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3494Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: The Complete Story of Antietam

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  • G E Mayers
    Jun 24, 2007
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      Dear Joseph,

      I think I understand now what you meant in your previous email to
      which I responded. Carman was the unofficial official Historian
      of the Battle of Antietam for the Battlefield Board and as such
      carried on a most exhaustive correspondence with surviving
      veterans of both sides.

      Being himself also a veteran of the fighting at Antietam where he
      was colonel of the Thirteenth New Jersey, a nine month unit which
      literally learned how to go through the motions of loading its
      muskets under Confederate fire (talk about "on the job
      training"!!!!), Carman had a personal interest in getting the
      facts right. I agree with you that Carman's manuscript continues
      to remain one of the highest sources for primary information
      about the battle but, like most all documentation, the manuscript
      is not without its flaws.

      Another very worthwhile work is that authored by Francis Palfrey
      titled "The Antietam and Fredericksburg", which can be purchased
      in paperback form. IIRC Stephen Sears did the introduction to the
      paperback edition. I have the book and have read it and found it
      a very good source and containing much valuable information.

      Yr. Obt. Svt.
      G E "Gerry" Mayers

      To Be A Virginian, either by birth, marriage, adoption, or even
      on one's mother's side, is an introduction to any state in the
      Union, a passport to any foreign country, and a benediction from
      the Almighty God. --Anonymous
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "joseph_pierro" <joseph_pierro@...>
      To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2007 10:05 PM
      Subject: [TalkAntietam] Re: The Complete Story of Antietam


      Dear Adam (and Gerry):

      There seems to be a little confusion about this book.

      It is not a study ABOUT Carman or his work (a biography of Carman
      was
      written soem years ago by a student of Joe Harsh's, but it
      remains an
      unpublished thesis); the book Adam appears to be referencing is
      the
      (soon to be) published and annotated edition of Carman's own
      1,400
      page manuscript (Tom Clemens and I differ as to the number of
      pages;
      my count comes in a little over 1,400.)

      As for it being "less than definitive"--well, it is THE narrative
      that has shaped the park's own interpretation of the battle to
      this
      day. Murfin, Sears, and Harsh all rely upon it. Which is not to
      say
      it doesn't have its problems (it IS a 100 year old work, crafted
      when
      standards of scholarship weren't as fixed and rigorous as a
      modern
      work faces), but even those wirters who disagree with Carman's
      interpretations first begin by taking him head-on. In Landscape
      Turned Red, Sears called it the most detailed history of the
      battle
      ever written. Nothing has changed since then to alter the truth
      of
      that statement.

      Carman's a bit like Freeman in that regard--writers can disagree
      with
      everythign he said, but they can't write on the subject without
      coming to grips with his work at some point.

      Had Dr. Harsh continued his series, I'd would no doubt have been
      an
      exhaustive campaign study. I question, however, whether he would
      have gone into the tactical specificity Carman provided. I would
      agree that Harsh's work--even in its current state--supplants
      (though
      owes a debt to) Carman's as a large-unit, strategic/operational
      study.

      I'm not sure how Gerry might have heard anything--positive or
      otherwise--about it, as it hasn't yet reached print. (Five
      people
      have seen my edition to date. I'll let their reactions speak for
      themselves on the book's Amazon page.) Perhaps his opinion will
      improve once he sees it. ;)

      --Joseph Pierro
      Hanover Co., Va.

      --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "G E Mayers" <gerry1952@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > Dear Adam,
      >
      > The book which you refer to about Carman has been referred to
      > as
      less
      > than a definitive study. Dr. Thomas Clemens, who won his
      > Doctorate
      on
      > an annotation of the Carman work, would be probably the best
      > person
      > qualified for a definitive work on the Carman manuscript.
      >
      > Yr. Obt. Svt.
      > G E "Gerry" Mayers
      >
      > To Be A Virginian, either by birth, marriage, adoption, or even
      > on
      > one's mother's side, is an introduction to any state in the
      > Union,
      a
      > passport to any foreign country, and a benediction from the
      Almighty
      > God. --Anonymous
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "Adam Zimmerli" <azimmerli@...>
      > To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2007 10:21 AM
      > Subject: [TalkAntietam] Re: The Complete Story of Antietam
      >
      >
      > I have to say I'm a fan of Joe Harsh's trilogy, but as far as a
      > definitive study, I hear that Ezra Carman's study will be
      > coming out
      > this summer (at a thousand pages and a hundred dollars).
      >
      > --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "James W. Durney"
      > <JWD2044@>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > > --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "Thomas Clemens"
      > > <clemenst@>
      > > wrote:
      > > >
      > > > I would argue that had Joe Harsh finished his multi-volume
      > > > work
      on
      > > the Union perspective, together with Confederate trilogy,
      > > they
      would
      > be
      > > definitive. But very long.
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > > I would only argue it would be very very very long. Having
      > > read
      > > some
      > > of your work, I hope to see a book on the battle some day> >
      > > James
      > >
      >
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