Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Wounded at Chancellorsville

   Diaries written by common soldiers provide the best insights into the day-to-day life of soldiers. They were not written for wide publication, nor to ‘set history straight,’ as post-war reminiscences. Lieutenant James M. Malbone chronicled his life in a diary that now resides in the collection of the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs, NY.

   Malbone was born in 1828, probably in Princess Anne County, Virginia. Prior to the war, he served as a private tutor. He enlisted March 25, 1862, in Interior Line, Virginia. Malbone was mustered in as a private in Company B, 6th Virginia Infantry. About six weeks later, Malbone was elected 2nd lieutenant. He was reported as present until wounded at the battle of Chancellorsville, and remained absent until March 1864 when he was reported on light duty in Gordonsville, Virginia. It does not appear that he ever rejoined his company. Malbone passed away on February 20, 1917, and is buried in the Moore Family Cemetery, Virginia Beach, Virginia.[1]

   At the time of Chancellorsville, the 6th Virginia Infantry was assigned to Mahone’s brigade. Mahone’s brigade led the advance of Anderson’s division on May 1, moving toward the Federals who were positioned west of Fredericksburg. Malbone’s company was on picket duty and rejoined the 6th Virginia just in time. He mentioned in his diary advancing some two miles.[2]

   As Jackson launched his attack late on the afternoon of May 2, Mahone was busy holding the attention of the Federals on the eastern front. The skirmishers of the 6th Virginia captured the flag on the 107th Ohio. Chronicling a few days after the event, Malbone stated that he was wounded in the right arm about six that morning. As soon as he was wounded, he headed to the rear, “a bout two miles,” to the hospital to have his wound treated. On May 3, he started for Guinea Station, some twenty miles away, walking the entire distance. When he arrived, he found his captain, William C. Williams, mortally wounded.  Malbone stayed with his captain “in the depot house and on a few old bags close by my Capt.” until he died. Malbone then procured a coffin and had Williams buried. [3]

   Malbone found the hospital at Guinea Station “An awful place, for wounded men[.]” After Williams was buried, Malbone returned to Guinea Station, “sick & my wound was very painful.” Later that day, he set out on foot in the rain, looking for his regimental commissary. “[A]t last I found him after so long a time,” he wrote. He returned to Guinea Station the next day and attempted to board a train to Richmond. Federal cavalry had cut the rail lines and it was two days before Malbone could be transported South. During that time, he was able to “sleep in a negro kitching.” On May 8, he was transported to General Hospital No 10, “A regular officers Hospitals.”[4]

   The battle of Chancellorsville produced 9,233 Confederate wounded. Most did not leave accounts of their ordeal, but James M. Malbone did, and his account might represent the rest.


[1] James M. Malbone, CMSR, RG109, M324, Roll#0442, NA.

[2] Sears, Chancellorsville, 198-99; Malbone, Diary, May 1, 1863.

[3] Sears, Chancellorsville, 282; Malbone, Diary, May, 4, May 5, May 8, 1863.

[4] Malbone, Diary, May 4, May 9, 1863.


Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Florida Leading the Historiography Charge!

   There have been tens of thousands of books written about the war. Even with that seemingly gluttonous number, there are huge gaps in that historiography. For the longest time, Florida seemed to be lagging behind in that quest to document that history. There were just a handful of books – Dickison and His Men (1890), Civil War in Florida  (1899), Florida During the Civil War (1975), Confederate Florida; The Road to Olustee (1990),  Blockaders, Refugees, and Contraband: Civil War on Florida’s Gulf Coast, 1861-1865 (1993), or the volumes that Lewis G. Schmidt wrote in the late 1980 and early 1990s.

   However, in the twenty-first century, the sunshine state has really been making up for lost time. Now there are numerous forays into the history of Florida and the war, as evidenced by the list below. This list is not conclusive. It only looks at books published in the last two decades or so. And, there are several books not included. Claude Kenneson has several books looking at Civil War Veterans buried in various Florida cemeteries. But, is there a state that has done a better job? These books are from both academic presses and public presses, with a few self-published as well. I do not have all of these, nor have I read them all. I think other states need to catch up!


Thunder on the River: the Civil War in Northeast Florida (University Press of Florida, 2010) Daniel L. Schafer

The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida: The Confederate Defense of Tallahassee (Dale Cox, 2010) Dale Cox

A Small but Spartan Band: the Florida Brigade in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia (University of Alabama Press, 2010) Zach C. Waters and James C. Edmonds

The Battle of Marianna, Florida (Dale Cox, 2011) Dale Cox

Florida’s Civil War (Keith Kohl, 2011) Keith Kohl

Florida Civil War Blockades: Battling for the Coast (History Press, 2011) Nick Wynee and Joe Crankshaw

Discovering the Civil War in Florida: A Reader and Guide (Pineapple Press, 2012) Paul Taylor

By the Noble Daring of her Sons: The Florida Brigade of the Army of Tennessee (The University of Alabama Press, 2012) Jonathan C. Sheppard

Civil War Memories: A Compilation of Remembrance from the Families of Boca Grande Residents (Friends of Boca Grande, 2013)  Sandy Ross Jacobs

Recalling Deeds Immortal: Florida Momunemts to the Civil War (University press of Florida, 2014) William B. Lees and Frederick P. Gaske

