Sunday, July 18, 2010

Today's Book Purchase


Today I purchased Series 1, Volume 5 of The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, one of the 128 volumes in what is known in Civil War circles as the OR.  (I couldn't resist the good price on Alibris!)  This volume covers operations in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia from August 1, 1861 to March 17, 1862.  I look forward to digging deeper into operations in Northern Virginia during the period prior to the Peninsula Campaign.  From a quick look at the table of contents to the volume, I noticed that it includes reports on the skirmishes at Lewinsville and Dranesville, as well as the Battle of Ball's Bluff.  Stay tuned for more detailed information on Civil War history in Fairfax County and other Northern Virginia counties during the early war years.  This is an often overlooked period, but of considerable interest for those who wonder, "What the hell did the Army of the Potomac do before the Peninsula Campaign?"

6 comments:

Drew@CWBA said...

Ron,
What do you think of Russel Beatie's coverage of this period in his books?

DW

Ron said...

DW--

Thanks for the comment.

I moved to the McLean area just over a year ago, and only recently began to explore the Civil War history here. As I have remarked in previous posts, there is little in this area to indicate what transpired in the region during the winter of 1861-62. (I hope to eventually get some Civil War Trails markers installed and am communicating with some local historians who have had success with markers in the Hunter Mill area near Oakton/Vienna).

I have heard of Beatie's book, but have not had a chance to read it. I also have looked briefly at Charles Russel Poland's "The Glories of War: Small Battle and Early Heroes of 1861" when doing some initial research on the September 11 skirmish at Lewinsville. Both books are on my reading list to get some more info on the Civil War history of this area. Needless to say, I have also been digging into some primary source materials that I own and that are posted on the Internet.

Ron

Ron said...

DW--I should have asked how you found Beatie's book! In addition, are you aware of others on the same time period that you have come across in reviewing books for your blog?

Ron

Drew@CWBA said...

Ron,
Both volume 1 and 2 should be right up your alley. I would call them both essential reading for the war in N. Virginia prior to the Peninsula Campaign.

The best Ball's Bluff book by far is "A Little Short of Boats: The Fights at Ball's Bluff and Edward's Ferry, October 21-22, 1861" by James Morgan.

I also liked Mary Alice Wills's "The Confederate Blockade of Washington, D.C. 1861-1862". It's the best thing I've read on that subject. I posted a really short summary a few years ago at http://cwba.blogspot.com/2005/11/bowm-confederate-blockade-of.html

Drew

Ron said...

Drew--

Thanks for the suggestions. I am particularly intrigued by Willis's book based on your review. I will need to add this to the ever-growing reading list!

By the way, I checked out an interview with Russel Beatie over on Civil War Bookshelf from 2007. As a lawyer, I find his approach to historical research and analysis interesting. I look forward to reading his books and discussing on the blog.

Ron said...

I wanted to post an update to the comment thread on Beatie's book. I just purchased a copy of Volume 2 and read about the September 11, 1861 skirmish at Lewinsville (pp. 6-8). I was disappointed to find what appears to be a glaring error, unless I am missing something. While describing the reconnaissance (mis-spelled on the accompanying map) to Lewinsville, Beatie inexplicably starts to discuss the arrival of the Union troops in Vienna, Virginia. Vienna, however, is several miles from Lewinsville, and as far as I know, General Baldy Smith's reconnaissance force did not go to Vienna that day. I certainly don't remember seeing such a fact in the OR concerning the September 11 skirimish at Lewinsville. Perhaps a reader can enlighten me as to where this came from, or did the editor miss an error?