12 April 2006 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 17 comments

I got my author’s copies of my Monroe’s Crossroads book today. I finally got to see the finished book for the first time.

Ted Savas did a terrific job with the book. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. There are about 30 maps and about 50 illustrations, and it really came out every bit as well as I hoped it would. Let’s hope that it sells well. Books on the Carolinas Campaign seem to sell very well. The only question is whether a purely cavalry study will sell as well as the books on the larger battles seem to do.

In September 2001, I made my first trip to North Carolina. I was scheduled to speak to the Rufus Barringer Civil War Roundtable, which meets in Aberdeen, NC. Aberdeen is the home of Bethesda Church, and it is also the location of the Malcolm Blue farm. Aberdeen is, as the crow files, about fourteen miles from the Monroe’s Crossroads battlefield site. My friend Teej Smith lives in Southern Pines, the next town over. She was the founder of the RBCWRT, and her group has sort of adopted the Monroe’s battlefield, at least so much as the Army will let them.

Teej arranged a battlefield visit for me. It was September 7, 2001, just a few days before events that changed our world forever. However, because it was BEFORE that tragic day, it was much easier to get access to the field. None of us had much working knowledge of what happened there, and there is very little in the way of interpretation there. We were left to our own devices, and it left me craving more information. All there was on the battle were a couple of chapters in books, and a not-very-good publication by the Army that really dumbed it down and was not very well researched. So, I decided to tackle the project myself. And the book was born that day.

I spent more than three years researching it, and made multiple visits to the battlefield, getting to know the terrain. I spent a long time writing it, piecing the story together, and putting it in a form that would give the reader an opportunity to understand what happened there. I gave a novice cartographer a shot at the big time by giving him this project. He did the maps, or so I thought. I’m not much on the technical side, so I didn’t realize that they would require a complete re-do, top to bottom, in order to be usable in the book. That process took nearly four months, which is why it took so long for it to be published, and not in October, as we originally hoped.

I wish I could describe the sense of satisfaction that I feel in finally seeing this thing finished and in actual book form. I can honestly say that I have felt a greater sense of satisfaction over seeing the final product previously, but I would not be telling the truth if I said that. I hope you will all forgive me if I crow just a little bit. This one was a LONG time coming.

Scridb filter


  1. Sam Elliott
    Wed 12th Apr 2006 at 9:50 pm

    You’re entitled to crow. I’m looking forward to reading it myself.

  2. Mike Peters
    Wed 12th Apr 2006 at 10:13 pm

    Go ahead & crow. You earned it. Looking forward to reading your work.

  3. Wed 12th Apr 2006 at 10:15 pm

    Thanks, guys. I really appreciate it. It’s been a real labor of love.

    Mike, you’ve seen the battlefield with me. What did you think of it?


  4. Wed 12th Apr 2006 at 10:36 pm

    Wondeful news Eric. Enjoy the moment.

  5. Wed 12th Apr 2006 at 10:50 pm

    Thanks, Kevin.


  6. Lanny
    Thu 13th Apr 2006 at 12:39 am

    Dear Eric,
    Congratulations! I am glad that you are pleased with your new creation because, knowing your high standards, it should be a great book to read and I look forward to reading it.
    May I suggest that before you start on another project, that you take time to enjoy the fruit of this, your lastest labor–all work and no play made Eric a tired man. Perhaps, you may wish to take your wife on a vacation to some place she really likes before you hit the Round Tables speaking on your latest book. (My wife typed in that last sentence when I got up from the computer for a minute and told me not to delate it! I suspect that the real target of that note is me.) Anyway, congratuations and best wishes, Lanny.

  7. Thu 13th Apr 2006 at 12:44 am

    Congrats, Eric! I’m looking forward to receiving my copy in the mail someday soon.

  8. Brad Snyder
    Thu 13th Apr 2006 at 12:56 am

    Congratulatons Eric! I can’t wait to read it, especially since I had the privilege of being there when you led a tour of the battlefield last spring.

  9. Mike Peters
    Thu 13th Apr 2006 at 2:06 am


    I found Monroe’s Crossroads to be the most pristine piece of battlefield property that I ever visited. As you often say, battles are driven by terrain & it’s easy to read such when it is unchanged & undeveloped.

  10. Thu 13th Apr 2006 at 8:49 am


    Thanks. I really appreciate the words of encouragement. Lanny, we have nearly two weeks of vacation coming up next month. It’s long overdue and much needed.

    Mike, you’re absolutely right about that piece of ground.


  11. Russell Bonds
    Thu 13th Apr 2006 at 10:41 am


    Warmest congratulations. I don’t know which I’m more jealous of–your 30 maps (wow!!) or your upcoming vacation. Really looking forward to reading the book.

    Best regards,

  12. Thu 13th Apr 2006 at 11:05 am

    Thanks, Russ. We take a beach vacation in NC every May. It’s a great time go–before the season, so the beaches aren’t crowded, and the weather is perfect. I need it this year.


  13. Fri 14th Apr 2006 at 1:17 am


    Congrats from me also. I picked up a copy via the History Book Club, and I look forward to reading it.

    Brett S.

  14. Fri 14th Apr 2006 at 9:05 am

    Thanks very much, Brett.


  15. Fri 14th Apr 2006 at 1:25 pm

    Congrats Eric. It is a wonderful feeling and well deserved. Perhaps this one will end up in one of my future reviews for the Fredericksburg, Free Lance-Star (although I think I might favor the Stuart book too.)

  16. Charles Bowery
    Mon 17th Apr 2006 at 1:18 pm

    I will add my congrats, and I look forward to reading the book. I have a little bit more experience with the battlefield, on the Army side. As you probably know, Monroe’s Crossroads is on the edge of the Ft. Bragg impact area, and the Apache attack helicopter battalion I served with 1994-1996 fired its aerial gunnery ranges there. We slept in tents along the north-south road, and one morning I got up, walked west from the road, and found, in the treeline, two Confederate grave stones. I had read Mark Bradley’s book on Bentonville by that time, so I knew a little about the battle from that. It’s a shame that current security restrictions will prevent folks from seeing the ground.

  17. Mon 17th Apr 2006 at 3:25 pm


    That’s a great story, and I appreciate your sharing it.

    Charles Heath, who is the cultural resources guy at Fort Bragg, would like to improve access, and he’s actually gotten permission to do an annual event where people can get in there. As you know, it’s a great spot, and it deserves attention.


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