Sean Michael Chick, writing from New Orleans, is the author of the newest book in the Emerging Civil Wart Series, Grant’s Left Hook: The Bermuda Hundred Campaign. He was first profiled in the July 2018 ECW newsletter. You can read his full ECW bio here.
What do you find most interesting about the Bermuda Hundred Campaign?
I liked that it showed Grant at his best as a strategist, and for the first two weeks, it worked in keeping troops away from Lee’s army. One wonders what could have been accomplished if Butler had not been in command or he had more troops.
How did a guy from New Orleans find himself interested in Bermuda Hundred?
Mostly because of my earlier work on Petersburg and the New Orleans connection to Beauregard and Butler.
Butler and Beauregard both certainly made their stamps on New Orleans. How do you think those two men changed over the course of the war, from their time in New Orleans to the time when they lock horns in Virginia?
Butler spent 1863 scheming to undermine Lincoln and get his New Orleans command back. By 1864, it was obvious the war was coming to an end and he needed to play a role to get any glory. Beauregard, meanwhile, had become a bit more realistic in his tactical plans by 1864.
You have an Emerging Civil War Series biography about Beauregard coming out later this year. Can you tell us a little about that?
There has not been a Beauregard biography since the 1950s, so it felt time to give him a fresh look. Also, being from New Orleans, I felt I had some insights into his personality that other authors dismissed.
What else do you have in the hopper?
The Maps of Shiloh. I am working on the April 7 fighting right now.
Lightning Round (short answers with a one-sentence explanation)
Favorite primary source?
Liddell’s Record. It was not written for publication, so it is very honest.
Favorite Civil War-related monument?
Hazen Brigade Monument at Stones River. An impressive piece of work, particularly considering it was made during the war.
Favorite unsung hero of the Civil War era?
David Stuart. He led he brigade ably at Shiloh and was going to be promoted but political rivals blocked his advancement, much to Sherman’s disgust.
What’s a bucket-list Civil War site you’ve not yet visited?
Pickett’s Mill. I hear the entrenchments are among the best preserved.
Favorite ECWS book that’s not one of your own?
Let Us Die Like Men. Lee White’s account of Franklin is the most gripping I have ever read.