Monday, December 31, 2007

6th US Cavalry Annual Return for 1861

It seemed appropriate on the last day of the year to post information from one of the annual returns for one of the regiments. Since I've decided to follow the 6th Cavalry through 1862 with a series of posts next year, I decided to use their 1861 returns.

A more detailed introduction to the regiment will follow in a few days, but it had been authorized by presidential proclamation in May of 1861. Recruiting started in earnest in mid-June, and the end of year found the regiment encamped in Washington, D.C.

The regiment had three homes during the year: Camp Scott, just outside of Pittsburgh, PA; Bladensburg, MD; and Camp East of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.
Ten of the regiment's authorized twelve companies were formed, lacking only companies C and L.

By the end of 1861, 34 officers had been assigned to the regiment, 23 appointed from the Army and 11 from civilian life. One lieutenant had died, and seven were promoted during the year.

A total of 1,011 enlisted men had joined the regiment. 993 joined from general depots, and 14 transferred from other units. Many of these transfers later became officers. A total of 19 enlisted men were discharged by year's end. Two were minors who lied initially lied about their age and were subsequently discharged by order. Eight were discharged for disability, and nine were discharged for transfer. Four of these transfers were to other units, and four were discharges for officer appointments. Of the officers, three remained in the regiment: Andrew Stoll (Sergeant, Co. F), Daniel Madden (F&S, Commisary Sergeant), and Samuel M. Whitside (F&S, Regimental Sergeant Major). The fourth, Byron Kirby, was appointed to the 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment.

19 troopers deserted during the year. The first, Nicholas Semple of Company F, deserted in August, but rejoined the regiment the following month. Two of the other eighteen were apprehended and reassigned to other companies. The nineteen deserters were Semple, John Purcell, Charles Northrup, James O'Connell, William Hults, John McClelland, John Boyd, Edward Heakin, Washington Laughlin, William Ferguson, John Schmuckler, Jacob Bock, Thomas Steen, James Warnesut, Lawrence Shay, Thomas Powers, Norman O. Hastings, Patrick Purcell and Charles Jackson. I'm unsure if the two Purcells were related. They were in the same company, but deserted three months apart.

Six troopers from the 6th Cavalry died in 1861, none of them combat-related and all of them at Washington, D.C. J.W. Manson of Company K was the regiment's first casualty, dying in the hospital in Washington on November 6. George Scheide of Company F died in hospital the following day, and Samuel Brocker of Company D on November 10th. James Gargen of Company F died of fever on December 3rd, and Joseph H. Bakeley of Company D also died of fever two days later. Hamilton Hardy of Company B was the regiment's last casualty of 1861, dying of smallpox on December 13th.

Interestingly, horses were not included on regimental annual returns in 1861.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Yea, more references

Thanks to a visit from Santa Higginson, several Amazon elves and various family members, more Civil War reference books arrived over the holidays. Among them were the histories of the 8th New York Cavalry and the "College Cavaliers", so other than a few National Tribune articles that Eric has kindly put me on the trail of, I think I have all of the tools to finish up the Harpers Ferry project.

Among other new arrivals are Volume III of The Union Cavalry in the Civil War (hadn't realized until recently I was missing that one), Beatie's Army of the Potomac series thus far, and a History of the 16th PA Cavalry for 1863. That last one will hopefully add to my knowledge of the St Patrick's Day Battle of Kelly's Ford in 1863.

So much reading, so little time....

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fiddler's Green: Francis C. Armstrong

Frank Armstrong is one of the unusual few soldiers who had the distinction of leading both Union and Confederate troops into battle during the war.

Francis Crawford Armstrong was born on November 22, 1835, at the Choctaw Agency near Scullyville, Indian Territory. His father, Frank W. Armstrong, was an Army officer serving at the agency until his death during Frank’s childhood. His mother remarried soon after, to General Persifor Smith, a Mexican War veteran. He was educated at Holy Cross Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts, enrolling in his studies on January 19, 1845.

Frank accompanied his stepfather on a military tour of Texas in 1854. During an encounter with hostile Indians in New Mexico Territory near El Paso, Frank so distinguished himself that he was awarded a direct commission into the Army upon his graduation from Holy Cross the following year.

