Being there . . . . for the proud announcement and introduction of two hot-off-press Civil War
books published by the incomparable McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers – – and just in time
to offer them, if wrapped together, as a splendid Christmas or New Year gift. Ardent enthusiasts
of the Civil War, upon unwrapping the package, will amaze you with an unexpected glance of
delighted gladness. “Where on earth did you buy these? How did you know about them? I’ll
wager by the titles alone that author James A. Goecker’s ‘Hoosier Spies and Horse Marines – – A
History of the Third Indiana Cavalry, East Wing”, and “Boy General of the 11 th Alabama – – John
C.C. Sanders and Company C in the Civil War”, by research- writer Donald W. Abel, Jr., match, if
not excel, the highest compliment a dedicated Civil War bibliophile can earn, “Your words and
sentences weave history into art, which I thought only old Shelby Foote and Bruce Catton
could. Theirs’s could – – each of their books sheer beauty despite being riddled with the tears
and sadness of daily death and destruction.
McFARLAND PUBLISHING’S CHRISTMAS GIFTS TO EAGER CIVIL WAR READERS – DESPITE BEING
CLASSIC TRAGEDIES, EACH PROVIDES A BROAD CANVAS AND REVEALING CLOSE-UP OF A
SUBJECT EVEN THE MOST RESOLUTE AFICIANADO KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT, “THE BOY
GENERAL OF THE IIth ALABAMA” and “HOOSIER SPIES AND HORSE MARINES – – A History of the
Third Indiana Cavalry, EAST WING”.
Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
“HOOSIER SPIES and HORSE MARINES – – A History of the Third Indiana Cavalry, East Wing”, by
James A. Goecker. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, North Carolina: 2023, 283
pages, 7’x 10’, softcover, $49.95. Visit, www.mcfarlandpub.com.
“BOY GENERAL of the IIth Alabama – – John C.C. Sanders and Company C in the Civil War”, by
Donald W. Abel, Jr. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, North Carolina: 2023, 337
pages, 7’x 10’, softcover, $49.95.
Through the pages of each text, a combined 620 of them, the soldiers amble, jog, or race,
usually with a rifle aimed from the shoulder. Jim Goecker and Don Abel, Jr., not only write their
rarely told stories in a readable and absorbing way, but also in a realistically fresh manner to
the point history and personality are vivid, alive, absorbing. The research of each, so obviously
on display on virtually every page of his scholarship commingling with fine narrative skill,
deserves special praise (check the bibliography and chapter notes of each).
Jim’s “Hoosier Spies” traces the history of a remarkable troop of Hoosier horsemen – – the
East Wing of the Third Indiana Cavalry – – during the Civil War. From the backwaters of the war
in eastern Maryland to the epicenter of cavalry action in the eastern theater, they fought at
Antietam, Brandy Station, Gettysburg and around Petersburg, and helped subdue Confederate
forces in the Shenandoah Valley. Along the way they served as spies and fought in dozens of
bitterly vicious skirmishes and battles. Finally, at Appomattox, they escorted one of the most
famous generals of the war. Jim’s account details each engagement in context and includes a
Meanwhile, Don splendidly describes how in the spring of 1861 John Caldwell Calhoun
Sanders, a 21-year-old cadet at the University of Alabama, helped organize a company of the
11 th Alabama Volunteer Infantry. Primarily from Greene County, the 109 men of Company C,
“The Confederate Guard”, signed on for the duration of the war and made Sanders their first
captain. They would fight in every major battle in the Eastern Theater under Robert E. Lee.
Leading from the front, Sanders was wounded four times during the war yet rose rapidly
through the ranks, becoming one of the South’s “Boy Generals” at 24. By the time of Lee’s
appearance at Appomattox, Sanders was dead and the remaining 20 men of Company C
surrendered with what was left of the brave, formidable Army of North Virginia. Incidentally,
Don’s great-great grandfather was a member of Company C.