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02 May 2020


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"He was so embarrass’t he jest walked away with his head down, wouldn't look at the other dog, didn't come back for three days.""

I always like that tale. The 11th Corps (Union) got flanked at Gettysburg too? If memory serves wasn't Shurz the one who ordered digging in on Culps HIll on the Union right as night was falling on the first day?


Many thanks for this excerpt. Minor typo: it's McLaws, not McClaws.

I am reminded of sitting through the movie "Gods and Generals." You wouldn't think anyone could make Chancellorsville boring, but somehow they managed.

Lee-Jackson Day is no more, I understand.



I was invited to the premier of the film. It was held in Jackson Memorial Hall at VMI. I agree that it was pretty bad.



When I lived weekends in the Shenandoah Valley I listened carefully to the speech of the country people in the belief that the WBS ancestors spoke much like them. The story about Bones is a hunter's story told to me by "Walker." There are several such stories embedded in the STT trilogy. One I liked particularly was a man who explained to me why he had stopped shooting whistle pigs (woodchucks). He said "First you hate the whistle pigs, then you hate the gun, then you hate yourself."

Harlan Easley

I started reading The Butcher's Cleaver. I bought it a year ago on PDF file. I started it and then I thought I noticed a typo of dates.

How did Claude go to France for 6 months when the original meeting was January 21st, 1863 to enlist his services by getting General Lee to approve.

The next date is March 4, 1863 and he is returning via sea running the blockade near Wilmington, NC.

So I put the book away. I took last week off for vacation. First one in a while. Started the book back up.

Remembered the dates. Went to your blog.

"Science currently holds that time travel is an impossibility"

So I asked myself does this book contain two of my favorite subjects. Civil War and Time Travel.

Don't answer. Especially if I'm the fool.

I am absolutely loving the book. Half-way through. The chapter on the scouting mission across the Blackwater was fascinating. Most Civil War books I have read deal with the bigger issues. This book is just different.

Totally engrossing. The description of a scouting mission which was so perilous as one example.

I plan to continue reading until I finish all 3 in quick order. Another thing that I enjoy is the internet makes any military book more interesting. I always had a dislike for military hardback books with poor maps in them. With the internet I keep Google Maps and caltopo.com open to view location and terrain.

I'll share more later.


Harlan Easley

Claude was in France working at the Paris Branch of Devereux and Wheatley when the war began. He was there because of his estrangement from his Northern wife. He returned through the blockade and enlisted as a private in the 17th Virginia. By the time of Sharpsburg he was a captain. He was badly wounded there and was sent to France to convalesce while working for the CS procurement and propaganda operations. He returns through the blockade in 1863 on the blockade runner "Let 'er rip." Confederate intelligence has called him back to undertake his mission in Washington. He is a useful man, fluent in French and a dual national because of his mother.


Beautifuly written. I have entered these into the collection in our public library.


Harlan Easley

There is a prequel to TBC written post publication. It is concerned with Claude's year+ service in the 17th Virginia along with some of the other characters. It is titled simply "Sharpsburg." Would you like me to put it up on SST? Most authors who write fiction set in the WBS have little knowledge of war, intelligence work and national level politics.

Harlan Easley

Colonel Lang,

Thank you for the clarification on the timeline. Yes, if it would not be too much trouble I would greatly appreciate the prequel to TBC.

"Most authors who write fiction set in the WBS have little knowledge of war, intelligence work and national level politics."

100% this statement. Plus your ability to address the cultural differences. I laughed out loud yesterday when Hope described her in-laws and family as Genteel Lunatics.


At every phase of the battle, Lee’s losses, as a percentage of his force, exceeded Hooker’s. The remorseless mathematics by which Grant destroyed the Army of Northern Virginia were already working for Joe Hooker. Hooker just didn’t see it.

Just keep the Army of the Potomac next to the Army of Northern Virginia, and the Army of Northern Virginia will break first.



Yes, after long contemplation about materiel availability, etc. I came to understand that the CS just did not have enough men of military age.

English Outsider

" - the CS just did not have enough men of military age."

Colonel - The many European observers of the conflict took home with them lessons about logistics and in particular the use of railways, and no doubt some useful lessons about defensive arrangements against the modern weaponry of the time; but presumable that was their ultimate conclusion too - "...the CS just did not have enough men of military age." A conclusion leading to the meat grinder tactics of WWI until the final war of movement when, the grinding sufficiently accomplished, Haig could switch to the final campaign that broke through.

In which case it really is the case that "God is on the side of the big battalions"; and with the irruption of the American Forces onto the scene it must have been quite clear which side was favoured in that later conflict.

But at what cost - "We are not going to lose this war, but its prolongation will spell ruin for the civilised world, and an infinite addition to the load of human suffering which already weighs upon it." was what Lansdowne wrote in his famous letter of 1917, and looking at the sequel his prophecy was right.

The Landsdowne peace proposals of '16/'17 were perhaps the last opportunity to avoid that circular firing squad of the West that set the scene for the remainder of the 20th Century. It is still astonishing to me that those European observers of that man-consuming WBS didn't take away from it the lesson that victory at such a price could well be indistinguishable from defeat.
Posted by: English Outsider |



Not quite right. My point was that in spite of a predominance of good military leadership on the side of the South and outstanding maneuver warfare, the South could still be beaten by attrition attrition that was achieved by recruiting 200,00 soldiers in Europe and 200,00 Blacks in the US. IMO you give Haig far too much credit. The allies broke through on the western front because of the arrival of tanks in large numbers. So, if anyone was responsible for the defeat of Germany, it was probably Churchill.

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