Miscellany – Part I

The variety of posts possible regarding the 11th Corps is seemingly unlimited, but this week has been uninspiring for me.  I have a couple of ideas I may work up into longer articles and a few ideas percolating in my mind for blog posts, but nothing specific that begs to be published this week.  In a way this is an opportunity, giving me the chance once in a while to “spout off” on various Civil War topics that may or may not be 11th Corps related.  Welcome to my first “Miscellany” post!

I subscribe to the Gettysburg Discussion Group’s email discussion forum, and there were a couple of interesting posts recently.  First, there was a reference to the latest issue of The Gettysburg Magazine and an article by Allen Guelzo (“The Unturned Corners of the Battle of Gettysburg”).  I happened to pick up a copy of the magazine while visiting the battlefield last month and had not had a chance to read the article yet.  I’ve read the first couple of sections and it’s a fascinating, if not controversial, read.  I haven’t gotten to the section on army politics, but I will not be surprised if a blog post comes out of my reading.

Second, in a discussion of Sears versus Coddington I chimed in with my opinion that Coddington is better.  While I enjoyed Sears’ Antietam and Chancellorsville books, I found his Gettysburg disappointing.  A GDG member enlightened me to the fact that Sears included information on military intelligence that was not available when Coddington wrote his tome.  This member’s references to the late Edwin Fischel’s The Secret War for the Union intrigued me enough to find a second-hand copy.  I’m four chapters into this book and enjoying taking my time digesting Fischel’s engaging writing style.  I’ve already had some spy myths busted in my reading and I’m not even into 1862 yet.

Most interesting Civil War memoir I’ve read?  Joseph Johnston’s Narrative of Military Operations.

Most disappointing Civil War battlefield?  Malvern Hill.

My two “favorite” Civil War generals are Confederate?  And neither of them are Robert E. Lee?  Go figure.

I have to remind myself occasionally that I don’t know what it was really like during a specific battle; reading about something is not the same as being there.  I try to be objective and I want to know the truth, but I also understand that much of what we read in letters, reports and memoirs is the truth as “they” saw it.  Walt Whitman had said “the real war will never get in the books”.

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