Posted on Leave a comment

Texas Coastal Defense in the Civil War Book Release

Texas Coastal Defense in the Civil War

Arcadia Publishing New Release

Arcadia Publishing continues their role of releasing geographically specific works of history with their new book release Texas Coastal Defense in the Civil War written by William Nelson Fox.

Texas Coastal Defense in the Civil War book releaseFrom the publisher

Navigate the often-overlooked history of the resolute defense of the Texas coast during the Civil War.

With volumes written on the Civil War, little attention has been given to the defense of the Texas coast. Most military-aged Texans had been dispatched across the Mississippi, but those left behind resolutely weathered naval bombardments and repulsed invasion attempts. It was only at the end of the conflict that Federal troops were able to make their way into South Texas, as the Confederacy prepared its last stand at Caney Creek and the Brazos River. From famous battles to obscure skirmishes, William Nelson Fox provides an account of the Lone Star State’s defensive strategies during the Civil War.

159 pages. Bibliography, index, notes, b/w photos. ISBN 9781467155618. Cover price $24.99.


Thank you to Arcadia Publishing for providing a complimentary review copy of this book. A review will be forthcoming.

Thank you for reading my post announcing Texas Coastal Defense in the Civil War. This new book release from Arcadia Publishing will add to the growing literature on the role of Texas and naval affairs during the Civil War years. Read my reviews of other Arcadia Publishing titles using THIS LINK.


Buy Me A Coffee donation link
Click the image or THIS LINK to support this site through Buy Me A Coffee. Your support pays for web services, research trips, photocopies, and photo usage fees.


This post may contain affiliate links including As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  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. Affiliate programs or sponsors providing products do not influence views and opinions provided in my blog.


Galveston and the Civil War James M. Schmidt
For those interested in Galveston, TX during the Civil War, I recommend this excellent volume written by James M. Schmidt, and published by Arcadia Publishing.


Posted on Leave a comment

July 2023 The Best Events and Festivals in Florida

U.S. Navy Blue Angels

The Best in Florida Events and Festivals July 2023

Florida hosts some amazing events and festivals. Each month I hope to take a look at a dozen or so of these in hopes of bringing you fun, exciting, and unexpected ways to enjoy our state.

If you have an event or know of one coming up that you feel should be highlighted, please drop me a line with as much information, including a website, as you can. I’ll be glad to include your suggestions in future posts.

Posts are listed in date order.

June 30-July 4      Key Lime Festival          Key West

2023 is shaping up to be the best Key Lime Festival yet. We’re pleased to offer a full 5 days of culinary events for every taste, including favorites from past years like the Key Lime Cocktail Sip & Stroll and Key Lime Pie Hop and new favorites for Key Lime lovers! We’ve also added a few intimate culinary events for our VIP Key Lime lovers!

 July 1-July 5         Key West Mermaid Festival    Key West

Welcome To the home of the 2023 Key West Mermaid Festival!

Join Key West native, Mermaid Kristi Ann, her Pod, and her crew, for 4 days of splish-splashing mermaid fun! Come swim with us as mermaids from around the nation take over the enchanted island of Key West.

U.S. Navy Blue Angels
U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Image courtesy

July 5-July 8         Pensacola Beach Air Show      Pensacola

Locals and visitors from all over look forward to the annual Pensacola Beach Air Show held in the summer. The show highlights our hometown heroes — the Blue Angels — the U. S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron stationed at Forrest Sherman Field aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola.

The Blue Angels hold several practice sessions along the beach in the days leading up to the big event on show day.

You can follow the Blue Angels on their YouTube channel HERE or sample their videos through the embedded video below.

July 8-July 9         Mango Festival     Miami

Fairchild Garden is home to The Tropical Fruit program and the world’s largest mango collection. Our annual Mango Festival is a celebration of the more than 400 varieties of mangos in our prized collection, and it all culminates in a dazzling weekend filled with mango madness.

You can keep up with Fairchild Garden on their YouTube channel HERE.


July 14-July 16     Trailblazer Country Music Festival           Elkton

A celebration of all things country from crafts to music to food, the festival will present exhibitor booths featuring exhibits, crafts, fashions, truck art, and food. The Trailblazer Country Music Festival includes the Trailblazer Craft Beer Fest. Those who purchase a ticket for this festival within a festival may enjoy unlimited samples of beer, wine, and spirits.


