22 January 2007 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 7 comments

Fellow barrister Jack Dempsey wrote this morning to ask me how to obtain a copy of the book from which I transcribed all of those reports on the Michigan Cavalry Brigade. I answered his question–Jack, I hadn’t realized you were a fellow member of the bar until you wrote–and then figured that I ought to share that information with all of you. Thanks for writing.

There is a company from Salem, Massachusetts called Higginson Books, which does print-on-demand (“POD”) reprints of local history books and genealogies. Several years ago, they also got into the business of doing POD reprints of rare regimental histories and memoirs. Higginson created a new division, called Ward House Books.

Ward House has a vast selection of regimental histories, including some that are EXTREMELY rare. Three examples will do. The history of the 8th New York Cavalry was written by Henry Norton, and it’s quite rare indeed. Ward House offers a POD reprint of it. I’ve only ever seen two copies of the regimental history of the 19th New York Cavalry, also known as the 1st New York Dragoons, and Ward House offers a reprint of it. The regimental history of the 6th New York Cavalry is one of the rarest of all, and Ward House offers it, too. At this point, I probably have something close to two dozen of the Ward House reprints.

The books themselves are well enough done, but they’re not going to win any beauty contests. From my perspective, that’s okay–I buy them to use them in my work, not for their pretty appearance. Ward House books have a no-frills cloth library-style binding, and the books are exact replica reprints of the originals, even including pencil marks, etc. The books are printed on acid-free paper, and are reasonably priced. Once or twice per year, Ward House has a major sale–25% off list prices–and, unless it’s something that I really need right then for my work, I usually wait for the sales to roll around to order books. Because the books are POD, it typically takes three weeks or so from the time an order is placed until the book ships, but it’s well worth it. It means that I now own copies of regimental histories that used to require a special trip to Carlisle to use.

I can wholeheartedly recommend Ward House’s replica reprints to anyone who’s interested in regimental histories, and I can likewise recommend Higginson’s local histories and genealogies to anyone interested in those topics, too.

Scridb filter


  1. Dave Kelly
    Tue 23rd Jan 2007 at 10:27 am

    Dang. This is why I hang around here. Ya keep castin these pearls…(oink, oink)

    Seriously, I no sooner finished reading your recaps of the Michigan Bde AARs than I stumbled over a copy of MI in the CW in an ebay auction. Got a slightly damaged 1st Ed. for $45.00.

    Twas Eric not de devil made me dood it…. ;).

  2. Don
    Tue 23rd Jan 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks Eric, finally found a copy of the 3rd PA Cav history that I’ve been searching for! The references that you and JD have put out on your blogs over the last month or so have been absolutely invaluable.

  3. Tue 23rd Jan 2007 at 2:06 pm

    You’re welcome, guys. I’m glad that this information has some value to you.

    Don, the 3rd Pennsylvania History is an especially good one.


  4. Wed 24th Jan 2007 at 11:01 am

    I’m one of the lucky few who owns an original 1st edition of the 6th NY Cavalry’s regimental – the only other one I’ve ever seen was at Carlisle. Even Higginson didn’t do a reprint of it until late last year, because they simply couldn’t locate one. My copy is in a safe, protected by motion detectors, lasers, alarms, a trap door floor, and a pit bull that never sleeps 🙂

    I constantly watch the Higginson/Ward House site for new prints. Love the 25% off sale, too.


  5. Don
    Fri 26th Jan 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Do you know of any similar companies who reproduce Confederate regimental histories? Ward House seems to be primarily Union-oriented.
    I ask because I’ve been looking for a few Virginia cavalry regiments, and haven’t had much luck. There is a Virginia Regimental Histories Series, but they’re pretty brief. I have one volume, on the 3rd VA cav (80 pages plus appendices). There aren’t any footnotes, but it does have a very good bibliography of primary and secondary sources so one at least has an idea of where to go look for more info.
    They simply don’t seem to be on the scale of the histories that I’ve seen at Ward House and elsewhere, so I suspect/ hope there are others somewhere.

  6. Mon 29th Jan 2007 at 10:59 am


    I don’t.

    I actually think that rather than it being a North vs. South thing, it’s more of a winner vs. loser thing. The fact is that there are few contemporary Confederate regimental histories that I’ve seen. Mostly, they’re memoirs and reminiscences, and Ward House has a nice selection of those.   

    One of the rarest of Confederate histories is Richard L. T. Beale’s history of the 9th Virginia Cavalry.  The last time I saw a first edition for sale, it was $1250.  Ward House offers it among its selections.  My point is that they seem to have a pretty good selection of what’s available, which isn’t all that much.


  7. Don
    Mon 29th Jan 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks for the info. That’s what I was afraid of. I’d hoped there was a network of small publishers doing reprints that the majority of the public simply wasn’t aware of.
    And thanks for the tip about the Beale reprint!


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