What's going on with Valley Thunder?

Here is where you can stay most up-to-date with the publication of Charles Knight's Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market, including the latest info on its release, up-coming appearances by the author, latest reviews, more in-depth looks at various aspects of the battle and anything else that comes to mind.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Local WWII veteran

It's always depressing to me to see the number of World War II and Korean War veterans in the obituaries of our local paper. Occasionally, I recognize one of them as a contributor to my museum (MacArthur Memorial). Such was the case this week with one, I won't mention him by name, but since he was a Navy doctor and a physician after the war, shall refer to him here as "Doc."

I never met Doc in person, but spoke to him on the phone after his son brought to the museum two very unique things his father had brought home after the end of World War II. These two items were Japanese Navy surgical kits - one an amputation kit, the other an autopsy kit. Doc had gotten these on the island of Chichi Jima after the Japanese surrender. Doc was part of a detachment of Marines sent to disarm the Japanese garrison of Chichi Jima and to inquire as to whether they had any American prisoners there. One of the Japanese officers let it slip to the Marine CO that they had had prisoners on the island - this confession opened up a months-long investigation, which turned into a war crimes trial. The story is told in great detail in Chester Hearn's book Sorties into Hell, and Doc figures prominently therein. I won't go into the gory details, for gory they are as the tale involves cannibalism and torture, not in that order, but many American airmen who were shot down were held on Chichi Jima. Suffice to say they never came home, nor was much recovered of some of them - you can probably fill in the blanks by now.

Talking with Doc on the phone about a year ago and hearing him recount this story and how it still haunted him, 60+ years later was truly touching. I was only vaguely familiar with what had happened there before I had the chance to talk to him, and I didn't read the book until afterward. I never got a chance to talk to him again after reading it. And that maybe a good thing - for after reading in Hearn's book about one of the island surgeons using his surgical kit to dismember American prisoners, I really just don't want to contemplate that that may well be the surgical kits he donated.

If you really want to learn about war atrocities, read Hearn's book.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review - Confederate Alamo

Recently I had the opportunity to join John Fox of Angle Valley Press for a book signing. John is the author of Red Clay to Richmond: Trail of the 35th Georgia Infantry Regiment and more recently The Confederate Alamo: Bloodbath at Petersburg's Ft Gregg, April 2, 1865. I had never met John before and I'm ashamed to admit that although I had it on my shelf, I had yet to read Confederate Alamo before our signing.

Finished reading Alamo about a week ago, and am very impressed. I'm not stretching things when I say that it is one of the finest battle studies I've ever read. I grew up in Richmond and some of my earliest memories are of my Dad taking me to the battlefields around Richmond and Petersburg, including Fort Gregg, and several of my friends were historical interpreters at Pamplin Park, just up the road a mile or so from Gregg, so the Ft Gregg story was not unknown to me. And of course the fact that about half of the Federal infantry from New Market participated in the attack on Gregg also interested me. However, what was unknown to me was the magnitude of the slaughter that occurred there. The word "bloodbath" in the subtitle of the book is very appropriate. It is almost inconceivable to read some of the first-hand accounts in Alamo and translate them and the slaughter they describe to the relatively small area that is Ft Gregg. How could a slaughter of this magnitude have been so overlooked for so long? Well, Lee's surrender had a lot to do with that.

In Confederate Alamo, John Fox has unearthed a wealth of previously untapped sources - evenly balanced between North and South - and places the reader at the fort amidst the crisis that was the morning of April 2, 1865, for Lee and A.P. Hill. With only 334 defenders of the fort, the number of recollections by Confederate defenders is impressive. Numerous illustrations of the ground and the officers and men involved appear throughout the book, as do about a half-dozen excellent maps by George Skoch (who also did the maps for Valley Thunder.)

This is definitely a must-read.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review - Men of Color to Arms

Time to catch up on backlog of book reviews...We begin with Elizabeth Leonard's Men of Color to Arms: Black Soldiers, Indian Wars, and the Quest for Equality. But first an important disclaimer: I know very little regarding the post-Civil War United States Army, and even less concerning the black units serving in it. That said, covering the role of black soldiers from 1863 until the turn of the century is a pretty big undertaking, to say the least, so I was somewhat surprised at the book's size, with fewer than 250 pages of narrative text.

Professor Leonard begins with the Civil War career of Sgt Maj Christian Fleetwood of the 4th USCT, a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions at New Market Heights on Sept. 29, 1864, and other black units of the Army of the James. Her subsequent examination of the debate over the composition of the post-war Army is of particular interest, as is the discussion of the use of black troops for occupation duty in the former Confederate states. Although I would have preferred more military detail rather than social commentary (in parts, this reads more like social history disguised as military history), Leonard recounts how the experience for the individual black soldier on the frontier varied depending on the attitudes of their company officers. In some of the instances she cites, some white officers treated their men cruelly - even one example of murder is presented - while others recognized and appreciated their fighting abilities, finding no reason to treat them any differently from white troops, and pushed for blacks to be eligible to serve as commissioned officers. Despite the lack of military detail, Men of Color to Arms is an interesting read.

Elizabeth D. Leonard
Men of Color to Arms!
ISBN 978-0-393-06039-3
W. W. Norton, 2010
315 pages, photographs, hard cover, dust jacket

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Book Trailer

First, let me apologize for the lack of posts lately. Between unexpected hospital stay and grad school, I've not had much time to post lately. In fact, I was in the hospital and had to miss my scheduled appearance at the Edinburg Old Time Festival last month.

If you've not seen the trailer for Valley Thunder, click

Once you've viewed it, go vote for it here

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rat Day

Off to New Market on Saturday...

And in a bit of a 'blast from the past,' the Park has graciously offered the use the "suite" in the original 1818 Bushong House for Saturday night. Methinks it is probably a little different from the 12 years ago or whenever it was I lived there before...It probably just won't look the same without my drums (Pearl Exports - burgundy - and Sabian AA cymbals in case anyone cares...), library, and Nirvana posters. (Which reminds me I never did re-pay a couple certain co-workers for putting the dead snake on my floor tom...)

Sunday is "Rat Day" - the swearing in of VMI's new freshman class. (http://www2.vmi.edu/museum/nm/rats.htm) I haven't been to one of these ceremonies in years, but they are always enjoyable - the cadets gather by the Bushong House to learn about VMI's ties to the grounds there, charge up Bushong Hill as their comrades did before them in 1864, then finally take their cadet oath.

