Civil War in the media

Excellent new scenario book for Regimental Fire & Fury ACW gaming!

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Author and wargaming expert Rich Hasenauer, a member of the HMGS Legion of Honor, has produced the first in what we at the Johnny Reb Gaming Society hope will be a long series of fantastic, full-color scenario books for his popular rules set, Regimental Fire & Fury.  If the quality of this first offering is a hint of what is to come, we are in for a real treat as this series progresses through the war.

Regimental Fire & Fury Civil War Battles Scenarios, Volume 1: 1861-1862 is a welcome addition to my library of scenario books for regimental-level ACW gaming. Rich presents 11 different battles, some of which have multiple scenarios to depict portions of the larger fighting on a manageable scale. These range in chronological order from Big Bethel in 1861 to Prairie Grove in 1862, and represent both the Eastern and Western Theaters of the war. He also presents some optional rules which the gamer may incorporate into these scenarios, or into any other RFF game. The most interesting of these is his take on deploying and using skirmish lines in an RFF game, as well as the use of extended lines and twilight/night game turns. These are elements which have evolved from the wider usage of RFF and extensive playtesting among a variety of gaming groups.

As with the original Regimental Fire & Fury rules book, this new supplement is printed on glossy coated-two side enamel paper, enabling crisp reproduction of the photographs, maps, and images. The images show several of Rich’s fantastic miniature wargames in progress, and help visualize how to layout the gaming table for each scenario. Having retired in 2011, he now has more time to devote to his hobbies, and with more than 2,000 copies of RFF sold, he has a devoted following who will look forward to his continued efforts in the years to come.

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Categories: Civil War books, Civil War wargaming, Product reviews, Scenarios | Tags: , , | 1 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

Three new wargaming titles from Osprey

Osprey has launched a new series of books in August 2012 which are self-contained wargame rules, replete with typically impressive Osprey artwork for which the company is famed, as well as well-designed scenarios and playing aids. The first two of these small books, 64 pages in length, are the works of veteran gamers Daniel Mersey and Paul Eaglestone, and are sure to provide a popular foundation for expanding the series further.

Eaglestone”s A World Aflame: Interwar Wargame Rules 1918-39 offers the gamer a chance to use a single, cohesive set of rules for those series of conflicts set between World War I and World War II. Players can wargame the bloody Irish War of Independence, the many civil wars in China, the Spanish Civil War (no special rules for Ernest Hemingway!), and other confrontations of note.

To read more about the game mechanisms, click here. To order a deeply discounted copy from amazon.com, click here.

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Shiloh 1862 contest!!! Forrest Gump author’s new ACW book!

I recently received a copy of Winston Groom’s latest book, Shiloh 1862. Groom has utilized new sources to weave a highly readable account of the bloody battle fought 150 years ago this spring.

The publisher will give away 3 free books to Charge! readers. Here’s what you can do to earn a free book. Simply comment (below) on what you believe the best and worst generalship was in the battle. Who did well; who did poorly? What decisions were lame (or brilliant). I will randomly select the three winners from all of the comments left on this blog entry within 1 week.

And now, here is some more information on Shiloh 1862

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Categories: Civil War books | Tags: | 6 Comments

New Osprey Civil War book – Ride Around Missouri: Shelby’s Great Raid 1863

Osprey Publishing has issued Volume 25 of their “Raid” series, this one entitled Ride Around Missouri: Shelby’s Great Raid 1863. Written by former archaeologist and now full-time writer Sean McLachlan, the book covers a daring raid into Missouri by the Confederate Iron Brigade cavalry under famed leader Jo Shelby. Shelby, a devout pro-secessionist, had fought and killed Kansas “Jayhawkers” before the Civil War, and had served in some of the earliest battles in the Trans-Mississippi Theater. He had never forgot his passion for Missouri, however, and itched at a chance to lead a raid into the state to liberate it from Yankee rule. Governor-in-exile Thomas Reynolds and other Confederate officials were titular only, because the state had never seceded from the Union, and Federal troops maintained firm control over most of the state. Shelby hoped to change that.

In July 1863, the war news was discouraging for most Southerners — Vicksburg had surrendered; the Mississippi River was under Federal control; Robert E. Lee had lost a major battle in Pennsylvania at Gettysburg; and none of the border states had joined the Confederacy. Federals pushed deep in Arkansas and seized Little Rock. Shelby launched his raid to disrupt the oncoming Yankees. After several small engagements, Shelby managed to break through pursuing Federals and ride back into the Confederacy.

McLachlan gives a thorough overview of the strategic situation, the troops involved in the raid, some insight into Jo Shelby’s personality and previous experience, and the Northern (and Southern) reaction to the daring incursion. Lavishly illustrated, like all Osprey books, Ride Around Missouri includes an array of vintage period photographs, original maps commissioned for the book, bird’s-eye views, first-person accounts drawn from primary sources, and the usual excellent color illustrations of men, uniforms, equipment, and events.

The book is 80 pages, including the index and bibliography. It’s a useful addition to your wargaming or Civil War library. It is available at leading hobby retailers, book dealers, and on the Internet direct from Osprey or via amazon.com.

Ride Around Missouri: Shelby’s Great Raid 1863

Sean McLachlan

Osprey Publishing, October 2011

ISBN 978-1-84908-429-1

Categories: Civil War books, Osprey | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Decorate your game room or man cave with canvas art prints!

