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Favorite Civil War Subject And Why - Other People of the Civil War - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Thu Jan 11th, 2007 11:20 pm
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Regina
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Favorite Civil War Subject and Why?   Less than a year ago I went from knowing almost nothing about the Civil War (and not really caring), to being intensely interested in a lot of parts of the War--even to the events leading up to it and afterward.  So, I've asked myself many, many times...Why?   How did it captivate me so much and, specifically, why some parts more than others ?  And why some people more than others ?   I took a couple of days to answer this post because I wanted to think about it I share what I have decided are the choices and reasons.  Seems that the battles that interest me the most (I'm still doing a lot of reading about all of the battles, though) are the ones that took place on land that I have now actually visited.  I think it's the connection I feel to those battles having personally been where they happened.  The strategy/tactics end doesn't really interest me, and interestingly, I've never taken a strong liking to games that require it either, like chess.  Maybe I'm more of a right-brained person ?  And, although I like and admire a lot of the people in the Civil War era, I do find myself strangely drawn to a certain few.  I may be forgetting some, but the ones who come to mind right now are Abraham Lincoln, "Stonewall" Jackson, James Longstreet, John Buford, John Reynolds, Ulysses Grant, and John Brown.  I think because of my own life experiences, I am attracted to the people who experienced pain, heartbreak, hardships, and loss in their lives and still conducted themselves bravely and with dignity and self-respect and were able to take strong stands on issues and continue to act according to their values without wavering.  (Although Buford and Brown and Reynolds-I don't think-had the tough experiences some of the others did, but I see Buford and Reynolds as men of honor who I thank God were in the right place at the right time at Gettysburg and Brown-regardless of the violence-thank God did something drastic about slavery.)  I also really like the cavalry because I love horses and horseback riding, and like the sharpshooters because I took riflery classes at summer camp and loved it.  (Just fake targets, though)   Oh, and I really like the daring Harriet Tubman, too, what a story there !!! 



 Posted: Fri Jan 12th, 2007 04:36 am
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susansweet
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What a great reply Regina. 



 Posted: Fri Jan 12th, 2007 04:36 am
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susansweet
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What a great reply Regina. 



 Posted: Fri Mar 28th, 2008 11:16 pm
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cody6397
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For a person its a hard question between Sherman and Meade because they were such great commanders but i think Shermans march sums it up for me, I pick Sherman. but for a battle i like Gettysburg. I know everyone likes it but i like it because it was fought with such determination that if the north didnt have such a big population The south could have won.



 Posted: Sat Mar 29th, 2008 08:51 pm
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Don
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Cleburne, I'll be very curious to har what you think of that book on Kilpatrick.  It's tweaked my interest, just not enough to buy it yet.



 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 12:00 am
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CleburneFan
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Don, I enjoyed it, not because Kilpatrick was a great general, but because he was such a character. It amazes me that someone with so many flaws could be promoted to and keep positions of such responsibility and whose decisions actually cost lives...hence the sobriquet "Kill Cavalry" 

I also enjoyed the rivalry between George Armstrong Custer and Kilpatrick especially over women. I guess I was naive having had no idea such antics went on in army camps between officers where others of lower ranks could see and gossip about it.

Yet Kilpatrick was involved in vital campaigns and battles, so reading about him is also an examination of the part of the war he was involved in. I'm interested in the Atlanta Campaign and Sherman's end game after Atlanta and beyond. Kilpatrick was part of that.

May I suggest another book to read in tandem with Kilpatrick? I just finished an equally interesting work: A Soldier to the Last: Major General Joseph Wheeler in Blue and Gray by Edward G Longacre.



 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 12:34 am
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ashbel
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My favorite subject is the one that I am reading about at the time.

Give me a good author and I am happy reading any book about the Civil War.

The exception to that is if I am going to a battlefield.  Then I read everything I can get my hands on about that battle.  I am going to Shiloh next month so the Shiloh books and maps are out.  It makes walking the battlefield so much more enjoyable.

I also like a good story.  Ed Bearss knows how to tell a great story.  Just finished his book "Fields of Honor."  Each chapter describes a battle based on Ed's recorded tours of the battlefield.  I have learned more in one book about the personalities involved than I could have learned by reading 5 other books.



 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 12:38 am
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susansweet
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Ashbel I hope you have read Cunningham's book on Shiloh before you go. It is the best .



 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 12:46 am
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CleburneFan
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ashbel wrote:
I also like a good story.  Ed Bearss knows how to tell a great story.  Just finished his book "Fields of Honor."  Each chapter describes a battle based on Ed's recorded tours of the battlefield.  I have learned more in one book about the personalities involved than I could have learned by reading 5 other books.