Yours truly will be there bright & early Sunday at 8 am at the Hall of Valor, signing copies of Valley Thunder. I'll be there through early afternoon probably, so if you're in the neighborhood, stop by.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

General MacArthur

OK, time for my first non-Civil War post...

As most of you know, my "day job" is Curator at the MacArthur Memorial - museum, archives & final resting place of General Douglas MacArthur, commander of Allied forces in the Pacific during WWII. Although the Civil War does fall within our "scope" because of the General's father - Lt. Gen. Arthur MacArthur, who served in and eventually commanded the 24th Wisconsin - our primary focus is World War I, World War II, Occupation of Japan, and Korean War. One of the major differences between my earlier days at a Civil War museum and one focusing on 20th century conflicts, is the opportunity to actually talk to the veterans themselves, as well as the amount of papers, uniforms, equipment, etc still looking for a home.

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable parts of my job is getting to meet and talk to these veterans. Several years ago, MacArthur's Honor Guard held their reunion here in Norfolk. In conjunction with this, we put together a special exhibit about the Honor Guard. It was a great thrill to see these fellows going through the exhibit, many of them finding themselves in the photographs; others telling the story behind some of the photographs, and identifying their comrades in them; and discussing some of their former platoon leaders.

These were the men who guarded not just the General's headquarters, but his residence and his family as well, during the latter months of WWII and all throughout the Occupation of Japan. If you look at pretty much any photo of MacArthur during the Occupation, odds are there's one of the Honor Guard in it. There were only about 2,000 men total who served in the Honor Guard from May 1945 through April 1951. Of that number only several hundred are left. These men were hand-selected for the job, and were the epitome of "spit and polish." And they were witness to some of the most historic events and within an arm's length of some of the most important people of the 20th century. And while the world saw the version and image of Douglas MacArthur he wanted seen, these fellows saw a more human side of MacArthur and his family. To a man, they will tell you that serving on his Honor Guard, no matter the duration (some served literally for only a few days, others spent years on the assignment), was the highlight of their time in uniform.

I first became associated with these fellows in 2007, prior to their Norfolk reunion. Last year at the Las Vegas reunion, I was lucky enough to be tapped to serve on the Board of Directors of their association - one of only a handful of non-Guards to do so.

The 2010 reunion was held earlier this month in St. Louis. Sadly the numbers have continued to dwindle - only about 25 Guards were in attendance, but the number of children of former Guards becoming active in the organization is on the rise. Getting to know these gentlemen and listening to their stories from the Philippines, Japan and Korea is quite an honor.

Many of them would continue to serve at GHQ in Tokyo following MacArthur's dismissal by President Truman, serving under Matt Ridgway. The more candid of them will tell you the difference was night & day. Whereas MacArthur showed concern and took care of them, Ridgway...well, did not.

I also got a special almost last-minute "mission" during the St. Louis reunion - it turns out one of MacArthur's former military secretaries - now 96 years old - lives about 2 hours northeast of St. Louis in rural Illinois. So trusty digital recorder in hand, I made the trek up to Pittsfield to interview him. Sadly, he didn't remember much about his time at MacArthur's HQ, 1943-1945. But about 15 years ago, when things were much clearer in his mind, he had typed up a memoir. One of the few things he did remember clearly was MacArthur's young son, Arthur. A memory he has in common with nearly all of the Honor Guard.

No decision has been made yet where next year's reunion will be. But where ever it is, I'm already looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


First a brief report on my latest outing...On Tuesday August 17 I spoke to the Outer Banks Civil War Round Table at the gorgeous Duck Woods Country Club in Southern Shores, NC, about the Battle of New Market. Had a good crowd of about 30+ on-hand. Turned it into a day-trip, as it had been years since I had visited the Outer Banks. Went over to Roanoke Island - Lost Colony is still lost...and somehow I have a knack for visiting NC Nat'l Park Service sites when they are renovating their Visitor Centers - last time on the Outer Banks, the Wright Brothers VC was closed for renovations and they had set up temporary shop in a painfully small modular. Ditto that this time around for the Fort Raleigh site. And eavesdropping on other, shall we call them 'less than properly informed' visitors made me long for the days of being an interpreter (This particular visitor made the stereotypical 'why aren't there bullet holes in the monuments?' question seem tame in comparison to some of the wonderful questions and misperceptions she had...kudos to the Ranger at the desk for keeping her cool.)

Now, for the upcoming events:

Saturday August 21 - I'll be signing books at the Civil War show at the Richmond (VA) Showplace 10-4 with old reenacting buddy Marc Ramsey. Find me at the Owens & Ramsey booth.

Sunday September 5 - Back to New Market for "Rat Day." If you've never seen this ceremony, it's definitely worth a trip. This is where the incoming freshman - "Rat" - class at VMI takes their cadet oath, after charging up Bushong Hill from the Bushong orchard, as their predecessors did on May 15, 1864. For many years former Secretary of the Army John Marsh gave the keynote address; I'm not sure who has taken those reigns from him. I'll be set-up at 8 am that morning and going until...?

Next week I'll post the highlights of my St. Louis trip for the 2010 reunion of Douglas MacArthur's Honor Guard ...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Alfred von Kleiser's "other" gun lost at New Market

The 30th New York Battery, commanded by Capt. Alfred von Kleiser (pictured), has the distinction of losing one of its guns to the Cadets of Virginia Military Institute at the Battle of New Market, May 15, 1864. However, this was not the only gun von Kleiser’s battery lost in that battle, nor was the loss of that particular piece what would almost bring an abrupt end to von Kleiser’s military career.

Five pieces of artillery were lost by Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel’s army at New Market. Three of these came from Capt. John Carlin’s Wheeling, West Virginia, battery. The other two were from von Kleiser: the one famously lost to the cadets, and another which had been disabled earlier in the fighting and in its damaged condition was unable to be brought off the field after the collapse of Sigel’s line. In the wake of the loss at New Market, von Kleiser would face accusations of “ignorance of drill, or else from utter carelessness” in allowing this damaged piece to fall into Confederate hands, and that von Kleiser himself be held responsible for the cost of a replacement gun: $625. An inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the loss of this particular cannon would go all the way to the desk of the Secretary of War.
A report on the issue by 1st Lt. George W. McKee to the Ordnance Department in Washington, dated May 28, 1864 reads [spelling and punctuation per original in von Kleiser’s Compiled Service Record, RG-94, National Archives]:

“There were five pieces of Artillery lost in an engagement at Newmarket: four of these were taken by the Rebels after the horses had been shot down, and no blame can be attached to the commanders for their loss.

