There . . . . squarely, intelligently, and emotionally in the carnage of brother killing brother, a
nonpareil young America hell-bent on suicide during a five-year angry hissy fit called
“The war between the states”. For this reviewer, initiating a brother-column to his tri-weekly
World War II effort (“Being there . . .”), no better writer than Shelby Foote summed up those
1860 to 1865 bloodletting years when dreaded death by rope, bomb, bullet, or belly-hunger
hovered over at least a third of all the states. Thanks for the words and sentences I’m incapable
of justifying this initial column . . . .
“Many books by many men, predominantly military experts and professional historians, have
contributed to our understanding of that dastardly war that was on the precipice of ruining the
greatest gifts Americans could have received from their forefathers — freedom, democracy,
justice for all. For me,” wrote Shelby in 1958, “the most useful, as well as the largest, of their
books were the 128-volumes, ‘War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the
Union and Confederate Armies”, and the 30-volume, “Official Records of the Union and
Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion”, issued by the government in 1880 – 1901 and
1897-1927, respectively. There, you hear the live men speak. There, in their diaries and letters,
their newspapers and periodicals, are the actual words they spoke then and in later life when
they got around to writing their memoirs, regimental histories, and a host of articles such as the
ones collected in the four large volumes published in 1887 under the title, ‘Battles and Leaders
of the Civil War’. Early or later, taken in conjunction with the diplomatic correspondence and
congressional transcripts, these great works completed the first-hand testimony by soldiers and
civilians, some of high rank, some of low rank, some of no rank at all. The evidence is in. All else
is speculation or sifting, an attempt to reconcile differences and bring order out of multiplicity
by sorting the fruits that have poured from each of their horns of plenty”.
NOW, ENTER WITH THREE BRILLIANT AUTHORS OF CASEMATE AND MCFARLAND, FOLLOWED
SOON BY THE CIVIL WAR AUTHORS OF SCHIFFER, OSPRY PUBLISHERS, AND NAVAL INSTITUTE
PRESS, WHO TRADITIONALLY PROVIDE FOR OUR JOY OF READING INTERESTING AND
REWARDING BIOGRAPHIES AND STUDIES OF THEIR ENDEAVORS, PEACE AND WAR – – TURN THE
FIRST CHAPTER PAGES OF THESE THREE NEW TITLES AND READ FOR YOURSELF WHAT SHELBY
FOOTE MEANT . . .
Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
“THE LAST CAVALRY SWORD”, by C. Anthony Burke. Frontline Books, Imp. Pen & Sword Books
Ltd, Dist. CASEMATE PUBLISHING; 2022, 117 pages, hardcover; $36.95. Visit, www.frontline-
books,com, or/and E-mail, [email protected]
“THE EIGHTH CONNECTICUT VOLUNTEER INFANTRY IN THE CIVIL WAR”, by William A. Liska and
Kim L, Perlotto, Foreword by Matthew Warshauer. McFarland & Company Inc., Publishers:
2023, 289 pages, softcover; $45. Visit, www.mcfarlandpub.com.
“THE CHICAGO BOARD OF TRADE BATTERY IN THE CIVIL WAR”, by Dennis W. Belcher.
McFarland & Company Inc, Publishers: 2022, 389 pages, softcover; $49.95. Visit,
What a delight “The Last Cavalry Sword”, by C. Anthony Burke, turned out to be! I might
have known that a man long interested in the development of the very last sword designed by a
major power for its army to use as a weapon, not as an article of a dress uniform, meant
meticulous research and polished, easy-to-grasp technical narration for us uninitiated readers.
The sword was the U.S. Model 1913 Cavalry Saber. Guess who the designer was. George S.
Patton, then a lowly lieutenant on the staff of the Army Chief of Staff. A one-of a kind book,
with a priceless three-page bibliography, it provides an illustrated overview of the history of
cavalry swords and their employment on the battlefield from the end of the Renaissance,
through the Napoleonic Era, the Mexican American War, the Civil War, and the Spanish-
American debacle, each war culminating with the Patton saber. Author Burke enhances his
descriptions with several of the more famous cavalry charges. Eventually the sabers were
converted to fighting knives carried by GIs during WW II.
The two McFarland titles live up to the publisher’s reputation of providing readers with the
best regimental historians, Liska and Perlotto, available for such unit histories. Here, the Civil
War buff enjoys almost 300 pages, fully illustrated, and, like “The Last Cavalry Sword”, a brilliant
bibliography. The Eighth Connecticut was one of the longest-serving Union volunteer regiments
in the Civil War and saw action throughout Eastern Theater, which meant from Burnside’s
expedition in North Carolina to the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Cold Harbor, and
Petersburg, and campaigns throughout Virginia. Liska and Perlotto, two Connecticut residents,
Bill, a retired attorney and Kim, a retire computer scientist, have provided us enthusiasts with
an extraordinary gift, the first-ever chronicle of the Eighth’s four years of combat service, with
maps newly created from historical accounts.
And, naturally, Dennis W. Belcher provides us with even more excitement by tracking, then
chronicling, beginning in July 1862, how the Chicago Board of Trade went to war. Using its
influence to organize perhaps the most prominent Union artillery unit in the Western Theater,
the recruited enlistees were all Chicagoans, mainly clerks. The battery was involved in 11 major
battles, 26 minor battles, 42 actions, and two dozen skirmishes! They held the center at Stones
River, repulsing a furious attack. They then joined 50 other Union guns in stopping one of the
most dramatic offensives of the war in that Western Theater. With Colonel Robert Minty’s
cavalry, they resisted an overwhelming assault along Chickamauga Creek. Expertly, Dennis
describes the actions of the Chicago Board of Trade Independent Light Artillery at and during
the battles of Farmington, Dallas, Noonday Creek, Atlanta, Nashville, and Selma. Often, the
team fought in raids, i.e., among others, that of Kilpatrick’s.
Add McFarland to Casemate and readers are invited to immerse in two “horns of plenty”,
fine books from the finest Civil War Publishing combo on the American Civil War. Once again,
visit www.casematepublishers.com, and www.mcfarlandpub.com for other choice titles.