Hemingway Days 2023 in Key West, FLJuly 18-July 24     Hemingway Days           Key West

The annual celebration salutes the Nobel Prize–winning author’s writing achievements, sporting pursuits and enjoyment of the island’s easygoing lifestyle.

The festival’s undisputed highlight is the Hemingway® Look-Alike Contest at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St., a frequent hangout for the writer during his 1930s residence in Key West.

Looking for that perfect Hemingway book for yourself or as a gift? Look no further, click HERE to find everything Hemingway.


Rolling Loud Miami July 2023

July 21-July23     Rolling Loud        Miami

Everything is bigger for this Miami festival. Featuring 100+ of your favorite hip-hop artists from all over the world. This is a festival lineup built uniquely for our fans.

Find the best prices and get your tickets to the Rolling Loud Miami festival by click the image above or using THIS LINK.


July 22-July 23     Cool Art Show     St. Petersburg

The Professional Association of Visual Artists was formed in 1988, when a group of artists on a social outing, discussed the idea of hanving an indoor art festival to pass the time in the hot Florida summer. On a couple of cocktail napkins, the Cool Art Show was born.

July 28-July29      Caladium Festival          Lake Placid

While caladiums are the heart of our popular Caladium Festival, the event also highlights our creative community as well as our local heritage and culture.

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. 

Key Lime Bike Tours, a 3 hour guided bike tour highlighting the best Key West has to offer. Close out your tour with a slice of key lime pie! Click the image for more details and to book your tour.
Visiting Key West for one of these great festivals? Why not take a 3-hour guided bike tour and close the tour with a delicious slice of Key Lime Pie? Click HERE or the image above for more information and to book your tour.




Posted on Leave a comment

Gabordy Canal Historic Marker New Smyrna Beach Florida

Placement of the Gabordy Canal marker, adjacent to Riverside Drive

Gabordy Canal

The Gabordy Canal Historic Marker is located where the cities of New Smyrna Beach and                                            Edgewater come together. The name of this canal is often spelled in differing ways. I have                                         seen alternative spellings of Gabardy, Garbordy, and Garbardy.

The Gabordy Canal marks the dividing line between the city of New Smyrna
Beach, to the north, and Edgewater, to the south.

This marker is located on the eastern side of the road, near the corner of Riverside
Drive (north and south) and Hamilton Road (west). Private property surrounds the area                                                and the marker is located close to the busy south Riverside Drive.
There is really no parking right at the marker (don’t park in people’s yards). There
is a sidewalk located on the eastern side of Riverside Drive. See the image below to note
just how close this marker is to the road.

Placement of the Gabordy Canal marker, adjacent to Riverside Drive
The Gabordy Canal historic marker, sits adjacent to the busy Riverside Drive.



This marker, while important, has multiple problems in its text.

The marker itself does not talk much about the canal system. The marker also uses
the terms “colonization” and colonist” when the more accurate terms are
“settlement” and “settler” (as in the Turnbull, or Smyrnea, Settlement). The use of
terminology related to the word colony implies Florida could have been associated
with the original thirteen colonies we have learned about since grade school.

The marker references the number of over 1,400 persons being “attracted” to the area.
While there is some truth to this number, it being the number who originally left
Europe, less than 1,300 appear to have survived the journey. Archaeologists Dr.
Roger Grange and Dorothy Moore have put forth the number of 1,255 who
survived the voyage across the Atlantic. As to whether those owing indenture to                                              Andrew Turnbull and his partners were “attracted” to the area, I think history                                                     showed that is highly debatable.

Finally, though the marker text states that Governor (James) Grant granted release
to the settlers from their indenture, it was Governor Patrick Tonyn, (who served as
governor of East Florida from 1774-1783) a confirmed enemy of Turnbull, who
did such. (See Grange and Moore p. 25, linked below)

For more information on the Smyrnea Settlement, I recommend reading a booklet
written by Dr. Grange and Ms. Moore and published by the New Smyrna Museum
of History. In addition to clicking the link provided above, you may pick up a free copy at the museum.

I also recommend reviewing the University of North Florida, Florida History Online site for letters and papers related to the Smyrnea Settlement.