“Of these four pieces, three belonged to Capt. [Ephraim] Chalfant’s [Carlin’s] and one to Capt. Von Kleiser’s battery. Capt. Von Kleiser’s battery afterwards lost another piece on account of the carriage breaking down. This piece (light 12 pdr) was thrown on the side of the road, and might very easily have been slung under the limber of a piece or caisson. I saw it being there for some fifteen or twenty minutes and, have no hesitation in saying that I could have slung it in five minutes, had I had any limber and six men to assist me. Lt. [L.A.C.] Geary of Capt. [Alonzo] Snow’s battery made a gallant attempt to take off this piece, when the Rebels had approached to a short distance, but it was then too late to sling it, and the piece had to be left on the field. Capt. [Henry] Dupont Battery “B” 5th U.S. Artillery, agreed with me at the time, that this piece might have been easily saved had Capt. Von Kleiser’s men known how to sling a gun.”

Brig. Gen. George D. Ramsay, the U.S. Army’s Chief of Ordnance, forwarded Lt. McKee’s report to the Adjutant General’s office apparently convinced of von Kleiser’s incompetence. Ramsay’s cover letter reads in part, “It appears that Captain A. Von Kleiser, Comd’g 30th New York Battery, lost one of his guns, a Light 12 Pdr, from ignorance of drill, or else from utter carelessness. To prevent such acts in future, I respectfully recommend that the value of the gun, ($625) be charged to him, and that his pay be stopped until the U.S. be reimbursed the value of the gun thus lost.”

The matter was shuffled around Washington and Department of West Virginia headquarters for the next few weeks, (during the Piedmont Campaign) no doubt leaving von Kleiser rather concerned about his future. The performance his battery turned in at Piedmont on June 5 however left no hint of “ignorance of drill,” as his gunners inflicted considerable losses on the Confederate forces engaged there.

Von Kleiser himself responded to the charges on June 13, in a two-page letter to Capt. Dupont, who had been promoted to Chief of Artillery following New Market: [spelling and punctuation as original]

“In regard to the recommendation of the Chief of Ordnance to have the value of a light 12 pdr gun, lost at New Market Va May 15th, 1864 charged against my pay, I have the honor to state, that the in the report of Lieut. McKee Ordnance Officer, mentioned piece, was not lost by carelessness or by want of drill, but, the right wheel of the piece having been entirely knocked off, while in position soon after the commencement of the battle, not by breaking down of the carriage, as reported by Lieut. McKee, the piece was ordered to proceed to the pike, join the caissons there, the aforesaid piece proceeded on the pike about ¾ of a mile, when the axle of the broken wheel became wedged in the stones on the pike. Extra horses were hitched before, all the men on hand put to work with Handspikes to get the axle loose – but all to no avail; the Carriage being obstructing the retreating column, the Lieutenant in charge of the Caissons was ordered to throw off the piece, clear the road by a Field officer of Cavalry, which was accordingly done, the carriage taken then out of the road. The piece was not abandoned, but, the Battery having during this time taken up 2 other positions, not men enough being with the Caissons to remount or sling the gun. The battle having ceased somewhat, Lieut. [Michael] Lang of my battery proceeded with a limber and detachment of men to bring off the piece. He would have succeeded if the Prolonge had not broke in several places, and if Capt. von Blucher of the 31st N.Y. Indept Battery having been ordered there by me on his own request to bring away the gun, had not countermanded Lieut. Lang’s orders, who had borrowed another Prolonge by this time, thereby caused a delay of time, the enemy advancing, the men were recalled by Order of Brig. Genl Sullivan. I here take the liberty to state, that no attempt was made by any other battery to bring off the gun, was reported by Lieut. McKee, but by my own and Lieut. Lang did not otherwise interest himself in the bringing away of the gun than by sending a Prolonge. As regards myself I do not think that any blame can be attached to me, as I have been with the rest of the battery in other positions and not near the disabled piece from the time of the knocking away of the wheel; if any blame is to be attached, it is in my opinion due to Capt. G. von Blucher, as the piece would have been brought away, if it had not been for him. Capt. A. Snow, the then Chief of Artillery, and 1st Lieut. Geary of Battery B, 1st Md. Arty. will certify to this as they both were present.”

At this point, the fortunes of war intervened, as von Kleiser was captured June 21 on the retreat from Lynchburg, and he would remain a prisoner until the following March.

Dupont, acting in his role as Chief of Artillery, then had to resolve the issue. On June 29, he sent his recommendation to Dept headquarters:

“The within report though not signed by Captain A. von Kleiser, Cdg 30th N.Y. Indt Battery was prepared by him and was awaiting his signature. Captain von K. has been missing since our affair with the enemy near Salem Va on the 30th inst. and is supposed to be a prisoner.

“Though only in command of my own Battery at the Battle of Newmarket, I am personally cognizant of the facts in relation to the loss of the gun referred to and am of opinion that no blame whatever should be attached to Captain von Kleiser whom I regard as a most efficient officer and as one particularly noticeable for gallantry and good conduct in the Battles of Piedmont and Lynchburg. I consider Captain G. von Blucher, 31st N.Y. Ind’t Battery (a fragmentary organization attached to the 30th N.Y. Ind’t Batt’y) as responsible for the loss of the gun.”

