Civil War Books For Your Wish List

Books are essential to Civil War studies. Many of us became interested in history because we read a well-written book.

Last weekend I shared a 2017 Gift List for Civil War enthusiasts and one of the list’s bragging points was that it didn’t have any books. I don’t know about you, but my brothers tease me and say, “What do you want for Christmas – other than more Civil War books?” And while compiling that list that fun, it just didn’t seem quite right. And my fellow editors agreed…

This weekend I’ve created a list of the books that are on currently published by Savas Beatie in the Emerging Civil War Series. Without being too braggy, I’d like to share the titles in this ever-growing collection.

Which do you have? Which do you want? Tell us in a comment, and we’ll hope the telegraph to the North Pole will be working this year…

The Aftermath of Battle: The Burial of the Civil War Dead

by Meg Groeling





Richmond Shall Not Be Given Up: The Seven Days’ Battles, June 25- July 1, 1862


by Doug Crenshaw





That Field of Blood: The Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862


by Daniel J. Vermilya





Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862

by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White





That Furious Struggle: Chancellorsville and the High Tide of the Confederacy, May 1-4, 1863

by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White





The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson

by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White






Out Flew the Sabres: The Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863 


by Eric J. Wittenberg and Daniel T. Davis





The Last Road North: A Guide to the Gettysburg Campaign, 1863 

by Robert Orrison and Dan Welch





Fight Like the Devil: The First Day at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863

by Chris Mackowski, Kristopher D. White, and Daniel T. Davis





Don’t Give an Inch: The Second Day at Gettysburg, from Little Round Top to Cemetery Ridge, July 2, 1863

by Chris Mackowski, Kristopher D. White, and Daniel T. Davis




A Want of Vigilance: The Bristoe Station Campaign, October 9-19, 1863
by Bill Backus and Robert Orrison







Bushwhacking on a Grand Scale: The Battle of Chickamauga, Sept. 18-20, 1863

by William Lee White





Battle Above The Clouds: Lifting the Siege of Chattanooga and the Battle of Lookout Mountain, October 16-November 24, 1863


by David A. Powell




No Turning Back: A Guide to the 1864 Overland Campaign, from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, May 4-June 13, 1864

by Robert M. Dunkerly, Donald C. Pfanz, and David R. Ruth




Hell Itself: The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-7, 1864

by Chris Mackowski





by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White





Strike Them A Blow! Battle Along the North Anna, May 21-25, 1864

by Chris Mackowski





Hurricane from the Heavens: The Battle of Cold Harbor, May 26-June 5, 1864

by Daniel T. Davis and Phillip S. Greenwalt





Determined To Stand and Fight: The Battle of Monocacy, July 9, 1864

by Ryan T. Quint






A Long and Bloody Task: The Atlanta Campaign, from Dalton through Kennesaw Mountain to the Chattahooche River, May 5-July 18, 1864
by Steve Davis






All the Fighting They Want: The Atlanta Campaign, from Peachtree Creek to the Surrender of the City, July 18-September 2, 1864 
by Steve Davis






Bloody Autumn: The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864

by Daniel T. Davis and Phillip S. Greenwalt





Calamity in Carolina: The Battles of Averasboro and Bentonville

by Daniel T. Davis and Phillip S. Greenwalt





Dawn of Victory: Breakthrough at Petersburg, March 25-April 1, 1865

by Edward S. Alexander





To the Bitter End: Appomattox, Bennett Place, and the Surrenders of the Confederacy

by Robert M. Dunkerly





Grant’s Last Battle: The Story Behind The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

by Chris Mackowski




Simply Murder: The New, Expanded Edition Now Available

Layout 1Today is the 155th anniversary of the battle of Fredericksburg. Because many ECW historians are based in the Fredericksburg area or have worked at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, we’ve written about the battle of Fredericksburg a lot over the years (check out some of those posts here).

But if you want a one-stop-shop for the battle of Fredericksburg, we’re pleased to report that a new, expanded edition of our very first Emerging Civil War Series book has just been released: Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862, co-authored by ECW founders Chris Mackowski and Kris White.

What’s new in the book? We’re glad you asked! 

Now at 192 pages (instead of the original 168), the new edition of Simply Murder features

  • 38 new photos
  • 4 new maps, including two Civil War Trust maps
  • a new appendix on Fredericksburg National Cemetery by Donald C. Pfanz
  • a new appendix on the civilians of Fredericksburg during the war by Ryant Quint, with an expanded section of civilian-related sites
  • a new appendix on the battle of Second Fredericksburg by Chris Mackowski
  • a new appendix on the Civil War Trust’s preservation of the Slaughter Pen Farm
  • tour updates to reflect changes on the battlefield since the book was first issued in Dec. 2012.

