Tag Archives: Civil War

Pricey board games

StonewallJacksonsWayI’ve been a student of the Civil War all my life. Hence the new book. You can’t grow up the descendant of Confederates on both sides of your family and avoid knowing instantly what someone is referring to when they say “the war.” Yankees can ignore it. They won. The defeated never forget. But, much as I’ve enjoyed reading (and writing) about the war and its personalities, I’ve never been a fan of board games for re-fighting the battles. Which is probably why I never imagined that one of them could cost eighty dollars. Gasp.

Diddling with Paint Shop Pro X

I bought this software because it was about a tenth the price of Adobe’s Photoshop and, supposedly, does most of the same things. Indeed, it’s been dandy for creating DIY book covers for POD efforts, though it takes patience and careful following of the User Guide.

I’m just about ready to produce my Civil War historical novel. I rode the query-letter hamster wheel for seven months without getting a single look at the manuscript. I’m told one should plan to wait two years but, at my age, well… Besides, my usually-tough in-house editor loved it and so I’m moving on.

(Uh, I checked the dictionary too late. I chose an unfortunate verb for the headline. Should have been fiddling. Well, who knows? It may turn into another Roberta Vasquez moment.)

Seven Things I Love

Snoopy The Goon says he’s tagged me and I have to tag seven others in this venerable blogospheric game. It’s a new one for me, but I’m honored to try.

I’ll try not to make it too, too sentimental. Inject a little humor here and there, if possible. Here goes. And, except for No. 1 and No. 2, not necessarily in this order.

1) The Creator of the Universe. Who made a few big mistakes here and there, but I know he/she/it tries. And needs all the help he/she/it can get–whether that’s in any accepted theology or not.

2) Mr. Boy and Mrs. Charm and the rest of the clan, kith as well as kin.

3) A good night’s sleep. Sometimes hard to come by in increasing old age.

4) A good read. Fiction or non-fiction, book or blog post or media article, it doesn’t matter.

5) Sitting on the condo balcony at Port Aransas at night every summer watching the twinkling lights on the offshore oil rigs. Just thinking about all that non-Saudi oil makes me happy, even if I don’t own a well.

6) Texas. Anywhere (even Houston). Anytime. Rain or shine. Drought or flood.

7) Writing. Anything. I’m presently embarked on a book of Texana, though the research is not going well. A recently completed Civil War novel is piling up the rejection slips. But I’ll keep querying agents, and probably try another one of those before long.

And now, as Mr. Goon says, to the victims: Scott Chafin, CGHill, Alan Sullivan, John Salmon, whose comments I can never get to work, so I’ll link this and, maybe, he’ll see it, JD Allen, MK Freeberg, whose WordPress comment thingie on "the blog no one ever reads (except me)," keeps rejecting me, so I’ll try another link he might see, and Akaky Bashmachkin.

Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant

I finished volume one, having learned a few things I didn’t know. I enjoyed Grant’s direct, detailed style, without the usual flowery to-do of the 1880s. No wonder the memoir is considered a classic.

Hand grenades, for instance. I seem to remember a reference to them before, in one of the many books I’ve read by or about Civil War participants. But Grant tells me they were used by the Confederates in defense of Vicksburg. This site shows one at the bottom of the page, with a paper streamer designed to make it land on the percussion cap in the front to fire it. The Union had them, also.

Exploding musket-balls, now, I never heard of those. "…the wound was terrible," writes Grant who says Union troops also encountered them at Vicksburg. Various Web sites show the ex-Confederates denied using them, but accused the Union of doing so. It’s hard to imagine how to make one.

One of Grant’s interesting points: The South had a great advantage at the beginning of the war in that they had close to forty percent of the Nation’s trained soldiers. And because they had no standing army, those soldiers had to find service with their own state units, meaning "The whole loaf was leavened." The Union’s trained soldiers were largely concentrated in the regular army alone.

Good book. I recommend it. On to volume two.

Sell out/buy in

I enjoy reading Cobb, a conservative black engineer, and descendent of a freed black Union soldier in the Civil War, who is decidedly not one of the race hustlers so prevalent these days. Particularly like his current post on who’s a race sell-out and who isn’t. And this remark by one his commenters:

"If you keep your credit clean, and save some money, you will have an easier time managing your financial life in America. If you don’t commit crimes and treat people ethically so they don’t sue you, you won’t have to worry about the justice system. Them’s the rules."

Yep. Worth the read

Waiting for Sherman

"The utmost quiet and good order prevailed. Guards were placed at every house immediately, and with a promptness that was needful; for one residence, standing a little apart, was entered by a squad of bummers in advance of the guard, and in less than ten minutes the lower rooms, store-rooms, and bed-rooms were overhauled and plundered with a swift and business-like thoroughness only attainable by long and extensive practice."

From "The Last Ninety Days of the War in North Carolina," a fascinating old book available on the Web from the University of North Carolina.

Via No Left Turns

The Widow of The South

I read a lot of civil war history, fiction and nonfiction, and some of them I can barely remember, even when seeing their covers again or reading about them in an article. Robert Hicks’ book will stick with you, long after you finish, particular the two major characters, but many of the supporting ones as well. Franklin certainly was one of the bloodiest, least sensible battles of the war, and it’s portrayed well here. But the real story is the aftermath and the way the survivors handled their survival. Hardcover or paper, it’s worth owning. I still pull it off the shelf from time to time to refer to it.