Volume 1, Issue 11 | April 2017
Emerging Civil War  ·  April 2017
Civil War Season  ·  10 Questions with...Dan Welch  ·  News and Notes  ·  ECW Bookshelf
From the Editor

I always think of this time of year as the start of Civil War season. Armies rumbled to life after a winter’s worth of inactivity. I think of Hooker setting out for Chancellorsville (although he never intended that to be his final destination). I think of Sherman setting out for Atlanta and Grant for Richmond.

Because of the battlefields I’ve worked at and now where I live, early May has always been chock full of anniversaries: the battle of Chancellorsville, then the Wilderness, then Spotsylvania, then Stonewall Jackson’s death.

And Jackson wasn’t the only one. May was generally a hard month on officers of both sides. The start of the season, after all, meant a start once more to all the killing. That’s a sad thought considering we typically consider spring a time of rebirth and renewal.

Get out there and hit the battlefields—and remember all those men who made it hallowed ground.

-- Chris Mackowski
   Editor-in-Chief, Emerging Civil War
10 Questions with . . . Dan Welch
Dan recently posted a piece on the blog about why he "does" history. We thought we'd follow up with some questions for Dan. You can read his full bio here.

You teach high school music during the school year and work as an interpreter at Gettysburg National Battlefield during the summer. How does that work out for you? 
It works out amazingly well. I am truly blessed to be able to work in two fields that are passions, not just 9-to-5s. A lot of folks ask what being a music teacher and interpreter of Civil War history have in common and how that would work. Beyond the obvious difference in content knowledge, an educator and interpreter share many important core principals. As a music teacher I teach indoors, but as an interpreter, the Gettysburg battlefield is an outdoor classroom. Both require the knowledge of my audience, the types of learners in the crowd, and how they best learn new information—as well as many other educational theories and techniques.  

Do your Civil War interests and music interests intersect at all? 
Sometimes they do. I recently worked on an essay for ECW's Southern Illinois University Press series “Engaging the Civil War” on the intersection of the song "Dixie" and popular culture in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I am also fascinated by seeing different period instruments in museums across the country. Knowing the inherent challenges of modern instruments, I can only imagine the challenges of intonation, technique, and maintenance of these instruments from the mid-nineteenth century.

How did you end up in Gettysburg in the first place? 
I share that very common story of a family trip to Gettysburg at a young age. A toy musket, kepi, and the battlefield sparked my imagination and an interest in the Civil War that never left. While in college in Ohio studying to be a music educator, I found an opportunity to take an intensive one-semester program, “The Gettysburg Semester,” under the tutelage of Dr. Allen Guelzo. During that program, I was able to do an internship with Scott Hartwig, then Supervisory Historian at Gettysburg National Military Park. At the conclusion of the semester and internship, my deep love of history came roaring back. I determined to finish my degree in music and find a way to keep both passions and careers in my life. I have since worked both in the classroom in Ohio and on the battlefield at Gettysburg. 
What’s your favorite non-Gettysburg aspect of the war? 
It has to be all the "underdog" military engagements that were glossed over by newspapers, generals, and politicians back then and historians today. To the men that fought in those battles or skirmishes, they were no less important than larger engagements. They still saw friends and family wounded or killed, or they themselves were. Battles such as Secessionville, where my ancestor's unit fought, or Chantilly or Cedar Mountain, all demonstrate how each event of the conflict was important to its overall outcome and history, not just your Gettysburgs, Antietams, or Vicksburgs.  

Aside from blogging at ECW, you do some behind-the-scenes work including the preservation news and scheduling the Weekenders. What can you tell us about “how the sausage is made” at ECW? 
Well, you know what they say about laws and sausages.... All kidding aside, "how the sausage is made" at ECW is awesome. Where else would someone get an opportunity to constantly talk with so many knowledgeable historians in varied inter-disciplines within the field from all across the country? With preservation news, I get to learn about all the exciting updates on the battlefield front as well as material culture of the war being saved. Working with the Weekenders gives me a chance to plan out future trips to see really neat things and places related to the war.

Lightning Round (short answers): 
Who’s the most overrated person of the Civil War era? Robert E. Lee
What’s your favorite Trans-Mississippi site? Pea Ridge
What’s your favorite regiment?75th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
What’s one Civil War book you would recommend as indispensable? I'm never good at picking just one, so here is a large, multi-volume, expensive indispensable book, the  Official Records. They are essential to understanding the "on-the-ground" events of the war.
What’s one question about the Civil War no one’s asked you but you wish they would? Regarding a battle, what events transpired before and after the battle, how did they get here and where did they go? We need to stop studying these events as isolated moments in a vacuum. 
ECW Bookshelf

Hot off the press: All the Fighting They Want: The Atlanta Campaign from Peachtree Creek to the City’s Surrender by Steve Davis. This is the highly anticipated follow-up to Steve’s first volume, A Long and Bloody Task.

"Why write another book on the Atlanta Campaign?" Steve asks. "It’s because we haven’t finished telling our story. Happily, we’ve had several great histories written about the campaign. But for a lot of people, a short handbook on how they did it is still an item of interest. A hard-charging synopsis (as I tried to write) is due to the veterans of Blue & Gray who fought (and sometimes died) here."

