A Pilot Issue Review- Civil War Times Illustrated, Vol. 1, No. 1 April 1962

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First Sergeant
Nov 27, 2018
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Civil War Times Illustrated, April 1962, Vol. I, No. 1; A Pilot Issue Review
June 12, 2015 at 1:43 AM

"I don't intend on shredding anybody's short-time by fear of lengthy involvements, but March is an advent of coming spring, and this is dated.
So I am hoping to pull a bit of interest to a publication that once was, and no longer has any near professionalism in our present day. Don't mean to give a sour pill to our current historians, but mainly due to format processes and the money spent to achieve any profit to offset the cost, quality has taken a toll. It is not a reproach, but a simple observation. There is a note added at the end of this review also.
@Pat Young, you may see fit to relocate this thread to it's more appropriate receptacle. And, no, I have no fear of my name. Thanks,"

"A non-partisan magazine devoted to American History's most exciting and crucial period."
President: Leroy F. Smith.
Publisher: Edward J. Stackpole.
Editor and General Manager: Robert H. Fowler.
This is the first issue under the new title and management of Civil War Times Illustrated. It was then located in Pennsylvania with Advertising and Circulating Offices at 302 York St., Gettysburg, and Editorial Ofices at Box 1861, Mechanicsburg, Pa. The opening Editorial page is penned by Robert Fowler, 'Editorially Speaking', that explains the nature and the goal of the magazine, and a few brief sentences on upcoming issues.
In this issue, the first article is written by Glenn Tucker, and is an in-depth look at the politics involved in judging Longstreet as a General. Titled, 'Longstreet: Culprit or Scapegoat', the author has done some remarkable research in uncovering the controversy surrounding the loss at Gettysburg, and why the blame was tossed into General Longstreet's lap. The article is superbly written, and maintains a cool perspective with no harsh criticism being drawn against General Lee or Longstreet. Without any cutting remarks, he does mention General Early and General Pendleton as the initial instigators of the controversy, and gives supporting evidence as to when these allegations first were aired into the public forum.
The article is about six full pages and also includes a full page Profile on Longstreet that most likely was contributed by the Editor, Robert Fowler, though no credit was claimed. At the time, Glenn Tucker was living on an apple farm in Flat Rock, North Carolina, and is given credit for for two titles, and "...other carefully researched books....". Actually by this time in 1962 he had won four major writing awards, and in 1968 he published 'Lee and Longstreet at Gettysburg', receiving the Harry S. Truman Award for meritorious achievement in the field of Civil War History. He wrote fourteen books during his lifetime, and all of them received critical acclaim.
The second article is written by Ashley Halsey Jr., who was born in Charleston, South Carolina. On a much more amateurish scale, Halsey had yet to write a book until the next year. The article is titled, 'South Carolina Began Preparing For War In 1851'. It opens with the first two paragraphs delivered in a presumptive tone, which detracts from the overall topic, concerning the discovery earlier that same year (1962) of archival documents from the Archival Department of South Carolina, alluding to nothing being known of the procurance of the cannons that fired on Fort Sumter previous to this. In his enthusiasm we are led to believe that all these are new historical secrets being now brought to light; actually it shows a forgotten or little known source for research in historical America. It may have been the first time these particular documents were revealed to the public, but they would now do nothing more than provide copied verification from the U. S. Congress and Senate, and possibly existing records from Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, Va., and the Hazard Powder Company of Hartford, Connecticut. Other resources may be found in all other State Archives, as well as Company records still in existence.
In spite of promoting an argument for Southern Pride, the article still proves the fascination of discovery as new material surfaces from the depths of obscurity. He does show a zest for motivating new students into historical research, and gives enough substance to verify points of interest and facts. For high school students and for readers wishing to gain some insight into such a broad scope of civil war, the piece is well written and easy to read. His book published the next year provided delight for local interest, and is still available. The display of actual reports that prove an ongoing purpose from 1851 for the arming of the State of South Carolina against the United States, in requisitions provided by funding to build and supply this State with heavy ordnance and small arms, definitely settles all argument regarding the animosity felt toward Washington during the 1850's.