Frank Armstrong was appointed a second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Dragoons from Texas on June 7, 1855. He was initially assigned to Fort Riley, Kansas, where he served until June, 1857. He later served at Fort Leavenworth and on the Utah expedition until August 1858. Armstrong was promoted to first lieutenant, 2nd Dragoons on March 9, 1859. After a brief leave of absence, he was assigned to Fort Kearny as the aide-de-camp to General Harney until May 1861. Armstrong was promoted to captain, 2nd Dragoons, a month later on June 6th.

Captain Armstrong commanded Company K, 2nd U.S. Dragoons during the first Battle of Bull Run, and was attached to Colonel Hunter’s division. Disillusioned following the battle, he resigned on August 13, 1861 and enlisted in the Confederate Army.

Armstrong served initially as an assistant adjutant general on the staff of General Ben McCulloch until he was killed at the Battle of Pea Ridge. Promoted shortly thereafter to Major, he then served briefly on the staff of General James McIntosh. Armstrong was elected Colonel of the 3rd Louisiana Infantry, but served very briefly with them before he was given command of General Sterling Price’s cavalry.

He effectively covered Confederate retreats following defeats at Iuka and Corinth at the end of 1862, and was promoted to brigadier general in the Confederate Army on January 30, 1863.

He served through the majority of 1863 under General Nathan B. Forrest, effectively leading his brigade. He commanded a dismounted cavalry division under Forrest with distinction at the battle of Chickamauga. “The charges made by Armstrong’s brigades while fighting on foot would be creditable to the best drilled infantry,” said Forrest in his report on the battle.

In February 1864, Armstrong requested a transfer to the command of Stephen D. Lee, and was assigned command of a brigade of Mississippi cavalry. This brigade consisted of the 1st, 2nd, 28th and Ballentyne’s Mississippi cavalry regiments, and served under Armstong’s command until the end of the war.

Armstrong’s brigade was very active during the Atlanta campaign, then afterwards during Hood’s Tennessee campaign. He led much of Forrest’s rear guard during the army’s long retreat from its disastrous defeat at Nashville.

His last battle of the war was at Selma, Alabama on April 2, 1865. His hopelessly outnumbered command was overwhelmed by Union cavalry under General James H. Wilson. Armstrong escaped after the battle and later surrendered in Macon, Georgia.

After the war, Armstrong worked with the Overland Mail Service in Texas. He was later a U.S. Indian Inspector from 1885 to 1889, and served as an Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1893 to 1895.

Frank Armstrong died at his daughter’s summer home in Bar Harbor, Maine after a long illness on September 8, 1909. He is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.


Evans, Clement, ed. Confederate Military History, Volume VIII, (Atlanta: Confederate Publishing Company, 1899)

Evans, David. Sherman’s Horsemen. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999)

Foreman, Carolyn Thomas. “The Armstrongs of Indian Territory” in Chronicles of Oklahoma, Volume 31 (

Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), page 292.

Rodenbough, Theophilus F. From Everglade to Canyon with the Second United States Cavalry (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1875)

Warner, Ezra. Generals in Gray. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959), pages 12-13.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Initial Cavalry Training

Well, he's admittedly not quite ready for saber, pistol or carbine yet, but Connor sure seems to like the horse....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I'd like to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours. Hopefully you'll enjoy the day with family as I plan to. Best wishes to all of you for a happy 2008 as well.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

What Do You Want To See More Of?

As I review my entries for the year, assess the State of the Blog, and make plans for where it's going in 2008, I thought I'd solicit the opinions of my readers on what you would like to see more of here in the future.

All opinions are equally valid, so request away. Ironically enough, one of the things I discovered while reviewing entries is that posts soliciting questions have a pretty poor return rate. However, several bloggers are already taking their "holiday break", so maybe there's a chance.

The Fiddler's Green series seem to be the most popular entries so far, and Brian Downey was even kind enough to make mention of them in his year end entry over on Behind Antietam on the Web. I have some roads to war and lost companies posts to finish up as well as a few other projects (Harry, I'm getting there with the cavalry at 1st Bull Run project, honest), and I've noticed that other than biographical entries I've left the 6th US Cavalry alone so far. But again, I'm looking for what YOU would like to see.

Recommendations for how to improve the site wouldn't hurt my feelings either....

NARA Civil War Researcher For Hire?

Does anyone out there by chance know of a good NARA Civil War researcher for hire? I've come across a few possibilities lately in my research, but don't think I have enough info to know the correct place to look in the online catalog for material.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bates letters - August 10, 1862

Note: In which we learn that the Union Army, or at least those parts of it near McClellan's headquarters, ate quite well during the Peninsula campaign. Seidlity powders and a grand effervescence are also mentioned.

