Folks often call or email inquiring about upcoming issues. For callers, when I’d say the blockade of the Potomac, after a moment or two of silence the response most often was, “What blockade . . . there was a blockade of the Potomac River? When was that?” Truth be told, my reaction was similar when Rob Orrison, Virginia Historic Site Operations Supervisor for Prince William County (Va.), pitched the idea to me in February. I wasn’t sure there would be enough to warrant a “General’s Tour” treatment. Rob and his coauthor Bill Backus said there was. Bill is Manager of Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park in Prince William County. For the historical enrichment and enjoyment of us all, they were right. Read more
Posts from the ‘Editor’s Letter’ Category
Helena For the First Time
There’s a special thrill seeing a Civil War battlefield for the first time. We’ve done several issues on Arkansas, but they were all in the western part of the state: Pea Ridge, Prairie Grove, action in and around Fort Smith. One exception was a brief stop in a field near the defunct Civil War town of Mound City, a short distance north of Memphis on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River. There a soybean farmer and a Memphis attorney located the buried remains of the illfated steamboat Sultana. It was part of a 1990 “General’s Tour” feature.
Back in 1983 when Blue & Gray was founded, I never thought there would be a “General’s Tour” requiring anything but a dependable vehicle with a full tank of gas, good hiking shoes (boots preferred), and a proper functioning odometer. Also, since that kind of touring by its very nature had to be what I termed “turf-bound,” it was pretty clear that oceanic naval operations would not become Tour features.
The Making of A Legend
The story of Stonewall Jackson and his battle at Cedar Mountain with principal adversary Nathaniel Banks can not be fully understood without placing the fight in its proper context. Feature article author Michael Block offers the argument that the battle was not an opening action of the Second Manassas Campaign in the summer of 1862, as many accounts claim, but rather a concluding action to the Union’s failed campaign on the Virginia Peninsula.
Tribute to Wiley Sword
Wiley Sword was a good friend and confidant, and I am proud to have been his editor and publisher on numerous projects. His passing in November was a shock and surprise. Recent heart surgery had been successful and he said he felt the subsequent complications had been resolved. I figured a brief lapse in communication was because he was back on the golf course, or writing, collecting war letters, and just enjoying life. He will be missed.
North Anna Battlefields
In 1993, Mike Miller wrote a B&G feature article on the North Anna Campaign. At that time his book on the subject, The North Anna Campaign: “Even to Hell Itself,” May 21-26, 1864, was still a current event. The issue’s Driving Tour was six pages and the presentation of Mike’s feature was accompanied by only five maps. The issue had a Preservation Message by John F. Cummings that told about hopes and plans to save the North Anna battlefields from impending development.
Battle of the Rosebud
It’s been almost ten years since we published Neil Mangum’s feature article on Custer and the 7th Cavalry at the Little Bighorn. It was very well received and successfully crossed the line into the realm of Indian Wars buffs. The Blue & Gray logo was prominently displayed in the Little Bighorn bookstore until there were no copies left.
New Battlefield Park to Open
When I visited Resaca, Ga., last September to lay out a Driving Tour and met Ken Padgett, President of the Friends of Resaca Battlefield, he was not convinced he had much of a battlefield to show me. Ken seemed resigned to Resaca’s uncertain fate as he unlocked the gate and motioned me through. It sure looked like a park, with a paved road, historical markers, and an exhibit pavilion. But at that time, the uncertainty of funding hung like a pall over Camp Creek Valley, where Sherman and Johnston struggled during the opening phases of the Atlanta Campaign in 1864.
The following is the Editor’s Letter from The Sailor’s Creek issue, Volume 31, #3
72 Hours Before Appomattox
This is the final issue of the Civil War Sesquicentennial observance. It doesn’t seem all that long ago when we kicked off the 150th with Hank Elliott’s feature article on First Manassas. Pardon me if I brag a bit, because I’m very proud of how we’ve covered the Sesquicentennial in Blue & Gray. In particular, we maintained balance in our five Special Commemorative issues at the beginning of each year with two features on the Eastern Theater, Hank’s, and Frank O’Reilly’s 2-issue treatment on Chancellorsville; two on the Western Theater, Jim Jobe’s Forts Henry and Donelson and Eric Jacobson’s Battles at Spring Hill and Franklin; and last issue’s feature on the Civil War in Indian Territory by Mike Manning that showcased the Trans-Mississippi Theater. I like to think the vets in Blue and Gray have looked down approvingly upon our efforts.
The following is the Editor’s Letter from The Civil War in Indian Territory, Volume 31, #2
Civil War in Indian Territory
The Trans-Mississippi Theater always gets short shrift. I’ve been hearing that for years now, and frankly it’s true. I’ve also discovered that the farther west you go, the more well-rounded Civil Warriors you find. That’s because many, if not most of them, are interested in Gettysburg and Petersburg, as well as Chattanooga, Atlanta and Vicksburg, but also Chustenahlah, Pea Ridge, Baxter Springs, 1st and 2nd Cabin Creek, Honey Springs, and Middle Boggy.