators. Jones asserts that while Sherman was considered to have wielded a heavy hand he really had no choice.

The book closes with a short appendix of General Orders.

The book is a quick read coming in at 100 pages of text including many interesting b/w photos. It
can certainly be completed during an afternoon on the back porch in your comfortable chair. The
notes and bibliography are welcome additions for those interested in learning more on selected
topics.

While some may quibble with the topics Jones has chosen to include, I do not think that is really
the point of this series. This series is meant to bring the unfamiliar to readers. Perhaps a second
volume can be produced telling additional stories. Because different authors write the books in
this series, there is little continuity book to book other than the use of short vignettes.

For those seeking a short Civil War read that is not heavy on detail this may be for you.

You may read other reviews of Arcadia Publishing titles by clicking here.

An excellent guide to Civil War sites in Tennessee can be found here.

For an excellent archive of Tennessee Civil War materials visit the Tennessee State Library and Archives, located in Nashville.

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Book Review–Hidden History of Civil War Savannah

Hidden History of Civil War Savannah

Jordan, Michael L. Hidden History of Civil War Savannah. Charleston: Arcadia
Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781626196438, 159 pages, 131 pages text, b/w photos,
notes, bibliography, index, $21.99.

As author Michael L. Jordan describes Savannah, Georgia, “…Savannah is a Civil
War city, an epicenter of activity in the conflict that southerners like to call “the
War Between the States.” While I might take umbrage with this stereotyped
portrayal of southerners, there is considerable truth to this statement.

In his book, Hidden History of Civil War Savannah, Jordan tells nine stories
allowing readers an introductory, yet thorough enough for many readers, glimpse
of the role Savannah played during the Civil War. Savannah was more than just a
Christmas gift from General Sherman to President Lincoln.

The first chapter starts out with controversial Confederate Alexander Stephens and
his infamous “Corner-stone Speech” given in Savannah in March 1861. In this
speech Stevens leaves little doubt that slavery and white supremacy were the
drivers of the new Confederate government. He went further calling abolitionists
“fanatics” stating they “were attempting to make things equal which the Creator
had made unequal.” It appears that Stephens’s views were in the mainstream of
Georgia voters. Just twenty years later he served as Governor of the state.

In the following chapter Jordan treats us to the life of Francis Barton, a signer of
the Georgia Ordinance of Secession, who as a brigade commander in the
Oglethorpe Light Infantry was killed during the July 1861 Battle of Bull Run.
Bartow’s remains are interred in Laurel Grove Cemetery.

The life of Robert E. Lee and his strong associations with Savannah, especially his
time as a young engineer helping to construct Fort Pulaski are quickly covered.
The following chapter contains a thorough discussion of the CSS Atlanta and the
problems the ship’s crew faced before the vessel was eventually surrendered to
Union forces. The newly named USS Atlanta served in the Union navy during the
blockade of the James River.

The fate of Union prisoners of war in 1864 is a chapter that I enjoyed considerably.
It left me wanting more however. The next chapters cover the Confederate
evacuation of the city, including the arrival of General Sherman and concerns of
the local residents. The story of the capture of Savannah is followed by a
discussion of Savannah rejoining the Union. Again, the concerns of local residents
and businesses are discussed in detail.

While General Sherman didn’t put the torch to Savannah as he did to others, there
was a major fire in the city during January 1865. The fire is traced to a stable in the
northwestern part of the city. As the fire spread, it reached the naval arsenal
causing major explosions that rocked the city. Union forces helped in removing
shells when possible and in protecting citizens and property. The cause of the
blaze, and other small ones in the city, was not determined. Jordan does not put
forth an opinion or provide any evidence as to who may have been the cause.

The book concludes with a chapter on Savannah’s Confederate Memory. The
importance of the Ladies Memorial Association and their role in raising money for
a Confederate monument is detailed. The story of men taking over the lead on the
creation of the monument and the story of the monument itself are quite intriguing
and well worth the read. The 20th century myths about no “Yankee” products being
used in the creation of the monument is amusing.

This book is a quick and enjoyable read with each chapter standing on its own
merit. These brief vignettes provide an interesting background and introduction
into the role of Savannah before, during, and after the Civil War. The notes and
bibliography are appreciated and allow readers the ability to follow up and learn
more on subjects of interest to them.

This is not a travel guide. No maps, directions, or addresses are included. Rather, a
reader can use this as an introduction to places they may wish to seek out during a
visit to the “Hostess City of the South.”

A wonderful single day tour of the highlights of Civil War Savannah can be found
on the American Battlefield Trust webpage.

There are several guided walking tours of Civil War sites available. Savannah Walks
offers what looks to be an interesting tour readers might enjoy.

Some incredible Civil War era maps are available for viewing and download
through the Library of Congress.

You may read other reviews of Arcadia Publishing titles by clicking 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.