Monday, December 02, 2013

Unpacking your toolbox (historically speaking), part two.

Looking back over my shelves, I've noticed a few other tomes that you might want to consider for your toolbox. One might be Tracy Powell's Lee's Miserables: Life in the Army of Northern Virginia from the Wilderness to Appomattox. When it was released, Robert Krick believed that "This is one of the dozen best books ever written about Lee's fabled army."

Another book along those lines might be Joseph Glatthaar's General Lee's Army: From Victory to Collapse. I have not finished reading this book, but I can say that I disagree with his research sample. Glatthaar analyses 600 soldiers from the ANV: 400 infantry, 100 cavalry, and 100 artillery. In my opinion, a truer glimpse of the ANV's population using just six hundred men could be gained by using 500 infantry, 75 cavalry, and 25 artillery. I wonder how this tweak would have changed the final outcome?

In the past post, I failed to mention anything about prisons. I have several books on prisons North and South. I believe the standard book on the subject would be Lonnie Speer's Portals to Hell: Military Prisons of the Civil War.  Another book that I have found helpful over the years is Mauriel Joslyn's Captives Immortal: The Story of Six Hundred Confederate Officers and the United States Prisoner of War Policy. This latter book explores the lives of 600 Confederate officers used as human shields by the Federal army.

As with the subject of prisoners, there are a few books that deal with the problem of desertion and/or conscription within the Confederate army. I've used Mark Weitz's More Damning than Slaughter: Desertion in the Confederate Army as my standard go-to book on the subject. An older book is A. B. Moore's  Conscription and Conflict in the Confederacy.  When writing about North Carolina, I find Walter Hilderman's They Went into the Fight Cheering: Confederate Conscription in North Carolina very helpful.

Another very useful book, although not quite for regimental studies, is Buff Facings and Gilt Buttons: Staff and Headquarters Operations in the Army of Northern Virginia, 1861-1865, by J. Boone Bartholomees, Jr. A second book along these lines is The Right Hand of Command: The Use and Disuse of Personal Staffs in the Civil War by R. Steven Jones. While these books deal with larger organizations, like armies, each regiment had its counterparts to the staff assignments - adjutants, assistant quartermasters, assistant commissary of subsistence, surgeons, ordnance sergeants, etc. To my knowledge, there is no modern book that covers these areas.

I've not said much about small arms. You can probably get enough details out of Nosworthy's The Bloody Crucible of War. If you want to go a little deeper, there are several books just on firearms. I've always found Joseph B. Bilby's Civil War Firearms: Their Historical Background, Tactical Use and Modern Collecting and Shooting to be more than adequate.

There are a couple of other books I would like to mention. These are the reprints of manuals of the time. I've already mentioned using the Confederate Regulations. Besides the regulations, the ones that I found most useful over the years are Kautz's Customs of Service for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers; Campbell's The 1862 Army Officer's Pocket Companion: A Manual for Staff Officers in the Field; and, the U.S. Army's 1863 Laws of War. Each of these is a reprint. There are others, like reprints of Hardee's Light Infantry Tactics, Scott's on the same, etc., etc., but that is another post.

For background reading on a regiment, I believe that this about covers it. What have I missed?

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