Harrisons Landing Va
August 10th 1862
Dear Home Circle,

I will try to write you a letter, or at any rate a few lines, enough to let you know that I am not well, but still I am worth a dozen dead men yet. I was taken pretty severely with Diarreah but am over it now and in a few days shall “resume my sword” if providence permits. One good effect of my illness has been a change of quarters, for my tent is now right over the water at high tide making it a great deal cooler. For bathing , too, it is much handier, but in this I can’t think, for it is impossible for me to keep my feet and my hands off the bottom at the same time, but it is all for the best perhaps if I could swim. I should get the cramps some-time in deep water. My paddling is played out, as Johnson guessed it would be even if I had not been sick for we have to be ready to start at any time. Part of the troops did start three days ago and took “Malvern Hill” with some loss. I cant get the particulars but you will in the papers. I also hear what you will probably not hear; that Genl McClellan is not pleased with the conduct of his Generals in the affair, and that of Genl Heintzelman especial, but this is only camp talk it may be so and it may not.

I accumulated $270 from my “Spec” and have taken a Treasury check for it. Perhaps I shall have a chance to make some more before long. If I do, I’m in.

I wonder the Horses don’t go crazy with the biting of the flies, for they are terrible think, and as the Irishman said of the Hornet, “their feet are hot as the Devil’s fingers.” They are not the quiet little brown fellows you have at home, but great blue-headed, blood-sucking, back-biting (and for that matter they are not particular about where they bite) sleep-disturbing torments, and like the evil spirits in the swine (or was it in a man) their name is legion.

I received Johnsons last with the postage stamps all right two days since, and am very thankful for them, he gives a sad picture of the morals of Oakville as exemplified in a “wordy war, and a challenge to combat,” among the Abolitionists. If I was down among you now I shouldn’t think myself safe without an edition of Colts “peace maker” in my pocket.

There has been considerable moving among the gun-boats here lately. I don’t know but some-thing is going to be done shortly, at present however “everything is quiet along the lines.”

I shall have to stop for supper I willl just give you my bil of fare for supper, we don’t eat dinner these hot days. 1st then comes tea, then some condensed milk for the tea, soft bread, butter, currant jelly, green peas, ham, preserved fruits of all kinds, cheese, lemons, tamarinds, oysters, lima beans, tomato catsup, and several other things that I can’t see from here and am too lazy to move, to look after, and to settle my stomache after this “small brunch” I have 3 boxes of seidlity powders; you need not think I am going to eat all this, but some of my old stock of goods is on hand yet, and I am going to have some of the luxuries.

The seidlity powders are a clear loss to me, I had four dozen of the boxes and in spite of all the logic I could use to persuade the soldiers they are unhealthy, and needed them to regulate their system they would not be convinced, well let them live in their perversity, or die from want of the “Asserism effervescing draught, invaluable in hot climates,” (so reads the lable) for I have determined to make a grand effervescence in the James river with these same powders.

I expect the next word I hear from home some of you will be drafted, well so be it. The Army is not a prison house or a grave for every-one although many a poor fellow finds it so. If any of my old chums come out here I want them to come right to Genl McClellan’s headquarters and enquire for the Fourth Cavalry, and then in the Fourth for me.

Give my love to all.
I remain your affectionate son
Charles E. Bates

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fiddler's Green: Adna R. Chaffee

Adna Chaffee’s story is a very interesting one. Despite the fact that he was the first soldier to rise from the rank of private to the position of Chief of Staff of the Army, and the first Army Chief of Staff who had not graduated from West Point, his accomplishments are much less well known than those of his son, the “Father of the Armor Branch.” This Fiddler’s Green entry will attempt to even the score a bit. The picture of Chaffee is from a 1973 oil on canvas painting by Cedric Baldwin Egeli.

Adna Romanza Chaffee was born on April 14, 1842 in Orwell, Ohio, where there is a historical marker documenting his accomplishments. One of twelve children, he was educated at a nearby country school. He determined to join the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War. While on his way to join a volunteer regiment at the outbreak of the Civil War, he encountered a recruiting party for the 6th U.S. Cavalry and enlisted as a private on July 22, 1861. He was promoted to sergeant in October and served in the Peninsular and Antietam Campaigns in 1862. In September 1862, he was promoted to first sergeant of Company K, 6th US Cavalry. Chaffee was promoted to 2nd lieutenant in the 6th Cavalry by direction of the secretary of war on March 13, 1863, but due to administrative delays he wasn’t discharged to receive the appointment until May 12th.

