Archive for October, 2018

October 14, 2018

Here is something I have been waiting for a long time…



Dr. William Glenn Robertson is an outstanding historian. Meticulous, dedicated, and above all, determined to tell the complete story.

So while I have my own books about Chickamauga to tout – and I am certainly proud of my own work – I want to go out of my way to tell you all about this one.

NPS Chickamauga park historian Jim Ogden once said something about Glenn Robertson’s work (specifically, about his series in Blue & Gray Magazine) that struck me then, and has never really left me. He stated that Robertson’s work was one of the few pieces of Operational-level Military History ever done on Civil War affairs. The other most prominent example of that genre, he thought, was Coddington’s masterpiece, The Gettysburg Campaign. 

After I had given that some thought, I’d have to agree – and with my own work included. The field of Civil War history is well-populated with tactical battle studies, biographies, and regimental/organizational history. But there is very little that rises to the level of campaign-level analysis. Certainly I was focused on telling the blow-by-blow of regimental conflict in those North Georgia Woods, and I am glad I did so.

But I have read a lot of military history, especially in the era of Napoleon, WWI, and WWII – where operational narrative and analysis (for obvious reasons) predominates. So I got to thinking more about that comment.

I just received this first volume of Glenn’s work. It is a true operational history, worthy of the best work produce by F. Lorraine Petrie, John Terraine, or, perhaps, any number of recent east front scholars.

So I am going to urge you to buy this book, and the subsequent volume. Am I suggesting that you go read the competition? Absolutely. Why? Two reasons. First, because this is a first-rate work piece of scholarship. Second, because the Chickamauga Campaign is so rich a topic of military history that it deserves all the attention it is finally receiving.

One final note: ACW scholarship is often divided into two camps: Academia and popular history. But there is a third grouping, which brings in the professional military perspective. IMO, the best work ends up appealing to all three points of view. And I think we managed that with River of Death. 


2019 Seminar in the Woods

October 3, 2018

Man plans, God laughs.


How true that is.

That said, it is time for me to announce some plans: namely, the March 2019 Seminar in the Woods.

Mission Statement: The purpose of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park Study Group is to create a forum to bring students of the American Civil War together to study and explore those events in the fall of 1863 that led ultimately to the creation of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, as well as explore other nearby Civil War-related sites.

Tour Leaders:  Jim Ogden and Dave Powell

Date: Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9, 2019; By bus and car caravan.

All tours begin and end at the Visitor’s Center.

By Bus:

Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00: Operations in McLemore Cove,

On Friday we will examine the crucial operations in McLemore Cove, leading up to the battle of Chickamauga – especially the engagement of September 10 and 11, 1863, between James S. Negley and Thomas C. Hindman.

Tentatively, we will arrange for boxed lunches

Friday evening, 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – Q&A Panel with Jim Ogden, Dave Powell, and others (as announced)

 Site: Constitution Hall, 201 Forrest Road, Fort Oglethorpe, GA

 Reprise of the Annual free-form Question and Answer session.

Harker 19 AM

Car Caravan – Saturday Morning, 8:30 to Noon: Harker’s fight up the LaFayette Road, September 19 1863

On the Afternoon of September 19, Col. Charles Harker’s brigade of Tom Wood’s division set out on a movement up the LaFayette Road, into the unknown, to make contact with Palmer’s Division. They found instead large numbers of confederates. We will track Harker’s advance.

Liddell's Division 20th Noon(1106)

Car Caravan – Saturday Afternoon, 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Liddell in McDonald Field

In the afternoon of September 20, Confederate Brigadier General St. John Liddell was ordered to move his division across the LaFayette Road near the McDonald House, as part of the Right Wing’s general advance. We will examine that movement, and its consequences.


 Friday’s Tours will be by Bus. Pre-registration and Fee required: $45, due by February 1 2019.

 Sign-up after February 1 or on-site Fee (based on space available): $50 

 Saturday: no charge.

Fees raised in excess of our costs (as well as any donations) will be used to support the causes of battlefield preservation, interpretation, and renovation.

 In 2018 the Study Group donated $500 to the Civil War Trust, helping to preserve battlefield land; and $500 to the Jewell Monument fund, run by the Friends of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, for maintenance and restoration needs.

 Send to (and make checks payable to):

David Powell

522 Cheyenne Drive

Lake in the Hills IL 60156

This fee is NON-REFUNDABLE after February 1st, 2019. Once we are committed to the bus, we will be charged the booking fee, no matter what.  

Please note that everyone is responsible for their own lodging, meals, snacks and incidentals.

Thank you, see you in March.