A couple of details…

Savas-Beatie has asked me to post a link to the book trailer they did for The Maps Of Chickamauga. I’m happy to do it. I find these trailers interesting, even though I rarely watch videos or the usual goofy stuff you find on youtube.

Here is the link:

I’m curious to know what folks think about them – do they help you in buying decisions?

I tend to buy everything, so while I like watching them, I can’t really say they give me purchasing guidance.:)

Seriously, I think they are way cool.

81st Indiana:
I got a chance to follow up with these guys at Indianapolis last week. I examined some letters from a couple of men in the unit at the Indiana Historical Society – no mention of the problems I described in my last post. Either the men were too embarrassed to talk about the controversy, or few in the ranks realized the extent of the problem.

Then I went to the Indiana state archives and pulled the regimental correspondence. This is an outstanding resource, and I suspect one of the more under-utilized. Every state has similar AG records, but organization varies from great to abysmal.

Indiana’s is first-rate. The regimental correspondence is on film, organized by unit, and then by date. I was able to track the entire affair via petitions and letters to the governer from the various factions. I’ve used these films in the past to similar good effect, including finding a bunch of Reports omitted from the OR but filed with the state.

In this case, things came to a head when Colonel Caldwell backed the appointment of two officers who shared his political views, and the rest of the officers objected. When the officers in question were appointed, then charges were leveled against Caldwell.

However, Caldwell prevailed. Apparently Jefferson C. Davis took a personal interest, given his similar anti-abolitionist views, triggering that mass of resignations at the end of April, 1863.

However, the whole mess was reviewed by the War Department, and ultimately by Lincoln, who dropped a bombshell on Colonel Caldwell by dismissing him from the service in July. The order of dismissal arrived on July 6th, and hit the regiment like a bombshell. Those few anti-Caldwell officers who did not resign were the ultimate winners, and they filled out the senior officer ranks with appointments in 1864.

I copied 40 pages of material out of the correspondence file, mostly petitions and letters to the governor. There is much grist here for an article. The 81st’s printeed regimental history is so sparse and circumspect that there is likely room for a decent book on the subject, as well.

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5 Responses to “A couple of details…”

  1. Mike Says:

    A very well done video but I would have purchased the book anyway. I read through the book twice before my latest battlefield visit last week. An outstanding set of maps and narrative that finally clarifies a very confusing battle (for me).

    Also, interesting info on the 81st Indiana.

    Mike

  2. Michael C. Hardy Says:

    “The 81st’s printed regimental history is so sparse and circumspect that there is likely room for a decent book on the subject, as well.” That’s true, but writing regimental histories (I’ve written two now) is hard work – that’s why there are not more good ones out there.

  3. Dave Powell Says:

    Michael,

    I understand the amount of work involved. That’s why I’m not offering to do it myself.:)

    I try and keep a close eye on new regimentals coming out, and snap up those that pertain to my areas of interest – western theater mostly. There are some very good ones, but also some that just don’t deliver.

  4. Tom DeFranco Says:

    As you know, I would have purchased the book in any case. But, if I were just perusing the web and had seen the presentation, I would have been so moved as to buy a copy. Why? Because the presentation hits on a couple of salient points. First, the historiography of Chickamauga at book length is all too sparse. Second, the one page of narrative/one map layout is a handy tool to understanding this confusing fight.

  5. Don Monroe Says:

    When I started the original work that led to my web pages on the 81st Indiana, it was apparent to me that some of the “experts” were trying to suppress or belittle my very extensive efforts. This seems to be rather common among Civil War Historians. Make every effort to make your favorite units look good. Leave out the warts and ignore, or at least filter, information that makes your favorite units look bad. This is especially true if your ancestor had warts.

    I talked to Peter Cozzens at a Civil War Book Show where he was pushing his very well written book on the Battle of Stones River. I asked him directly why he conformed with the general view that the 81st Indiana, along with its entire brigade, commanded by William E. Woodruff, had performed poorly during the battle. I further stated that I had done extensive reading of the Official Records and other sources, and based on the record, both the 81st Indiana and its brigade had performed extremely well. He asked me whether I had examined Confederate as well as Union sources. My response was that I had thoroughly examined both Union and Confederate original sources. He then stated that sometimes when there are conflicts between differing sources, a researcher needs to “flip a coin.” At that point I thanked him and he very graciously autographed my copy of his lates book. Of course, as we all know at this point, Cozzens presented the 81st Indiana in a much better light as a fighting regiment in his later, again extremely well written, work on the Battle of Chickamauga.

    I will have further to say about this if there is an interest.

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