The spring of 1863 came to an Army of the Potomac in the midst of change. After taking command from General Burnside in late January, “Fighting Joe” Hooker spent the early days of the year rebuilding the army, both physically and mentally. Meals were improved, with more fresh food brought in daily. The paymasters got everyone up to date on their pay, removing the burden of worrying about providing financially for those back home.
A new furlough system lessened desertions. Soldiers were granted extended leave to visit home, some for the first time since they’d enlisted more than two years prior. And as the furlough system lessened the number of men deserting, those that had already run were welcomed back. The last three weeks of March 1863 Continue Reading »
The full table of contents, which includes many authors I’m proud to be published with, is below:
“Raw Recruits” by Will Ludwigsen
“The Swell of the Cicadas” by Tenea D. Johnson
“Bad Penny” by Carrie Laben
“Spectral Drums” by Devin Poore
“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce
“Ten Thousand Miles” by Connie Wilkins
“No More Amongst the Cities of the Earth” by Christopher M. Cevasco
The Country House” by Jameson Currier
“An Unclean Thing” by Cindy Potts
“The Blank Flag of Arthur Kerry” by Kristopher Reisz
“Three Silent Things” by John F. D. Taff
“Across Hickman’s Bridge to Home” by Russell Davis
“Mistress” by Jennifer R. Povey
“Tommy Cleburne” by Jeff Mann
“The Overseer” by Albert E. Cowdrey
“Red Animal” by Ed Kurtz
“Proving Up” by Caren Gussoff
“Vermont Muster” by Nick Mamatas
“Like Quicksilver for Gold” by Chaz Brenchley
“The Beatification of Custer Poe” by Laird Barron
“The Arabella” by Melissa Scott
“The Third Nation” by Lee Hoffman
I’d planned on the joining of the upper and lower hulls on Chickasaw to be an ordeal, but it wasn’t as bad in some respects as I’d expected, but was worse in other respects. While Chickasaw doesn’t have the full “raft over a lower hull” arrangement of the original Monitor or her follow-on Passaic class ironclads, it does exist. While building the lower hull, I exerted too Continue Reading »
Something unusual. Overall a fun little kit, but I have to admit that at times I wasn’t having fun at all with some of the smaller bits and more than once Luzon nearly went sailing across a sea of profanities into the from room’s brick wall.
I’ve got a few more of these Niko resin kits from various eras (Great White Fleet, WWII British, and U.S. Cold War missile cruisers), and I’ll surely build something else from them in the future.
More photos and the full story on the build can be seen HERE.
My second piece for the Times’ “Disunion” web series has been published. “Rise of the Infernal Machines” gives an overview of the torpedoes of the day, what we now mostly know as mines. Crude, unstable, and mostly non-functional, they provided the Confederacy with a new weapon with which to strike back at the superior Union navy. Despite their endless problems, they succeeded in sinking more Union warships than all other means combined (probably speaking more to the ineffectiveness of Confederate warships and fortifications than to effectiveness of the torpedoes). The article can be access HERE.
January 1863 saw the 19th Indiana and the Iron Brigade in winter quarters, camped at Bella Plain, VA, on Potomac Creek. Still smarting from the defeat at Fredericksburg, many referred to the winter of 1862-1863 as “the Valley Forge of the Army of the Potomac”. The soldiers built wooden cabins that they fitted with fireplaces and covered with their field tents, then settled in for several months of inaction.
With little to do, talk among the soldiers turned to the recent Emancipation Proclamation. Most were against it, in the respect that they thought it changed the course of the fight. A Captain of the 19th wrote “I dont want to fight to free the Darkeys. If any body else wants to do so, they are welcome to come and do so.”(sic) The near-general consensus throughout the unit and most of the army was that they had signed up to restore and preserve the Union, not free slaves. Obviously little thought was given to the main reason that had caused the war and brought them to that place. Still, others welcomed the proclamation and couldn’t wait to get freedmen Continue Reading »
Very happy to announce that the New York Times has published my first piece for their website. Ironclad Fever is about the armored warship building frenzy in both North and South after the Monitor and Virginia (Merrimack) battle in 1862.
I’m extremely pleased to be able to put all of the historical research I’ve done while building models and writing stories into this format.
I recently acquired a copy of Ken Rand’s “The 10% Solution” and ran a couple of pieces of writing through the process. The premise is simple: nearly everyone can run through a piece of work and cut it by 10%, in the process making it sharper, more concise, and easier to understand.
The first revelation is that I had no idea how often I use “of” in my writing. I mean a lot. A whole bunch of “ofs”. That and the always prevelant “and”, “was”, and “were” jumped out at me as I ran through the process in the book. The interesting bit came when the process didn’t simply result in deleting words, but recasting entire sentences and paragraphs when those issues are called to attention, and how the resulting product is so much the better.
I’ve always taken the “walk away” approach to writing and other projects — Continue Reading »
“…just as we were training on the battery (gun emplacement or torpedo), we were struck by a torpedo, which exploded under our starboard bow, a few feet from the center and some 35 or 40 feet from the bow proper just under our provision store room, which crushed in the bottom of the boat so that the water rushed in like the roar of Niagara. In five minutes the Hold was full of water and the forward part of the gunboat was flooded… One of our heaviest bow guns had been dismounted by the force of the explosion, injuring three men. ” -George Yost.
On December 12th, 1862, the American Civil War saw yet another military first: USS Cairo became the first warship sunk by an underwater mine, or torpedo as they were known at the time. The Union Navy had known of Continue Reading »