After 16 books, I think I have proven that I can write and publish a decent account of a Civil War battle. I have lots of ideas for more running around my head, and probably will never run out of ideas.
At the same time, after 16 books on the Civil War, I am ready for a change of pace. I’ve long had an interest in the Revolutionary War, and for the past three or four years now, the bulk of my pleasure reading–meaning what I read that’s not related to either my legal work or my work on the Civil War–has been on the Rev War. Consequently, I think I am ready to try my hand at something Rev War-related.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, and foremost, I like a new challenge, and I’ve never written anything substantive on the Rev War before. Second, it’s a change of pace, and I really need that.
For a long time, I toyed with the idea of doing something on Guilford Court House, which desperately needed a good modern treatment. That idea got scotched when what will probably stand as the standard reference on the battle was published earlier this year. I then shifted my thoughts toward Monmouth, which has not had a real modern treatment ever. I was headed down that road until I learned that old friend and ace New Jersey historian Joe Bilby is finishing up a manuscript on Monmouth that will be delivered to the publisher in 6-8 weeks. That brought that idea to a screeching halt.
I asked a friend what he suggested, and he suggested the 1780 Battle of Camden, SC. I looked into and liked what I saw; there’s lots of interest here, and I think I have decided to write a detailed, book-length tactical narrative on Camden. I have one more book on the Civil War under contract, which I will begin writing next month. Then would come Camden. Other than chapters in books and a one-volume compilation of primary source material, there is no book-length treatment of the battle out there, so this is blazing new territory. Camden represents a terrible defeat for Horatio Gates, who fled the battlefield and didn’t stop running for sixty miles, the death of Baron de Kalb, the presence of Tarleton and Cornwallis, and lots of implications for the future of the southern campaign, since the defeat of Gates led to his replacement with Nathanael Greene, who did a superb job.
Before I take the plunge for certain, I wanted to hear what y’all think about this idea. Am I insane? Should I undertake a challenge like this by moving into a completely different area and era? Or should I stick with what I know and what’s in my comfort zone?
Please don’t be shy. Your candid and honest opinions are what I’m looking for here, and please know that they will be a major factor in the final decision. And fear not. If I do tackle this project, it will not mean an end to my Civil War work. I doubt that anything will ever cause that to halt altogether.
Thanks, and happy holidays to one and all.Scridb filter