23 July 2007 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 6 comments

I have been working on the Dahlgren manuscript for more than 18 months now. For most of the last seven months, it’s been more off than on, but I have periodically worked on it. I was fortunate enough to get some good feedback and editorial suggestions from friends like Scott Patchan, and much of the last few months entailed edits based on suggestions from folks like Scott.

In part, I’ve been a little afraid to pull the trigger on this thing, largely because it’s not placed with a publisher. While I find the story terribly compelling (I had better find it compelling to have invested so much time, money and effort in it, right?), I recognize that the market for biography of a young man who died 34 days before his 22nd birthday will be limited. A limited market means that the commercial publishing houses are not interested in it. Therefore, I have two options: McFarland or a university press. At this point, I’m inclined to go with a university press, and a couple of them have expressed some interest in the project. If I can place it with the University of North Carolina Press or LSU, I think that would be an ideal placement for it.

Today, I finally decided that the time has come to pull the trigger on this thing and put it to bed. I asked old friend Ted Savas to read the manuscript and give me some feedback on it today, and Ted agreed. I will send it along tonight, and when I make any final revisions that Ted might suggest, the thing will then be finished.

At this point, I believe that I have given it my best shot. I’ve looked at several hundred sources and literally hundreds of pages of letters and diary entries written in Ully Dahlgren’s own hand. I’m confident that I have exhausted what’s available to find–with one notable exception, a newspaper article written by Dahlgren and published under the pseudonym “Truth”. I’ve looked at every issue of about a dozen different newspapers but have, to my eternal frustration, been unable to locate it anywhere. I genuinely don’t know where else to look for that article and have given up on finding it. Beyond that, though, I believe that I have exhausted what’s available to me.

It’s time to put it to bed. We shall see how things play out, but I feel good about the final result. I will keep everyone posted as to the progress of the the thing.

Scridb filter


  1. Brian S.
    Tue 24th Jul 2007 at 9:25 am


    I look forward to reading this one. You’ve talked about it quite a bit on here and you obviously put a good effort into it. And someone will send you the article after the book comes out :), so you’ll at least have the satisfaction of finally reading it. Brian

  2. Tue 24th Jul 2007 at 9:39 am

    Eric, I’m not sure if you already pursued this route, but a short drive from Fredericksburg is Dahlgren. I used to work at the Naval Surface Warfare Center there and I remember there being information on Dahlgren around the base. I’m not sure if they have any formal museum, but I do believe that they have a library and visitor’s center. Perhaps someone there could direct you to that piece you are missing. Just an idea and perhaps a poor one at that, but I would be more than happy to use my contacts here to investigate the possibility. Email me and let me know.

  3. Tue 24th Jul 2007 at 11:29 am


    That would certainly be typical. 🙂


  4. Ann
    Tue 24th Jul 2007 at 3:00 pm

    I look forward to reading this one it will be intressting

  5. Valerie Protopapas
    Wed 25th Jul 2007 at 7:50 am

    I think that your wrong about there being no interest in the biography of a man dying so young during a great war, especially at a time when young men are STILL dying so young during a great war. This is an excellent time to bring young Dahlgren’s life to the public eye. The incident is well known – at least among ACW buffs – but the story takes on a greater meaning whether one agrees or disagrees with what was being done. The fact is that Dahlgren believed in it and was willing to sacrifice all that he had to give.

    No, I don’t think that interest will be limited simply because it is the biography of a man who died young. After all, how old was John Wilkes Booth when HE died – and the interest remains.

  6. Regina
    Thu 02nd Aug 2007 at 7:20 pm

    Quite a coincidence just happened. First, I just happened to read your Dahlgren blog. (He is someone I hadn’t heard of before). Then I was at the library at the “books for sale” table, and a small paperback caught my eye. It’s called “A Stillness at Appomattox” by Bruce Catton and not only does it say it’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, but I was just at Appomattox Court House three weeks ago so I bought the book. Then I started reading it last night, got as far as page 8 and there’s Ulric Dahlgren as a character!! The book tells the story of the last year of the war and it begins with Dahlgren’s attempt to free prisoners in Richmond. I guess I’ll read the book when you get it published. Also, I read “Plenty of Blame to Go Around” and drove almost half of the tour (Hanover, Carlisle, and Hunterstown) and I really liked the way you wrote the book !! Each section is very interesting and the drive tour is the easiest-to-follow of any driving tour I have used–seriously.

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