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25 November 2020


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You're writing a cycle of novels? Good for you! Hope to see them in print very soon.


Happy Thanksgiving Col. Lang, thank you for posting this.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Larry K

This excerpt is very promising. You've got a lovely command of prose rhythm and the ability to shape mood without pointing. When do you expect any of this will be published?

C.M. Mayo

Thanks -- this was fun to read-- & happy Thanksgiving. Curiously, I spent the day writing about the French in Mexico, roughly the same period. Good luck with your novels.


didn"t see any of them in Amazon but saw quite a few refs to w. patrick lang in other's books.

amazon has a feature where you can look at excerpts in books. quite a few coloroful quotes. the col. speaks quite directly.


Col - Great snippet, I really enjoy the premise of the Balthazar character (Did he serve in the Foreign Legion in Africa by any chance?). Be sure to let us know when this goes to print!

Maureen Lang

Wonderful post, Pat. The final draft of the 2nd novel in the cycle that you recently sent me are a wonder, too.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Maureen Lang

You'd think a former lit. teacher could at least proof her comment for subject/verb agreement (hurriedly leaving to go out to lunch with your neice is NOT a good excuse). Completed reading that draft yesterday & it "is" an absolute wonder.

Looking forward to another Keith Rocco cover for it.....?

Leila Abu-Saba

OK I'm getting off my duff to order this for my own Christmas present. Culpepper, Lynchburg - these are towns I know, my mother's ancestral turf. Beautiful spare language. I look forward to reading these this Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Patrick Lang


Thanks again. I am going ove it again. Never happy with the text... An author's disease. Yes. I have arranged to use another of Rocco's paintings, the one above that shows a Union army regimental band in camp. I like to think of it as representing a scene in camp just before the copening of the Overland Campaign.


Thank you. pl


My greetings, Sir.

As a Frenchman (and I preemptively apologize for any linguistic mangle I could make), I am interested by your choice of a compatriot, even a fictional one, as a protagonist. "Battle Cry of Freedom" by MacPherson, quite the only reference book on the civil War having reached our shores, doesn't mention anything of the sort.

In any case, after enjoying your informed comments for the last months, it is extremely pleasant to enjoy as well your writing skills.

I wish you and all the commenters a happy Thanksgiving.

Patrick Lang


Someone here chsracterized the Jamestown Massacre of 1622 as a legitimate reaction to foreign invasion, etc. Such a description is of course anchronistic since the Indians did not think of themselves as a "people" defending a national territory. More importantly, I think it is wrong to ever justify mayhem wrough upon civilian populations on the basis of some "higher good." Most of you would not justify settler outrages in that way, (advance of civilization, reprisal, etc.) You should not justify Indian outrages. Murder is murder no matter who commits it. The same thing applies to events of the present day. The US and NATO have used far too much aerial firepower in places like Afghanistan. As a result we are seeing Karzaidemand and end to that and an end to the war. That does no tmean that I am in favor of denying fire support to troops actually in contsct in a fire fight. Some judgment must be employed in this. pl

Patrick Lang


Bienvenue chez les Anglo-Saxons.

John Balthazar's true name is Jean-Marie Balthazar d'Orgueil. He is a cousin of the Devereux family whose story is the river that flows through the books, including the first one. Balthazar is of the Army of Africa having spent much of his life with Tirailleurs Algeriens and Zouaves.

He is from the vicinity of Soturac in the Departement du Lot. His family's history is well known in those parts. His provenance is thoroughly described in this book if I can manage to get it done.

The Jesuit is an actual personage, one Hippolyte Gache, S.J. who did work in the Confederate hospital conplex in Lynchburg, Virgina. pl

Mad Dogs

Merry Thanksgiving Pat, Maureen and all the other happy campers at SST!

May your belts always be expandable and your recliners inclined to the great deity TV!

And thanks for the peek at your 2nd of this collection.

Reminds me in some ways of Louis L'Amour's works for the texture and the times.

As I've just completed re-reading L'Amour's entire collection for the nth time (started in the service and couldn't quit), I enjoy both the historical aspects as well as the narrative.

As I've aged, it has struck me more and more, just how little actual time has passed from that great American Tragedy, the War between the States, and my own life.

