Welcome to the digital addendum to Knoxville, 1863, a historical battle novel and more, told in mosaic-narrative form. The form is similar to Shelby Foote’s classic battle novel Shiloh. Both are as much history as fiction.
Knoxville, 1863, is about the men who fought and a widow and her house slaves who observed a little-known Civil War battle involving some of the most famous people and units of the Union and Confederacy. President Lincoln considered a Union victory at Knoxville, in the snow and ice of late 1863, essential to winning the Civil War.
The permanent header (pix) of the blog, above, is the only known photograph of Fort Loudon/Sanders, taken sometime after the battle. The camera apparently is looking west, or even a little southwest over the apex of the northwest bastion. Note the cotton bales on the left side, covered with rawhide to prevent them being set afire by Minie bullets.
The lone Union sentry appears to be near the flagpole erected by the Seventy-Ninth New York Cameron Highlanders which the historical Lt. Col. John Calvin Fiser, of the Seventeenth Mississippi Infantry Regiment, vowed to chop down. In the foreground are the open-top artillery embrasures with sandbags and barrels on the sides to shelter the gun crews from sharpshooters, the Civil War equivalent of today’s snipers.
One controversial thing the novel does is highlight the incompetence of Rebel General James Longstreet, possibly one reason the battle is largely unsung in the annals of the Lost Cause, by his modern supporters and further neglected in the histories of the war. Historian Robert K. Krick, an authority on the Army of Northern Virginia, is an exception. His history of Parker’s “boy battery,” a Virginia light artillery unit—which has a chapter to itself in the novel—clearly shows Longstreet’s inability to make up his mind and the subsequent tactical costs. Read the novel and find out what I mean.
Col. Claude Cooper, (USA, Ret.) a former professor of military science at Appalachian State University, concluded in his Amazon review of the novel:
“Other writers and historians have touched on this battle, but I’m not aware of any who have addressed it in this depth. For that reason, and because it is well written, I believe that this is an important novel that will be appreciated by civil war buffs and enjoyed by anyone.”
Jim Miller, whose Civil War Notebook is a popular site with war buffs, said:
“Mr. Stanley has certainly done his homework; his novel rests on a solid foundation of historical facts….a joy to read.”
Robert Redd, whose Confederate Book Review is another popular Civil War blog, concluded:
“This is a work of fiction I can recommend. While it helps to have some knowledge of the Civil War it isn’t mandatory. The work should be accessible to any reader. The storyline moves along well. While this is not published by any of the big boys I didn’t find the spelling and grammar mistakes I thought I might.”
Celia Hayes, author of my favorite historical Texas Hill Country stories The Adelsverein Trilogy, enjoyed the novel’s authenticity:
“These are not modern Americans, dressed up in period clothes…The various characters are expertly drawn…Each chapter and each character is almost a period steel engraving, full of vivid and authentic detail.”
The Amazon link is here for the paperback, inexpensive at $7.98, and its eBookArchitect-formatted Kindle companion, for a limited time, at just $0.99. The novel is also available as a ebook at Smashwords in multiple formats, from Stanza to Sony, here.
For more on the novel’s historical details—including period photos and maps—and the backgrounds of its fictional and historical characters, click through the posts of this blog.
P.S. I also blog at www.texasscribbler.com, where you will find this brief description of me:
“Retired Texas newspaperman (politics, crime, science, medicine, meteorology), widowed father of a teenage son, antique rose gardener, adult student of the violin, fiddle dance band sideman, independent publisher, and Vietnam combat veteran (MACV, I Corps, 1969)”
I also write a digital Rebel regimental in blog form at www.13thmississippi.com. My 366-page history of the regiment, a major player in the Battle of Fort Sanders, is told through the diaries, letters & memoirs of its soldiers. It is now available in paperback and ebook here.
Drop by the 13th’s blog sometime and learn more about the historical regiment of Knoxville, 1863’s fictitious Private Bird Clark and such as the historical Lt. Col. Alfred George Washington O’Brien who was captured at Fort Sanders.
You may contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: March 28, 2016