Of interest for research into authors, Mr. Halsey wrote for the Saturday Evening Post for eighteen years, and at this time was an associate editor of the magazine. He probably left soon after this article was published, and later in 1966 became the Editor of 'American Rifleman', just after the push for gun control was being administered due to the purchase by Oswald of the Mannlicher from an advertisement in the same publication in 1962.
After some thought, I believe the next three years will see a regular feature appearing as 'A Century Ago--April, 1862', and its inception marking each month will become a looked-for feature. This month covers the full month of April, day by day, showcasing the events of importance and interest that occurred in 1862. Opening the feature with a brief synopsis, it also offers two period art sketches, one by Henry Lovis, and the other by William Waud, (not to be mistaken for his brother Alfred), and ends with a short anecdote concerning official civility. This two page lay-out is credited to Robert D. Hoffsommer, who with his colleague William D. Stauffer, is listed as an Assistant Book Editor under David Gerard on the Contents page (pg. 3).
A second regular feature to this magazine follows, and the two page topic is titled 'Letters and Diaries', and this one is submitted by E. E. Billings. Who is E. E. Billings? He was given no footnote in the issue. Apparently Mr. Billings collected Civil War writings, and a diary was given him by a granddaughter of Sgt. George W. Buhrer who served as a cavalryman in the 2d Massachusetts. Providing a detailed backdrop of the company raised in California but paid for by Governor Andrew. Due to its success four more companies were raised and by March of 1863 all were in Virginia and Maryland guarding against Mosby's rangers. George W. Buhrer served from Feb. 10, 1863 to July 20, 1865, and this feature provides extracts from the year 1864. Buhrer had been a 28 year old farmer, born in Germany, settled in California, and appears to have been well-educated. His granddaughter who lent the diary to Mr. Billings was Mrs. Joyce Colyer from Seattle, Washington.
Mentioning E. E. Billings as apparently a collector of Civil war writings, I have based my presumption on a reference posted on the web in March of 1999 by Josh Billings. This was a 'bibliography in construction' of donated materials to Virginia Tech, under the title of "Civil War Publications", found in the Special Collections Department of the University provided by a Scholarly Communications Project being hosted there. The website has this link:
http://spec.lib.vt.edu/civilwar/Billings 1.html. After a pronounced search through these records, I found one reference to E. E. Billings, that appeared as a passage from Volume 3 of Douglas Southall Freeman's work from 1942, "Lee's Lieutenants", with this inscription within the cover, and I quote; "To our son, Cpl. Elden E. Billings on his 32d birthday." This book had also been signed by its author, "Autographed for Elden E. Billings with every good wish. Douglas Southall Freeman." I could locate no other information about this donation, or its contributor.
Next in line is the third hosted article, only two and a half pages in length. It is titled 'The Crazy Delawares' and was submitted by Emerson Wilson, "...a Wilmington, Del. newspaperman..." who was the presiding Chairman to the Fort Delaware Society., "...and is a member of the Delaware Civil War Centennial Commission." Uncovering some interesting facts about the 2d Delaware Volunteer Regiment, he relates the role of the unit in the war. The writing itself is clean but stilted in the sense that it doesn't seem to flow well, but due to the particular points he reveals an interesting viewpoint. For a more interesting approach and pertinence a Civil War research page can be found at http://www.fortdelaware.org. The National Cemetery on Pea Patch island included in the park grounds of Fort Delaware holds close to 3000 confederates buried in a mass grave. This is Finn's Point national Cemetery and remarkably only few individual graves are located there. Fort Delaware is most prominently known as a Civil War Prison, and the dead were gathered and placed upon the Island in the river. Emerson Wilson has also edited a diary by prison guard Pvt. A. J. Hamilton while Chairman of this Society, giving the date of publishment as 1981 by the Fort Delaware Society.
The fourth short article is written by the Art Director of the magazine, Frederic Ray. This ought to be the same artist that began his career in 1940 for National Comics, which later went on to becoming DC Comics. Though no credit as such is given hm on his wikipedia page, "Fred Ray", I am sure it is the same man. He wrote one book on 'Alfred Waud, the Civil War Artist' which was published in 1974. Otherwise he was known by fans of Superman, Batman, and Robin, among others.
