Monthly Archives: August 2007

New Gettysburg buildings added to Round Top Miniatures’ 10mm line!

John Mayer of Round Top Miniatures in Gettysburg has begun to expand his new line of 10mm Civil War buildings, which was first introduced earlier this year with a casting of the Snyder house ($11 U.S.).  New buildings, most modeled after historic structures on the Gettysburg battlefield, include the Abraham Bryan (Brien) house ($11) and barn ($12) and the Widow Mary Leister barn ($14). Non-Gettysburg castings include a stone bridge ($18),  sharpshooters’ pit ($15), and a one-story generic stone house ($10).

Round Top Miniatures sells these miniatures at selected retail outlets in Gettysburg, as well as to gamers around the world via the Internet. Check out John’s website at

Categories: Buildings and structures, Civil War wargaming, Product reviews | Leave a comment

A Recommended Wargaming Blog!

Pay a visit to David Bickley’s wargaming blogsite – it’s quite good, with a very well done series of photo galleries of his games. Nicely done! Keep up the good work, David!

Categories: Civil War wargaming | Leave a comment

Cannonball Civil War blog growing!

I am pleased by the growth and local (and national) response to my new Cannonball! blog, which specifically covers York County, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War. York County, immediately east of Gettysburg (Adams County), was occupied by a full third of Dick Ewell’s corps during the Gettysburg Campaign. This relatively new blog presents human interest stories, eyewitness accounts, anecdotes, and newspaper accounts of the campaign seen through participants. It can be read here.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New wargaming retail store!

Major wargaming retail stores have been closing in rapid succession over the past few years – witness The Emperor’s HQ in Chicago, Wexford Hill Hobbies near Dayton, and several other large facilities that catered to long established gaming communities. It is rare to see a merchant establish a new retail store devoted to wargaming, but my hat’s off to those brave souls that try the “brick and mortar” route to financial success. The latest newcomer to the retail scene is Dragonhead Distributors, which opened a store June 1 in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia. They have been a major distributor for several well known wargaming figure manufacturers, and have branched out into retail sales to augment their wholesale business.

The 1,200-square-foot facility is located at 422 Chestnut Street, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, 18049. It accomodates history buffs, historical miniature wargamers and board gamers, and military buffs in the eastern Pennsylvania region. Centrally located, it is an hour from Philly, 90 minutes from New York City, a little over an hour from Newark, and very close to Pennsylvania cities such as Allentown, Easton, and Bethlehem. Store hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Friday noon – 8:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Special hours can be arranged by appointment.

The inventory includes hundreds of military books (including a large selection of our-of-print books, with several Civil War titles). For miniature gamers, the store offers one of the largest stocks on the East Coast, featuring brands such as Minifigs and Vacu-Cast. Questions on specific products, directions, gaming events, and the like may be sent via telephone (store: 610-967-4058; cell: 610-657-4896) or e-mail ( Their website is

Give them a try if you are in the area, or visit their website for more information!

Categories: Civil War wargaming | 1 Comment

Back from vacation!

I was up in the Poconos for several days for a long overdue family vacation. We swam, took boat rides, long nature walks, played board games, played with our infant grandson, and ate very well. Very relaxing!

My last trip to the Poconos a few years ago was far less enjoyable. I drove the 2.5 hours from my home in York to a wargaming convention, MEPACON if I recall the name correctly. It was at an American Legion hall or some such establishment near Wind Gap, PA. I knew I was in trouble when the folks walking into the convention were all discussing orcs, dragons, wizards, and the like. No one was sporting T-shirts with historical motifs. Sure enough, I set up my 15mm ACW miniature wargame of Barlow’s Knoll from Day 1 of Gettysburg only to learn that 1) I was the ONLY historicals gamemaster in the entire mini-con 2) No one had pre-registered for my event and 3) there were no takers for walk-up spots. The convention promoter was kind enough to compliment my layout and take some nice photos (which he graciously sent to me), but after an hour with no interested historical gamers, I packed up, hauled everything to the car, and repeated the long trek home – a totally wasted Saturday. No one invited me to play in their fantasty games, or even took the time to try to explain what Warhammer is. There and then, I decided I would never try to run a historicals game again at a primarily fantasy convention – the dice may be the same, but the genre and interests of the players are diametrically opposed to historical gamers.