Brendan Bailey of www.easycanvasprints.com is offering a new service for military historians, wargamers, history buffs, photography buffs, and home decorators — photographs professionally printed onto high quality canvas and mounted on a wooden frame for display. These would be a cool addition to your game room, as you can customize the artwork with your own photography of your tabletop wargames, favorite battlefield scene, your Civil War or other living history reenactor unit, etc.

He also offers a large selection of his own stock photography of landscapes, cityscapes, battlefields, monuments, animals, and other topics, including several Civil War shots such as the one shown above from the Gettysburg National Military Park in south-central Pennsylvania.

It’s actually quite simple. I visited Brendan’s website (link above) and downloaded a nice photograph of my wife and me and two family members standing in front of Hazlett’s Battery on Little Round Top. In just a few keystrokes I had uploaded my digital photo, selected the size I wanted and the type of edge finish, and then I was ready to check-out. It took only a few minutes from start to finish. Within 2 weeks, I received a well-packaged canvas print in the mail, which arrived in excellent condition. It was of high quality, with a very nice appearance. He had retouched and optimized the color imagery before transferring the digital photo to the canvas. Debi and I proudly added it to our display of family pictures.

If you are looking for something unique and personal for your game room or another picture for your den or office, check out Brendan’s website. Be sure to mention the Charge! blog.

For more information, contact the company at

www.easycanvasprints.com

Categories: Civil War art | 2 Comments

Wargaming in History, Vol. 3 – Gettysburg 1863

John Drewienkiewicz and Adam Poole have produced a fascinating and well illustrated new book on wargaming the American Civil War battle of Gettysburg. Volume 3 of the popular Wargaming in History series, this book carries on the tradition of the two earlier volumes in terms of quality of the photographs and the broad appeal of the content. The authors and several others played a series of regimental-level wargames based upon the fighting at Brandy Station, Barlow’s Knoll, Sickles’ Folly, and Pickett’s Charge. They present a detailed after-action report replete with hand-drawn maps of the various troop movements, and describe the battle action and results in the text.

Ken Trotman Publishing of Huntingdon, England, produced this book on high quality coated-two-side enamel paper with full color offset reproduction of the images and text. Priced at $50.0o U.S. , this book is a worthy addition to the gaming library. It is available in the U.S. from On Military Matters, 31 West Broad Street, Hopewell, N.J. 08525. In the UK, the book is carried by the publisher, Ken Trotman Ltd. (www.kentrotman.com).

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Categories: Civil War books, Civil War wargaming, Scenarios | 2 Comments

Guns of the Civil War

Author Dennis Adler has scored a major home run with his new book, Guns of the Civil War. Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of full-color photographs as well as period black-and-white vintage Civil War photographs. Checking in at a whopping 352 pages, this is a book that will certainly become a favorite reference work for Civil War buffs, miniature wargamers, gun enthusiasts, military historians, and anyone interested in learning more about the guns used by the various armies 150 years ago during the War Between the States.

More than 620,000 men died in the war, with a third of them killed or mortally wounded on the battlefield. Rifles, repeaters, and smoothbore muskets were the chief instruments of destruction, and pistols were a popular choice for officers, cavalrymen, and others. Adler offers scores of photos of each major gun type, with most coming from private collections and many never before photographed for publication.

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West Florida rebellion: The unknown civil war in 1810

I have long admired the writing of award-winning historian William C. Davis, and have several of his books in my collection. His style is crisp and clean, easy to read, and his narratives flow well and are entertaining as well as educational. He has appeared on countless TV programs as an expert, lectured widely, and edited magazines and historical articles, as well as writing more than forty books on a wide range of historical topics, including the American Civil War.

Davis’s latest effort, The Rogue Republic: How Would Be Patriots Waged the Shortest Revolution in American History, is a tightly woven, well crafted book that neatly tells the story of one of America’s early civil wars — the 1810 rebellion of West Florida (which comprised much of today’s Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana). Those areas would secede from the Union in 1860, but fifty years earlier, the forefathers of the Confederates also staged their own rebellion. Now largely forgotten by the general public, William C. Davis has brought life to this rather obscure story, one that pre-staged the Civil War and shaped attitudes and anti-government emotions, and paved the way for self-rule sentiments.

The promotional material from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, states, “With an eye for eccentric characters and minute details, Davis tells the story of how the four parishes north of New Orleans between the Mississippi and Pearl Rivers captured Baton Rouge, inaugurated their own government, and launched a military campaign to take Mobile and the rest of Spanish West Florida from Spain during their seventy-one days of independence.”

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Categories: Civil War books | 2 Comments

Search for the Jefferson Davis: Trader * Slaver * Raider

The Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis is now little remembered within the Civil War community, but in the war’s first year, 150 years ago, it was one of the most feared raiders. Preying on Union cargo ships and supply vessels, the Jefferson Davis enjoyed one of the most successful raiding expeditions of any Rebel ship, seizing nine prizes in one outing.

Pepe Productions sent me a copy of their fascinating DVD about the history of this ship, which ran aground  at St. Augustine Inlet in Florida on august 17, 1861, and was abandoned to the elements. Over time, the shipwreck was lost. The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum sponsored a search for the Jefferson Davis, and a crew of divers and marine archaeologists discovered the decaying remains. Their 2010 DVD,  “Search for the Jefferson Davis: Trader * Slaver * Raider” chronicles that search.

The story itself is interesting to any Civil War buff, particularly those who may be naval wargamers or naval history fans. The DVD is well done, with a good storyline and great underwater photography of the shipwreck, despite the poor visibility often associated with St. Augustine’s waters.

To view the trailer for this film, visit Pepe Productions’ website and have a look.

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Categories: Civil War movies | 1 Comment

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