I really enjoyed that book too. It was the first book I had read by Bearss and I was very pleased that I had chosen it instead of others I was debating about at the book store. I had a gift certificate, so I wanted to choose the VERY BEST book that gift certificate would allow. I will read others by him now because I liked his style.



 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 01:44 am
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shapbruin
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Hello all, I'm new to this discussion board, love this chat thread.
Gettysburg has quite a hold on my imagination, Living in California, it's hard to do much battlefield touring, and Gettysburg is the only one I've been to. I love reading any text with good maps to try and visualize movements and events on the field as I remember it. Needless to say, "Maps of Gettysburg" by Gottfried was quite a treat. Sears, Pfanz, and Coddington have also fed my jones in their turn. I've never had the opportunity to read Imhof's "Gettysburg, A Study in Maps" Heard it's really expensive. Has anyone seen it or know of one for sale?
I got my degree in History from UCLA (Go Bruins!) and for historical writing that just sets my hair on end, both from the perspective of narrative and rigorous research, nothing beats McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom" and Rhea's books on the Overland Campaign. Can't wait for his next one.



 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 02:23 am
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susansweet
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Welcome , where in California ? Have you visited the Drum Barracks. Only Civil War Site in Southern California. Also in Northern California Fort Point and Alcatraz.

I am in Orange County . Program chair of Orange County Round table. PM me if you would like more information .
Susan



 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 04:33 am
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ole
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Welcome, shapbruin.

I, too, have a hankering for Imhof's book. It's hard to find and will therefore cost dearly. Everyone I've talked to who has seen it say it's worth having. Maybe not the first born, but I've never seen it listed with a price on it.

ole



 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 08:27 am
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fedreb
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My favourite books are those on the battlefields that I have visited, so far all in the East, with Antietam at the top, my copy of Sears "Landscape turned Red" is well thumbed. I at the moment someway through Gottfried " Maps of G/burg", great book. I find myself though drawn towards books on the Western theatre, I have a 5 book set by Jim Miles that I found cheap , history, travel guides and driving tours of the western campaigns, which have been unopened on the shelf for some years now. I would one day love to try them out, anybody out there read them or used them? They are titled "Paths of Victory", "Fields of Glory", "To the Sea",,"Piercing the Heartland" and " A river Unvexed"



 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 10:16 am
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ashbel
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Susan
I have not read Cunningham's book.  Just read Drew Wagenhofer's review.  This will be the next addition to my library. 

CF

Ed Bearss' trilogy on Vicksburg IMHO is the finest work on that subject.  But the best way to experience Ed Bearss is to take one of his tours.  He is unmatched on a battlefield.



 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 03:42 pm
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ole
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fedreb: Have had that Miles set for years and they are untouched. I usually just read a good book on the battle, bring the book with me, then read it again when I get home. I'm usually amazed how much better the book reads when you have seen what it's talking about. But, since you've mentioned it, I ought to see what Miles had to say about places I've visited.

ole



 Posted: Sun Mar 30th, 2008 08:18 pm
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Kernow-Ox
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Hmmm... as with Ashbel my favourite subject does tend to be whatever I'm currently interested in at the moment. But I think there are two trends.

As my main interest has always been politics, if I can find a book relating to political events or manoeuvring during or before the war I will devour it - especially if I can compare and contrast it with contemporary or C20th politics. Other than Eicher's 'Dixie Betrayed', which I recommend, there seems to be few studies of the Confederacy which are strictly political (Levine's 'Confederate Emancipation' is on my pile at the moment, and is a welcome study).

For 'relaxation', I really enjoy reading stuff either about or by the common soldier: some of the latter are so well-written it is as if they are reminiscing around a fire late at night sometime in the late 19th Century. I tend not to worry so much about accuracy with these kinds of books, but just enjoy the ride. I have quite happily re-read Billings and Watkins.



 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2008 12:29 am
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Crazy Delawares
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I enjoy the ones that talk about tactics & strategy or the small unit histories the most. Every so often, I enjoy a biography.



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 Posted: Mon Mar 31st, 2008 04:55 pm
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booklover
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From the age of 8 my favorite subject has been Lincoln. I've always joked that growing up in Illinois it's a state law that you have to visit Springfield as a student. But his life has held a fascination in my mind that I can't explain. Studying his assassination also intrigued me simply because of the violent nature of it and the almost mythical stature it took on happening so soon after the end of the war and happening on Good Friday.

Studying battles and military matters doesn't speak to me as much, although I'll never forget my trip to Gettysburg.

Best
Rob



 Posted: Tue Apr 1st, 2008 12:03 am
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ole
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Favorite subject: everything! Social, political, cultural, personalities, battles, leaders, and anything else under discussion at the moment.

ole



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