Department Commander Maj. Gen. David Hunter concurred with Dupont’s opinion, and sent the matter back to Washington for the official verdict. By the beginning of August, von Kleiser had been exonerated, and blamed for the loss of the Napoleon was placed on von Blucher. Von Kleiser would be paroled March 1, 1865, and officially discharged from the Army May 15, 1865, one year to the day after New Market.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gettysburg signings

It's off to Pennsylvania in the morning for a short vacation culminating in a week-end stay at Gettysburg, where I will be making book signing appearances at four different venues. The schedule for the weekend is:

Saturday June 26
10 am - 2 pm Butternut & Blue booth at the Civil War Show at the Eisenhower Conference Center south of town (Tom Clemens will also be there signing his new South Mountain book)
3 pm - 5 pm Battlefields & Beyond Book Store (777 Baltimore St., near the Jennie Wade house)

Sunday June 27
10 am - 12 pm Gettysburg Gift Center/American CW Museum (the old wax museum there on Steinwehr, sort of behind the old visitor center)
1 pm - 3 pm American History Store (461 Baltimore St., near the Farnsworth House)

So stop by one of these locations if you're in the area!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


From the on-line version of today's [Norfolk] Virginian-Pilot [emphasis added]:

"Appomattox Court House National Historic Park on the Eastern Shore is full of Civil War History. Here you can check out The McLean House, which was the site of General Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Grant, ending the Civil War."

Hmmm...guess the wild ponies have moved to central Va? Be sure to check out Shenandoah National Park in Chesapeake and Manassas Nat'l Battlefield in VA Beach on the way through to visit the McLean House in Nassawadox.

*Don't believe me? Check it out here for yourself: http://hamptonroads.com/2010/06/free-entrance-national-parks-weekend

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book signing

I will be giving a presentation about the Battle of New Market, followed by a book signing of Valley Thunder, at the MacArthur Memorial Monday 31 May (Memorial Day) at 2:00 pm.

Also, in the last week I was interviewed by Gerry Prokopovicz on Civil War Talk Radio and by Mike Noirot of This Mighty Scourge - look for these on their respective websites soon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Youtube Book Trailer

Savas Beatie has started doing book trailers for their titles on YouTube - not unlike a movie preview. They've done them for the Maps of Chickamauga, the Maps of Gettysburg, and now Valley Thunder. Check it out here

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Reenactment after-action report

The book signing at NMBSHP was a spectacular success! The Park sold about 60 or so copies of Valley Thunder, and a few folks stopped by who already had copies. Got to visit with some old friends from college and former co-workers. Weather was absolutely splendid. Now the actual reenactment left quite a bit to be desired - nothing like having the 2 lines move to w/in 30 yard of each other and just blast away w/bttn volleys for several minutes producing of course absolutely no casualties. Sunday's action was even worse, with most of it occurring on the reverse slope of the ridge and thus out of view of the majority of the spectators. Oh well...

In unrelated news, after my official duties at the Park were concluded on Saturday, my son got to try his hand at miniature golf for the 1st time. And thankfully the Green Valley Book Fair (near Mt Crawford) was in full swing, so we stopped by there on the return. Either their CW section is not what it once was or my library is growing faster than I realize, since it was pretty much WWII titles that I stocked up on this time...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Reenactment time

For those of you who follow Valley Thunder on Facebook, you've no doubt noticed my "count down" of sorts until this weekend. That is, a short day-by-day chronology of the New Market Campaign, leading up to the day of battle. Saturday is the anniversary of the battle, which means it's one of those rare years where the annual reenactment actually falls on the date of the battle.

For those of you who have not yet gotten your copy of Valley Thunder, or who already have and want to get it signed, or just to stop by and say hello, I'll be on Sutler Row both days this weekend, in the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park tent. Quite a few folks have already told me they're planning to stop by. I'll post some photos and a review next week...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Photo Tour

Am finally getting around to updating my website, www.newmarketbattle.com. Today I added about a dozen pics of the battlefield that I took last fall as a sort of overview photo tour. I'll be putting up some more images this week and next, and an excerpt from Valley Thunder as well.

And speaking of "tours," I've gotten a few requests from friends for tours of the battlefield. Hopefully can get a date or two lined up soon to do that this summer. Stay tuned - I'll post here and on Facebook the details as they develop.

Friday, May 7, 2010


The day you have all been waiting for (well, I was at least) has arrived! Valley Thunder has been released!! I came home Tuesday afternoon to find 6 cases of them sitting on my front porch.

I am most pleased with it, and hope that all who read it will be as well. Many thanks to Ted, Sarah and everyone at Savas Beatie for producing such a fine book, and to everyone else who has helped in some way over the years.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Arthur Stone, 34th Massachusetts

Arthur M. Stone was born in 1844 and in the years leading up to the Civil War worked as a bootmaker in Spencer, Massachusetts. He joined Company E, 34th Massachusetts Infantry, July 19, 1862, serving with the 34th for the entire war and mustering out June 16, 1865. After the war he lived in Worcester, Mass., and died June 14, 1912.

Stone is one of those soldiers that historians absolutely love in that he wrote home often. In fact, he was likely one of, if not the most prolific letter writer in the entire regiment. And his handwriting is absolutely perfect. Somehow, Stone's letters have become scattered - often they show up singularly or in small collections on internet auction sites. Perhaps the largest grouping of his letters is at Auburn University which has some 40+ of his letters to his mother, Mrs. Martha L. Stone, dating from throughout the entire war. Overall, Stone's writings contain a great deal of information about military affairs under his immediate observation. Perhaps because of his attention to detail and his excellent penmanship (compare his with, say Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws or Col. William Tibbits, 21st New York Cavalry), he seems to have been detached as a clerk often. He was serving just such a role with the "Office of Subsistence" at Harpers Ferry while the rest of his regiment marched up the Valley with Franz Sigel in late April and early May 1864. Yet his letters from that time period, though they do not directly concern Sigel's field army, they do give the perspective of a rear-echelon observer of the campaign, and also address some of the preparations which were made to guard the rear after Sigel all but stripped the department bare of garrison troops.

Several years ago, I was able to purchase one of Stone's letters on ebay. Dated April 29, 1864, it was written literally on the eve of what would later be known as the New Market Campaign. Below is the text of that letter, which contains some interesting observations of some of the rumors circulating about the purpose of Sigel's movements (spelling and punctuation are per Stone's original).

