Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ghosts on My Bookshelf

My collection of books outgrew the shelves in our house long ago.  The titles crowd my bedside table, clutter my closet, and sit in piles in the basement. I usually buy them for reading and research and don't generally seek rare or collectible copies.  However, in picking up inexpensive, used books over the years, I've managed to acquire several old gems here and there.  The end and title pages from some of these reveal previous owners.  Here are a few of them.

War Talks of Confederate Veterans, edited by George S. Bernard, Petersburg:  Fenn & Owen, 1892.  This is my treasured first edition of George S. Bernard's book.  My copy came with an eight page pamphlet of review excerpts tucked inside the boards by the original publisher.  John Horn, John Selby, and I edited Bernard's long lost second edition, which we titled Civil War Talks and published through the University of Virginia Press in 2012.  My copy of the "first edition" of War Talks was given as a Christmas gift in 1917 to a "G.A. Lewis III."

General Hancock, by Francis Walker, New York:  D, Appleton, 1894.  This one is signed by Harold P. Goodnow, an 1895 graduate of Cornell University.  Goodnow wrote an article about Gettysburg, which appeared in the 1895 Annual Report of the American Historical Association. He was later listed as a Second Lieutenant in "Battery D," U.S.A. in 1899.

Richmond At War:  The Minutes of the City Council, 1861-1865, edited by Louis Manarin, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1966.  Signed by J. Ambler Johnston for Kenneth M. Broughton.  Johnston, a 1904 graduate of Virginia Tech and president of the Tech Alumni Association, was co-founder of Carneal and Johnston, an architectural-engineering firm that designed many of the buildings on his alma mater's campus. He also was involved in supporting the purchase of battlefields around Richmond, and developing the historical markers on those grounds.  Johnston was chairman of Richmond Civil War Centennial Committee.  Broughton served as Secretary of the Confederate Historical Society.

Storm over the Land: A Profile of the Civil War by Carl Sandburg, New York:  Harcourt Brace, 1942. Signed: "John W. Martin, Dartmouth"

War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.  I have several volumes of the Official Records signed by a "Ben L. Hewit."  As far as I can tell, these books belonged to Benjamin Lightner Hewit, of Blair County, PA, who served in the 23rd Pennsylvania early in the war, with later stints as a member of the Pennsylvania militia at the time of the Gettysburg Campaign, and as a Major, Paymaster of Cavalry.  After the war, he represented Blair County in the Pennsylvania legislature in the late 1800s.  He died in office in 1894 and is buried in Hollidaysburg, PA.

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies, Series I, Vol. 9.  This title is inscribed "Presented to Geo. W. Williams by Senator J. L McLaurin."  John L. McLaurin was a Democratic U.S. Senator from South Carolina at the turn of the century.  He studied law at the University of Virginia.  My best guess is that the book was presented to George Walton Williams (1820-1903), a Charleston merchant and banker.  


Friday, August 21, 2015

Video of Talk at the Blenheim Center: Richmond-Petersburg Campaign

Here is a video of my March 2015 talk at the Civil War Interpretive Center at Historic Blenheim in Fairfax, Va.  For those who haven't had a chance to read Richmond Must Fall, this talk covers many of the book's highlights in about 40 minutes.    

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Blenheim and want to thank David Meyer and Andrea Loewenwarter for arranging the talk there.  Afterward, they gave me a personal tour of Blenheim itself, which contains some fascinating Civil War graffiti scribbled by Union soldiers during the war.   Rachael Roth and the staff at Cityscreen 12 of Fairfax Cable TV filmed the presentation and did a great job creating a condensed version of the talk. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Lynn Kristianson

I learned today that Lynn Kristianson passed away earlier this week.  For years, she was my go-to person for research at the Arlington Public Library. Over the course of several projects, she fielded my never-ending requests for books and articles, going out of her way to track down the most obscure materials and always taking time to ask about my progress.  In addition to her work at the library, Lynn developed perennial gardens at multiple sites in Arlington and was an avid cyclist.  My thoughts go out to her family. I will miss her.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Visit to Fort Fisher