All the Fighting They Want picks up where Steve's first book left off: Joe Johnston is out; John Bell Hood is in. William T. Sherman’s army group is knocking on Atlanta’s door. “Let us give these southern fellows all the fighting they want,” Sherman wrote to his boss, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, “and when they are tired we can tell them we are just warming to the work.”

For more information, check the book preview we posted a few weeks ago.

News & Notes
Chris Kolakowski and Dwight Hughes will present papers for the biannual McMullen Naval History Symposium 14-15 September 2017 at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. The panel subject is “Wooden Ships and Iron Men: The Human Factor in Mid-19th Century Naval Operations.” It's not too early to plan ahead. For more information click here.

Meg Groeling and Sarah Kay Bierle, as well as historians Michael K. Shaffer, David T. Dixon, and three other researchers will be speaking at the Civil War History Conference "1862: Searching For Victory" on Saturday, June 3, 2017. Registration is still open for this single-day event in Southern California. Topics include The Andrews Raid, Dr. Jonathan Letterman's innovations, Grant's victory at Shiloh, and California's 1862 challenges. For more details, click here.

Last fall, Steve Davis became Book Review Editor for Civil War News, the monthly national newspaper for buffs. He also contributes for each issue a column, “Critic’s Corner,” in which he chooses and reflects upon a Civil War book particularly to his liking. In February, for example, he wrote on Stephen Sears' George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon (1988). “Best of all,” Steve adds, “CWN Publisher Jack Melton lets me write special columns on the Atlanta Campaign and other topics. I expected my article, ‘Gen. Sherman’s Blunder Led to McPherson’s Death,’ last summer  to draw fire from my Yankee friends, but so far, no flak.”

The Midwest Book Review gave a nice review to Ryan Quint’s  Determined to Stand and Fight: The Battle of Monocacy. The review said, “ Determined to Stand and Fight is highly recommended for historians, lay readers, and public and college library Civil War shelves.” You can  read the review here.

The latest issue of Blue & Gray magazine featured a main article by Dan Davis on the battle of Bentonville. Dan is co-author, with Phill Greenwalt, of the ECWS title Calamity in Carolina: The Battles of Averasboro and Bentonville.

Dan Welch and Rob Orrison had their book The Last Road North: A Guide to the Gettysburg Campaign reviewed in that same issue of  Blue & Gray. Reviewed by Nathan Marzoli, a historian with the U.S. Army Center for Military History, Marzoli notes that the work has "filled a gap in the Gettysburg literature," and is "a welcome volume in the 'Emerging Civil War Series.'" The reviewer concludes, " The Last Road North is a welcome addition to the library of any student of Gettysburg or the American Civil War, whether it is used in its intended purpose as an actual guide, or simply as a stand-alone study of the campaign's events."

Blue & Gray also reviewed the ECWS title Don’t Give an Inch: The Second Day at Gettysburg, from Little Round Top to Cemetery Ridge by Chris Mackowski, Kristopher D. White, and Dan Davis. Reviewer David Marshall said, “The authors have created a highly useful guide that provides background for events and good tactical descriptions for a broad audience.”

The magazine also reviewed Seizing Destiny: The Army of the Potomac’s “Valley Forge” and the Civil War Winter that Saved the Union by Albert Conner, Jr., co-written by Chris Mackowski. “This effort is a highly commendable study of a little known chapter in the Army of the Potomac,” said reviewer Robert Grandchamp.

(We'd be remiss if we didn't take the opportunity to say THANKS to Blue & Gray publisher Dave Roth for his ongoing support as well as for all the ECW love in the last two issues, in particular. His magazine is indispensable for Civil War buffs—check it out!)

Upcoming Presentations
May 2017

1st: Sarah Kay Bierle, “Awakened Hearts: The Power & Patriotism of Civilians,” UDC Redlands, Redlands, CA

3rd: Steward Henderson, “Importance of the Fredericksburg Area in the Civil War” Chancellor’s Village, Fredericksburg, VA

4th: Sarah Kay Bierle, “Searching For The McGuires,” Lucerne Valley Genealogy Association, Lucerne Valley, CA

8th: Daniel T. Davis, “A Grand Charge: Emory Upton’s Assault at Spotsylvania” Mahoning Valley Civil War Round Table, Canfield, OH

10th: Chris Kolakowski, “The Battle of Midway,” ODU Institute for Learning in Retirement, Virginia Beach, VA

11th: Chris Mackowski, “Grant’s Last Battle,” Montgomery County, MD, CWRT

18th: Phill Greenwalt, “Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864,” Cincinnati Civil War Round Table, Cincinnati, OH

29th: Edward Alexander, Memorial Day Commemoration, Pamplin Historical Park, Petersburg, VA

30th: Chris Mackowski, “A Season of Slaughter: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House,” Brunswick (NC) Civil War Roundtable, Southport, NC

And of course, don't forget the Fourth Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge
You've heard the pitch, so here's the short form: Aug. 4-6, 2017..."Great Defenses"...Keynote by Brian Jordan...super-awesome line-up of speakers...tour of Brandy Station...only $125!