Central Florida’s Civil War Veterans (Arcadia, 2014) Bob Grenier

St. Augustine and the Civil War (History Press, 2014) Robert Redd

The Yacht America in Florida’s Civil War (Old Book Shop Publications, 2015) Jack Owen

On this Day in Florida Civil War History (History Press, 2015) Nick Wynee and Joe Knetsch

Civil War Correspondence of Florida’s Governor John Milton (CreateSpace, 2015) M. Edward Hughes

Governor John Milton & the War for Southern Independence (FriesenPress, 2015) M. Edward Hughes

Florida’s Civil War: Terrible Sacrifices (Mercer University Press, 2016) Tracy J. Revels

The 1st Florida Union Cavalry in the Civil War (Sharon D. Marsh, 2017) Sharon D. Marsh

A Forgotten Front: Florida During the Civil War Era (University of Alabama Press, 2018) Seth A. Weitz and Jonathan C. Sheppard

Florida Postal History During the Civil War (Confederate Stamp Alliance, 2018) Deane R. Briggs

Storm Over Key West: the Civil War and the Call of Freedom (Pineapple Press, 2020) Mike Pride

Fort Clinch, Fernandina and the Civil War (History press, 2020) Frank A. Ofeldt

Florida Thunder: The Marion Light Artillery, 1861-1865 (Fulton Books, 2022), Michael Evans.

Key West’s Civil War: “Rather Unsafe for a Southern man to Live here.” (Shotwell Publishing, 2022) John B. Thuersam

Hidden History of Civil War Florida (History Press, 2022) Robert Redd

Monday, July 03, 2023

One Million

    I was kind of looking forward to this day – 1,000,000 hits on Looking for the Confederate War (6:00 pm on July 3, 2023). It was a dream earlier this year when I checked my stats. I thought just maybe I just might get that number by the end of the year. Little did I imagine that it would only take about three or four weeks in the middle of the year – 21,000 hits in that amount of time. Nope, it was not that I had put up some great post that generated a lot of views. Those 21,000 hits came from Singapore. As the youngsters say these days, I got Scraped. I’m quite certain that some AI bot is pulling my information for their cloud (or whatever it is called).

   But I think I am going to celebrate anyway. Maybe one of those students who use one of the chatbots to write their papers will actually read the paper before they turn it in. Maybe a teacher will read the same paper. Maybe, just maybe, I can share a slightly different perspective on a very complicated part of American History.

   I started blogging back in October 2006. It was not called Looking for the Confederate War back then. The title had something to do with North Carolina and the War. I used the format to share what I was working on and information about events in North Carolina dealing with the War. In 2016 (I think), I changed the name to Looking for the Confederate War, and I started to write about much more than just North Carolina. I started to write about the whole South. Of course, I’ve yet to write a detailed, series of long posts on the big events, like Gettysburg, or Chickamauga. No, most of these posts look at little events, things that have slipped by the notice of other scribes. Many of these events are just footnotes in history.

   There have been some favorites. “Sherman burning towns on the March to the Sea;” “Killing Confederates at Fort Gregg”; “Et Tu Dahlgren?: The Plot against Jefferson Davis”; “Confederate Wagon Trains, Teamsters, and Wagoneers”; “Robert E. Lee’s Cooks”; “Who carried Robert E. Lee’s flag”; “Witnesses”, just to name a few. There are some posts I thought would do better, like the one on Southern Lighthouses. Maybe one of these days it will catch someone’s attention.

   I’ve also used the platform to look at bad history as well, such as bad information on flags, and more than once, on the role of the Blalocks in the war. Then there is the post on Tom Dula (Tom Dooley). I drop this one frequently when the image pops up of that Federal soldier that many carelessly use as Dula.

   There have also been book reviews – not enough, considering how many I read, but I have tried to share some of the better books I have read.  

   Fan favorites? “Confederate Soldiers, Christmas, and Eggnog,” (December 2020) has accrued 1,150 hits so far. “Stonewall Jackson’s Lemons” (October 2019), 1,561 hits; “Who Rode with Lee at Appomattox” (September 2018), 1,873 hits; “Stonewall Jackson’s Requiem” (September 2018), 1,972 hits; “Was it really Witcher’s Cavalry?” (June 2017), with 1,977 hits. Many of the posts that came out prior to 2016 have over 3,000 hits. There have even been a few cases where some of these posts have been cited in articles and books.

   Occasionally, I wade into the fray, with posts like “No room for nuance in NPR’s narrative.” That one has 2,703 hits to date. “Why do people think Zeb Vance was in the Klan?” has 2,369 hits.

   So, what happens next? Now that I’ve been “Scraped” do I continue to put out material? Is blogging really worth it anymore? When I started in 2006, blogging was all the craze. There seemed to be scores of CW blogs – Rantings of a Civil War Historian, Old Virginia Blog, USS Monitor Center, CivilWarTime, Mysteries and Conundrums, and others. Now, there are just a handful. I think I will continue, but I’m also looking at new platforms. Maybe a substack, or a podcast. Of course, writing about Confederate history is like swimming upstream. Most months, I get 4,000-5,000 hits. That’s probably why it has taken me all these years to get to 1,000,000 hits. But then again, if I am going to get 25,000 hits a month like last month, that next one million should not take too long.

   By the way, thanks for taking the time to read, comment, and share! At least 970,000 hits came from (mostly) real people. It is really for you that I continue to put out more content.