Thursday, May 09, 2013

First off, I want to apologize to everyone for being away from this blog since my last posting on 2 February 2013. It has been a few crazy months here so I will try to resume my posting where I left off. Part of the reason for my absence from here has been giving some talks (two to Civil War Round Tables and one to my local public library) about the novel. I am open to giving talks about the  novel to other CWRTs as well as public libraries and bookstores that are able to sell electronic formatted books.


In my last posting I talked about how Jake and Hank began the campaign and quoted from the relevant portion of the novel. However, what I did not cite was where I obtained the background information for the Fourth NC's move northward into Maryland and its assignment, as part of George Anderson's North Carolina brigade, to make a "side trip" to opposite the Maryland shore of the Potomac near Berlin, Maryland.

First Sergeant James W Shinn, of the 4th NC, who is mentioned at various points in the novel, kept a diary of his adventures during the "Green Corn Campaign". While the original may reside at Chapel Hill in North Carolina (UNC Chapel Hill), there is a copy of a handwritten copy of Shinn's diary (done as a handwwriting assignment to his son by the last Colonel of the 4th NC at the time of the Army of No. Virginia surrender on 9 April 1865 and who was the actual commander of Company H in September, 1862) in the library files of the Antietam National Battlefield Park. Dr Thomas Clemens, now a retired Professor of History from Hagerstown (Md.) Community College, had one of his students transcribe and annotate the Shinn diary from September 1862 in the late 1990s). While the Shinn diary has its mistakes, it is often quoted by researchers and authors who have written about the Confederate campaign into Maryland. This makes it -- despite its seeming flaws -- invaluable as a primary source since he was there and his experiences, as set down on paper, bring the day to day aspects of the campaign to life in ways otherwise not possible.

As I quoted in the last post, Jake and Hank and the rest of the regiment were ordered to take part in the operation against the Yankee rail and canal system in Maryland. When I was doing the research into the very early phases of this campaign, some sources suggested that Geo. B Anderson's brigade became a "lost" brigade because it did not cross into Maryland on 4 September with the rest of Daniel Harvey Hill's Confederate division. The Shin Diary explained the reason why the brigade was detached from the division and the history of that detachment is reflected in "A Beginning", the first chapter of Part I of the novel.

I will make serious efforts to continue my blog posts about the novel in the weeks and months ahead. Now that it is what reenactors call "campaign season," my posts will be approximately twice a month between now and October, but I might post more or less frequently depending on circumstances and situations and time available to me.