The article itself is about the artist Francis. B. Carpenter who painted a portrait of Lincoln and his Cabinet at the signing of 'The proclamation of Emancipation', which is the title to the portrait. Giving many details of Carpenter's designs and how they were accomplished, it is a fine piece for the more aesthetic natures interested in the era. One highlight of this article is the photograph taken by Brady's assistant, A. Berger on April 24, 1864 in the White House. The title of the article is "To Capture A Great Historic Moment'.
Colonel Wilbur S. Nye, the magazine's Associate Editor provides a half page filler based on the book, 'U. S. Infantry Tactics', approved in 1861 and published in 1862 by J. B. Lippincott and Co. of Pennsylvania. Colonel Nye discusses the frontage involved for average sized regiments, etc., for understanding maps and appending battle arrangements upon them. A wonderful Memorial for Col. Wilbur S. Nye can be found at http://apps.westpointaog.org . From the West Point Class of 1920, Col. Nye was a decorated veteran, and I would like to quote one passage here from his memorial site:
"During WWII, Quinch [nickname] commanded the 173d Field Artillery Group of the XV Corps, for which he received five battle stars, the Legion of Merit, the Commendation Medal, and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm. After the war he was a G3 of the Berlin Command for some time, after which he had a tour of duty in the Pentagon. After the Pentagon he returned to Europe, this time as Chief of the Historical Section at United States Army Headquarters. He was on this fascinating duty for several years, during which he interviewed and became acquainted with most of the surviving higher German Generals, including Guderian, Halder, and Kesselring."
Col. Nye retired in 1954 and wrote seven books and numerous articles for historical publications, including this one in review.
The centerspread of the magazine is now offered on pages 26 and 27, with a panoramic view of Richmond after its fall in April of 1865. The Richmond Civil War Centennial Committee has done a bit of splicing and re-sizing among four photos taken at that time, and carefully fitted them together giving a decent view of 20th and Grace Street from Church Hill. There is also a period-era photo of Richmond in 1961 (?). There is a brief explanation by Robert W. Waitt, Jr. who was the Acting Executive Secretary to the Committee, mentioned above, as to how the process was accomplished in 1960's technology. One pointed note in history can be shown in this short write-up, as part of the first and second sentences, here repeated; "...Matthew B. Bady arrived in the war scarred city. Setting up his camera on Church Hill he took several photographs of Richmond's skyline." Of course the dispute involving Brady and his assistants in the field, such as Gardner and O'Sullivan, having been once settled in court late in the 1800's about ownership of photo copyrights, can now be once more re-instated. This does display a unique value put on time and forgetfulness, and also highlights the goal of this publication as Robert Fowler mentioned in his opening statements.
The second half of the magazine opens with another Regular Feature, 'Weapons and Equipments', written by Francis A. Lord. No mention is made of Dr. Lord on the Contents page nor was he given a brief footnote to accredit his accomplishments, at the end of this article, titled 'Army and Marine Corps Used Wide Variety Of Equipments'. A full one and three-quarter pages in length, it also offers a half page illustration of the Union Infantryman with his field equipment, drawn from the Atlas, Official Records. It is a very concise review of military styles.
Dr. Francis Lord received his Phd. from University of Michigan, and then served in WWII under Patton, Wainwright, and Donovan. He was named by president Eisenhower along with two others to oversee the national activities for the Centennial Celebration of the Civil War, which had fulminated in 1961. he was the author of many Civil War books, and became a contributing editor to this magazine. Over the years from 1962 to 2012, twenty-eight articles by Dr. Lord have been published in Civil War Times Illustrated. Dr. Lord passed away on May 10, 2006.
A two page article now appears, titled 'Last Battle of the war' by Henry I. Kurtz covering the Palmetto Ranch Fiasco in Texas, as being the last hostile confrontation between armed troops on May 13, 1865. It is very well-written with many facts of little known details, and wonderful for the trivia seekers (aren't we all?). The author has been a constant writer for many historical journals spanning many years.