And the baggage we all still carry though many are unknowing, and perhaps worse, uncaring.

If you ever need an additional proofreader, twould volunteer in an instant!

Rhonda Hohmann

Thank you Col. Lang, I appreciate this blog site...excellent.


My thanks for your welcome, Sir.

Are there books you would suggest on the American Civil War ? As I mentioned in my first post, "Battle Cry of Freedom" is the only notable one translated in French as far as I know, but I am a regular customer of a W.H.Smith import store (in fact, I'm thinking of buying "Battle Cry of Freedom" in the original language).

My thanks in advance.

Patrick Lang


We had Thanksgiving dinner last night in a little place here in Alexandria. It is the "Bistro Lafayette," a most excellent touch of France in this town. They have a website.

I would read; "The Civil War, a Narrative," by Shelby Foote, "The Killer Angels," by Michael Sharaa, and you might have a go at my own novel, "The Butcher's Cleaver."

Foote wrote extraordinarily well. "Limpid prose" is not an exageration in his case. He was both a novelist and a historian. His book is in three volumes and may have been translated. I am quite sure that Sharaa's Pulitzer prize novel has been translated. These are both in print and could be had at WH Smith. pl

William R. Cumming

Before "Battle Cry of Freedom" did any substantial histories of the Civil War (WBS) mention the impact of black soldiers on North and South and the ultimate result?

Patrick Lang


There has always been a lot of mention of everything in that most documented of wars. Things are not "discovered." They are merely remembered.

I don't think that
black troops in the Union army affected the outcome very much.

They were principally used for other than assault duties and often were relegated to guarding supply lines and the like. They were useful in freeing up white units for the butcher's work. The 54th Massachusetts' attack on Battery Wagner is a notable exception as was the Chaffin's Farm Battle east of Richmond in 1864. The Crater battle at Petersburg was, of course, a horrible debacle for them in which Billy Mahone's division counterattacked, massacred them in the crater itself and then shot a lot of prisoners on the spot. Interestingly, he was a Republican governor of Virginia after the war. The CG of the Black division in the Crater was a man named Ferraro or some such who was cowering in a bunker behind the lines while Mahone's wild men did them in. He should have been cashiered but was not. He was in fact promoted to Brevet Major General, USV. He was a Republican loyalist.

Confederate use of both free and slave Black auxiliaries is more rarely mentioned. It seems to have been taken for granted by the Confederates at the time. At Chaffin's Farm, Porter Alexander mentions in his memoirs that Confederate teamsters, cooks etc, pushed white soldiers out of the way to get the chance to shoot at Black Union Army troops, yelling "traitor" at them all the while.

After the war there were Black members of the UCV. There are a lot of photos of them at conventions and the former Confederate states paid them pensions. I don't suppose McPherson says much about them...

Man - "the glory, jest and riddle of the world." pl

William R. Cumming

A lot of American Chestnuts in the Eastern Forests during the civil war. Perhaps the most common tree before the chestnut blight of the early 20th Century. Great for the carvers on both sides in the war.


When I was young, I started reading a novel cycle by Gordon R. Dickson. Dickson passed before he could finish the cycle he planned. Given your previous appreciations of the harder science fiction, I suggest you might find this cycle respectable. The Childe Cycle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childe_Cycle . The first published book in the cycle, Dorsai, lost out to Starship Troopers by Heinlein for the 1960 Hugo.

The Twisted Genius

The Thanksgiving meal is a special occasion in the Army as all us old soldiers know. It is a time when us officers donned our dress whites (at least in the 25th Infantry Division) and spent time with the troops in the mess hall.

Stafford was the winter quarters of the Union Army that bloodied at Fredericksburg in 1862. There were more Union troops in Stafford that winter than there are Stafford residents today. The small soldier towns that so amazed Balthazar also sprang up in Stafford although the inhabitants wore blue rather than butternut and grey. These soldier towns are depicted in our White Oak Civil War Museum and our new Civil War Park.




Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Charles I

um, so how is Lola this Thanksgiving anyway?

Charles I

oh yeah now I recall (I imagine, may be completely wrong) but setting up this camp in the cold was complicated by the fact that all the loose bits of metal one might glom onto had long since been shot at the enemy, wasn't that detail in the book or am I just addled as usual?

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