25 March 2012 by Published in: Research and Writing 22 comments

Of late, I’ve been particularly intrigued by the aborted Mine Run Campaign, which is notable both for what it was as well as for what it might have been. There wasn’t a lot of fighting, largely because Gouverneur K. Warren refused to attack Robert E. Lee, who was dug in and in a nearly impregnable position. When George Meade saw that, he validated Warren’s decision and pulled back. It makes for an interesting study in command, and the campaign lacks anything definitive in terms of a study. Many of the same problems that plagued Meade in the days immediately after the Battle of Gettysburg–namely, being stuck with inferior corps commanders such as William “Blinky” French as a result of the loss of three corps commanders at Gettysburg–and Old Blinky gets the lion’s share of the blame for the lack of any real fighting at Mine Run.

Would you readers find such a book interesting, even though there’s not a lot of fighting? I’m trying to decide whether to try to do a book-length study, and I’m looking from input from you–the folks who would buy such a book–whether you would find it interesting enough to want to read it. Please don’t hold back, and please let me know your thoughts.


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  1. Todd Berkoff
    Sun 25th Mar 2012 at 7:51 pm


    I recently explored Warren’s position at the southern end of the Federal line at Mine Run–all private property but still rural today–and one can still make out the vestiges of Lee’s line that so concerned Warren. Modern roads take you along the lenght of the CS line at Mine Run, with remains of the fortications about 200-300 yards from the road in people’s backyards today, while the Federal line is nearly inaccessible and heavily wooded (the modern roads won’t get you any where close). However, one can view the US 2nd Corps line from the modern road and the land open ups in this area too allowing for some decent vistas. I’ll take you around the next time you are around.

  2. Bill Fisk
    Sun 25th Mar 2012 at 8:49 pm

    This is an integral part of the the that whole year. A full study would set up the reader for the coming events, I for one would happily buy it!

  3. Phil LeDuc
    Mon 26th Mar 2012 at 1:40 am

    By all means go for it! I too have had a fascination with the Mine Run campaign, and I’d definitely buy a book about it by you. As far as I know, the only book that covers it is Martin Graham’s short work from the H.E. Howard series, and it was written over 35 years ago.

  4. Mon 26th Mar 2012 at 7:22 am

    There is a volume on Mine Run in the HE Howard series, so it is not absolutely virgin territory.

  5. Mike Peters
    Mon 26th Mar 2012 at 10:05 am

    Professor Epperson,

    The Howard series, as you are aware, is not known for containing definitive studies. Eric’s proposed book, as his volume of work shows, would be well-researched and analyzed.

    I say bring it on Hoss!



  6. Stephen Keating
    Mon 26th Mar 2012 at 10:50 am

    A new study is needed, since the results of the Mine Run campaign heavily influenced Meade/Humphries plans for 1864. Both sides (NVA/AOP) were reacting to each other at the Wilderness as if it were a replay of Mine Run.

  7. Chuck
    Mon 26th Mar 2012 at 11:48 am

    You may want to check at Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania Military Park. I read somewhere that one of the historians there was working on Mine Run.

  8. Mike Gronski
    Mon 26th Mar 2012 at 11:50 am

    I would enjoy a book , for one.
    Reading Andrew Humphreys bookletabout actions from Gettysburg to the Rapidan, there was a lot going on even a major battle wasn’t fought.
    Humphreys here made the point that when Meade approached Lee during the campaing, Lee would retreat to entrencements, a pattern continued the following year.
    Meade found it frustrating to bring Lee to battle and was unwilling or unable to attack Lee once he was entrenched.

  9. Mike Maude
    Mon 26th Mar 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Short answer Eric? Absolutely.

  10. Tim Maurice
    Mon 26th Mar 2012 at 1:19 pm

    A belated thank you to yourself and Susan for last months talk at the roundtable meeting. it was outstanding! As for Mine Run….Yes please, now is the time with CWT having acquired so much property there we need someone like you to bring the events that happened on that ground to life and I could think of none better to do it.


  11. Mon 26th Mar 2012 at 1:32 pm


    I’d love to see your thorough approach to both Mine Run and Bristoe, with good maps. What is it about the summer/fall of 1863 that produced three relatively bloodless and unknown (the above two plus Tullahoma) campaigns?

  12. Mitch Elms
    Mon 26th Mar 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I think it would be great Eric! People tend to forget that anything happened in the east between GB and the start of the Overland campaign. Bring it on sir.

  13. Alton Bunn
    Mon 26th Mar 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Absolutely. The fall of 1863 in Va seems to have had so little coverage.

  14. dan
    Mon 26th Mar 2012 at 4:16 pm


    I think this is a great idea.

    In order to better guarantee strong sales in today’s CW world, how about this for a possible title:

    Mine Run and Civil War Memory.


    Best Regards,

  15. Tue 27th Mar 2012 at 8:05 am

    Paula Walker and I have just completed a biography of G.K. Warren and would happily read a scholarly treatment of the Mine Run Campaign. It is a largely overlooked and under appreciated event.

  16. Ted
    Wed 28th Mar 2012 at 10:11 am

    Hi E, Most people don’t know that I helped find and lay out Payne’s Farm, which all other sources had incorrectly identified. Even went out in search of canister from Carpenter’s battery firing from the intersection–and found it. I think Dave Woodbury was with me on that day.

    However, we have two manuscripts on this campaign, one coming out next year and the other in development.

  17. Ken Williams
    Wed 28th Mar 2012 at 5:08 pm

    definitely!, most definitely!

  18. Jim Williams
    Thu 29th Mar 2012 at 11:41 am

    I was looking for that unwritten book last summer. There is a serious hole in the literature. Adrian Tighe’s book on the Bristoe Campaign only goes to the end of October. The Howard book is hard to find and often expensive and nowhere near the level of what of what we have come to expect from Eric. Looking forward to it!

  19. John Foskett
    Thu 29th Mar 2012 at 1:26 pm

    To answer the question whether I would buy, emphatically “yes”. As Jim notes, Tighe (who did an extremely thorough, competent job on Bristoe) ends with October. There are two campaigns which have never been the subject of good modern studies, (cue: the points about Howard), perhaps because no really significant fighting took place – Corinth (May, 1862) and Mine Run. Tim Smith is turning out something this May which will in part address the former. By all means bring your skills to Mine Run (it can substitute for that Monmouth book I wish we’d gotten).

  20. Scott Stemler
    Fri 30th Mar 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I would definitely be interested in reading about this campaign. I will be honest in saying that I do not know much regarding this campaign, so I would add this title to my Civil War library.

  21. Chris Evans
    Tue 03rd Apr 2012 at 10:43 am

    Yes, I think it would be a very interesting campaign to look at in detail. That gap in Civil War historiography is strange.


  22. Adrian Tighe
    Sun 08th Apr 2012 at 9:33 am

    A good, detailed study of Mine Run is needed. I had thought about continuing on to that campaign after I finished The Bristoe Campaign. I became aware on a trip to Fredericksburg that there are at least two peolple already working on books, both with publishing deals. So I dropped the idea until I can see how well they cover the period. Like others I toured the area extensively and see the potential to fill that gap. As those who have read my book know, I view this period as critical to the turn of the war. It is the period when the initiative swung, and Mine Run is as key to that change as Bristoe. So I hope it gets the treament it deserves. Lucky you getting an invitation to tour with Todd, I am sure that would be a great experience, so I hope you take it up and come back and write about the day.

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