I used to not mind fantasy games at Historicon or Cold Wars, but the Wind Gap experience left me totally disinterested. I will never again set foot in a fantasy con, and will stick to the big historicals conventions – a lesson learned the painful way.

Thank God this trip to the Poconos was far more interesting and fruitful!

Categories: Civil War wargaming | 1 Comment

Abner Doubleday

I spent Tuesday making my first visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. There is a large oil painting of Civil War general Abner Doubleday as you enter the waiting room for the introductory movie, and a brief discussion of the 1905 account by a local resident that first linked Doubleday to the origins of the game of baseball. During his lifetime, the general made no such claims, but the Cooperstown citizen sent a letter to the men studying the origins of baseball and purported that Doubleday had indeed written the first rules. Later, an old baseball was found in the letter writer’s attic in a trunk as his personal effects were being inspected. This seemed to give further credence to the story. The myth that Abner Doubleday invented baseball persists today, even in some Civil War and Gettysburg books.

Baseball was indeed played in the Civil War, and I have read a few accounts of ball games being played during rest breaks during the Gettysburg Campaign. It was more popular in the Northern army, but was not unknown to Southerners. There are a couple of good books on the subject that are worth reading for additional information.

Categories: Civil War biographies | 1 Comment

Follow up – 73rd Ohio

I a recent blog posting, I recounted visiting a Chillicothe, Ohio, cemetery during a business trip and seeing several graves from veterans of the 73rd Ohio, the regiment in which President Nixon’s great-grandfather served.  I should add that another soldier from the 73rd was laid to rest here in York, Pennsylvania, not far from my home. Private Thomas A. Reedy was shot and wounded at Gettysburg and transported after the battle to the York U.S. Army Hospital. He expired from his injuries and was taken to Prospect Hill Cemetery for burial, far from his Ohio home.

Categories: Gettysburg | Leave a comment


As mentioned last month, the York Daily Record asked if I would consider writing a blog regarding York County, Pennsylvania, Civil War history, an area I have heavily researched for various books I have written. I agreed to do so, but with vacations and travel, it was delayed. I am pleased to announce that Cannonball is now up and running, and I will begin to populate the blog with local ACW stories over the next month. It will feature stories and anecdotes, discussions of local ACW events and activities, and general news and history articles of interest to Civil War buffs. Have a look, and feel free to bookmark the blog.

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Brandy Station story

Fighting raged on June 9 near Brandy Station, a lonely railroad stop near Culpeper, Virginia. The 1st New Jersey Cavalry engaged in a series of charges and countercharges that swept across the prominent Fleetwood Hill. In the middle of the savage fighting, Lieutenant Colonel Virgil Broderick’s horse fell dead beneath him. Young bugler James Wood sprang to the ground and gave his mount to the commander. As Private Wood sought another horse, a Rebel trooper rode up and ordered him to surrender. The musician, realizing that resistance might prove fatal, wisely complied. As he was being taken to the rear, Wood discovered a discarded carbine lying on the ground. He quietly reached down, seized it, and leveled it at his captor. Wood forced the surprised Confederate to dismount and change places with him. The chagrined Southerner had no clue the threatening carbine was unloaded.

Categories: Civil War anecdotes | Leave a comment

Gettysburg Magazine

The Gettysburg Magazine is one of my favorite Civil War-related publications. Founded and published for years by Robert Younger of Morningside Press, it offers excellent short articles on the Battle of Gettysburg and the campaign, fully annotated and sourced. Andy Turner, the editor of the magazine, purchased it following Mr. Younger’s death, and has maintained the excellence. Andy has added his own twists, including color photographs and information on taking photos of the battlefield.

In the recent July 2007 issue, Andy published an article I wrote entitled “We’ll Plant Our Colors on a Northern Hill: Jubal Early Takes York.” Early’s Division occupied York from June 28 until the early morning of June 30, when it left for Heidlersburg. York became the largest Northern town to fall to the Confederate army. Primarily told from the viewpoint of the citizens, sprinkled with anecdotes from the Rebels, this article augments the reader’s understanding of how these Confederates arrived in Gettysburg from the east and north.

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