12 February 2008 by Published in: Research and Writing 10 comments

J. D. and I have been working up an idea of what we’ve already got and what we need to obtain in order to feel like we’ve gotten what there is to have on Early’s 1864 raid on Washington. Between us, we already have quite a bit of information. However, the easiest way to keep track of what we’ve got and what we need is to maintain a working bibliography of the sources we’ve either already got, or want to get. Our working bibliography is already 17 single-spaced pages long so far, and there’s plenty more to go.

We’ve been working our network enlisting help where we can with tracking things down. Old friend Dave Powell sent along two excellent accounts, one from a trooper of the 8th Illinois Cavalry, and one from the 149th Ohio Infantry, one of the 100 days’ units. I’ve gotten some excellent newspaper accounts from the Macon, Georgia paper. Scott Patchan’s been particularly helpful. His excellent Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign begins just after the events that we cover, so Scott’s work not only complements what we’re aiming to do, it also means that there are a lot of interchangeable sources, and Scott has been very generous about sharing them with us. There are lots of others who have been just as willing to help.

My point in raising all of this is that it never ceases to amaze me how helpful folks in this little Civil War community of ours are, and how freely they give of themselves when asked. Sure, we could find this stuff ourselves, but it would mean that the project would take a lot longer to complete, and we might miss things we otherwise wouldn’t have known about. I’ve said this many times: some of the very best people that I have ever met are folks that I’ve met as a direct result of my work with the Civil War, and the generosity of this community never ceases to amaze me.

I try to return the favor whenever and wherever I can, and have several different things that I’m reviewing for people in an effort to return some of that good karma.

Scridb filter


  1. Wed 13th Feb 2008 at 9:33 am

    While I don’t have some stash of primary sources, if you need anything from my trip logs, on site photos, or just advice for navigating the sometimes confusing road structure, they are at your disposal.

    Recently I’ve been adapting some of the “tool sets” from my day job projects. Without going into too much detail, management systems tracking op-tempo, battle rhythm, and situational awareness templates. Certainly has helped me assimilate different sources of information in one coherent index.

  2. Wed 13th Feb 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks, Craig. I really appreciate it.

    I expect we will take you up on it, particularly with figuring out the routes of march.


  3. Valerie Protopapas
    Wed 13th Feb 2008 at 5:31 pm

    You might consider ‘tapping into’ Mr. Steven Meserves of the Stuart-Mosby Society. Apparently, he has considerable information on the matter as I remember him asking if I were I one of those who actually believed that Early intended to attack Washington – and, if so, I must believe that General Wallace saved the Capitol and, possibly the war for the Union.

    At the time, as I had admittedly insufficient knowledge to hold EITHER viewpoint, I could not respond. However, it certainly appeared to me that Mr. Meserves was in possession of facts that obviously called into question General Early’s intentions regarding an assault on the Capitol and all that went with it.

    You may find his comments on the matter enlightening since he certainly is well informed.

  4. Thu 14th Feb 2008 at 2:13 am

    Amen, Eric… and wait til you see the email from Bob G. that I forwarded to you tonite. He’s been working the RI HS in Providence, and has come up with a real treasure trove… it’s coming in the mail and I can’t wait to see it.

    Looks like a virtual mountain of material never used on this subject yet.


  5. Gail Stephens
    Thu 14th Feb 2008 at 8:26 am


    At the risk of repeating myself, there’s a treasure trove at Monocacy, which you should look examine. New stuff from New Jersey and a lot of stuff I found in North Carolina, Virginia and at the Huntington Library in California plus a lot of books. Don’t forget Cooling’s books, including “Symbol, Sword and Shield” on the DC Defenses. Also Early’s Memoir of the Last Year of the War and available at or through the park, Ed Bearss’ original report on the battle which has lots of of primary source material and his wonderful maps. Finally, Glenn Worthington’s “Fighting for Time.’ He saw the battle and talked to a lot of the veterans later and he’s the reason we have a battlefield. Unfortunately, he didn’t document his sources.

    Early did intend to take Washington. Found two messages at the Huntington, which had been “lost” in which he says he intended to take Washington, if he could. Cooling has them in the new version of his classic “Jubal’s Raid,” and I’m citing them in my book on Wallace.

    Would be interested to see what the Mosby folks have. Early did not think Mosby did his job and there was considerable postwar sparring between the two, some of which I have.


  6. Thu 14th Feb 2008 at 11:05 am

    Hi Gail,

    We have those books and will be mining everything that the Monocacy VC has and is able to offer. And as for the Mosby front – anything that you are able to assist us with would be greatly appreciated! We definitely intend to explore that angle because it’s a major part of the story, as you well know.


  7. Don
    Thu 14th Feb 2008 at 8:22 pm


    As always, if I can be of service, it’s yours, but I don’t think any of “my” units were near there.


  8. Valerie Protopapas
    Thu 14th Feb 2008 at 8:38 pm

    I would offer Mosby help if desired, but of course, it would be from Mosby’s perspective not because of my particular point of view, but because the information I have comes from Mosby sources most of whom believe that he made every attempt to work with Early but was rebuffed.

    I will say this, however (and I can try to find the source), when Early was asked WHY HE DID NOT MAKE USE OF MOSBY during his operations in the Valley, he said words to the effect that he was “damned if his men were going to do the fighting while Mosby did the looting.” I should think that this comment alone puts the blame for the failure squarely where it belongs – with Early although admittedly, Mosby was not impressed by the other man’s treatment of him and his command.

    The problems between Early and Mosby after the war involved Early’s attempt to get Mosby to validate his account of what happened and when Mosby baulked, Early accused him of failing to support his assault. Mosby demurred and then pointed out that while he remained in Virginia as an ‘outlaw’ after Appomattox, Early fled the country (presumably because of the burning of Chambersburg). The prickly little partisan noted that Early was the first man who had been declared a ‘hero’ after ‘running away’. Their relationship further soured (if that were possible) when Mosby supported Grant and during the Hayes-Tilden campaign, became a Republican. Like Longstreet, Mosby felt Early’s ‘Lost Cause’ wrath.

  9. Sun 17th Feb 2008 at 2:07 am

    Good stuff, Valerie – and I’ve been reading that in Mosby’s letters (published by the SMS). I had already put the book in the bibliography and will be using that material. Interesting personality clashes indeed.


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