Onto the 'Book Reviews', the second to last Regular Feature, and by far the most absorbing content so far. The first review is by the Assistant Book Editor Robert D. Hoffsommer, and is breezily written, and so easy to read, yet it is filled with highly explosive dynamite (HED's) that ought to be lit. A thorough grasp of his subject matter is readily pronounced within this review of 'Stanton: The Life And Times Of Lincoln's Secretary Of War' by Benjamin P. Thomas and Harold M. Hyman. The book is published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., and is 645 pages with a thirteen page index and bibliography. For the trivial minded demons of economy's balance, the book was first sold at $8.50. Within this review, Mr. Hoffsommer has busily attended to what truly needs to be broadcast, and has no idle word or phrase set forth upon the full one and a half pages. It was a true delight to read and one which could easily have held the interest of the reader by multyping it twice-fold.
A second biography is reviewed by Theodore Chandler who happens to be of expressly the same mind and spirit as Mr. Hoffsommer, but of an entirely different 'tongue'. His contribution is quickly noticed to be one beat out of sync with the former essay, and one must quietly adjust to the sudden shift in sentence structure. Instantly you will notice a change of authorship but, the impact is so near the same as to make one check the end of the essay for proof. The Biography is 'Wendall Phillips--Brahmin Radical' by Burton H. Bartlett and published by Beacon press in Boston. The book is 435 pages and again for comparison, it is listed at $5.95. This review deals with a man that would fully light any dynamite without fear of reprisal, and again Mr. Chandler knows his subject and is probably from New England; but that is a wild guess on my part (hint). Once I had adjusted to his canto and rythym, I read the four-fifth page review in slightly more time than the previous one, but shared a common joy for both well-written pieces.
'Books Briefly Noted';
'True Civil War Stories'; Fawcett, paperback, 50 cennts.
'The Younger Brothers'; by Carl Breinan, (I before E except after brrr...C), Naylor, 260 pages, $5.95.
'The Civil War Cookbook'; by Myrtle Ellison Smith, Lincoln Memorial University, 268 pages, unpriced, with "...a hundred or so..." recipes even from The White House Dining Table.
'Civil War Maps, An Annotated List, compiled by Richard W. Stephenson, Library of Congress, a 138 page catalogue, U. S. Printing Office, Washington 25 D. C. for $1.00.
And a three-quarter page review by Alexander C. Niven, titled 'Prussian Observer Left Excellent Record Of War', which includes a number of books written by Capt. Justus Schiebert ( I before E even after Schhhh...?). The anecdotal tone is resplendent in this piece as Mr. Niven accomplishes the task of letting us all know what most of us can't read, being that at the time (1962) most of his works were never translated into English. He then proclaims this task would be improbable due to the voluminous material Capt. Schiebert (check) published in Prussia. Being sent to America to study the Engineer Corps of the Union Army, his own tack led him first into Charleston, S. C., and finally to Virginia where he stayed with confederate compatriot, Heroes Von Borcke. Though not mentioned here, I know that when the C. S. S. Virginia's armament was being tested in Richmond at the Tredegar Iron Works, much information was passed on to the Prussians concerning metallurgy and strengths of armor plating. This was the most likely conduit. A very pleasant read, and one line particularly stands out, as quoted here, "Despite his partiality to the South, Schiebert was a skilled [keen] military observer, and if one discounts some amusing examples of naivete, his writings are a rich source for Civil War readers." Bravo!!
Finally the end is near, but not so fast, for the last article is a special feature, and this month only carries Part One. "The Amazing Ordeal of Pvt. Joe Shewmon" is written by guess who....Joe Shewmon. The opening credit uncovers the mystery here, as the article is stated to be a transcript of a talk given by Mr. Shewmon to the G. A. R. in Eldorado, Ohio on Feb. 19, 1902. At this time Mr. Shewmon was 56 years old, and relates first experiences he saw and suffered through while in the Union Army. He was captured in Chickamauga, Ga., in Sept. of 1863 when he was just 17 years old. Descendants made available the lengthy discourse, and is well-received. Thank you.
Of course an endpiece comes and this one is of the 3d Tennessee regimental mascot named 'Jake Donelson', a young red rooster that became a prisoner of war along with his owner, Sgt. Jerome B. McCanless. Now anyone can guess just how appetizing this rooster surely looked for seven months among his 'pen-mates', about as good as this magazine looks to the brain-starved mind. Enjoy.
End of article.

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