Office of Subsistence
Harpers Ferry, Va. April 29th, '64

My Dear Mother

After some days I at last have received a letter from you. I had been looking for one from you for some few days and was a little on the anxious seat but to-day brought the long wished messenger. I do not know as I have anything particular foew news to write with the exception that for the last wee the forces in this department have all been congregating at Martinsburg day before yesterday they had a large review there. General Sigel reviewed them and this morning the forces all started away from there for a trip down the valley. The force numbers about 20 or 25 thousand Infantry, Artillery & Cavalry and I think before many days pass you will here of something being done up in this direction perhaps this what anyone might call contraband news that I am writing for everything has been kept very quiet about it our regiment is among the number and it will be something very strange if they do not see some very warm work before they return back here again if they ever do come back it is reported around here that they are to make a junction with the Army of Potomac after they have accomplished their object. General Sigel takes command of the forces in person. Sometime when I think of it I think that I wish I was with the boys for if they get into a fight I should like to share the glory with them and at other times I think I am rather better off here where I am than I should be marching and I am surely less exposed than I should be with them and I suppose you will think that is one very great object at this present time and for your sake and my own together I do not know but that I am glad to be here. Though I cannot help feeling a little ambitious that because we have never done any fighting to show that we can fight and I should like to help do it.

I presume that you have heard before this of the sudden death of Emory Adams of our company he is a nephew of Mrs. Sampsons and was one of the smartest and best boys in our company he was a very nice scholar indeed he was intending to go to college after he got out of the Army but poor fellow he is gone. I was up to Martinsburg two days before he died and went into the hospital to see him he was quite sick then I shook hands with him and bid him good bye when I came away but did not think then but what I should see him again he has allways studied a great deal since he has been out here and carried his books around with him.

You asked in your letter if it was 15 feet of the bridge that theytook up or the planks it is the planks they take them up and lay them cross-ways on the bridge and form a kind of breastwork of them so that if the rebels should attempt to cross they would make rather a dear job of it.

Please remind Wm Cummins [sp?] when you see him of his promise to write me and tell him I am looking for a letter from him every day tell him he must not think of waiting until after he is married before he writes me. I believe I have written about every thing that I can think of for this time. Give my love to all enquiring Friends and accept the love of your Son Arthur.

P.S. I think by the way you directed your last letter you was trying to pattern after my capital M was you not dont you think they are very fancy?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

another review excerpt

Here's a short snippet from another review of Valley Thunder, by one William C. Davis, who as many of you know wrote the standard book on New Market about 35 years ago. He also graciously provided the foreward to VT. To me, the praise can't come from a much higher or more esteemed source than he.

"Prior to this time, the accepted standard history of New Market was my own The Battle of New Market, now more than 35 years old. It is not false modesty that requires me to say that now it must stand aside for Valley Thunder. Knight’s research has delved deeply into crevices that I never found, turned up some important new sources, and rewritten what we know or can assume about some critical moments in the fighting. It is safe to say that no military engagement of this size in the Civil War has received this level of in-depth research and study. As a result, Knight overturns some accepted wisdom—including mine—on several points of interest, as on the impact of the engagement itself. No study of the role of the Shenandoah Valley in the war, or of the Virginia campaigns of 1864, can afford to ignore Valley Thunder."

Friday, April 23, 2010

More praise

"Charles Knight's book is truly dazzling, one of the best battle studies I have ever read. It is one of those rare books that impresses on all levels (research, writing, maps, supplemental material, and overall presentation), leaving absolutely no cause for complaint. Authors that produce this kind of work should be encouraged, and I hope Knight has writing interests beyond New Market." -- Andrew Wagenhoffer, Civil War Books & Authors blog (http://cwba.blogspot.com/)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Upcoming Events

Only a few more weeks till Valley Thunder comes back from the printers...Already have several appearances scheduled, and hope to have more lined up in the near future.

May 15 & 16 - the annual battle reenactment at New Market, this year it conveniently falls on the actual anniversary of the battle. I'll be there both days signing books - this will be the first chance to get a copy (NMBSHP will have them before Amazon, bookstores, etc.) AND get it signed by me at the same time.

May 31 - Memorial Day, I'll be giving a lecture about the battle with book signing afterwards at the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk. (Geez, I'm off that day and I STILL wind up going to work...)

August 17 - Giving a presentation about NM to the Outer Banks (NC) Civil War Round Table. I've not spoken to this group before, and actually it's been several years since I've even been down there, so I think I'll stop by Manteo, make sure the Lost Colony is still lost, see what's left of Burnside's campaign there, maybe stop by the Wright Brothers Memorial...

Stay tuned for other appearances!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


One of the first reviews is in, this one by Jim Durney. Here's an excerpt from what he had to say:

"There is enough background to understand the personalities and the overall situation but not so much that we are bogged down in details. Coverage of the campaign and the battle is excellent. The author has a clear, informative style that conveys the action well...This attractive, quality book is setting the standard for New Market."

Many thanks Jim!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The "Hall of Valor" - Part 1

Any visitor to New Market Battlefield State Historical Park and its “Hall of Valor” museum/visitor center is bound to notice the, shall we call it, “unusual” architectural design of the HOV. Few folks today know it, but today’s HOV was not the original design – the original created a storm of debate when approved in 1966 by VMI and then was subsequently rejected by the Virginia Art Commission, which led to the eventual adoption of today’s HOV.

The Hall of Valor (seen above in an architect’s rendering reprinted on the front page of the New Market Shenandoah Valley of November 3, 1966) was to commemorate not just the VMI Cadets who participated in the battle, but “to honor the courage of all American fighting men throughout history,” according to an un-named VMI spokesman [Shenandoah Valley,11-3-66]. The design was approved unanimously by VMI’s Board of Visitors in late October 1966, with construction expected to begin in the Spring of 1967 and the building to open to visitors in the Summer of 1968. Designed by Meathe, Kessler and Associates of Grosse Pointe, MI, the 2-story, $500,000 building was designed to be eye-catching. Perhaps the architects were a little too successful in that.

VMI Superintendent Maj. Gen. George R.E. Shell stated that the architects had been charged with designing something “arresting, unusual, and a memorial to the strength and courage of the cadets” [qtd in Staunton News-Leader, 12-18-66]. Perhaps part of the thinking behind a modernistic building was, as one local newspaper editorialized, that with the building being highly visible from nearby Interstate 81, something so highly unusual and out-of-place was bound to draw attention, and by extension, visitors [Woodstock Shenandoah Herald, 12-29-66].

