Tuesday, February 12, 2013

American Civil War Books


In case some of you didn’t see one of my previous entries, around Xmas time I started to paint my bedroom, which is where I store most of my books, probably about 75% of them.  As part of that, I also decided that this was the perfect excuse to catalog what books I have since I have never done that before and I have bought multiple copies of books that I already own before, more than once I am sad to say.  I figured that this cataloging of my book collection could help me in the future from buying another copy by accident and helping me decided what books to start weeding out and selling off.  So far, I only got a small chunk of books done and I have to say, I own way too many books….way too many.


I guess I am more of an American Civil War nerd that what I really thought of myself before
I started typing up the list of most of my ACW books that I own, I probably only have a dozen or less to find and add on still.  All I can say is, ‘Oh…My…God!’ I currently own one hundred and eighty-two (182!) books, including a dozen on my Kindle Fire, from Bleeding Kansas and through the Civil War that I know of at this time.  Plus, I am not even counting the books that I have on or that covers the New York City Draft Riots as I am counting those with the rest of my “Crime” books.  What’s more nerdy is that one hundred and forty (140) of the books are about the Civil War in west of the Mississippi or about Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois troops east of the Mississippi.  About another thirty or so are drill manuals, books on tactics, or on uniforms, equipment, weapons, and flags.  Than another ten or so on war in TN, MS, and GA, or general books about the USCT.  It is almost if I don’t have anything about the war in the east!  Well that is not true; I have one book on the Iron Brigade and one book of the Irish Brigade – that is it!  So, do you think I have very narrow view what I read when it comes to the Civil War?



OK, here are two of the more interesting books in my collection, just to give you an idea of how unusual my collection is:



Arming the Suckers, 1861-1865, by Ken Baumann; This is a detail book on what weapons were issued to the various Illinois regiments during the Civil War.  Also, for those that didn’t know, the term “Sucker” was a nickname for people from Illinois during the 19th Century.  It is even reference to it in the repeated verse of the Union song, “Lincoln and Liberty”.

Károly "Charles" Zágonyi
Story of the Guard, by Jessie Benton Fremont; This is a book written by the wife of General John C Fremont and the daughter of a Missouri Senator, Thomas Hart Benton.  It is about the Fremont Body Guard under Major Charles Zagonyi and their classical cavalry charge at the First Battle of Springfield, Missouri, where 150 union cavalrymen routed about 1500 pro-southern rebels.  You will probably never see that it any miniature game system!  What is more special about this book, is that it is a first print edition…1863.  It is also my oldest book in my collection.



Just a bit of trivia about me for you



Cheers

Sapper

6 comments:

Pete. said...

A quick question if I may- given the size of your ACW library.

Can you recommend any good books on the guerrilla side of the war. I picked up the osprey volume on it and it has whetted my appetite.

MTIA.

Cheers,

Pete.

Sapper Joe said...

Hello, Pete!

Actually, the guerrilla war is one of my weaker subjects! But no fear, I have some recommendations.

The Osprey book that you got is a very good one at that. The author's blog, Sean McLachlan, is on my blog list under the ACW blogs entitled "Civil War Horror". He is a really nice guy and probably can give you some better recommendations as well.

A good books about the guerrilla warfare during the Civil War in my opinion are the following in no specific order:

"The Uncivil War: Irregular Warfare in the Upper South, 1861-65" by Robert Mackey. This book cover the guerrilla operations in Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. These locations don't get the same high profile as guerrilla warfare in MO does because they are grossly overlooked due to all of the large scale battles in those states.

"Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy: Guerrilla Warfare in the West, 1861-65" by Richard Brownlee. The title is misleading as it really only about the guerrilla warfare in Missouri and the few raids over into Kansas. I read these a couple of times, but it has been a while since the last time.

The four volume set, "Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri"by Bruce Nichols. Now these are the books you really want if you are seriously only looking at guerrilla warfare in Missouri. Each volume is a specific year, 1862, 63. 64, & 65. The last two have not been released yet.

This next one has got me interested, but I have not got it yet, "Bitterly Divided: The South's Inner Civil War" by Daniel Williams. It suppose to cover some of the Southern Unionists guerrillas that fought against the South. This whole theme a united South is crumbling more and more over the past 15 years as more books are starting to be researched and wrote about it. It really makes for a twist in a game in my mind to have game with Unionist guerrillas trying to burn done a railroad bridge guarded by CSA troops.

Finally, the one book that I am really waiting for, "Guerrilla Hunters in Civil War Missouri" by James Erwin. Almost all books on guerrilla warfare is about the guerrillas, their leaders, or their operations. This book is specifically about the Union forces that chased them down. The author wrote another book, "Guerrillas in Civil War Missouri", which I have not read or own, but it has been given high remarks from a lot of different sources.

Hope these suggestions help.

Sapper

Pete. said...

Hello Joe,

Thanks for the reply- very useful. Can see Amazon profiting from it... you should be on commission. I've looked the books up- some good ones there. Can see a lot of skirmish potential there- especially as you said about Southern Unionists (something that was never mentioned on my BA- how old is the work on it?) One a similar thread can I pick your brains on books about Kansas in the period just before the civil war, pro versus anti slavery settlers, again it was touched on in my BA and seemed interesting at the time.

