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Part of the fun of doing the Forgotten Cavalrymen series is bringing forgotten heroes back into the spotlight. I take great pleasure in doing that. However, it’s also great fun to commemorate a scoundrel every now and again. I’ve done that a few times in the past, such as when I profiled Col. Sir Percy Wyndham and Col. Napoleon Bonaparte Knight. Today, we’re going to profile another.

William d'Alton MannHaving spent so much time working on the Michigan Cavalry Brigade over the years, I was of course familiar with the first colonel of the 7th Michigan Cavalry, William d’Alton Mann. When I was finishing up the revision to my 2002 book Protecting the Flank: The Battles for Brinkerhoff’s Ridge and East

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Regular readers of this blog know of my great affection for the Brandy Station battlefield, and also of my affection for the great work done for decades now by the Brandy Station Foundation to preserve the battlefield. Last year, its co-founder, Clark B. “Bud” Hall, resumed the presidency and assembled an excellent board of qualified individuals and historians dedicated to battlefield preservation. Bud and his board re-focused the organization on its fundamental mission: preserving battlefield land in Culpeper County, Virginia. However, Bud is a busy guy with lots of commitments, and, having tried to re-focus the organization, he decided not to seek re-election.

Instead, the BSF has elected Joseph McKinney, a former Army officer, as president. I have a GREAT …

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3 Apr 2011, by

Upcoming events

I wanted to announce a number of upcoming events, in case anyone is interested.

First, this Saturday, April 9, 2011, I am one of the presenters at a conference being held at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. The topic is “Railroads, Raids, and Ruins–Laying the tracks of destruction in Virginia’s Civil War”, and it focuses on precisely what it sounds like. The speakers are Professor Peter Coogan (Hollins), Chris Calkins, Gordon Hamilton, a special appearance by Dr. James I. “Bud” Robertson, and me. My friend Clark “Bud” Hall was also supposed to present, but some pressing personal business has forced Bud to cancel, which means that I’m going to cover his slot. My first talk–the one I was scheduled …

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I am in the midst of doing an overhaul of my 2002 book Protecting the Flank: The Battles for Brinkerhoff’s Ridge and East Cavalry Field, Battle of Gettysburg, July 2-3, 1863. This is one of my favorite titles of my work, even though it’s a short book. It was the first in Ironclad’s The Discovering Civil War America Series–an idea I came up with–and it also made the most extensive use of The Batchelder Papers of any study of East Cavalry Field yet published. It has also sold steadily over the years, and I am grateful to Bernadette Atkins for bugging me into writing it. When Ted Savas offered me the opportunity to give it an overhaul and bring …

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This article from Newsweek is one of the best discussions of why we fight the good fight to preserve our Civil War battlefield heritage, as well as spelling out the reasons why we can never, ever let our guard down. The fight will go on…..

Battle Over the Battlefields
One hundred and fifty years after the start of the Civil War, we’re still fighting. This time it’s development vs. preservation—and development’s winning.

A casino could soon sit near the Gettysburg battlefield, the bloodiest encounter on American soil. A Walmart supercenter may shadow the Wilderness battlefield in Virginia where Gen. U. S. Grant kept his headquarters when he first fought Gen. Robert E. Lee. And Washington, D.C.’s suburban sprawl is slowly

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Let’s start the new year off with a profile of a forgotten cavalryman. It’s been too long since I last did one.

FergusonMilton Jameson Ferguson was born near Cassville, Wayne County, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1833. Friends and family called him by his middle name, Jameson. He was of Scots-Irish descent. His father, also named Milton J. Ferguson, owned a general store. He was described as “a studious young man, full of vim and vigor.” On September 21, 1854, he married Martha Jane Wellman.

In September 1853, at the young age of 20, he was admitted to the bar of Virginia and began practicing law in Wayne County. He had a busy and flourishing practice, handling litigation, estate, and …

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I don’t know whether it should make me feel better that the State of Ohio is not the only state that has scrimped on funding its Sesquicentennial celebration. Indeed, it appears that most states are avoiding funding their sesquicentennial celebrations. The following appeared on MSNBC today:

States scrimping on Civil War anniversary
Efforts to commemorate the 150th anniversary of America’s bloodiest war will begin next year and run into 2015

By CHRIS CAROLA

updated 12/26/2010 2:18:27 PM ET

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York state contributed 448,000 troops and $150 million to the Union cause during the Civil War, not to mention untold tons of supplies, food, guns and munitions.

But with the 150th anniversary of the war’s start just

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24 Dec 2010, by

Holiday Wishes

As tonight is Christmas Eve, I thought I would share a few holiday wishes, in no particular order:

To the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission: The wisdom to continue to make the correct decision and to again deny a casino license to LeVan and his crew in Gettysburg.

To the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association: Twenty pieces of silver, the price for selling your collective souls to the devil. Oh, wait. I forgot…you already are getting $250,000 per year from Dave LeVan for selling your souls by supporting the battlefield casino and have entirely abandoned any pretense of being a legitimate battlefield preservation and advocacy organization. Never mind.

To Civil War Sesquicentennial Commissions around the United States: Sufficient funding to do the job …

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The Battle of Brandy StationKen Williams has written an especially flattering review of my Brandy Station book in the November issue of The Civil War News:

The Battle of Brandy Station:
North America’s Largest Cavalry Battle
By Eric S. Wittenberg
(November 2010 Civil War News)

Illustrated, photographs, maps, notes, appendices, bibliography, 271 pp., 2010, The History Press, www.historypress.net, $24.99, softcover.

The History Press continues its Civil War Sesquicentennial Series with another concise history of a major battle in the war — this time the June 9, 1863, fight at Brandy Station between the cavalry forces of the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac.

Veteran Civil War cavalry author Eric Wittenberg brings his considerable skills to the task of describing

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This post is a month overdue, and I regret that. I’ve been struggling with symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists, and I have been trying to keep from typing as much as possible. I actually have been largely avoiding it, and it’s paid off, because the symptoms–quite painful and unpleasant, by the way–have abated some. The trade-off for that is that there just haven’t been any posts since September 30. Please forgive me for that.

Taken at the FloodProf. Joseph L. Harsh of George Mason University passed away on September 13. After overcoming modest roots in Hagerstown, Maryland, Joe dedicated his entire life to the study of the 1862 Maryland Campaign, and wrote an absolutely brilliant strategic analysis of the first …

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