Kindle version of the novel now at 99 cents

KVCoverKindleGettysburg held. Vicksburg has fallen. Now Rebel flags ring Knoxville in East Tennessee. General James Longstreet, Lee’s Warhorse, means to wrench this railroad hub away from the occupying Union army.

“I’ve long considered Michael and Jeff Shaara’s Civil War trilogy to be one of the benchmarks for Civil War historical fiction. Knoxville 1863 came very close to that mark.” -Jim Chambers for Red Adept Reviews

In this sesquicentennial of the war, the eBook version is available for the Amazon Kindle at 99 cents a copy. It’s professionally edited, proofread to eliminate misspellings, typos and other annoying errors, and has a map of the battlefield and a linked table of contents. A paperback version is available for $7.98 here.

Also now available is my 366-page, indexed non-fiction history of the 13th Mississippi Volunteer Infantry Regiment, one of the principal Rebel units in the attack on Fort Sanders, here.

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Reprise: Robert E. Lee’s Unionist Sister

[This is one of the most popular posts of this site and so worth repeating in full:]

Many families were torn apart by the war, a fact that buttresses my fictional creation Parthenia Leila Ellis, the Unionist widow of Confederate Major Clayton Ellis of Knoxville.

Many such divisions were unsung at the time, the principals being little known to anyone outside their family circles. But some were quite famous, though the divisions are seldom recalled today.

Not only was Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson’s sister, Laura Jackson Arnold, devoted to the Union, for instance, so was the sister of Gen. Robert E. Lee.

“Lee’s sister Anne Lee Marshall also disagreed with her brother. Her son fought with General John Pope against his uncle. No one in that family ever spoke to Lee again.”

Marshall, who died before the war was over, nevertheless was said to have often bragged that none of the Federals “can whip Robert,” according to Lee biographer Elizabeth Brown Pryor.

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Where Union Gen. Sanders died

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There aren’t many places in Knoxville today reminiscent of the Battle of Fort Sanders. The fort itself disappeared long ago, unless you count the neighborhood and hospital that later assumed its name. There’s Bleak House, of course, Gen. Longstreet’s headquarters. Where a Rebel sharpshooter (sniper) mortally wounded Union cavalryman Gen. William P. Sanders. His death was how the fort got its name.

And the place where he died also is still standing and said to be haunted. Then known as the Lamar Hotel, now better known as the Bijou Theater, an old vaudeville venue. Sanders’ commander Gen. Burnside was there when he died and later sent word to his Rebel sweetheart Sue Boyd. Events which figure in the novel.

Posted in "Knoxville 1863", Bleak House, Gen. Ambrose Burnside, Gen. James Longstreet, Gen. William P. Sanders, Knoxville | Leave a comment

“Our own good Colonel Cameron”

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Long before they defended Fort Sanders’s Northwest Bastion, the Seventy-Ninth New York Cameron Highlanders was decimated on the slope of Henry Hill at First Manassas, where their first regimental colonel, James Cameron, was killed by a bullet in his chest. Cameron’s brother, Simon, was then President Lincoln’s secretary of war.

“We came together again and moved forward, but we were driven back again, with many fallen, dead and wounded, and a good many others were captured,” my fictional Private Burton Laing recalls First Manassas in the novel. “We retired down the hill again, and this time we saw as we passed by him that our own good Colonel Cameron was mortally wounded.”

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A Knoxville newspaper in North Carolina

Hometown Southern newspapers were scattered across the South in July of 1864, according to the Richmond Whig. Including the Knoxville Register which “after visiting sundry places is now in Charlotte, N. C.” It was not alone:

“Fugitive Papers.—We have in our southern and southwestern exchanges constant evidence of the extent to which our people have been driven from their homes and forced to seek refuge at some other point.

“The ‘Memphis Appeal,’ now published in Atlanta, has made three moves, starting from Memphis to a point in Northern Mississippi, from which point it moved to Jackson, Mississippi; from Jackson it moved to Atlanta, and this may not be its last move, since Sherman threatens to drive it out of its pleasant place of refuge.

“‘The Chattanooga Rebel’ being driven out when we gave up Tennessee, retired to Marietta, and finding Sherman lately in too close proximity to that town, has made another move and is now in Griffin, Ga. ‘The Knoxville Register,’ after visiting sundry places is now in Charlotte, N. C.

“Of course the Mississippi papers are very much fugitives, there being but one published regularly within the State, we think—the ‘Clarion,’ published at Meridian.  The Jackson papers are gone to Selma, Alabama, and elsewhere.  Northern Alabama papers spring up to greet us from unexpected places, still holding on to their old names.

“There has indeed been a scattering and a dispersion.  The columns of the press have literally become ‘movable columns,’ and work their way from one side of the Confederacy to another in search of a resting place.—Wilmington Journal.”

Of course, Parson Brownlow’s Knoxville Whig & Rebel Ventilator was out of business altogether, it’s steam presses turned to use making rifled barrels for Confederate muskets.

Via University of Texas at Tyler & Poore Boys In Gray

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Parson Brownlow’s wife Elisa

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In the novel, the historical Elisa Brownlow and my fictional Leila Ellis are close friends. This photo of Mrs. Brownlow was taken in Philadelphia, Pa, soon after the war began when the Confederates had kicked her husband out of Knoxville for being vehemently anti-Rebel.

Parson William Gannaway Brownlow was then as popular in the North as he was despised in the South because he was pro-Union. So he and Elisa and their daughter, Susan, enjoyed great acclaim in Philadelphia. He gave speeches and wrote pamphlets. Later, when emancipation became part of the Union cause, he would not be so popular because he was not and never had been an abolitionist.

Via The McClung Collection

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This is Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day came and went without much notice in the late days of the war. Private RobertA. Moore of the 17th Mississippi Regiment which led the attack on Fort Sanders:

“This is Valentine’s Day,” Moore wrote in his diary in 1863. “The boys are generally far from home & their beloved ones & are in no state of mind for such light amusement.”

Via The Bloody Thirteenth.

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An honor guard

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An honor guard for the dead of Fort Sanders as this sesquicentennial period nears its end.

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Correction: “new gray shell jackets”

I’m now convinced I made a mistake in attributing the Mississippi Brigade’s new shell jackets to a gift from the state of North Carolina in the late summer of ’63 when their motley collection of railroad cars stopped en route from Petersburg, VA, to Ringgold, GA.

“Those quality ladies were all so happy to see us, the raggedy boys of Bob Lee’s beloved army,” my fictional Private Bird Clark recalls in the novel. “They treated us like as if we were royalty, though we were dirty and sour-smelling and our beards were scraggly. Then they presented us with new gray shell jackets, a gift from the governor of North Carolina.”

The real jackets, it seems, were not gray but of a light blue “gray kersey” a course woolen cloth then imported from England. So blue, in fact, that one Ohio regiment hesitated to fire on them at Chickamauga. So blue that Gen. Grant mistook a First Corps soldier for a Yankee.

But also in need of correction is the notion that the jackets were a “late summer of ’63” gift from Zebulon Vance, the war-era governor of North Carolina. I’d been corrected on this before by reader Les White but was not convinced until I stumbled on it again at the Civil War blog Blue and Gray Marching which attributed it to historian and journalist Glen Tucker and presented evidence that Tucker was mistaken.

My apology. I regret the errors.

Via Blue and Gray Marching.

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