Immediately detractors questioned why such a modern architectural style was used. Some compared it to a bunker of the Maginot Line – the fortifications constructed in the 1930s along the border between France and Germany - the “Maginot Line Memorial” they called it [Staunton News-Leader, 12-18-66]. To some it looked more like something from “outer space” [Strasburg Northern Virginia Daily, 11-8-66]. The Woodstock Shenandoah Herald declared the design “looked a little like something borrowed from a World Fair, and damaged in shipping” [12-29-66]. The Winchester Star declared “the design proposed to honor the VMI cadets engaged in the Battle of New Market…ludicrous. It is about as fitting as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of World War I sporting a Green Beret or the monument aboard the USS Arizona in the mud of Pearl Harbor being used as a platform for a Titan missile” [qtd in Staunton News-Leader, 12-18-66]. One Front Royal writer voiced the sentiments of many in the Valley: “It might be very appropriate for a space-age factory or World’s Fair science center, but it certainly is incongruous as a memorial to the VMI cadets and the events which the site is to commemorate. The proposed building appears to be a replica of the Virginia Civil War Centennial Center erected in Richmond, which was equally inappropriate for the State’s observance of that Centennial” [NVD, 11-16-66].

That is not to say the building didn’t have its supporters. The VMI Board of Visitors unanimously approved the design, and it did have some support in the community although apparently few were privy to the design before its approval. Ironically, even though newspapers across Virginia condemned the design, New Market’s own paper thought it “ideal:”

“The building as proposed is ideally suited for the purpose it is supposed to serve. Functionally it is remarkably well arranged to make it easy for the traveling public to see the various features of the building, display relics of the Battle of New Market, giving a dramatic re-enactment [sic] of the historic episode that made the engagement famous, and make the most of the magnificent panorama to the north, east, south, and west that can be observed from the point the building will occupy.

“There are those who would like to see the structure follow the general motif of Colonial architecture. While they agree that such should be the case, few have the same idea of what Colonial architecture really is…

“The individual, who goes whole hog for a Colonial treatment, has in mind the impression that the exterior makes. To him that is interesting, indicative of something and important. There is a question if the millions that travel nearby Interstate 81 will react favorably to such an exterior image. To many it will be just another musty Civil War Museum, and old soldiers’ home or something from the moldy past.

“The proposed exterior appearance is ultra modern. It is very striking. It is attention compelling. It stimulates interest. It would be sufficiently provocative to cause many to slow their pell mell rush and take time out just to see what it is and what it stands for.

“It’s not enough to have a handsome structure in the best tradition of the Colonial period for the passing motorist to admire. It must stop him in his tracks, stimulate him to take a peek and actually visit the place. We feel that the proposed treatment will insure much more traffic through the visitor’s center to see its unique features and the matters of historic interest.” [New Market Shenandoah Valley, 12-29-66]

The building’s detractors seemingly got their way when the Virginia Arts Commission rejected the design, just before Christmas 1966. (Yet the Commission did not give their reason for rejecting the plan, nor did they initially suggest any changes or alternatives. While their reasoning was unknown, it was not because of the futuristic appearance of the building, as the commissioners were known to favor such architectural style over something more conservative or classical – such as the Colonial theme some wanted.) This threw plans for the development of the Battlefield Park into some confusion, as the overall timeline for the Park called for groundbreaking on the Hall of Valor to take place in the Spring of 1967. With the design for the HOV all but approved, Institute and Park officials had been ready to put out a request for bids for the actual construction of the HOV – having to come up with a new architectural plan for the HOV at that stage of the game simply had not been anticipated. While dealing with this hurdle, Park Director James Geary was able to continue with plans to restore the Bushong House and other aspects of park interpretation.

Although there was some debate as to whether the Commission even had jurisdiction in the matter – the argument being that the funds to construct the HOV were not “public” funds but rather part of the bequest to VMI from George Collins specifically for the creation and interpretation of New Market Battlefield, which was countered by the fact that the Park was administered by Virginia Military Institute, a state-supported school, thus the funds were now indeed “public” even if they did not originate as tax dollars – the “Maginot Line Memorial” was scrapped, and eventually today’s Hall of Valor was constructed (which will be examined in a future post).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Market Battlefield, part 1 - George Collins

Over the next few weeks I’m going to examine the establishment and development of what is today called “New Market Battlefield State Historical Park.” Our story begins during the Civil War Centennial with a West Virginia man named George Collins…

Like all cadets at Virginia Military Institute, George Randall Collins learned of the Battle of New Market. Only a few years before Collins’ matriculation at the Institute in 1907, “New Market Cadet” Moses Ezekiel’s Virginia Mourning Her Dead – a tribute to his comrades who fell at New Market – was unveiled on the edge of the parade ground, a dedication ceremony attended by many of the surviving “New Market Cadets.” Perhaps during his time at the Institute, Collins may even have met some of these cadets who fought at New Market. Regardless, at VMI Collins learned the special place the battlefield at New Market held in the Institute’s history.

After his graduation in 1911, Collins went on to a distinguished career as a coal executive in West Virginia, including president of Smokeless Fuel Company, general manager of Superior Portland Cement, and several other companies in the Ohio River Valley. During World War I, Collins served as an artillery captain with the American forces in France.

During the early 1940s, news of battles in Europe and the Pacific dominated the newspaper headlines, so it likely was not front-page news in 1942 when a roughly 200-acre farm just north of the small town of New Market, Virginia, was sold by the family which had owned it for more than a century. The family name was “Bushong.” Nearly 80 years before, Federal and Confederate forces met in battle on their farm – their small orchard was nearly destroyed as both sides jockeyed for control of the tactically important ground there. About 225 cadets from VMI secured the orchard for the Confederate forces. After the battle, the Bushong house, barn and all the outbuildings became a massive field hospital complex for the vast numbers of wounded from both sides.

The former Bushong farm was sold again in 1944. This time the buyer was George Collins. It seems that Collins intended for some time for the Bushong farm to be preserved by his alma mater. He sold off many of his business ventures in the late 1940s and early 1950s, living in semi-retirement in Charleston, West Virginia. At the time of his death June 27, 1964, at his home in Charleston, at the age of 74 George Collins had no immediate survivors.