Chaffee was seriously wounded by a gunshot wound to the thigh at the battle of Fairfield during the Gettysburg campaign. He led a dismounted squadron on the left flank of the regiment which was overrun during the battle. Initially captured by the Confederates, he refused parole as a prisoner and they abandoned him when he could not be transported due to his wounds. He was treated by regimental assistant surgeon William Forwood, and returned to duty in early September. Chaffee received a brevet promotion to first lieutenant on July 3, 1863 for gallant and meritorious service during the battle.

On October 11, 1863, the 6th U.S. Cavalry was caught in an exposed position near Brandy Station and engaged by superior numbers of Confederate cavalry. They were able to fight their way back across the Rappahannock, but Lieutenant Chaffee was again wounded while commanding his company.

Lieutenant Chaffee served as the regimental adjutant for the 6th Cavalry from November 11, 1864 to December 12, 1866. He was promoted to first lieutenant, 6th U.S. Cavalry in February 1865. He was brevetted captain for gallant and meritorious service at the battle of Dinwiddie Court House, Virginia on March 31, 1865.

Chaffee remained in the Army after the war, and was posted with his regiment initially to Austin, Texas. He briefly resigned his commission while his commanding officer was on leave, but was persuaded to remain in the army upon his superior’s return after only a week as a civilian. Chaffee served as the regimental quartermaster from December 12, 1866 to October 12, 1867, when he was promoted to captain, 6th Cavalry. He fought in the Indian wars against various central plains and southwestern tribes from 1867 to 1894.

In February 1868, Chaffee and I Troop were assigned to Fort Griffin, Texas. On March 7h he was brevetted major for “gallant and effective service in an engagement with Comanche Indians at Paint Creek, Texas.” Later that year, he married Kate Haynie Reynolds on September 19th in Austin, Texas. They had two sons who both died in their infancy before she died the following year. Chaffee served the next three years in Texas pursuing hostile Indians and outlaws.

He spent the next three years on assignments in Kansas, Mississippi and the Indian Territory until the Red River War broke out in 1874. Chaffee and his Troop I were attached to Colonel Nelson A. Miles’ column in actions against the Cheyenne Indians. On August 30, 1874, he was cited for bravery for leading his troops in a charge against a superior number of Cheyenne warriors at Palo Duro Canyon, Texas.

On March 31, 1875 he married his second wife, Annie Frances Rockwell, in Junction City, Kansas. They had a son and three daughters, one of whom also died in infancy.

In the early 1880s, Chaffee moved to Arizona and New Mexico, where he had several engagements with the Apache Indians. He and Troop I bested the Apaches at the battle of Big Dry Wash, Arizona in July 1882, and accompanied General George Crook during his pursuit of the Apaches into Mexico on the Sierra Madre campaign of 1883. Finally, Chaffee co-commanded the 1886 expedition that led to the capture of Apache leader Geronimo.

On July 7, 1888, Chaffee was promoted to major in the 9th Cavalry, and spent the next two years constructing Fort Duchesne in southern Utah. He was brevetted lieutenant colonel on February 27, 1890 “for gallant service in leading a cavalry charge over rough and precipitous bluffs held by Indians on the Red River, Texas on August 30, 1874 and gallant service in action against Indians at the Big Dry Wash, Arizona on July 17, 1882. Chaffee served as the acting inspector general for the Department of Arizona from 1890 to 1893 and for the Department of Colorado until the fall of 1894. In 1895 he conducted the restoration of the Bannock Indians to the Fort Hall reservation in Idaho. He served as an instructor of tactics at the Army’s Infantry and Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth from November 1896 to June 1897.

In June 1897, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 3rd Cavalry, and served as commandant of the Cavalry School at Fort Riley, Kansas until 1898. He was promoted to Colonel of the 8th US Cavalry in early 1899.

At the outbreak of the War with Spain, he was appointed a brigadier general of volunteers on May 4, 1898 and assigned command of the 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Division of volunteers. His brigade was active in the Santiago campaign and effectively ended the campaign with the capture of El Caney in July, 1898. As a result of his performance during the campaign, Chaffee was promoted to major general of volunteers that same month. At the cessation of hostilities, he served as the chief of staff to the military governor of Cuba, General Leonard Wood, from 1898-1900. Chaffee was honorably discharged from volunteer service and promoted to brigadier general of the regular army on April 13, 1899.

