Monthly Archives: July 2012

Evaluating Lee at Gettysburg Part 3 in a Series

Lee’s experience taught him the value of the offense and the danger of being on the defense and allowing the enemy to have the initiative.  He had an opportunity to put this to good use in the spring of 1862.  “Lee found an eager coadjutor in the commander of the Shenandoah Valley army, Major General Thomas […]

Evaluating Lee at Gettysburg Part 2 in a Series

To understand the choices Lee made, we have to understand what he knew, and part of what he knew came from his experiences up to Gettysburg.  He was an experienced officer, so what did he learn along the way? As nearly everyone knows, he was on Winfield Scott’s staff during the Mexican-American War.  He observed […]

Evaluating Lee at Gettysburg

Gettysburg is such an important battle it’s become its own cottage industry.  Part of that is explaining confederate defeat in the battle.  Many reasons have been given over the years, some of them well thought-out, others simply to trash one person or enhance the reputation of another.  Robert E. Lee himself said, after the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble […]

Blue & Gray

Yes, this time the magazine.  Website here. This is a great magazine for the student of the war who wants to visit the war’s locations.  Battlefield tours are the specialty of the magazine.  Each issue discusses a certain part of the war in detail, and at the end of the issue gives a driving tour […]

The Civil War Monitor

The Civil War Monitor (website here) is a fairly new popular magazine about the Civil War, available at most newstands, including Barnes & Noble.  I have a few issues, and I’m very impressed.  It has excellent articles written by some top historians, it has great photos, and some excellent features.  One I like is the […]

You Tube, I Tube, We All Tube

You Tube can be a good resource for the student.  You can find videos from lectures, interviews, documentaries, and the like, many of which will open up new pathways for further study and discussion.  This can be very powerful, but you have to be careful.  There are some nutcases out there, so don’t be fooled.  […]

Using Social Media to Learn History

Attention Luddites!  Social Media is the friend of those who want to learn about the Civil War (or almost anything else, I suppose). Probably the two most popular forms are Facebook and Twitter.  I’ve found them both to be incredibly useful. On Facebook, you and your friends can share experiences and photographs.  So if you […]

The Killer Angels

I know some fellow students of the war who refuse to read any fiction.  I think that’s a mistake, especially when it comes to Michael Shaara’s terrific, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Killer Angels, which was the basis for the movie, “Gettysburg.”  Like the Ken Burns series, a lot of people were drawn to the Civil […]

Hattaway and Jones

Another book that really helped me advance as a student of the war was this masterpiece from Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones:  How the North Won:  A Military History of the Civil War.  If you involuntarily cringed at the title’s use of “the North” instead of “the Union” or “the United States,” then give yourself […]


Shelby Foote is often offered as an opposing bookend to Bruce Catton.  I think this is more of a reflection of his appearance on the Ken Burns series than his 3-volume narrative of the war.  Before the Burns series, his narrative had respectable sales, but because of that series his book sales took off to […]