Book Chat
A Little Short of Boats
The Fights at Ball's Bluff and Edwards Ferry
James A. Morgan III

This chat took place in the Civil War Home Chatroom on 4/2/06 and covered Chapters 1, 2, & 3.  This chat was participated in by Jim Morgan, the author of the book.

B4/2/2006 7:49 pm (et) jim morgan: Greetings, all.

4/2/2006 7:49 pm (et) mobile_96: evenin' jim and wb KS, Vickie and Base

4/2/2006 7:50 pm (et) Basecat: Evening Jim. Hope all is well.

4/2/2006 7:50 pm (et) ks: Hi Jim. Glad you could join us. I've probably discombobulated a few of the chatters. Cleared the log only moments ago.

4/2/2006 7:50 pm (et) ks: mobile? I don't see your logon. How'd you DO that??

4/2/2006 7:50 pm (et) jim morgan: ks: I wondered why the log was so short. Maybe we can fill it up again in the next hour.

4/2/2006 7:51 pm (et) Basecat: Evening babs. Hope all is well.

4/2/2006 7:51 pm (et) ks: I'm confident that task can be accomplished, Jim. 

4/2/2006 7:52 pm (et) Basecat: Jim...Am sure we will fill it up...Most folks feel I am full of it already..;)

4/2/2006 7:52 pm (et) mobile_96: just sat here, and waited till the flash cleared away

4/2/2006 7:52 pm (et) Babs: Hi. Things are settling down a bit. Glad to be able to join you. Thanks to Teej for making it possible.

4/2/2006 7:53 pm (et) Basecat: We will be starting in a few minutes. Just waiting for the stragglers to show up. :)

4/2/2006 7:53 pm (et) jim morgan: Stragglers are the bane of battles, battlefield tours, and online chats, eh?

4/2/2006 7:54 pm (et) ks: I wasn't certain you knew about the earlier time tonight, Babs. Delighted to see that you got the word (or lucked into it). ;) Bob was planning to be here, wasn't he? How about Teej?

4/2/2006 7:54 pm (et) Basecat: Jim...That they be...and unlike Stonewall, I at times can be too lenient with them..;)

4/2/2006 7:55 pm (et) Babs: I saw the notice on Ye Ol' Discussion Board.

4/2/2006 7:55 pm (et) ks: mobile, I didn't know that you could do that. "Instructions" shotgun and I have state that people have to log out. Perhaps OLI doesn't know their software as well as they think they do. :)

4/2/2006 7:55 pm (et) jim morgan: I talked to Teej earlier. I imagine she'll be here shortly.

4/2/2006 7:55 pm (et) mobile_96: or I was just lucky, for a change

4/2/2006 7:56 pm (et) Teej: enters the chatroom.

4/2/2006 7:56 pm (et) ks: Speak of the Tar Heel... ;)

4/2/2006 7:56 pm (et) ks: And welcome to you too, Bob.

4/2/2006 7:56 pm (et) jim morgan: Speak of the devil.

4/2/2006 7:56 pm (et) Teej: Hello everyone, sorry I'm late.

4/2/2006 7:56 pm (et) Teej: LOL...I was thinking the same thing.

4/2/2006 7:56 pm (et) mobile_96: evenin' Teej

4/2/2006 7:56 pm (et) jim morgan: Oh, wait. "Devil" would imply Dook and we all know Teej ain't no Dookie.

4/2/2006 7:57 pm (et) Babs: I see the time stamp is giving you a few extra minutes.

4/2/2006 7:58 pm (et) ks: Timestamp has been off a few minutes for quite a while now, Babs. No way for us to reset it and I don't know that OLI cares.

4/2/2006 7:59 pm (et) jim morgan: "Time Stamp" would be a good name for a rock band.

4/2/2006 7:59 pm (et) Basecat: Welcome all to the Sunday Night Book Chat. Tonight we start a discussion on Jim Morgan's book A Little Short of Boats: The Fights at Ball's Bluff and Edwards Ferry". As an extra attraction, we have a first this evening, as the author of the book will be joining us for the chat. Tonight we focus on the book thru Chapter 3. Welcome all once again.

4/2/2006 8:00 pm (et) jim morgan: Before we get started, I'd like to thank everyone for participating. I'm honored that you chose my book to discuss.

4/2/2006 8:00 pm (et) ks: shotgun does archive the discussions, so it's appreciated when we keep the commentary relevant to the chapter under discussion. Easier for those who read those archived chats to follow that way.

4/2/2006 8:00 pm (et) ks: And we're pleased that you made the time to be here with us, Jim. This is a first.

4/2/2006 8:01 pm (et) Basecat: Jim. You are welcome. I'd like to ask you how you first got involved with studying the battle at Ball's Bluff?