Collins’ estate was valued at more than $4 million dollars. His Charleston home he left to his nephew and more than $1 million was divided among several other relatives. The 175 acres Collins owned at New Market, including the Bushong Farm, were left to Virginia Military Institute, along with a $3 million endowment “to be used as a trust to perpetuate and maintain as a memorial of the Battle of New Market and to place improvements thereon for educational purposes,” according to his short hand-written will. [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9 Dec 1964] (The “improvements…for educational purposes” shall be examined in future posts…)

Even though Collins had hinted before his death that VMI would be the recipient of the Bushong Farm, and a copy of his will was probated and placed on file in the Shenandoah County courthouse within days of his death, news of his gift to VMI was not made public knowledge for six months. Once the information was released, it was front-page news throughout Virginia. Wrote a reporter for the Roanoke (VA) World News: “It is especially fitting that his gift should be accepted by the Institute during the period of the Civil War Centennial. The courage that was shown by the VMI cadets of 1864 will stand forever as an inspiration for the cadet corps. Mr. Collins’ gift insures permanency of the battlefield as a historic shrine, to be visited and appreciated by Virginian, cadet and tourist.” [Roanoke World News, 11 Dec 1964]

Today the approach road to New Market Battlefield State Historical Park is named “George R. Collins Parkway,” and a large bronze plaque inside the Hall of Valor (the history of which will be examined in a future post) honors him, as does an interpretive sign on the park grounds.

[George Collins photo courtesy VMI Archives]

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Civil War Preservation Trust will be running an article in Hallowed Ground this summer by me about New Market. More or less an excerpt from Valley Thunder and possibly short interview as well.

In a semi-related note, I'm also working on a "discussion guide" of sorts to VT. Savas Beatie has these available for some of their other titles on their website, so mine will be similar.

Monday, February 22, 2010


My how the world of html has changed since college...and I'm not overly convinced it's for the better yet. I ran several webpages for my Civil War reenactment unit in college, nothing fancy, just free sites through geocities - actually it was more like that was my excuse to teach myself html. I could do all sorts of fancy stuff back then - of course, about as complicated as one ventured to get in those days (mid-90s) was the little color bearer dudes whose flags fluttered so magestically in the breeze...That was then (of course I was surrounded by computer geeks then, that may have helped, now that I think back...)

The last few days have witnessed me fighting with this supposedly user-friendly and any-idiot-can-do-this webpage designer...I think I've finally figured it out now, and the result is: www.newmartketbattle.com The new webpage for Valley Thunder. It's just got the basics up there now, but eventually I'll add bios of some of the key players in the battle, photos both old & new of the battlefield, reviews of the book as they come in, and maybe even a mention about the park's ghosts...Well, all of that assuming of course the webpage designer is in agreement with my plans.


All for now...

Thursday, February 18, 2010


An Interview with Charles Knight, author of
Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market and the Opening of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, May 1864

Valley Thunder is the first full-length account in nearly four decades to examine the sweeping combat at New Market on May 15, 1864—the battle that opened the pivotal 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign. Charles R. Knight recently discussed his upcoming book with publisher Savas Beatie LLC.

SB: You’ve received some nice advanced praise for Valley Thunder. Why do you think it is striking a chord with readers?

CRK: Even though it was a very small battle by Civil War standards, basically only a small division per side, New Market has always been a popular battle among Civil War buffs. I think the main reason is because of the participation of the Cadets of Virginia Military Institute. Over the years, their role in the battle has been greatly exaggerated, but nonetheless their being plucked from their classrooms in Lexington and coming under fire alongside veteran Confederate units and losing 10 of their number killed makes New Market somewhat unique. The fact that the battlefield is one of only two currently operated as fully interpreted parks in the Valley and hosts an annual reenactment of the battle on the original ground gives it quite a bit of visibility as well. As to my book, it has been about 35 years since the last scholarly treatment of New Market appeared, that being William C Davis’ The Battle of New Market. In the decades since Davis’ work appeared, many new sources have come to light which were unknown during his time. Some offer great detail into the battle, others change some of what has been accepted as “fact” for years.

SB: Can you provide an example or two?

CRK: Sure. It has long been thought that the 23rd Virginia Cavalry fought dismounted with the Confederate infantry. However, a closer examination of the accounts left behind by John Imboden’s cavalrymen show that not to be the case. As another example, the editor of the local newspaper witnessed much of the action at New Market, including a preliminary cavalry engagement several days prior to the main battle at New Market. In the account published in his newspaper, he mentions in passing a local “reserve” company of boys too young to join the Confederate army. Yet even though their participation was documented right there by a reliable witness, this particular unit was never mentioned as being part of the New Market campaign, as hardly anything was known of their service in 1864 until a local historian, John Heatwole, was given access to a literal treasure trove of materials which belonged to the company’s First Sergeant, which he then used to write a history of the company, including their role at New Market. To me, the recent trend not just in Civil War historiography, but in basically all aspects of military history, is not solely to focus on the command decisions made by the generals, but to incorporate how those decisions affected the men in the ranks. I have tried to place New Market in its strategic place in the Spring 1864 campaign and to analyze the command decisions, but also to show what the soldiers themselves - both blue and gray - were thinking in the days and weeks leading up to the battle, what they saw of the fighting itself, and how they chose to remember it.

SB: How did weather impact the Battle of New Market?

CRK: New Market was one of those rare engagements that was fought almost entirely in the rain. And not just a slight drizzle, but at times a very intense thunderstorm. Which of course could cause a few problems as black powder and water are not the best of friends. (Laughing.) Although there are very few accounts which mention wet powder or damp cartridges being an issue, many accounts from the VMI Cadets mention the adverse effects of the rain. The Cadets were armed with Austrian Lorenz rifles which, unlike the more prevalent Enfield or Springfields which had metal ramrods, had a wooden ramrod. Several cadets complained that the constant wet weather caused their ramrods to swell to the point of them becoming useless and their owners having to discard their rifle in favor of other weapons they picked up off the ground. A more prominent effect of the weather was the mud, which hampered troop movements, and may have helped lead to the capture of some of the Federal artillery. Also the rains caused the local streams to rise well above their usual levels, rendering them impassable. What would be the battlefield at New Market is actually a peninsula formed between the Shenandoah River’s North Fork on the west and Smith’s Creek on the east. Both sides found that these flooded waterways offered a number of advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the flooded streams anchored both flanks securely, but severely limited the options for a retreat. When the Confederate cavalry crossed Smith’s Creek (by bridge) in an effort to flank the Federal army, they were unable to find a passable ford back to the western side of the creek and thus spent the majority of the battle as mere observers.

