Closing in on the end of The Seven Days

Posted on June 30, 2012 by


Been extremely busy lately, taking care of matters relating to my new “quarters”, but making time this morning to post… I mean, I couldn’t let the 150th of the Seven Days go by without saying something…

… and, while this is somewhat outside the character of my usual area of coverage in this blog, reflecting on the Seven Days takes me back to my regimental-writing days (the CW military historian vs. CW civilian/cultural historian, in me).

As some of you know, I covered 27 Virginia artillery batteries, in seven books, for H.E. Howard’s Virginia Regimental Histories Series, and several of those batteries were Jackson’s… going back to his Valley Campaign days. That was no accident. Back in the day… after my first book in the series (please be kind if you read that first work, and keep in mind… I’ll readily admit… it was my worst book… because I wasn’t able to go over the proofs for the fact that I was in Navy boot camp at the time), I pretty much sat down with Tanner’s Stonewall in the Valley, skimmed through the organizational tables, and started targeting all of the artillery batteries that had not yet been covered by another author.

For the most part, those batteries, and many of the other batteries that I covered that were not “Old Jack’s”, came together in the Seven Days, on different parts of those fields, and not all necessarily working together… which actually touches on another path on which I almost went down after my “regimentals days”… writing about the problems that existed in the Army of Northern Virginia’s artillery organizational configuration, days before the reorganization of batteries into battalions. I touched on that a bit, in a paper I wrote in my early days in grad school… and I really wish I could find it, but… essentially, I took The Long Arm of Lee to task. Sure, it worked for the time in which it was written, but I think there’s much more to be said about the ANV’s artillery that wasn’t covered. I’ll acknowledge that a re-write of something similar to The Long Arm would be no cakewalk, but I think a contemporary effort would be an excellent addition to the discussion of the “long arm”.

So, today marks the 150th of White Oak Swamp…

From the perspective of the receiving end (and, clearly, they were “giving back” as well) of what I wrote about when covering the story of Jackson’s batteries at White Oak Swamp.

… and Craig wrote a great post today, describing some interesting stuff about Federal artillery in the fight.

But, for me… tomorrow catches my attention quite a bit more. Wish I could be down there, on the grounds of the Malvern Hill battlefield… to reflect on this Sesqui, but…

…instead, I’ll revive a few paragraphs from one of my books… an account that I can’t help but think about every time Malvern Hill comes to mind.

It’s days like these that make me miss my time “following along” with the fellows on the caissons…