Many thanks again.

Cheers,

Pete.

Sapper Joe said...

Hello, Pete

Man, you are asking about everything but what I know about the war west of the Mississippi! 8) But no fear, I will try to help out. (Just for clarification, my main knowledge is over General Lyon’s ‘61 campaign, the NW Arkansas ’62 campaign, and Price’s ’64 raid, but I do know about the other things about the period / region and I am trying to read up on them when available.)

A couple years back, I got to visit the John Brown State Park in Osawatomie, Kansas. I got to talk in length with the director of the museum and he gave me a list of books to read on Bleeding Kansas. However, that list is not accessible to me for about 3-4 weeks. So I can’t say what books were on that list at this time.

However, I did buy one book there based on his recommendations, which is “Civil War on the Western Border, 1854-1865”, by Jay Monaghan. This book is more about the Civil War, but covers the Bleeding Kansas period and how it affected the war on the border. I have not read it yet, but he highly recommended to me because my main interest was on the Civil War, but I want to know more how Bleeding Kansas impacted the Civil War vs. knowing the specifics of Bleeding Kansas.

Now, I am more interested in actually reading the details about the politics and events of Bleeding Kansas, but just have not gotten around to looking up the books on that list yet. Regardless, I would also make the following recommendations. “Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War” by Tony Horwitz is one book that you might want to read. I have it, but not read it yet. It has been highly acclaimed and I saw the author talk about it on a book talk show. It is mostly about the Harper’s Ferry raid, but it will cover some of John Brown’s time in Kansas.

On a totally different note, you might be interested in “Apostles of Disunion” by Charles Dew and “Germans for a Free Missouri: Translations from the St. Louis Radical Press 1857-1862” by Steven Rowan. Both of these are more about “fire-eaters” stirring up the public opinion leading into the Civil War. The first one is about the southern lobbyists that went around convincing people why they should secede (and slavery & Bleeding Kansas plays highly on the reasons why). The second one is copies of editorials and stories from the period and some references to Bleeding Kansas are in it. Between the two, it pretty much challenges the whole secession was over “State’s Rights” and not slavery issue at the southern apologists keep bleating. (If you didn’t figure out now, I am a hardcore Unionist and probably would have been a radical abolitionist had I lived back then.)

I hope that this helps. When I get back home to get my list, I will post something again.

Cheers,

Sapper

Pete. said...

Hello Joe,

Many thanks for your detailed replies- it's really appreciated. Books have been added to my wish list so I ask for some come birthday time in a couple of months.

Sorry for asking about things outside my comfort zone but you seem to know more about ACW matters than anyone else I know so that makes you my go to guy. :)

It's is low level stuff that really interests me especially the asymmetric stuff (on both sides of the fences) so you've given me plenty to read- found a useful Leavenworth Paper ( #23) as a PDF online too btw.

Also gives me a chance to expand on the US history/Slavery/Civil rights movement history I studied a few years back.

Many thanks yet again.

Cheers,

Pete.

Sapper Joe said...

Pete:

No biggie, glad to help where I can. I wish I had better / more information over the guerrilla warfare, but that was never much of my interest until just very recently. The main reason behind that is most of the books that had been available when I was growing up where either very pro-southern (it was all because of those nasty Yankees that those poor, sweet, angelic James boys had to gunned down unarmed men after they had surrendered and were paroled) or very over-the-top telling of those evil guerrillas (Bloody Bill Anderson was a murderous psychopath that got off torturing prisoners and kittens, eating babies, worshiping Satan, and tickling puppies…yeah, like that puppies part is believable, come on.) :)

But as times are changing, more serious research and level telling books are coming out over the guerrilla war and it is not pretty for either side. Good authors at least will try to explain how one event leads to an outrage by the other side who then in turn commits an event to the original side to outrage them, and so on and so on. But all in all, at least in Missouri, the Union outrages generally were more controlled, justified, or had responsible parties punished, but maybe not to the level for everyone’s liking though. I think that this was more due to the fact that the higher ups both in the military and civil authority had better control and could do investigations into the complaints as they controlled the area vs. the southern guerrillas which basically were only accountable to their immediate field commander and had almost no oversight by higher levels. I am sure the opposite is probably true with the Union guerrillas in the South, but I still have yet to read up on these events.

Missouri ranks 3rd for the most battles, skirmishes, and engagements during the Civil War and probably over 90% of that were guerrilla operations. Missouri also raised more units for the Union after New York & Pennsylvania. Missouri also put 60% of its eligible men for service in uniform, the highest for any state, north or south. St. Louis was the 8th largest city in the US; the 2nd largest city for the slave states; and the 2nd largest river port in the US during the Civil War. The fact the south could never control/challenge it seriously hampered their ability to win the Trans-Mississippi theater. But we normally get overlooked except for Wilson Creek and the guerrilla war. Even the guerrilla war is narrowed down to basically only Quantrill’s and Bloody Bill Anderson’s commands.

Anyway, feel free to ask away, I will try to help when I can.

Cheers,

Joe