Saturday, November 6, 2021

Civil War Tour August 2021

August 2021 featured new milestones for my annual Civil War battlefield tours. This was my largest group to date having finally convinced the friends of the 2 Half-Squads Podcast to make the journey. Seven intrepid explorers joined the adventure featuring Dave Kleinschmidt, co-host of the 2 Half-Squads, and his wife Laura. Rich Spilky, Advanced Squad Leader expert and commentator, flew in with his two sons, Eric and Jared. Also joining us were Mike and Phyllis Lembke. As any frequent reader will know, Mike has been my long time GCACW opponent and endured hours of my Civil War rants. 

The three day tour featured Antietam and Gettysburg. The weather was unpredictably stormy, but we managed to time things well enough. We will all remember the torrential downpour we suffered at the Longstreet monument.  The participants were all happy test subjects of my ever evolving guide book and lecture program. Many thanks to them all for their enthusiasm and endurance! 

Somebody's not listening to me - Get back here Rich!

Schoolteacher Kleinschmidt at the 151 Pa Schoolteachers' Regiment 

Traditional Dinner at Dobbin House Tavern

The Article that Put Chicago Wargamer on the Map!


Book Review: Under The Crescent Moon with the XI Corps

Under the Crescent Moon with the XI Corps in the Civil War: From the Defenses of Washington to Chancellorsville, 1862-1863
James S. Pula

James Pula's in-depth examination of the XI Corps of the Union Army of the Potomac is required reading for a clear understanding of the most famous moment of the Chancellorsville battle, Stonewall Jackson's flank attack. Pula demonstrates how these "German" troops were deliberately blamed for the loss of Joe Hooker's grand plan despite the fact that the XI Corps units had a better defensive response than is traditionally recounted. 

While not explicitly stated, Pula's analysis of the events reminds the reader of how easily historical fact can be swept away, even in the moment, with the result that 160 years later popular memory will still think of the XI Corps routed from the field in disgrace. To that point, Pula's work is an excellent defense to the common challenge that there is no wider historical value to micro-histories of battlefield maneuvers. Here we see how a detailed examination of the regimental movements, responding bravely and competently in the face of overwhelming adversity, dispels not only the assumption of the XI Corps' ineptitude, but highlights the ease with which cultural bias can alter the true historical record.

Monday, June 7, 2021

The 2 Half Squads 272: Bravo Biazza

Please join me for my YouTube debut with Dave and Jeff on their latest episode of the 2 Half Squads.  We primarily discuss the new HASL "Brevity Assault" from the Italian designers at Advancing Fire.

2 Half Squads: 272