4/2/2006 8:02 pm (et) jim morgan: That's easy, Steve. I heard in 2000 that the Northern Va Regional Park Authority wanted to organize a guide group for BB so I signed up. I'd been out there a few times and really liked that little battlefield. Didn't know much about the battle but I'd done that sort of thing elsewhere and thought it a fun and useful activity.

4/2/2006 8:04 pm (et) jim morgan: To get up to speed, I read all the books, articles, OR material, etc that I could find and started giving tours. Almost immediately, I started doubting the traditional story so I began to dig into original source materials in order to answer my questions. The more I dug, the more errors I found and the more I got interested. The result was a book.

4/2/2006 8:05 pm (et) bcoff12: Jim, what brought about your initial doubts of the traditional story?

4/2/2006 8:06 pm (et) ks: NOTE: I see Teej shot a blank and I was about to post a * or something myself to advance the log. For some of us the log's last post doesn't readily appear and makes it feel like there's a lag. You can check for updates via the "Log" button, or toss out a blank. Don't want to eat too much of the log with blanks (especially since shotgun's going to have to edit them out) but we do what we must.

4/2/2006 8:07 pm (et) jim morgan: bcoff: At first, it was just some aspects of the lay of the land that didn't match the narratives. The first thing that caught my attention was the location of the marker that supposedly marks the spot where Col. Baker was killed. That spot does not match the descriptions in the more credible narratives of his death.

4/2/2006 8:09 pm (et) ks: How long of a process was it for you to dig into those original source materials and assemble the book's contents?

4/2/2006 8:10 pm (et) jim morgan: ks: I researched the book for about three years but it was part time research as I could take time from my job to do it. It goes on, though. I still am doing some digging as I'm now researching Gen. Stone's life for a biography of him and there's lots of BB-related material in there.

4/2/2006 8:12 pm (et) jim morgan: All: the biggest problem I had with the traditional story is the idea that the battle came out of a pre-existing plan. Stone would have to have been an idiot to have planned the kind of crossing that ultimately happened. So I searched for the elusive plan that all author's mentioned but none ever footnoted and I discovered that there is no hard evidence for the existence of a plan to take Leesburg until Stone wrote one in January of 1862.

4/2/2006 8:13 pm (et) jim morgan: I think what happened was that references to a plan fit what had been peoples' expectations and sort of got back-dated in people's minds so as to refer to the October '61 period. Repetition turned that into "fact."

4/2/2006 8:13 pm (et) ks: A great deal of what we've read for tonight is unfamiliar material to me. Don't yet have a handle on the names of many participants mentioned. That said, I'm enjoying it a good deal due to the mention of current day highways, shopping centers, buildings, etc. Those things I know to a certain extent because of repeated travel in the area. This "accidental" battle is going to make my D.C. travels more interesting. ;)

4/2/2006 8:14 pm (et) Teej: Jim, did contemporary newspapers make a big deal out of the fact that Manassas and BB were exactly 3 months apart?

4/2/2006 8:14 pm (et) jim morgan: One of the advantages of continuing research is that I can update the book. In it, I note that Stone's plan "probably" post-dated the battle. Now I can prove it.

4/2/2006 8:14 pm (et) Babs: So were the authors were just quoting each other? I think that must happen a lot in books that don't go back to primary sources.

4/2/2006 8:15 pm (et) jim morgan: Teej: No, not really. The big deal was that this was the second straight defeat in the east and the third counting Wilson's Creek in the west. Northerners were somewhat stunned and wondering what the hell was going on.

4/2/2006 8:16 pm (et) jim morgan: Babs: That's exactly right. The writings on Ball's Bluff tend just to repeat each other. There seems to have been very little original research over the years.

4/2/2006 8:17 pm (et) jim morgan: ks: I think that references to modern landmarks are essential precisely because BB is such a small and obscure battle. Several people have commented to me on that.

4/2/2006 8:18 pm (et) Basecat: Jim, A question on the pre battle operations. You mention that this was supposed to be a recon mission. Both sides had cavalry as you describe, and yet they were not used as well as they should have been. Just a case that officers back then had no idea how to use their cavalry to their advantage?

4/2/2006 8:19 pm (et) Babs: The first thing I learned from the book was likely intended as an aside. I did not know that Manassas was the largest battle to date for American troops. That means it was bigger than anything in the Revolution, the Mexican War, or even the Battle of New Orleans.

4/2/2006 8:20 pm (et) jim morgan: Basecat: Everything was reactive. It just happened that the first Confederates in Leesburg to hear about the fighting were cavalry. Lt. Col. Jenifer got them mounted and to the battlefield as quickly as he could. The Federals had sent over 10-12 cavalry to scout forward but they were ordered back by Col. William R. Lee of the 20th Mass who told them that they could do no good.

