Tag Archives: Crater

How I Fooled David Blight

Update: I’ve sold two copies of the book in the past hour. I guess there is no such thing as a negative review. :-)

I have to say that I really thought my book’s Amazon page was going to be flooded with negative reviews from day one of publication.  I even spent some time strategizing over how I might respond, but the negative reviews never appeared.  Better late than never.  Up until three days ago there was only one review posted.  In the last few days one very positive review appeared and today I noticed the following review from “silver dollar”.  Continue reading

Our Confederate Dead

Blandford Cemetery

Update: Just received a private email stating that I am “incapable of feeling anything but hate for Confederate soldiers.” As always, thanks for taking the time to comment.

This weekend I was in Petersburg, where I gave a talk to a group of educators as part of teachers conference sponsored by the Civil War Trust.  I had a great time. It’s always nice to be able to catch up with my good friend, Garry Adelman, and meet new teachers.  Yesterday morning I had a chance to walk the Crater battlefield, where I got to see the incredible new view shed from the Crater back toward the guns at Fort Morton and the staging area for the battle.  After that, I headed on over to Blandford Cemetery for a quiet stroll.

I am a sucker for Blandford.  It’s not the cemetery’s importance to the battle or the fact that I can identify many of the names on the markers or even the beautiful Tiffany Windows in the church that I find so impressive.  When I walk through the arch to the Confederate section I am truly moved by what I see.  It’s a bit deceptive, especially if you have already visited the Confederate section at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.  Blandford doesn’t have the grandeur or sophistication of Hollywood and that is probably why I prefer this place.  You won’t find a pyramid at Blandford.  In fact, there are relatively few markers in the Confederate section, but it doesn’t take long to realize that those markers outline row upon row of unidentified Confederate soldiers buried by their respective states.  This section of the cemetery is a testament to the profound sense of grief and loss experienced by the community in the years following the war.  So many young men buried without any identification and far from home.  The monument to the unknown Confederate is perfectly positioned at the top of the ridge overlooking these men.  How can you not be touched on a deeply emotional level? Continue reading

Crater Talk at Virginia Festival of the Book

First things first. Thanks to all of you who emailed yesterday to share your concerns about our safety in light of the attacks that took place here in Boston.  My wife and I have lived in Boston for close to two years.  After watching the response of our community to yesterday’s tragic events, I can honestly say that there is no other place I would rather live.  I love this city.

Last month I traveled to Charlottesville to take part in the Virginia Festival of the Book.  My panel included my good friend, Rick Britton, and new friend, Ronald Coddington.  We talked about our respective books and fielded a number of excellent questions from the audience.

This coming Saturday C-SPAN will air a panel discussion about United States Colored Troops that I recently moderated at Gettysburg College.  Let’s just say it was an unusual and entertaining discussion.  I’ve actually thought about it a bit and will share some thoughts over the weekend.

Three Crater Photographs

Here are three photographs of the Crater from the Petersburg Museum that did not make it into my book. The first was taken inside the mineshaft itself and is dated 1926, though it is difficult to estimate exactly where.  Notice the sunlight that is coming in from above.  I assume the photograph was taken close to the entrance.  The second one shows a depression in the soil that follows the mineshaft up to the Crater itself, which is located by the cluster of trees just over the ridge line.  It doesn’t look much different from today.  It was taken sometime between 1926 and 1934. The final photograph, I believe, is from a point just west of the Crater looking northwest.  The tree line is much fuller today and extends all the way to the Jerusalem Plank Road.  It was taken in 1906.  I would love to find a photograph of the battlefield in the 1920s that showed the actual golf course.

Return to Charlottesville and the Virginia Festival of the Book

BookFestival-2013-Small-No-VFH-No-Date-No-Cville-ColorOn Thursday I head to Charlottesville to take part in the Virginia Festival of the Book.  I’ve been looking forward to this event for the past six months.  As many of you know I lived and taught there for ten years. It’s one of my favorite events of the year and one that I hoped to participate in once the book was finished.  I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to return and share the finished product with friends, who supported me personally and professionally.

I will be joining Ron Coddington for a panel called “Images of the Civil War.”  Many of you know Ron from his many NYTs Disunion articles as well as his three books of Civil War soldier photographs published by John Hopkins University Press.  The plan is to take a few minutes each to share some images from our books, respond to a few comments from my friend and moderator, Rick Britton, before opening it up to the audience.

This is going to be a lot of fun.  There will be plenty of books for sale.  The event takes place on Friday at 4pm at the City Council Chambers on the Downtown Mall (605 E Main St.).  I would love to see you there.

p.s. If my presence isn’t sufficient to bring you out, Michaela will be there as well. :-)