Marker Text

The Gabordy Canal

Gabordy Canal Historic Marker New Smyrna Beach, Florida
The State of Florida historic marker, located at the divide between New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater, FL

The Gabordy Canal, also known as the South Canal, was built by colonists brought to the New Smyrna area in 1768 by the Scottish physician, Dr. Andrew Turnbull. As part of the largest single attempt at British colonization, New Smyrna attracted more than 1,400 Minorcans, Corsicans, Greeks, and Italians who sought new opportunities as indentured servants. Turnbull, impressed by the Egyptian canal system, wanted to replicate it in New Smyrna. Three canals, including this one, ran east-west and were linked with a fourth, longer canal that ran north-south. These hand dug canals provided irrigation and drainage  or rice, hemp, cotton, and indigo crops grown by the colonists and served as a mode of transportation withing the colony. Local historians believe that the Gabordy Canal was named after the Gabardis, an original colonist family who lived in the vicinity of the canal. After nine years of harsh treatment, drought, and crop failures, the population was reduced to about 600 people. A group of colonists petitioned English Governor James Grant of St. Augustine in 1777 for release from their indenture. The governor granted land north of St. Augustine to these colonists.

A Florida Heritage Site

Sponsored by the City of New Smyrna Beach, the Historic New Smyrna Beach
Preservation Commission, Mayor James Hathaway, Vice Mayor Judy Reiker,
Commissioner Jake Sachs, Commissioner Jason McGuirk, Commissioner Kirk
Jones, and the Florida Department of State.


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.


Menorca: Book your guided tour of Mahon including boat trip
Click the photo above or THIS LINK to book your Menorcan guided tour of Mahon. Discover the southern tip of Menorca on a guided day trip. After pickup at your hotel, enjoy a 1-hour glass-bottom boat trip around Mahon Harbor, one of the deepest natural harbors in the world. Next, head into Mahon city center. Explore the capital’s historic center with official guida and enjoy some free time for shopping. Continue to Punta Prima Beach and enjoy some free time for sunbathing or lunch (at your own expense.) Finally, visit the fishermens’ village of Binibeca. Wander its streets to admire the white-painted houses and picturesque streets. You will be dropped off at your hotel at the end of the day.



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: Abandoned Coastal Defenses of Alabama

Abandoned Coastal Defenses of Alabama book cover

Kenning, Thomas. Abandoned Coastal Defenses of Alabama. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2021. 96
pages, color photos. ISBN 9781634992831, $23.99.

One of the newer series being published by Arcadia Publishing imprint America Through Time is
“Abandoned.” According to the Arcadia website, “America through Time is a local and regional interest series that showcases the history and heritage of communities around the country. Using modern color photographs juxtaposed with old images, these titles capture a strong sense of the past while demonstrating the force of change through the passage of years.” The “Abandoned” series appears to use only modern color images.

As the reader might expect, the book is image heavy with little text, making this a quick read. Author Thomas Kenning starts out asking a fair question; “What is it about forts that make them so appealing?” (page 8) He puts forth the ideas of protection and security only to swiftly undercut those ideas with theidea, “as long as the waves don’t rise too high and this concrete, laid on a drifting dune, doesn’t crack beneath our feet…” (page 10)

This idea of change is put forth throughout the book. Whether it be the long trend of changing
ownership of the lands around Mobile Bay to the inevitability of climate change and the repercussions
for Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, change is something not always under the control of man. Whether
humankind is able to step up to the challenge does not receive a rousing endorsement however, “The
immediate benefits of doing nothing, of continuing our carefree business as usual, look far greater in our
lizard brains than the abstract consequences, which will be suffered most seriously decades down the
line—not by us, but by our kids.” (page 95)

The aim of this book is not to educate the reader on the Battle of Mobile Bay or fort construction, or
ways that man can fight climate change and rising seas. Rather, the success of this title is in the
photography. The book is full of stunning, and sometimes dramatic, color photos showing these
amazing structural marvels and the surrounding environment in their current state. The captions are
often quite informative and should not be skipped over.

The book is not without issues however. A map would have proved quite helpful, as would a glossary.
Multiple times, I found myself having to look up a definition for a term with which I was unfamiliar.
These are formatting issues however and publisher decisions most likely dictated that there was not
space available for such. A stronger editorial pen however was needed as lines on pages 15 and 17 are
repeated almost verbatim.

Titles dealing in more depth with the Battle of Mobile Bay include:

West Wind Flood Tide: The Battle of Mobile Bay written by Jack Friend

Mobile Under Siege: Surviving the Union Blockade written by Paula Lenore Webb

Thank you to Arcadia Publishing for providing a review copy of this title.

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.