Hello again. Rule One – don’t get distracted…

Sorry for the delay. I intend to post about twice a week. But it is easy to take one’s eye off the ball.I have fallen behind here, for a couple of reasons, but I’m back now.

By day, I run a courier company in Chicago. And these are tough times for the courier business, I can assure you. In addition to the difficult economy, I do a lot of work with the mortgage industry, and I suspect everyone has heard more than enough about how bad things are there – needless to say, that hits my business directly. So I’ve been doing fun things like downsizing, restructuring, and the like. Hopefully, things will even out from here.

In June and July, I also spent a lot of time editing the final draft of The Maps of Chickamauga, due out from Savas-Beatie Publishing this fall. Along the way, I learned that I still don’t know my left from my right. I’m left-handed, and sometimes that side of my brain insists on seeing things differently from the majority of the world’s population. Time for the old “hayfoot, strawfoot” routine.

Despite having now read the damn thing about 47 times in a row, I am still excited about this book – a detailed atlas of the battle of Chickamauga that I hope will help part some of the curtain of obscurity that cloaks this battle. By some measures it is the second largest battle of the war; only Gettysburg tops it in casualties. And yet, very little has ever been written about it. Only two modern monographs have covered it in detail: Glenn Tucker’s “Chickamauga” dating from the Centennial period, and Peter Cozzens’ “This Terrible Sound,” written in 1992. There are some other campaign histories and tour guides, but compared to most battles, Chickamauga is ignored. While I don’t expect interest to match Gettysburg (whole shelving units have collapsed under the weight of the dead tree pulp expended on that fight) I do find it surprising that more has been written about Shiloh, Murfreesboro, and a host of other battles than about Chickamauga.

I think this is partly because Chickamauga is very hard to figure out. Much of the fighting occurred in the woods. Units were repeatedly flanked, and battle lines shifted confusingly over the course of the two day fight. The troops had little grasp of what happened, and most battlefield trampers have had the same problem. It is not an easy battle to unravel and make clear. More than one reader has told me that he found Cozzens’ work – which I regard as a very good account of the event – too confusing to follow.

Hopefully, mapping it out in this fashion (for samples of Chickamauga and other map studies in the series, visit http://www.savasbeatie.com/AmericanCivilWar.htm ) will help readers understand the battle action much more easily.

Now I intend to start adding material here, to further enhance understanding of the battle and campaign. It should be fun.

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12 Responses to “”

  1. Sam Elliott Says:

    Dave, this is a worthy endeavor. I’ll look forward to following what you post, and to seeing your book in a few weeks.

  2. Rea Andrew Redd Says:

    Welcome Aboard! I read Tucker in high school and Cozzens after grad school. Cozzens’ book was frustrating. On one page that described September 19, I counted 14 different brigades mentioned in one paragraph. The goal is visit (from Pittsburgh) Chickamauga and Chattanooga in 2010 or 2011. Looking forward to Maps of Chickamauga!

  3. Kevin S. Coy Says:

    This is fantastic. As a fan of Chickamauga, I am looking forward to following your blog and purchasing your book.

  4. Lee White Says:

    Welcome to the blogging world Dave!

  5. Dan Says:

    Dave –

    Glad to hear about the maps! I agree with the Cozzens remark; as much as I enjoy his work, it seems even HE had a tough time making sense of that battle. I had to repeatedly skim back through the chapters on the 1st day’s fighting in order to keep things straight (barely).

  6. Chris Evans Says:

    Great Blog! Having been to Chickamauga many times over the years I still find it a extremely difficult battle to totally understand. The ebb and flow is harder to understand than most battles. Cozzens’ book is one of my favorite battle accounts. I really enjoy all of his anecdotes. I totally agree that there should be more detailed books on the subject and I hope your book will be a start to renewed interest in the battle.

    Wish someday there could be a movie made about the battle that had huge and accurate battle scenes (one can dream). Your Atlas could be one of the sources.
    Thanks,
    Chris

  7. davidpowell334 Says:

    Thanks, for the hellos and kind words, guys.

    I should note that DR. Glenn Robertson is finishing his long awaited book on the battle, expanding on the five-part Blue & Gray Magazine series. Glenn has been kind enough to share his sources with me over the years, so I know how deep his archive of material is, and I look forward to his finished work. He’s writing a one-volume history of the entire campaign, starting in June, 1863, so I expect that it will be more of a commander’s view of the events rather than a regiment-by-regiment description. Of course, we will all just have to wait and see.

  8. Chris Bryer Says:

    I have recently started a game you designed for thsi very battle in Dean Essig’s RSS series, This Terrible Sound. I am using the new LOB rules (they are wonderful!). Naturally, this is piqued my interest in this amazing battle of maneuver and confusion. I am certianly looking forward to your blog and upcoming book! Best of luck.

  9. Joe Reinhart Says:

    Dave

    I am glad you started a web site and am looking forward to purchasing a copy of you new book. Chickamauga is one of my favorite battles to study and battlefields to visit..

    I am very interested in Willich and the 32nd Indiana and have a website for the 32nd Indiana that includes photos. http://32ndindianainfantry.yolasite.com/

    A detailed description of the 32nd Indiana’s fight at Rowlett’s Station can be found at
    http://www-lib.iupui.edu/kade/peake/title_page.html
    It is a digitized copy of a small book written by Mike Peake of Corydon, Indiana. Mike has been researching the 32nd Indiana for many years and knows more about the regiment and its officers and men than anyone I know.

    Joe

  10. Kerry Webb Says:

    Already clearing a space in my crowded bookshelf for your new work B-)

    Kerry

  11. davidpowell334 Says:

    Joe,

    Thanks for the links. There are a number of very fine regimental websites out there, and I think we are experiencing a sort of “second wave” of regimental history that produces some outstanding work. (The first wave, of course, being produced by the veterans themselves.) I have tried to grab as many regimentals of ‘my’ regiments – those who served at Chickamauga – as possible, and I see an increasing standard of excellence among some of these.

    Your book on the 6th Kentucky is on my short shelf of go-to regimentals.

    Thanks for the work.

    Dave Powell

  12. Joe Reinhart Says:

    Dave
    Thanks
    JOe

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