08 August 2006 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 27 comments

My list of pending projects is really kind of staggering:

1. Finish up the history of the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry.
2. Turn in the material for the new edition of Trevilian Station.
3. Edit and finish the Dahlgren biography.
4. Complete the research and write the study of John Hunt Morgan’s Indiana and Ohio raid of 1863.
5. The Gettysburg cavalry project.
6. Complete the rewrite of my half of the John Buford biography.

Then there are ideas that are in the research phase:

1. Monocacy (this battle fascinates me, and has for a long time).
2. A study of Union cavalry operations in Pope’s Army of Virginia.
3. A biography of David McMurtrie Gregg.
4. A study of the Wilson-Kautz Raid (the research for this is actually finished; the project just keeps getting bumped)
5. A regimental history of the 6th Michigan Cavalry.
6. My study of the 11th Corps at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.

And then tonight, someone I respect a great deal suggested that I do biographies of Jeb Stuart and Phil Sheridan. I actually laughed when I read that suggestion. Yeah, rrrriiiiiiiiigggghhhhhhttttt. Fortunately, I was able to beg off on the Stuart biography, as old friend Jeff Wert is actively working on just that, and I have every reason to believe that Jeff will do a first-rate job of it. That permitted me to beg off that suggestion.

As for Sheridan, there’s just no way. For one thing, I despise Phil Sheridan, and I don’t think it’s advisable for a biographer to hate his or her subject. My biases would prevent me from presenting a fair or balanced presentation of his life. so, while I definitely agree that Sheridan deserves a really good scholarly treatment of his life, I am DEFINITELY not the right guy for the job.

Fortunately, I was able to escape from this suggestion.

Then, on top of all of it, I have to finish reading Randy Saul’s manuscript, which I started in May and never finished, and I also promised old friend Scott Patchan that I would read his, too. On top of everything else I have to do….

Sometimes, I think I am certifiably insane.

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Christ Liebegott
    Tue 08th Aug 2006 at 11:08 pm

    Eric,
    Correct me if my memory fails, but wasn’t there a rather lengthy book written just a few years ago about Morgan’s raid. That prompts my question…..is another really necessary???

    Regards,
    Christ

  2. Mike Peters
    Tue 08th Aug 2006 at 11:32 pm

    Christ:

    Have you read the book in question? The subject of Morgan’s Raid is definitely in need of a modern scholarly treatment. IMHO, the afore mentioned book lacks tactics, analysis & a bibilgraphy.

    Mike

  3. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 12:05 am

    Eric,
    What do you think of Cooling’s Monocacy book? I’ve never read it so I don’t have an opinion on it. I think Cooling overall is a big mixed bag, from very good to nearly worthless.

    Out of all your pending and idea phase projects, the Morgan raid one is certainly the one I am most interested in. Good luck with it all…LOL.

    Drew

  4. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 6:54 am

    That’s alot of irons in the fire. I noticed these ‘projects’ didn’t include your day job. : )

    How is the new firm?

  5. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 8:05 am

    Christ,

    The book you refer to is God-awful. It was self-published and did not have the benefit of a competent editor. The research–such as it was–was pretty much limited to family oral history that cannot be corroborated, and the author missed major primary sources. As just one example, August V. Kautz was the commander of the 2nd Ohio Cavalry during that period, and there are two significant collections of Kautz’s papers that were never even consulted by the author, but which would have provided a great deal of good material.

    So, the answer is yes, there is a definite need for a scholarly treatment of these events, because the last book most assuredly was not.

    Eric

  6. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 8:05 am

    Drew,

    The Monocacy book is actually quite good, some of his best work.

    Eric

  7. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 8:06 am

    Middle America,

    So far, things are great. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I am excited about and enthusiastic about the practice of law. Professionally, it’s going to turn out to be a very good thing indeed.

    Eric

  8. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 9:32 am

    Eric,

    My goodness, no need to say you think you’re certifiably insane. Let me put your mind to rest…

    You are definitely certifiably insane ๐Ÿ™‚

    There, feel better now?

    Seriously, that’s a lot of projects – but I know you well enough to know that you thrive on the activity, as do I. I’m working on finishing a couple articles, and as you know have been gathering more material for our Gettysburg cavalry project. The looking, searching, and gathering never stops, that’s for sure. That’s definitely one thing I thrive on.

    J.D.

  9. Russell Bonds
    Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 9:52 am

    Eric–

    That’s an impressive and daunting list! I must say that I admire your work ethic and your wellspring of ideas. And I’m pleased to hear that your new practice is off to a great start. Also, I wonder: your work is (broadly) divided into biographies, campaign or battle studies, and regimental or unit histories. Among these types, do you have a favorite that you enjoy researching/writing the most?

    Best wishes and regards, Russ

  10. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 11:46 am

    Eric – we are certainly cut from the same cloth. I was just talking to an associate this morning about the stack of baseball and CW projects, engagements, and to-do lists that keeps getting longer and longer. My wife says that I need to learn to say “no” – and I say that I need an extra 10 hours in the day. That said, if we didn’t do this – what would we do? You spend your days as an attorney (me an Art Director) – and then we try to balance a family (you dogs – me kids) and a second career at night as historians. Some may say that we all (authors and historians) are madmen – but it keeps us off the streets and out of trouble.