4/2/2006 8:21 pm (et) jim morgan: Babs: Yep, First Manassas was the biggest to date. Remember that in Mexico, for example, Gen. Scott's entire army was only something like 15,000 men at its biggest.

4/2/2006 8:22 pm (et) Basecat: Just to add both armies that fought at First Manassas totaled about 70,000. Almost a 50/50 split in terms of numbers on both sides.

4/2/2006 8:23 pm (et) jim morgan: Remember, too, that the next biggest battle of 1861 after Manassas was Wilson's Creek in which about 17,000 men participated all together. Manassas was huge by the standards of the day.

4/2/2006 8:23 pm (et) ks: Babs, I didn't realize that either until I saw it pointed out in tonight's read. I'd always imagined those other battles (pre Manassas) as having been much larger.

4/2/2006 8:23 pm (et) Babs: No wonder both sides stepped back and took time to regroup.

4/2/2006 8:23 pm (et) Basecat: ks...Andy Jackson was good at publicity...Got him a statue in New Orleans, but I digress.;)

4/2/2006 8:24 pm (et) jim morgan: I could be wrong but I think Jackson had something like 2,000 men at New Orleans.

4/2/2006 8:24 pm (et) Teej: Made George Williams immortal too, Mexico that is. :-)

4/2/2006 8:25 pm (et) Basecat: Babs.. As Jim points out, quite common at the start of wars to have a lull after the thing started. Jim also makes a fine point that back in 1861, noone truly believed it was gonna last as long as it did, or be as bloody.

4/2/2006 8:25 pm (et) Teej: Jim, why isn't the battle of Bethel counted in the win/loss columns for the North?

4/2/2006 8:25 pm (et) Babs: Base, If you really want to digress you might mention it got him the presidency.

4/2/2006 8:25 pm (et) Basecat: Babs.. I Am only allowed one digression a chat. :)

4/2/2006 8:26 pm (et) jim morgan: Teej: Guess it should be. Not sure how big it was.

4/2/2006 8:27 pm (et) Babs: We'd both better get back on topic then.

4/2/2006 8:27 pm (et) bcoff12: Jim, I read some things in your book (may have been in the Foreword) about preservation of the battlefield. Sounds like a success story - anything new to report on that?

4/2/2006 8:28 pm (et) ks: For those here who are new to the room (let alone the book chats) I'm explaining the link included in this post. ;) It makes sense that we relate each book to previous reads and this is a group that's had a great interest in Lincoln. We've done plenty of Lincoln books and have more in the list to read. I appreciated the mention of Edward Dickinson Baker as the key figure in the fight at BB. Especially appreciated the mention of Lincoln's 2nd son being named after him. Found this link on Eddie that I knew some here (and some scrollers) would appreciated.

4/2/2006 8:28 pm (et) jim morgan: Re Ball's Bluff, let me note that not only expectations but appearances contributed to the traditional story that it was planned. Stone got a big reinforcement in early October with the arrival of Baker's brigade. Gen. George McCall moved to Langley (25 miles from Leesburg) on Oct 9-10 with 12,000 men. Shanks Evans expected that they'd try to envelope him. When the crossings happened, they were really only a raiding party and a small diversion but they LOOKED like an envelopment. Everything seemed to fit.

4/2/2006 8:29 pm (et) jim morgan: bcoff: BB is a success story. Nothing new though. A 141-acre piece of property adjacent to the battlefield park was purchased in 2000. Of that, 55 acres are now part of the park the rest is being held by the town of Leesburg in "passive recreation" so it won't be developed.

4/2/2006 8:30 pm (et) jim morgan: Only part of the early morning skirmish field at BB has been lost to development. All the key areas have been saved.

4/2/2006 8:31 pm (et) bcoff12: Outstanding. Very glad to hear that. Can't wait to see it!

4/2/2006 8:31 pm (et) mobile_96: Since the supreme court ruling on the taking of property for the public good, what's to keep them from developing that park later on

4/2/2006 8:31 pm (et) jim morgan: ks: Baker is a fascinating figure. He was about to be made a major general and given a division. But for his death at BB, I'd go so far as to say that Lincoln may eventually have given him command of the AoP.

4/2/2006 8:32 pm (et) Teej: Out of friendship or because he was the best man for the job?

4/2/2006 8:32 pm (et) jim morgan: mobile: I think that ruling referred to private property, did it not? It'll be challenged anyway.

4/2/2006 8:32 pm (et) ks: Wow. That's something I've not previously read or heard. Quite a "might have been".

4/2/2006 8:33 pm (et) Babs: Because of his abilities? or because of his friendship?

4/2/2006 8:33 pm (et) mobile_96: Still, that land isn't under historical protection, so.......

4/2/2006 8:33 pm (et) jim morgan: Teej: I'm just speculating, of course. But who knew who was the best man for the job at that point? Friendship with Lincoln could have been a critical factor.