Last weekend we headed down to Kure Beach, N.C. for an anniversary celebration with some dear friends.  As part of the weekend's activities, I was asked to provide a short presentation on the grounds of Fort Fisher.  I talked about the Civil War in eastern North Carolina and Union efforts to capture Fort Fisher near the war's end.  We had a lively discussion in front of the Fort under beautiful skies. It was a great opportunity to talk a little about my current research interests (N.C. in 1864). It was also a nice excuse to reread my copy of Chris Fonvielle's excellent study, The Wilmington Campaign: Last Rays of Departing Hope.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Talk at Blenheim Center, March 21

Blenheim Center, Fairfax, Va.
On Saturday, March 21, I'll be giving a talk about the Petersburg Campaign at the Blenheim Civil War Interpretative Center in Fairfax, Va. Here are the details:

March 21, 2015, 2 p.m.
"The Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, October 1864"
Hampton Newsome will describe the October 1864 battles between Grant and Lee in Virginia.  He will examine the Confederate attacks along the Darbytown Road on October 7 outside Richmond, one of Lee’s last offensive operations of the war.  The talk will also cover Grant’s major offensive on October 27 to seize the South Side Railroad, the last open rail line into the Confederate stronghold at Petersburg. Mr. Newsome is the author of Richmond Must Fall: The Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, October 1864 and an editor of Civil War Talks: Further Reminiscences of George S. Bernard and His Fellow Veterans. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Odds and Ends

From Clark, Histories of Several Regiments and Battalions . . .

I plan to slow down my (already slow) blogging over the next few months to devote a little more time to research and writing.  I'm currently in the early stages of a project involving the Confederate operations in 1864 to recapture key positions in eastern North Carolina.

For now, here are a two posts I've been meaning to put up recently:

Tour of Grant's Sixth Offensive at Pamplin Park:   

On Friday, October 17, I had the great fortune to conduct a tour with Will Greene down at Pamplin Historical Park as part of the 18th Annual Symposium there.  We covered Grant's Sixth Offensive at Petersburg, the main subject of my book Richmond Must Fall. Will Greene possesses a vast knowledge of the Petersburg Campaign and it was a great to see him in action on the tour. We enjoyed the rare opportunity to visit some of the key sites involving the operations on October 27, 1864 and were able to share the day with a bus full of friendly, highly knowledgeable, and engaged companions.     

Journal of Southern History:  Review of Richmond Must Fall 

The August issue of The Journal of Southern History has a nice review of Richmond Must Fall  by Robert R. Mackey author of The UnCivil War: Irregular Warfare in the Upper South, 1861-1865 (OU Press, 2004).  This review, published in one of the most highly-regarded journals in the field, was great to see.  Here are a few excerpts.

"Newsome's clear prose and organization, which make a fairly complex series of battles into a logical, effective, and highly readable tome, are the highlight of the work. . . . Overall, Newsome has added to the growing body of knowledge of the Civil War by covering in detail this important but often forgotten campaign in the fall of 1864. The author's extensive use of source materials is impressive and should be a model for other scholars in the field, and his adroit use of first-person accounts is excellent." - Robert R. Mackey, The Journal of Southern History

Monday, October 13, 2014

Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable

I had a great time talking to the Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable last week.  Seattle is one of my favorite places, so when they contacted me about speaking, I jumped at the chance. My presentation covered the Petersburg Campaign with a focus on the battles in October 1864.  The meeting was welcoming, informal, and, well, fun.  The Q&A session demonstrated the depth of knowledge in the room.   

Pat Brady, the program coordinator, kindly took me to lunch before the meeting.  Among other things, we discussed his ongoing Cold Harbor campaign book project.  From the sound of it, this should be a substantial, thorough work, backed by years of dogged research and thoughtful reflection.  During our chat, we touched on Grant's expectations for the May 1864 campaign, Lee's offensive-defensive approach, Meade's strained relationship with Grant, and the challenges of writing a battle study.  It was a great time and a great trip.