When the Boxer Rebellion broke out in China in June 1900, General Chaffee commanded the 2,500 man U.S. China Relief Expedition sent to rescue Western citizens and put down the rebellion. His second in command was Major General James H. Wilson, another Civil war veteran who had won his first stars when Chaffee was a second lieutenant. The expedition consisted of six troops of the 6th Cavalry, a battalion of Marines, Riley’s Battery of six rifled guns, and the 9th and 14th Infantry regiments. His force played a key role in the rapid advance to the imperial capital of Beijing and its capture on August 14, 1900, relieving the siege of the embassy staffs and other Western nationals. Chaffee’s force was also very active in establishing order and halting looting in the city following its capture. The success of his mission made him somewhat of a celebrity among the Chinese as well as his troops and fellow commanders.

Chaffee was promoted to major general in the regular army on February 4, 1901. From July 4, 1901 until October 1902, he served as the military governor of the Philippines, succeeding General Arthur MacArthur. This period included the beginning of the second phase of the Philippine-American War, and his actions have been criticized in some circles as being less than enlightened. He conducted an Indian-style campaign instead of the “humanitarian warfare” approach used by MacArthur. Chaffee subsequently served as the commander of the Department of the East from October 1902 to October 1903. Following this assignment he helped organize the General Staff Corps of the army.

Chaffee was promoted lieutenant general in January 1904, and served as the Army Chief of Staff from January 9, 1904 to January 14, 1906. During his tenure, he oversaw a far-reaching transformation of doctrine, planning and organization in the Army. He served as grand marshal for President Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade on March 4, 1905, which also included former adversaries such as Geronimo and Quanah Parker. He also went on a good-will tour of Europe on behalf of President Roosevelt. Chaffee also was awarded the honorary civil law degree of LL.D. from Tufts College in 1905.

Among his other accomplishments as Army Chief of Staff was the creation of campaign medals for the army. The move towards government-issued medals for campaign service actually started in China during the Boxer Rebellion. General Chaffee came into contact with military personnel from other countries who were also involved in the campaign, and was particularly impressed with the campaign medals worn by the British. In 1904, Chaffee wanted to explore the possibility of obtaining similar medals for American soldiers. A proposal was made through the acting Secretary of War to the president to authorize the use of badges to denote the wearer as a veteran of a specific campaign, and that these badges be prescribed and worn as part of the uniform. The important point was that the "badges" were to be designated as part of the uniform, not personal awards for individual veterans. The proposal was approved, and the first Army campaign medals (Spanish-American War; Philippine Insurrection; and the China Relief Expedition) were officially established on January 12, 1905. They were followed by campaign medals for the Civil War and Indian Campaigns on January 21, 1907.

General Chaffee was retired at his own request on February 1, 1906, after a 45 year career. His son, Adna R. Chaffee, Jr., graduated from West Point that same summer. After his retirement, Chaffee moved to Los Angeles, where he was appointed President of the Board of Public Works for the city. He was also named a member of the Board of Visitors of West Point, and served as the first president of the Southwest Museum. Additionally, he was an original member of the District of Columbia Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. He died of typhoid pneumonia in Los Angeles, California on November 1, 1914, and is buried with his second wife at Arlington National Cemetery.


Carter, William G. From Yorktown to Santiago with the Sixth U.S. Cavalry (Austin, TX: State House Press, 1989)

Carter, William G. Life of Lieutenant General Chaffee (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1917).

Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), page 292.

Henry, Guy V. Military Record of Civilian Appointments in the United States Army, Volume I (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1873), pgs 142-143.

Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (

Muster Rolls, 6th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, NARA.

Webster’s American Military Biographies (Springfield, MA: Merriam, 1978)

Who Was Who in America, Volume I: 1897-1942, page 206.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bates Letters - July 24, 1862

Note: I'm trying to get the last couple of 1862 letters out this month, so I can start 2008 with 1863 letters. In this installment, Bates goes fishing and makes some plans for settling down. His aversion for African-Americans continues, and remains unexplained.

