Volume 04 Issue 09 | March 2020
March 2020
Babies and Grandbabies · ECW News & Notes · 10 Questions with JoAnna McDonald
ECW Highlights
From the Editor
As I sat down to write this month’s column, my daughter called me. She’d just finished up with an obstetrician’s appointment and wanted to give me an update. She was in the home stretch of pregnancy, and the doctor has decided to induce her a couple days early. The COVID-19 pandemic has been putting pressure on hospitals, so the doctor wanted to get the baby delivered and safely home before the pressure on medical services got any heavier, which is expected.

A few days have passed since then, and Sophie Marie Brand—my first grandchild—is now safely with us. But from where I was sitting last Friday afternoon, Monday’s scheduled induction seemed like forever away. Of course, we’ve all waited for nearly nine full months, and we thought we’d have to wait at least another week and a half—her expected due date was March 30, Steph’s one-year anniversary—but as soon as there was a fixed date, a set deadline, the ticking of the countdown clock became exponentially louder.

I am beside myself with excitement about being a grandfather. Because of COVID-related concerns, I was not allowed to go to the hospital when Sophie was born, as I had planned to. I probably won’t even get to see her for a few weeks because the doctor wants Steph to limit visitors during the current health crisis. Even if that’s disappointing, I understand. Thank heaven for Skype, I guess!

In last March’s newsletter, I reflected on Steph’s then-upcoming nuptials in the context of Women’s History Month. “In just a few short days, Steph embarks on a new chapter of her own personal history,” I wrote. Now, a year later, she’s about to embark on the next new chapter. Sophie will be a bit of history all to herself, and I hope she grows up to be a strong woman just like her mother has. (In fact, I joke with Steph that all my plans for revenge are about to come to fruition: she’s about to have a daughter and I hope Sophie’s just like Steph! )

So, here’s to the great women in our lives, young and old. May they continue to make history of their own.

— Chris Mackowski, Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Emerging Civil War
Grandfather, Sophie Marie Brand
Seventh Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge
The Seventh Annual Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge is nearly five months away, so as of right now, we are still all systems go for August 7-9, 2020.

The spread of the coronavirus pandemic has been a fluid situation, so Emerging Civil War will continue to monitor and assess things as we continue to get closer to our event. We will update our readers accordingly. As of right now, though, we are current on schedule for a great event.

Find out more details about the event, and purchase tickets, here .
ECW News & Notes
Sarah Kay Bierle has been putting in some time and miles for her artillery research. At the beginning of March, she headed for Antietam National Battlefield to take a look at some artillery positions before the trees leaf out.  
Speaking of Antietam, Kevin Pawlak has been spending time at the Antietam National Battlefield library and archives doing research on his and Dan Welch 's forthcoming work on Ohioans at the battle. He says he found some neat things, including requisition forms for more ammunition on September 18, 1862!
Meg Groeling is joining the hoarders in rushing to amazonsmile to purchase small bags of Cracker Jacks in bulk. No, she is not afraid of Covid-19--but she is planning for planned presentations on one of her favorite topics--Civil War Base Ball and John Wildey, Colonel Elmer Ellsworth's aide-de-camp and later the first in a long line of baseball commissioners. Ragin'Jack was a character to be remembered.

Meg also continues to wrestle with the complex and challenging job of sourcing images for First Fallen: The Life of Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, the North's First Civil War Hero . Meg hates to think about indexing--the horror, the horror!
Dwight Hughes says: “Spring is springing! It’s warming up. Daffodils appear. Flower beds need cleaning up, shrubs trimmed, new plants planted, and grass tended, and our editor is bugging me about deadlines. Uh-oh. What’s a writer/gardener to do?”
The Spirits of Bad Men Made Perfect: The Life and Diary of Confederate Artillerist William Ellis Jones by Constance Hall Jones , part of ECW’s Engaging the Civil War Series, received a nice review in the Midwest Book Review . The reviewer called it “An inherently fascinating and impressively informative Civil War biography.”

Chris Mackowski was interviewed for the War Scholar podcast about Entertaining History: The Civil War in Literature, Film, and Song , which is part of ECW’s Engaging the Civil War Series. You can listen to the podcast here .

Louisiana State University’s Civil War Book Review published a review by Chris of Christian Keller’s The Great Partnership: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and the Fate of the Confederacy. You can read the review here .

Derek Maxfield and his performance partner, Tracy Ford , performed their two-man show about Grant and Sherman, Now We Stand by Each Other Always , for the Brunswick (NC) Civil War Roundtable in early March. On their way south, they stopped in Fredericksburg for coffee with ECW's Terry Rensel and Chris Mackowski . (see photo, above: Rensel, Mackowski, Maxfield, and Ford)

Derek 's ECWS book, Hellmira: The Union’s Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp--Elmira, NY , ships from the printer in the first week in April. Stay tuned to the blog for details!
10 Questions...
with JoAnna McDonald

JoAnna McDonald is the latest historian to join the stable of Emerging Civil War writers and historians. You can read her full bio here .

Your work for ECW thus far has focused on some of the challenges and unique aspects of leadership. What got you interested in that area?

Leadership has always been one of my interests. When I was a young lass, I read I Rode With Stonewall , Lee’s Lieutenants , Grant’s and Sherman’s Memoirs , and many more books in the same genre.

