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Monday, October 24, 2011

New Project: "The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Final Official Reports Filed by Union Civil War Generals"

I am pleased to announce that Savas Beatie is kicking off 2012 with an exciting digital editing project.

We have tentatively titled this multi-volume series The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Final Official Reports Filed by Union Civil War Generals. It will be edited by Bruce Allardice and Theodore P. Savas. (Bruce is an adjunct professor at South Suburban College and Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois, and the author of Confederate Colonels, and More Generals in Gray, and co-author of Texas burial Sites of Civil War Notables.)


Many years ago, Russel Beatie (he of Savas Beatie) discovered some 430 Civil War battle and campaign reports produced by 317 Union Army generals. Not only are they almost never used, but few Civil War historians seem to be aware of them.

The generals' reports of service represent an attempt by the AGO in 1864 to obtain more complete records regarding the service of everyone who held the rank of general. Think of it as a who-what-why-when-where, sort of request. Seeking both comprehensiveness and uniformity, the AGO requested each general include certain information, and as a result most of the reports consist of chronologically arranged narratives of activities associated with battles, campaigns, and other activities (including personal views on things from slavery to policy, strategy, blame for X, etc.). The lengths of these reports range from one paragraph (a stiff middle finger in the air saying "I am not doing this!") from Brig. Gen. Francis Vinton to Brig. Gen. Henry W. Benham's hundreds of pages in reply. Most reports are 30 pages or less. Some contain newspaper clippings, great maps, and even pamphlets.

Alphabetically speaking, the generals begin with John J. Abercrombie and end with Horatio G. Wright, with 315 more in between.


Savas Beatie will be producing these reports in high quality digital format suitable for all eReaders. Each report will include a one- or two-page biography of each general, with specific insight into the report he filed, a photograph, cross references with the Official Records, and suggested further reading. The reports themselves are in the general's own handwriting, digitally adjusted for the best reading experience. This way there is no issue about who wrote what and whether the translation is correct. (I have seen many of the original reports that ended up in the ORs. The transcription errors are legion and sometimes significant.)

We will be issuing these reports alphabetically in separate volumes. Because of size and formatting restrictions, the number of reports contained in each volume will vary accordingly.

Hopefully you subscribe to our free monthly e-letter called Libri Novus. [No? CLICK HERE to jump to our home page, where you just type your email into the Libri Novus box and we can include you!] If you already get our newsletter, stay tuned because next month's edition will include a sneak peek at Brig. Gen. John J. Abercrombie's biography, and partial report, an update on the project, and much more. I will also be posting here on this blog, and our website will have a dedicated page with clickable links to purchase very soon.

Thank you for your continued support.

-- tps


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see these. I for one have never heard of this, and I soak up footnotes and bibliographies and have a very large (a couple thousand volumes) library. If I saw an entry or two, it didn't begin to imply there were literally hundreds of reports just waiting to be read and used.

I wonder why Broadfoot's Supplement did not include these???

Will the reports be made available for individual sales, sort of like Amazon shorts?

Stephen R

Anonymous said...

A great start, Teddy. And as you journey deeper into the digital universe, every new project must take on an added dimension, simply to stay one step ahead of your competitors.

"He who demands the future, COMMANDS the future!"

J David Petruzzi said...

I found (or I should say, my researcher found) these reports about 10 years ago, and I have copies of those done by most cavalry generals in the East - have used them heavily in my books and articles. They're wonderful resources. In many cases, they're obviously pretty self-serving and often quite amusing to read, but they are fabulous resources for a variety of applications.