Tag Archives: Joseph Glatthaar

Soldiering the Army of Northern Virginia

Here is a fairly recent interview with Joe Glatthaar about his latest book, Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia: A Statistical Portrait of the Troops Who Served under Robert E. Lee, which is the companion book to his massive study of the Army of Northern Virginia. Glatthaar touches on a number of things, including the number of deaths in the Civil War, desertion, and the army’s connection to slavery.

[Uploaded to YouTube on June 17, 2014]

 

Why Confederate Camp Servants

The most recent issue of The Civil War Monitor contains a letter-to-the-editor about a recent essay of mine on Confederate camp servants [Spring 2013]. From Mr. John H. Whitfield:

While the article was enlightening on the issue of enslaved Africans who were wartime “body servants,” it presented a rather narrow view of the panoply of roles in which the enslaved were critical to the Rebel war effort. For instance, the impressment of slaves, authorized throughout the Confederacy in 1862, sent countless men to construct earthworks at various strategic locations.

Mr. Whitfield is absolutely spot on regarding the place of enslaved blacks in the Confederate war effort. There are a number of excellent studies that examine these various roles, including books by Glenn David Brasher,Joseph Glatthaar, and Bruce Levine. Those of you with an interest in this topic will definitely want to check out Jaime Martinez’s forthcoming book, Confederate Slave Impressment in the Upper South, which will be out with UNC Press in December. Continue reading

 

Civil War 150: Mobilizing For War

The latest issue of the Magazine of History will be mailed to subscribers in the coming day and it’s a good one.  This is the second in a series of Civil War themed issues that will be published throughout the Civil War 150th.  This issue focuses specifically on the mobilization of war and includes essays by Joseph Glatthaar, Thavolia Glymph, Louis Masur, and Joan Cashin.  Carol Sheriff served as the guest editor and did a great job of pulling everything together.  I greatly appreciate the invitation to contribute an essay to this issue.

My essay, “Teaching Civil War Mobilization With Film,” offers teachers strategies for introducing this subject through such movies as Gone With the Wind, Shenandoah, and Glory.  I also focus a bit on the importance of treating these films as cultural artifacts that must be interpreted as reflections of the time in which they were produced.  All too often students passively observe films and arrive at the mistaken belief that what they are seeing is history.

A few of us put together a panel based on our essays for the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians, which meets in a few weeks in Milwaukee.  Stop by and check it out.

Almost forgot one thing.  If you teach American history, you should subscribe to this magazine.  It’s an incredible resource.

 

Rotov Reviews Glatthaar’s Numbers Crunching

Dimitri Rotov has a fiery post up that evaluates Joseph Glatthaar’s recent scholarship – specifically his use of statistical analysis in his recent studies.  It’s a worthwhile read, though Rotov chose to embeds his analysis in his vaguely-defined “Centennialist” school paradigm.  He begins with this little gem:

“Joseph T. Glatthaar is an early middle-aged Centennialist being groomed by Gary Gallagher to walk in the shoes of himself, Sears, McPherson, and the old storytellers – Williams, Williams, Catton, etc.”

I’m sure Glatthaar would find such an evaluation of his career as laughable, but this sort of critique is standard in Rotov’s arsenal.  In the end, it fails to shed any light at all on Glatthaar’s scholarship.  We do get closer to a formal critique re: Glatthaar’s citing of casualty figures in General Lee’s Army: From Victory to Collapse.  Rotov begins by taking Glatthaar to task for his imprecise citation of casualty figures and his failure to utilize Thomas Livermore’s Numbers and Losses.  Rotov didn’t bother to look up Glatthaar’s references for his Cedar Creek Mountain, but it only takes a few seconds to learn that they were pulled out of one of the appendices in Robert K. Krick’s, Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain.  It’s not clear to me what exactly is problematic with citing one of the authorities on this particular battle.

Click to continue

 

Joe Glatthaar on “Why the Confederacy Lost”

Looks like Vanderbilt University has put together a first rate speakers series [see here, here, and here] on the Civil War.  It is safe to say that the most important book to be published on the Army of Northern Virginia in recent years is Joseph Glatthaar’s, General Lee’s Army: From Victory to Collapse.  I read through the book when it was first published and have since gone through large sections of it again.  While the book offers an incredibly rich narrative it is Glatthaar’s statistical sample that constitutes the real value of this study.  Glatthaar’s statistical portrait of the ANV is slated to be published by the University of North Carolina Press: Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia: A Statistical Portrait of the Troops Who Served under Robert E. Lee.  You get a taste of this aspect of the book in this presentation.