Posts Tagged With: battlefield preservation

Wargamer Brad Butkovich issues new history of the Battle of Pickett’s Mills

BradBPickettsMill

Brad Butkovich is known in Civil War wagaming circles for a series of excellent scenario books for regimental-level gaming, with a strong focus on action in the Western Theater. His research skills and attention to detail are evident in those scenario books, as is his grasp of the military tactics and objectives of the commanders.

Based in Lilburn, Georgia, Brad has maintained a keen interest in Civil War events in his region, including the May 1864 Battle of Pickett’s Mill. The old battlefield has remained free from major development, and in recent years has been preserved and nicely interpreted, sparking renewed interest in this early fight between William T. Sherman’s Union forces and the Confederates of Joseph E. Johnston. More than 2,000 men died in what became one of Sherman’s rare severe defeats, one which he conveniently neglected to mention in his post-war memoirs. It was a stinging loss, one which largely has also been overlooked in most histories of the fighting in North Georgia other than a passing mention.

Brad has corrected this oversight in his new book, which thoroughly recounts the fighting which Union soldier and later author Ambrose Bierce, sickened at the carnage to Sherman’s blue-clad ranks, deemed as “the dead-line.”

This 207-page book is divided into 17 short chapters which set up the battle in its military context, examine the leaders and major personalities, recount the movements of the opposing forces to come to the encounter, and then present the battle situation and unfolding combat action. Butkovich then dives into the aftermath of the fighting and what the next steps were for Sherman, Johnston, and their key subordinates.  He then finishes with an interesting account of the postwar history of the main properties where the fighting occurred and the efforts to preserve the old battlefield as a memorial park so that future generations may ponder what happened there.

Among the many useful features of the book are the excellent maps, which are plentiful and well crafted. Drawing from his previous experience in creating his own maps for his wargaming efforts, Brad has included more than a dozen useful maps of various phases of the Battle of Pickett’s Mill.  All are well done and serve the dual purpose of helping illustrate the ebb and flow of battle and to serve as an inspiration for tabletop wargaming the various phases of the battle.

All in all, this is an excellent addition to the historiography of the warfare in North Georgia and William T. Sherman’s movements toward Atlanta in the spring of 1863.

Brad Butkovich’s The Battle of Pickett’s Mill: Along the Dead-Line is a product of The History Press and is part of their popular Civil War Sesquicentennial  Series. The annotated,indexed book retails for $21.99 but can often be found at a lower price deeply discounted on amazon.com. It’s well worth the investment and should be a “must have” for anyone interested in the Atlanta and North Georgia military operations.

Categories: Civil War books, Civil War in the media | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Manassas battlefield threatened by highway construction

2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the Second Battle of Manassas, one of a series of bloody engagements in the summer of 1862 in which the fortunes of the Civil War briefly swung in the Confederates’ favor. Here, as in the first battle in 1861, the Rebels triumphed convincingly.

Now, a portion of the battlefield is threatened by a proposed Washington outerbelt. While it is clear that the traffic in the DC metro area is horrendous (as I have found out painfully many times this summer, including a 4-hour delay coming through DC after my Florida vacation in June), locating an interstate on a battlefield does not make sense if there are other alternatives on less historic ground.

Stewart Schwartz is a descendant of famed Confederate horse artillerist, John Pelham, known as the Boy Major. He fought at both battles at Manassas, and now his descendant is fighting another battle. Schwartz is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, a lobbying group which is trying to spread the word of the threatened battlefield and help develop other plans. Click here to visit his website and here to sign a petition to protest the planned route.
Stewart writes, “Please see the joint press release below explaining the significant concerns of preservation groups about the proposed highway at Manassas.  This is shaping up to be the biggest battle to protect Manassas since the Disney fight in 1994.

The joint comments on the draft Section 106 Historic Preservation agreement are attached along with VDOT’s letter and the draft agreement with the National Park Service that we find to be significantly flawed.  Attorneys at the Southern Environmental Law Center and National Trust for Historic Preservation played a key role in drafting our response.”

Stewart Schwartz can be reached at stewart@smartergrowth.net.

Categories: Civil War in the media, Civil War sites, Preservation efforts | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Shepherdstown: Last Clash of the Antietam Campaign

I had a book signing earlier today at the Gettysburg Gift Center / American Civil War Museum in Gettysburg as part of the 145th Anniversary commemorations. I shared a table with author Thomas A. McGrath, a college professor who has written a book on the Battle of Shepherdstown.  Civil War miniature wargamers will recognize this battle as one that appeared as a Johnny Reb 3 scenario in my book, Undying Courage: The Antietam Campaign in Miniature. Shepherdstown is among the most threatened ACW battlefields, and preservationists were recently dealt a severe blow by the West Virginia Supreme Court.

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Categories: Antietam, Civil War books, Civil War sites, Preservation efforts | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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