  11. Christ Liebegott
    Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 4:44 pm

    Understood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Ian Duncanson
    Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 6:22 pm

    And your problem with Sheridan is?

  13. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 6:34 pm

    Ian,

    Rather than set forth an extensive treatise here, which is not appropriate, allow me to suggest to you that I’ve published a book that spells out my arguments about Sheridan in great detail.

    Eric

  14. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 6:35 pm

    JD,

    No doubt about it. I’m determined to get through the list, and knowing me, new things will be added to it regularly. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Eric

  15. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 6:36 pm

    Russ,

    Honestly, I think I enjoy the battle studies most of all and the bios least.

    However, the spread is really quite small.

    Thanks for the good wishes. I’m having fun again for the first time in a LONG time.

    Eric

  16. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 6:37 pm

    Michael,

    Amen, brother. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Eric

  17. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 6:49 pm

    Ooh, ooh! Cough….Wilson-Kautz Raid!!!!!….Cough

    Brett

  18. Scott
    Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 8:42 pm

    Hey Eric,

    I found your blog on so many ideas and so little time very applicable and have had the same thought many times. One of the projects at the top of my list is a Sheridan bio. I think that you have covered his weaknesses in depth but I still think that there is so much about him that is just not out there. He was not a hell-bent for leather cavalryman. I’m going to albany this fall to really get into the Averell papers – Averell was really given the shaft. In my opinion, he was the most successful division commander in the Valley area during the summer and early fall of 1864 – Merritt and Custer (brigade only) not excepted. Rutherford’s Farm (4 guns and 250 pow’s), Moorefield (4 guns and hundreds of pow’s) Opequon (1 gun and scores of pow’s).

  19. John D. Mackintosh
    Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 10:25 pm

    Eric,

    Having read LITTLE PHIL, I know why you seleced that title for your examination of Sheridan and it had nothing to do with using it as an affectionate nickname for the man. I regret that when I chaired the recent LBHA Panel discussion on Eastern Cavalry leaders that ominpresent demon named time got in the way my asking the panel for a general assessment of Sheridan as cavalry commander. Greg Urwin has a different take on Sheridan and it would have been interesting to hear your opinion collide with his, in a constructive way, of course. Instead, I asked the listless Fitzhugh Lee question. Oh well, maybe another time.

    John

  20. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 10:44 pm

    Scott,

    I say go for it. You’ll do a great job on Sheridan.

    As for Averell, you know my thoughts on him, and I’m with you on it.

    Eric

  21. Wed 09th Aug 2006 at 10:44 pm

    John,

    YOu will just have to find another opportunity to get that panel together and ask that question.

    Hopefully, there won’t be any audio difficulties before hand.

    Eric

  22. John D. Mackintosh
    Thu 10th Aug 2006 at 9:13 am

    Eric,

    Yes, another time for the panel question but never again an audio problem of that nature at an LBHA!

    John

  23. Scott Smart
    Thu 10th Aug 2006 at 6:45 pm

    I would really like to see something on D. McM Gregg. Why does it seem like he was the only cav guy who got along with Meade? Why did he leave?

    Scott

  24. Thu 10th Aug 2006 at 7:17 pm

    Scott,

    Gregg was quiet and unassuming, and went about his business. That, I suspect, is why he got long with Meade.

    We don’t know why he left. His resignation letter says it was to take care of pressing business at home. The surgeon of the 6th Ohio Cavalry claimed it was because his nerves were shot. That may be, but we will never know–he never said anything publicly.

    I have a theory: Gregg was friends with both Averell and Torbert, who were his West Point classmates. I think Gregg saw what sort of rotten treatment they got at the hands of Phil Sheridan, and I think Gregg figured that sooner or later–probably sooner–Sheridan would come back to the Army of the Potomac, and I don’t think Gregg was willing to serve under Sherdan’s command, and this was the only for him to avoid that. I can’t prove it, but I believe it to be true.

    Eric

  25. Valerie Protopapas
    Thu 10th Aug 2006 at 10:32 pm

    And yet, Grant seemed to be quite ‘stuck’ on ‘Little Phil” (and by the way, what was the ‘Fitzhugh Lee question’ that was ‘listless’ as mentioned above?). Why do you suppose that was?

    Oh, and by the way, if you don’t like Sheridan, then the Berryville wagon train raid on 13 August, 1864 by Mosby and his command (his largest number of men in an action in the war) should have certainly tickled your fancy. It was a real stab to Phil’s ego and reputation and he had to ‘retrograde it’ back from whence he had started ten days earlier as a result! He got LOTS of guff from his superiors regarding that little calamity especially as Sheridan considered himself a great supply officer.

    Actually, the yellowjackets probably got the best of BOTH commanders on that one!

  26. John D. Mackintosh
    Fri 11th Aug 2006 at 12:35 pm

    The Fitzhugh Lee question sought a general appraisal of how he conducted himself throughout the war when in command of cavalry, what was his level of competentcy in the field. I called it listless since Fitz didn’t make make the sparks fly like Sheridan would have, our three panelist more or less agreed on Fitzhugh’s shortcomings.

  27. wade sokolosky
    Sat 12th Aug 2006 at 9:34 pm

    And walk the battlefield at Wyse Fork!!

    :))

    Wade Sokolosky

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