In the last fifteen years, there were two events that specifically triggered my interest in leadership. I had a supervisor who was a toxic leader—think Captain Bligh. Up until then, I did not understand how significant a leader was to the organization. How the leader’s mood influenced the team. Yes, it stank to be on the receiving end of this individual, but after many years of discussing the situation, I understand her lack of leadership had nothing to do with her being a woman. It had to do with her not being trained, probably having one or more not so nice mentors, and then her being a miserable persona. The second incident that influenced my interest in leadership occurred when I was deciding the subject for my Ph.D. dissertation. I thought I would research Human Intelligence and Technology, but I had no contacts with the U.S. Army’s intelligence community. So, I had already been researching Lee, and I went to Dr. Richard Sommers to discuss my idea of writing a dissertation on his grand strategy and strategic leadership. The rest is history (pun intended).

You have described yourself as a “hybrid historian.” What do you mean by that?
My blogs are written using a pedagogical (analytical) voice and a narrative voice. Usually, historians write either/or. I also combine history with the study of military theory and leadership. This allows me to place military theory concepts and leadership mechanics into historical context. It’s a unique approach, and some academics out there downright wouldn’t like it. In fact, I read a book on the Iraq War by a military theorist/strategist and he said in his introduction “I am not a historian.” I laughed. I wanted to ask this author: how do you know your theories work without historical context. I didn’t do it. Unlike this author, I’m not writing for the academics. My audience is the general public. When you see specific military theory or leadership concepts in a historical arena, you get a better sense at how winning a war or leadership works or doesn’t work.
So, analytical historian is the canary in a coal mine in me; explaining military theorist/leadership principles for the general public is the instructor in me, and a narrative historian is the bard in me: Hybrid Historian

Two of your mentors were Jay Luvaas and Richard Sommers—two great military historians. What’s one lesson each of them passed on to you?
Foremost, Luvaas taught me humility. He taught me that this (the writing, instructing, and speaking) is not about the individual historian; it is about helping to light the path ahead for the present and future generations. I also learned the importance of mentoring the younger generations.

Sommers taught me the importance of work ethic, although I don’t try to compete with his at all. I think the only one who would come close to having the same work ethic as him is Robert E. Lee.

Sommers also taught me patience, understanding, and forgiveness. My 130-pound German Shepherd, “Sherman”—named for the major general—almost attacked one of Dick’s little Boston Terriers. It was horrifying. I love animals. Fortunately, I had learned to do rodeo tackles with my Sherman and got him under control. Phew!
Military history tends to be a male-dominated field. Is there anything particularly challenging about being a woman in that field?
At 5’ nothing, I can’t see over the podiums.

No, I don’t really think about challenges or that I’m a woman in a male-dominated field. Luvaas and Sommers always, from day one, treated me as a “fellow student” of military history/Civil War/military studies. When Dr. Luvaas signed his Staff Ride to Gettysburg book, co-authored with Hal Nelson (Brig. Gen. USA Ret), Luvaas wrote, “to a fellow student of the Civil War.” I just happened to be a woman.
You’ve got a great sense of humor (which we get to see a bit more behind the scenes than readers might otherwise get to see). How does that inform your work as a historian?
The study of human conflict is downright depressing, especially if you think about it too much. Combat is gross. Warfare, though, has to be studied. It’s like cancer. You have to understand it. My humor allows my brain to go into a horrible dimension and come out without going insane.
I will probably reveal more of my sense of humor in the special blogs you ask for from time to time. Like the one I am finishing up on “a woman who's had an important impact on you and your development as a Civil War historian.”
Lightning Round:
Favorite primary source? O.R.s
Favorite Civil War-related monument? Irish Brigade 63rd, 69th and 88th New York Infantry 14th New York Independent Battery, Sickles Ave, Gettysburg, PA 17325. It is a Celtic cross with an Irish wolf hound mourning the brigade’s dead.
Favorite unsung hero of the Civil War era? Henry Hunt for Union and Fitzhugh Lee for the Confederates
What’s a bucket-list Civil War site you’ve not yet visited? Chattanooga (technically any western battlefield; grew up in the east. just have not taken the time to stop and visit them).
Favorite ECWS book? A Season of Slaughter by Mackowski and White (and Mackowski didn’t pay me to put his book down). It was informative, without being overwhelming, well written, easy to read and quick paced.
ECW Highlights
If you haven't been following along on ECW's YouTube page, you missed a great set of videos from Antietam in March. Kevin Pawlak, a licensed battlefield guide at Antietam, and Dan Welch offered a great series from some well-known and lesser-known spots on the battlefield. Watch here (and don't forget to subscribe).

As is our tradition at ECW, we took time this March to commemorate Women's History Month. Several of our historians talks about women who've had an influence on their careers (you can read those posts here). We also featured an extended conversation with the grand dame of Civil War historians, Carol Reardon (you can read that interview here).
Emerging Revolutionary War News
March is a symbolic month in American Revolutionary Era history. On the 5th of this month in 1770, blood was shed on the streets of Boston in what became known as the Boston Massacre. The 250th anniversary just passed, and ERW historian Mark Maloy was present. Check out ERW's Facebook page for the videos.
Five years later, on March 23rd, Virginia delegate Patrick Henry rose at the Second Virginia Convention and uttered the words that would become a rallying cry, "Give me liberty, or give me death." 
For more great Revolution-era history, stop by our blog, www.emergingrevolutionarywar.org .

Speakers Bureau Spotlight
Kristen Pawlak
Kristen works with the Missouri Civil War Museum at historic Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. She splits her time between Missouri and Northern Virginia. You can read her full ECW bio here .

  • This Means War: The Battle of Wilson's Creek  
  • Lincoln's Forgotten Emancipator: Senator John Brooks Henderson of Missouri

Kristen says: "The Henderson talk coincides with a book I am writing to raise proceeds for the historic renovation of his home in Louisiana, Missouri, by the Missouri Civil War Museum."

Descriptions about Kristen’s talks and a full bio are available as part of the 2019-2020 ECW Speakers Bureau Brochure,  available here.