13 August 2006 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 3 comments

My friend Scott Patchan has spent about five years working on a manuscript on a long-overlooked but interesting period of the Civil War, the period of time between Jubal Early’s withdrawal from the Washington suburbs on July 13, 1864 until just before the Third Battle of Winchester, which was fought on September 19. Among the interesting events that took place during this time were thrashing of George Crook’s army at Second Kernstown, the burning of Chambersburg, the defeat of the Confederate cavalry at Moorefield, WV on August 7, and a lot of other similarly interesting events.

However, this period has received scant attention from historians. Perhaps it’s because this period lacks the drama of Sheridan’s Valley Campaign. Perhaps it’s because Horatio G. Wright and Crook aren’t compelling figures. Perhaps it’s because the combat that occurred was not major combat involving full-scale armies. For whatever reason, this time frame simply does not seem to attract attention.

Scott has put together a complete and compelling account of this period. I’d read, edited, and critiqued the first half of it a couple of years ago, and was really impressed by his thoroughness. Now, I’m working on the second half. I’ve reach the end of the Battle of Second Kernstown and Early’s pursuit of Crook’s beaten army.

Most of the time, I’m working on my own stuff. I rarely get to work on other people’s stuff, even though it’s something I really enjoy doing. The last time that I did something like this was the copy edit of Ironclad’s next book, which is titled The Battle Between the Farm Lanes: Hancock Saves the Union Center, Gettysburg, July 2, 1863. Since our normal copyeditor was one of the authors of that book, it fell upon me to do the copy edit, and I have to admit that I really enjoyed it.

I’ve read and commented upon approximately 110 pages of the second half of Scott’s manuscript since receiving it a couple of days ago. It’s got just the sort of tactical detail that I really enjoy, and it’s got great coverage of a tactically interesting but overlooked battle like Second Kernstown. I’m reading it for both style and content, meaning that I’m doing a full edit as well as looking for factual glitches or errors.

I’m pleased to say that this is going to be a terrific book once completed. It’s got just the right level of tactical detail while placing these events squarely in the context of the big picture, which is critical to understanding why these battles meant something other than some casualties and some interesting tactics.

It’s also providing a good break for me before starting with the tweaking of the Dahlgren manuscript. Taking a couple of weeks away from it before getting cranked up to edit it will ultimately do me good, as some space between drafts is always a good thing. Once I’ve finished with Scott’s manuscript, I will then get started with tweaking Dahlgren. Of course, along the way, I will probably have to interrupt both to incorporate that other set of letters into my Rush’s Lancers manuscript.

A historian’s work is never done.

Scridb filter


  1. Flamike
    Mon 14th Aug 2006 at 9:15 am

    When / where will this be published. Did he not also do a book on Chinn Ridge? I’ve tried to find it – it is more difficult then his Battle of Piedmont book ( The Forgotten Fury) to find.

    Mike Yuhas

  2. Mon 14th Aug 2006 at 11:33 am


    I don’t know if Scott has a publisher lined up for the Valley piece, but I don’t believe he does. I will be happy to ask him if you like.

    There’s a good reason why you haven’t found the Chinn Ridge piece–it has yet to be published. Less than a month ago, Scott submitted it to me for inclusion in Ironclad’s The Discovering Civil War America Series, and it will appear as an installment in the series some time in 2007.


  3. Mon 14th Aug 2006 at 2:37 pm

    I’ll be definitely looking forward to the Valley manuscript as well. I think it was on your CWDG site that Scott mentioned he was trying to publish a revised edition of his Piedmont book, so maybe people who don’t own it yet might want to hold off paying a high price for the earlier edition and wait a bit for the possibility of the new one.

Comments are closed.

Copyright © Eric Wittenberg 2011, All Rights Reserved
Powered by WordPress