Friday, May 15, 2020

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

For the past ten years or so a handful of environmental Civil War studies have appeared in print. Books like Nature's Civil War by Katherine Shively Meier, Ruin Nation by Megan Kate Nelson, and War Upon the Land by Lisa M. Brady, among a few others, have helped shed light on how armies and the environment influenced one another. Adding to this growing body of literature is An Environmental History of the Civil War, coauthored by Appalachian State University professors Judkin Browning and Timothy Silver. I've seen and heard a couple of online interesting interviews with the authors about the book's topical areas and how they shared research and writing responsibilities. As I am a proud Appalachian State alum, I look forward to diving into it.

Since the late 1990s, I've been collecting hardback editions of UNC Press' Military Campaigns of the Civil War series. Noted historian Gary Gallagher edited all of the books in the series until the last couple of books, which were Cold Harbor to the Crater, co-edited with Caroline Janney, and Petersburg to Appomattox, solo edited by Caroline Janney, who followed Gallagher as the John L. Nau Professor of Civil War history at the University of Virginia. The only edition that I was lacking was The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864. Well, I found a decent price on a used copy and I now have the complete set. I've heard rumors that additional editions covering eastern theater campaigns not previously examined, such as First and Second Manassas, may be published in the near future. Let's hope so!

One of the 13 "soldier comrades" at Pamplin Historical Park and National Museum of the Civil War Soldier's permanent exhibit ,"Duty Called Me Here," is 28th Massachusetts Infantry soldier Peter Welsh. Some of this Irish Brigade fighting man's letters are used to help tell his experience within the exhibit. However, I'm looking forward to reading his full extant body of letters which are collected in Irish Green & Union Blue: The Civil War Letters of Peter Welsh, edited by Lawrence Frederick Kohl and Margaret Cosse Richard. There is nothing quite like reading the words right from the soldiers' pens.

Happy reading!

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