Harrisons Landing Va,
July 24th 1862
Dear Parents,

I received a letter from Johnson last night and am glad to hear you are doing well. The Union will not find many fighting supporters among you, if they are all like the “blow-hards” Johnson writes about. I forget what your opinion of a nigger is, but suppose a white man is just as good in your eyes if he only behaves himself. I don’t know where my aversion to a nigger comes from, but its of no use for me to try to think of them with the “brotherly regard” H.Gy. recommends. I can’t do it. They don’t look right.

I have been speculating the past two weeks in good old fashioned style. I think the fashion is about as old as the world for Christ found the greater part of his Apostles following the same business big Fishing; I got a net in an old fish house on the bank of the river, and, with five other men, fixed a boat. And went to work. We make six hauls a day, each man having his haul and he whose haul it is has the choice of ground to haul over. You would hardly believe the quantity of fish we catch all of which we find a market for without leaving the river in this way. I have made $17 a day and generally average from $10 to $12. I was offered $100 for the whole fixins, and think I shall sell out, as my stay in the land is uncertain. I might be off for Richmond tomorrow, not very likely, though.

The Pay-master is around, and has humored us with a look at his Benevolent countenance, and the tender of certain paper acknowledgements of the pecuniary indebtedness of the U.S. called “green-backs” Union-plasters. Toad-skins Treasury-notes, which I need not say, were accepted. I have now on hand so much money that I think I shall send some by Adams Express, yes, I will tomorrow. I will sell my net and remit the proceeds to you to-morrow. I want you to look around and see if there is a good chance to invest a few hundred dollars in real estate, for the genius of speculation is on me, and I think I shall make $500 more before my time is up. If you know of a House and land, that is worth about $1000.00 let me know about it, and if you think it a good bargain, engage it I will try to pay for it. To-morrow I shall send by Adams Express Co to this Address

Mr Isaac Bates
Litchfield County

the sum of ($335) three hundred and thirty five dollars. Two hundred and fifty you will please to invest or lay up for me, the rest you can appropriate. I am in good, or rather, in the very best of health and hope this finds you as well.

I remain affcty
Charles E. Bates

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cavalry Journal/ Armor Cumulative Indices 1888-1968

As mentioned below, I located a copy of this work recently and promptly ordered a copy. It arrived yesterday, and after an initial perusal during my lunch hour I am pretty impressed.

The book contains two different indices for every article published in either the Cavalry Journal or its successor, Armor Magazine, from 1888 to 1968. It was compiled by Walter E. Young and edited by John J. Vander Velde. Every single article published during that period is referenced by Author and by Subject/Title.

The scope of the work is very impressive, doubly so when one considers that this was compiled before the availability of computers. The editor states in his preface that this was done by index cards, one article at a time, then cross-referenced onto other index cards.

The only downside of the book that I've noticed so far is that the Subject/Title index may take some digging to find what one is looking for. This isn't that difficult, however, as one simply needs to check several keywords until the right one is found. In the editor's words, "In formulating the subject headings based on keyword approach, it was constantly kept in mind how users of this volume would most likely extract information." If one knows the author, there's is no problem at all.

Overall, I think this is an excellent work. It serves as a great link for directing searches of existing collections at places like USAMHI at Carlisle Barracks. For those of us who employ researchers to gather information for us by proxy, it is very valuable.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Civil War Regimental Snowball Fight

I hadn't planned to post today, but Sarah over at Ten Roads has a great account of a snowball fight between regiments during the Civil War posted in honor of the first snowfall where she is. It's a great account, take a minute to check it out.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Yet another reference

So there I was, wandering internet used book sites this weekend minding my own business, when I stumbled across what may be another quality Civil War reference. I was the Alibris site when I discovered the Cavalry Journal/ Armor Cumulative Indices, 1898-1968.

This work should be a comprehensive index of all of the articles published in the Cavalry Journal (aka Journal of the US cavalry Association) and Armor Magazine during the years mentioned in the title. The reason I find it exciting is that the Cavalry Journal was the professional journal for cavalry during this entire period. Many articles were published by veterans after the Civil War. Among the more well known in my particular field are "With The Reserve Brigade" by Moses Harris.

Given the number of Regular cavalry officers who remained in the army following the war and went on to achieve significant rank, I would imagine there are other articles which will also offer greater insight into mounted operations during the war.

I may be overestimating its significance, but given how little I've seen of such a reference I think there will be new ground to be unearthed perusing this work. Time will tell, and for less than $20 it is certainly worth a look.