And while we’re talking about book offers, check out the latest e-book deal from Amazon, good in December only: Doug Crenshaw’s Richmond Shall Not Be Given Up: The Seven Days’ Battles.

Harry Turtledove, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and the Beatles

Fort Pillow-coverYou’ve got Turtledove’s Fort Pillow (2006)? Turn to page 140, and a Tennessee cavalryman cries, “Get back, Jojo!”

…which has led me over these years to wonder if the esteemed author sprinkles a Beatles lyrics line into his other novels—alternative fiction, science fiction, or otherwise.

What do you think?

The Civil War Monitor Almanac

Civil War Monitor Almanac-cover[Editor’s Note: Our current discussion on “turning points” reminded Steve Davis of something that caught his eye in the recent Civil War Monitor Almanac….]
“We hope that what follows will give our readers something substantial to ponder,” editor Terry Johnston writes in the introduction to the new issue of The Civil War Monitor. It’s actually a “special commemorative issue,” unlike the pub’s usual array of feature articles. In this one, the magazine presents “a book of compelling facts, figures, and expert opinions.” The contents are billed under the title, “Civil War Almanac.” 

That’s pretty daunting, as there are plenty of “Civil War almanacs,” filled with all kinds of stories, summaries, fact sheets and anecdotes. But this one holds up well as a real keeper. It’s   divided into two parts: 1) “Facts and Figures about the Union and Confederacy” and 2) “An Expert Panel of Historians Offers Their Picks on the War’s Bests and Worsts.” 
Half the magazine goes to “Facts and Figures” on the war’s leaders, battles, weapons, soldiers and other topics. The fun (and usefulness) of an almanac is the handiness of the factual material–as in the big map which shows the number of recruits raised by both sides in each state or territory. Johnston and his staff don’t give sources for these numbers, but what the hey–they just look cool.
Even more fun is Part 2, in which ten authorities offer opinions on a number of subjects. “Most Underrated Commanders?” Kathryn Shively Meier, who teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University, picks Gen. Ben Butler, not for military prowess (duh!), but for helping the cause of emancipation. “Most Overrated?” Kenneth W. Noe of Auburn University chooses Nathan Bedford Forrest–I’ve got a lot of friends who would argue with the professor.
Differing opinions are welcome on “Best Movies,” but I quite agree with Matthew C. Hulbert of Texas A & M about Glory. I was also pleased that the Monitor asked Bob Zeller of the Center for Civil War Photography for his picks as to “Best Photographs.” Among them is George Cook’s photo of Union ironclads firing in Charleston harbor–“the first-ever combat action photograph.” Bob showed us this one recently at the CCWP’s annual symposium.
Turning Points of the War, as chosen by the panel include the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, which strikes me as a bit early in the war for a “turning point,” but also the fall of Atlanta, with which I and a lot of others will agree. “Greatest Errors by a Commander?” I’ll keep you guessing on that one….
You can see there’s a lot here for just about everyone–which is another trademark of a good almanac. I’m glad I found this one at Barnes & Noble!

The ’64 Valley Campaign: Solidifying Lincoln’s Election but Not a Turning Point

TurningPoints-logoIn the midst of our ongoing ‘Turning Points’ discussion last week, someone asked me last week if I thought Sheridan’s 1864 Valley Campaign was a turning point. I gave this very question a lot of thought when Phill Greenwalt and I were working on our book Bloody Autumn: The 1864 Valley Campaign. After giving it a lot of thought, I decided that the Valley Campaign of ’64 was not a turning point. 

BloodyAutumnReleasedI do believe there was a danger that if Sheridan failed—or stumbled, for that matter—those events could have offset Sherman’s gains in Georgia, similar to the way Rosecrans’ disaster at Chickamauga and subsequent siege of Chattanooga negating Grant’s victory at Vicksburg.

I do think the victory in the Valley helped reinforce and solidify Lincoln’s re-election, but it was Sherman’s capture of Atlanta that really made the difference.

Additionally, for it to be a turning point, I think Sheridan would have had to turn in a great performance. Instead, it’s far below average. He can barely get out of his own way, and what saves him are the Crooks, Custers, Merritts, Gettys and Russells of his army—not really his own performance.

For more on the impact of Sheridan’s victory on the Election of ’64, check out “The Valley Campaign for Memory,” one of the appendices in Bloody Autumn.


“Sheridan’s Ride,” a popular poem written in the wake of the battle and which was even set to music, was circulated widely by Lincoln’s supporters in the days before the election. While it bolstered their optimistic outlook and served as great political propaganda, it probably had little significant impact on its own.