SB: Your book Valley Thunder contains a lot of primary accounts from soldiers, civilians, and politicians. Why do you think these are important to include in a battle history?

CRK: In telling of an event, no historian can fully capture or convey the emotion of someone who was actually there as witness to that event, so first-hand accounts are vital not just to battle studies, but to a study of any historical event. Often the after-action reports by the higher-ups ignore some aspects of the battle which they thought to be inconsequential or maybe were even unknown to them completely. Going to lower levels you find interesting personal anecdotes, and in some cases even humor on the battlefield as the bullets were flying thick and fast. And one must beware too of the all-too-present “spin” put on these reports by the commanders to paint themselves in as good a light as possible. When you look at accounts left by those who really had nothing at stake in the larger scheme of things, you do not find this restraint. And the closer to the event a memoir is written, usually the more accurate and detailed it is. And speaking of primary accounts, the official reports from both the Confederate commander, John Breckinridge, and his Federal counterpart, Franz Sigel, somehow did not find their way into the Official Records after the war, nor were they included in Broadfoot’s more recent Supplement to the ORs. Both reports exist: Breckinridge’s among his Chief of Staff’s papers in the New Market Collection in the VMI Archives, and Sigel’s in his extensive papers housed at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. Yet because they were omitted from the ORs, they are very seldom cited. So they are both included verbatim as appendecies in Valley Thunder.

SB: You mentioned some of the previously accepted “facts” of the battle being called into question by new sources. What are some of these?

CRK: As I mentioned before, I think the biggest is the role of the 23rd Virginia Cavalry. Source material for John Imboden’s brigade at New Market has always been sparse, so earlier writers have not had much to work from. Edward Turner and his 1912 book The New Market Campaign could have answered this question very early on, since Turner spoke and corresponded with many veterans of the battle, primarily Confederates. Yet he provides no definitive answer, indeed may not even have thought the question needed answering, since Imboden had addressed it in his own writings years earlier. Yet for more recent authors there were enough conflicting and confusing sources out there to make it possible that the 23rd fought dismounted during the battle. This is the conclusion Davis reached, and has been used by many subsequent authors based on Davis’ book. However, looking closer at the “old” sources as well as comparing them with “new” ones, it seems that the 23rd did not fight dismounted, remaining instead with Imboden and the 18th Virginia Cavalry. The confusion seems to arise from the fact that since Confederate cavalrymen were responsible for providing their own mount, unlike their Northern counterparts who received government issued horses, a good number of Imboden’s men were without horses in early 1864 - both in the 18th and 23rd regiments. Horseflesh was so hard to come by in fact that the 62nd Virginia Mounted Infantry was entirely dismounted in early 1864. The troopers without horses from the 18th and 23rd were formed into several temporary companies attached to the 62nd, and as these troopers acquired mounts they would rejoin their own regiment. Thus when a casualty report published in the Staunton newspaper a few days after battle included men from the 23rd, without other sources, it could be interpreted to mean the 23rd fought dismounted. But again, taking all known sources from Imboden’s brigade together, it shows - to me at least - pretty conclusively that the 23rd remained mounted. Of course, all the maps on the brochures and signs at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park show the 23rd in line with the infantry . . .

SB: Previously you worked at New Market Battlefield as a Historical Interpreter. What sort of insight does that give you that other writers might not have?

CRK: I actually lived for a summer on the park grounds in the original farmhouse there, which dates to about 1817. This has always made me feel a sort of connection to the battlefield. I spent many evenings wandering the park grounds, so I am intricately familiar with the terrain, especially the “not on the regular tour” parts of the park. In giving tours to school groups, visiting military VIPs, bus tours, and regular park visitors, I noticed quickly that many of them had some of the same questions, and most of these were not addressed anywhere in writing. The two most frequently-asked ones concerned the family whose farm comprises the core of the battlefield park today and was at the center of the hottest fighting during the battle, the Bushong family, and the other the history of the park itself. So one of the appendices in my book addresses in some detail the Bushong family, their farm, and how it came to be owned by VMI and operated as New Market Battlefield State Historical Park. Although the amount of literature about battles is in some cases legion, the story of the battlefields themselves is almost forgotten. Some recent works, Tim Smith’s books about Shiloh and Chickamauga in particular, have begun to look at how the land itself was preserved and interpreted, which is an important part of the historiography of the battle.

SB: Thank you for your time, we appreciate it.

CRK: You’re welcome.

(All copyright laws apply to this interview. However, this interview may be posted digitally on the Internet or printed for use in newspapers, newsletters, magazines, and other similar uses, provided it appears in its entirety and that notice of its use is provided in advance to sarahs@savasbeatie.com. We allow partial edited use, with advance permission. Please inquire. Include our website www.savasbeatie.com and email address sales@savasbeatie.com with use. Thank you.)

Saturday, February 6, 2010


The galley of Valley Thunder arrived in the mail yesterday!! I'm sure most, if not all, first-time authors must experience the same weird feeling that I did of holding an actual book in their hands and seeing THEIR NAME on the cover...having that, "Wow, I wrote this!" moment.

But the thing came close to being a drenched envelope of ruined paper, since it arrived during one of the worst snow storms to hit Virginia in years - of course it's nothing but RAIN here in Hampton Roads, so much so that my back yard is underwater AGAIN...Anyway, my beloved mail carrier apparently has yet to learn what that flap on his actual mail bag is for so the outer envelope it arrived in was literally falling apart, leaving a trail of cardboard mush across the floor...luckily the book itself was wrapped in plastic so it survived the ordeal, but for a moment I had my doubts...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Upcoming Events

I've got two book signings coming up, although the details have yet to be finalized. I'll be at the 2010 reenactment of the Battle of New Market, May 15 & 16, on the original battlefield, and also will be having a book signing at the MacArthur Memorial, in Norfolk, VA, probably some time in May as well. Stay tuned for more info...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

More galleys...

Got the latest round of galley proofs, this time complete with images, but also with advance praise, including: "Valley Thunder surely takes its place now among the dozen finest and most complete accounts of any Civil War action, and it would be hard to name any account of a secondary fight of this size that has been better treated." -- William C. Davis

Am also creating a Facebook page for Valley Thunder - so become a fan!!