Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On Porter's Death

In 1886, Civil War veteran George Brady met Dr. Isaac Porter. Brady served in the army with Porter's son Edward (pictured here), who died during the Battle of Winchester in 1863. In the letter below, Brady shared with the father details about the death of the son. I do not have a copy of Porter's reply, if any, to this note. I can't help but imagine the relief felt by the elder Porter in learning this information twenty-five years after the fact, and perhaps the pangs of grief and pain opened anew.

New York, Octo. 18th 1886

Dr. Isaac G. Porter
New London Ct.
Dear Doctor
I have yours of the 14th inst. in explanation of matters etc. attending our introduction at Capt. Gardner’s the other evening. Felt at the time that you did not fully understand that your son and myself were associated together in the 18th Regt. During our stay in Balto. I was a clerk at his Hd. Qr’s, accompanied him a great deal in town, was with him when he had some pictures taken, have one of them now. On leaving Balto. For Winchester I was re-assigned to my Co. (“C”), but on reaching Winchester was placed on detached service at Gen. Milroy’s Hd Qr’s. Meantime your son was made Capt. of Co. “F.” Just before the Battle of Winchester and in fact at the time, he was quite seriously ill, and it is said of him that when the battle was imminent he rose from his bed, with hardly strength enough to stand, remarking that if his Co. went into action he should go with it, and with it he went, and to his death, poor fellow. Am told that he had premontion of his fate, said he was sure of not coming out of the fight alive. A truer or more brave officer never lived. He was beloved by all
Yours Sincerely
George Brady

This letter has been transcribed from a copy sent by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, which young Porter attended. He left school to join the Eighteenth Connecticut Infantry, and received an honorary degree.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Manuscript Checked and Returned

Way ahead of schedule! This morning, I FedExed the edited manuscript back to Anne Whitmore at The Johns Hopkins University Press. As expected, she suggested many text changes, and asked a number of questions about the content. I made far better progress than anticipated, especially this weekend, which was devoted almost exclusively to sitting in the dining room quietly focused on reading the manuscript, often times aloud, weighing Anne's suggestions and checking facts.

I'm very pleased that it is finished, and still a bit surprised at the speed with which I worked.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Editing in Progress

FedEx delivered the manuscript Friday afternoon, and I set about reviewing the edits suggested by Senior Manuscript Editor Anne Whitmore. I hold her in the highest regard, as she and I worked together on Union Faces. The high degree of thoroughness and professionalism she brought to the Northern volume is reflected here. I am deeply appreciative to have her involvement on this project. I spent part of Saturday taking stock of the entire manuscript, scanning the pages and reading Anne's instructions. Today, I began to address each edit, and this will consume most of my free time between now and the April 22 deadline.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

New Publicist

Kathy Alexander, my publicist for Union Faces, has assigned Christina Cheakalos to handle promotions for the Confederate volume. Chrisitina and I have a common background in newspapers, and we both worked at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at one time, although not together.

Kathy asked me to send along my new book jacket photograph, recently taken by my friend and USA TODAY co-worker Denny Gainer.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Book Jacket Design

Yesterday's developments also included an email with an attachment of the book jacket design. I am thrilled with it! The design in consistent with Union Faces. The carte de visite selected by the designer is one of my favorites — Sgt. William Smith of the Twelfth Virginia Infantry. Wounded twice during the war (South Mountain in 1862 and the Wilderness in 1864), he survived and served as a militia colonel during the Spanish-American War. The reflective quality of the cover, which does not come through in this visual has what some describe as a ghostly quality, but what strikes me as a positive-negative image quality that is visible on original images of the period.

Fall Catalog Copy In

Yesterday, I received the copy for The Johns Hopkins University Press Fall 2008 catalog of new book releases. I learned that Michael Fellman, who provided an excellent foreword for Union Faces, will contribute in the same way to the Confederate volume. I am particularly pleased that the first sentence of the copy is taken from the book's introduction: "The history of the Civil War is the stories of its soldiers." This sentence accurately reflects my perspective as one who has studied the lives and military service of more than two hundred veterans, North and South.