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Re: The Complete Story of Antietam

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  • joseph_pierro
    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
    Message 1 of 29 , Jun 23, 2007
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      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      unpublished thesis); the book Adam appears to be referencing is the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
      > >
      >
    • G E Mayers
      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
      Message 2 of 29 , 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
        > >
        >
      • Joseph Pierro
        Dear Gerry: Please call me Jake. All my friends do. My apologies if i misquoted your earlier statement. As I read the post, someone made reference to the
        Message 3 of 29 , Jun 24, 2007
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          Dear Gerry:

          Please call me Jake. All my friends do.

          My apologies if i misquoted your earlier statement. As I read the post, someone made reference to the "about to be published" Carman manuscript as "the definitive work.

          Your statement in reply was something on the lines of "hardly definitive"--which I took as a remark upon my job of EDITING it. I see that you meant to refer to Carman's manuscript itself.

          To which, I concur that Carman is HARDLY the last work on the subject. In fact, he owes (and openly acknowledges) quite a debt to Palfrey (quoting him verbatim and at length in many passages) and other contemporaries. In that regard, I am not aware of ANY author who has written all that can be said on Antietam. (I'm hard pressed to think of any historian who has done that for ANY Civil War battle.)

          I think the word "definitive" sprang up in this conversation as a result of my use of the word in the subtitle to my edition of Carman. Marketing cache aside, I used the term in its literal sense. Carman's manuscript represnets the sum total of his reserach into the battle--research which formed the basis of the "official narrative" of Antietam as constructed by the Battlefield Board, and which has served--on some level--as the basis for all subsequent histories of the fight.

          Consciously or not, everyone who writes on Antietam is in some way beginning with Carman. The govenrment's account of the battle--as expressed not only in print, but in the layout of Antietam National Battlefield itself, in what was presevred and what was omitted, what was foregrounded and what was relegated to the sidelines--is the narrative Carman constructed for them.

          Which is to say (a point I express in my introduction) that Carman's work has "defined" all subsequent research. It's the baseline to which others historians have either adhered or deviated--but, by definition, they have never worked in isolation from it.

          As for its flaws, I am the first to admit there are boths errors of fact and errors of interpretation in Carman's work. (So too with every history.)

          I go back to my use of the word "baseline." I for one would never argue that Carman's work (by which I refer to the sum of his inquiries into Antietam, of which the Maryland Campaign is but one expression) is (or ever intended to be) the "last" word on the subject. I would argue, however, that it is, if not the FIRST word, the most influential on the subsequent course of Antietam historiography.



          ----- Original Message ----
          From: G E Mayers <gerry1952@...>
          To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Sunday, June 24, 2007 10:39:12 PM
          Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: The Complete Story of Antietam

          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@ yahoo.com>
          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/operation al
          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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        • Stephen Recker
          I just spoke to a buddy of mine that is planning on going to the huge Antietam Conference at the end of this month. He was holding back because he wasn t sure
          Message 4 of 29 , Jul 2, 2007
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            I just spoke to a buddy of mine that is planning on going to the huge
            Antietam Conference at the end of this month. He was holding back
            because he wasn't sure there was still going to be room for him. I
            checked it out and there is still plenty of room for folks who want to
            attend. I thought I would post a note here about it so that anyone else
            who wanted to go yet hadn't signed up might be assured that the
            opportunity has not passed.

            Info can be found at: www.chambersburgcivilwarseminars.org

            I'm particularly excited to go on John Hoptak's Final Assault walk. He
            says that he is going to go in an area little travelled. Ending, no
            doubt, with a long speech at the monument for the 48th PA ;-)

            Who else is going?

            Stephen Recker
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