Monday, July 28, 2008

Proofreading Deadline Met

It is with more than a little relief that I sit here looking at the securely packaged box that contains the edited proof of Confederate Faces. Proofreading is one of the most tedious parts of the publishing process for me, as it requires my full focus and undivided attention.

My proofreading method involves a comfortable (but not too comfortable) chair, a strong light source, and a glass of water. Then, I read aloud (hence the water), word for word, syllable by syllable, pronouncing each phonetically, mindful of spelling and punctuation and content and accuracy.

When I find an error, I leave the chair and go to a table set up in another room. On this table are the rest of my materials, including a duplicate copy of the proofs and a blue pencil. I grab the blue pencil and make my marks using typesetter symbols — ital to indicate italics, l.c. to denote lower case, etc.

Then, back to the chair and on to the next revision. I consumed many hours by this process: 281 pages plus the foreword, preface and introduction at about four minutes per page (yes, I timed it!). I managed two full rounds of editing, finishing late last night.

Anne managed to read through a sizeable portion, and it helped to know that someone I trust was reading behind me (and it didn’t hurt that she really enjoyed the stories, including one that brought her to tears).

I initially titled this post “Proofreading Completed.” But, considering that I’m not sure proofreading is ever completed, as one can read through over and over again, I decided on the “Proofreading Deadline Met” as it accurately reflects that I read as much as I could until the time came to send it in.

BTW, I didn't bother to proof this post.

Next: Writing the Index.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Personalized Gauntlets

The embroidered or hand-lettered writing along the cuff of the gauntlets worn by Sgt. Maj. Alexander M. Lowry of the 112th New York Infantry is clear to the unaided eye viewing his carte de visite. A high resolution scan reveals "A.M. Lowry." Below his name is another marking, which may be his regiment number.

This is the first time I've come across a photograph that shows personalized gauntlets. Lowry was the original sergeant major in the 112th, and later became a first lieutenant. He survived the war and returned to his family in Jamestown, N.Y. He later married and moved to Manhattan. His name last appears on the U.S. Census in 1920.

The Page That Made My Wife Cry

On Monday the package containing the proofs of Confederate Faces arrived on my doorstep. This was my first opportunity to see the layout of the pages and get a real sense of what the book will look like. Also, more importantly, this is my final chance to check for errors. There will be many, as the transition from typed manuscript to typeset pages results in small errors of punctuation and spelling.

Leafing through, I found one page that I never told my wife about. I asked her to come into the room and showed her, and she cried with happiness and hugged me in a warm embrace. I cried, too. I could not have done it without her support and love.

I've scanned in The Page.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Remarks by General Force

This is the title of an address delivered at the first reunion of the veterans of the Twentieth Ohio Infantry, who gathered at Mt. Vernon, Ohio, on April 6, 1876. Delivered by Brig. Gen. Manning Ferguson Force (1824-1899) in the waning days of Reconstruction and on the eve of our Centennial, his eloquent conclusion caught my attention:

"War is essentially cruel. Its purpose is destruction. Like the surgeon practicing his profession, the soldier, in the progress of the war, finds his sensibility grow dull to inevitable suffering. War grows more relentless the longer it lasts. It is simply horrible if not undertaken for some worthy end. But when begun from principle, and carried on from duty to enforce a sacred right, war is consecrated; it calls into action all that is noblest and best in man, and affords some compensation for its calamities.

"Who can count the hearts that bled? Who can number the homes that mourned? Yet every man who gave his life a willing sacrifice for us and for his country, by showing us how to die instructed us how we should live. And every woman who, in her errand of mercy, gave her life to save the lives of others, blessed the earth like an angel visitant from higher spheres. And while the war strode across the land like a tornado, scattering havoc and devastation, yet, like a tornado, it dispelled the miasma that was poisoning our system. We were one nation living under one government; but the two sections, opposed in their institutions, were continually growing asunder, divergent and alienated. The war swept away the cause of difference, and left us not only one in nationality and one in government, but one in institutions. This generation must bear the suffering and wear the scars, but posterity will reap the benefit.

"Comrades, we no more camp and march and battle side by side. Our homes are widely scattered; we follow diverse pursuits; we worship in various churches; we vote in different parties; but we still are one in declaring that the war must not be in vain; its results shall stand; this nation shall be forever one; its laws shall be obeyed, and the government saved at so great cost, shall be administered with such honor and purity as to justify the cost of saving it. But we cannot ask of others what we ourselves fail to do. It is the duty of every man, above all it is the duty of every soldier who served in the war, to show in his own life an example of that obedience to law and purity of character that we demand of others. See to it that this great land is the home of a nation truly great; and when the next centennial year rolls around, posterity, while honoring the founders of the Republic, may have some kind words for those who saved it in its sorest peril.

(Wood, David W. History of the 20th O.V.V.I. Regiment, and Proceedings of the First Reunion. Columbus, Ohio: Paul & Thrall, 1876.)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Faces of the Confederacy on JHUP

Learned this afternoon that Faces of the Confederacy now has a presence on The Johns Hopkins University Press site. Check it out.