4/2/2006 8:33 pm (et) Babs: Teej :^)

4/2/2006 8:33 pm (et) mobile_96: Anyway, I'm also sure it will be challenged

4/2/2006 8:34 pm (et) jim morgan: ks: That's just speculation on my part. I have no evidence that it would have happened. I do know that an order had been drafted on Oct 19 that would have given Baker his own division.

4/2/2006 8:34 pm (et) Teej: Would you agree that Baker would have been another Banks, in over his head?

4/2/2006 8:34 pm (et) jim morgan: mobile: Not sure what you mean. Its a National Historic Landmark.

4/2/2006 8:34 pm (et) ks: Understood, Jim.

4/2/2006 8:35 pm (et) mobile_96: The land held by the city? ok, thanks

4/2/2006 8:35 pm (et) jim morgan: Teej: Who can say? Everyone expected great things from McClellan and he didn't live up to expectations. I really don't know how Baker would have done. I just have a sense that, all things considered, Lincoln naming him to lead the army would not have been out of the question.

4/2/2006 8:36 pm (et) Basecat: My apologies folks. Been awhile since I have done this. We are talking about the first 2 chapters, and let's not try to jump ahead to the battle  just yet. We are exploring the pre battle operations.

4/2/2006 8:36 pm (et) jim morgan: mobile: No, not that land; the park itself.

4/2/2006 8:37 pm (et) Babs: I thought we were doing three chapters.

4/2/2006 8:37 pm (et) Basecat: Babs.. we are tonight. .Just don't want to jump ahead too quickly.

4/2/2006 8:38 pm (et) mobile_96: Was only implying that that land being used as a buffer could someday be lost

4/2/2006 8:38 pm (et) jim morgan: Sorry, Steve. Pre-battle things had been static over the summer until the number of yanks in the area drastically increased in October. That made Shanks Evans nervous and, following some skirmishing near Harper's Ferry, he seems to have thought that the envelopment he was worried about was about to happen. So he skedaddled and headed his men south.

4/2/2006 8:38 pm (et) ks: You're correct, Babs. I'm guessing Base said that based upon where we already are in discussion? I was lost myself wondering where we were. Used to the format from previous discussions.

4/2/2006 8:38 pm (et) Basecat: No need to apologize...My fault.

4/2/2006 8:39 pm (et) jim morgan: Thing is, Evans abandoned Leesburg on his own authority. Beauregard wasn't happy when he heard about it so Evans was back in Leesburg within a couple of days. The yanks had seen the withdrawal, though, and their exploration of that is what led to the battle.

4/2/2006 8:39 pm (et) Babs: Ok. From Chapter 2. That Col. Lee sure looked a lot like his distant cousin REL.

4/2/2006 8:39 pm (et) bcoff12: Thought the same thing Babs.

4/2/2006 8:40 pm (et) jim morgan: Babs: He did, didn't he? I've not pinned down just what the relationship was but it was no doubt several "removeds."

4/2/2006 8:40 pm (et) ks: Didn't he though?! At first I thought it was a bad repro of a picture of Marse Robert. ;)

4/2/2006 8:40 pm (et) Basecat: Safe to say that the Confederates had an advantage because of all the local soldiers in the command...Most knew the area well. Had to be a major disadvantage to those on the Union side.

4/2/2006 8:41 pm (et) jim morgan: So the yanks advance to Dranesville (about halfway between Langley and Leesburg) to check out whether the rebs are really gone or if its just a trap.

4/2/2006 8:41 pm (et) Babs: I understand it might be tough tracing the intermarriages of those early Virginians.

4/2/2006 8:42 pm (et) jim morgan: Basecat: Less of an advantage than it would have been on a larger field. Local boy, Lige White, helped guide the Mississippians to the battlefield and I'm sure that the local boys of the 8th Virginia had a real emotional stake in this fight literally in their backyards. But in tactical terms, I doubt there was a huge advantage to the rebs.

4/2/2006 8:43 pm (et) ks: BTW Babs, new word (for me) from the read thus far is in chapter 1. "sitzkrieg" :) "phony war" seemed to well describe the lull after 1st Manassas.

4/2/2006 8:43 pm (et) jim morgan: ks: That and "gesundheit" are about all the German I know.

4/2/2006 8:44 pm (et) jim morgan: ks: Sitzkrieg does fit though. When you think about it, the war didn't REALLY start til the spring of '62.

4/2/2006 8:44 pm (et) Babs: KS, Me too. It amused me though as it is a large part of many wars, sitting.

4/2/2006 8:44 pm (et) Basecat: Any more questions or thoughts on Chapters 1 and 2?

4/2/2006 8:45 pm (et) Babs: just one.

4/2/2006 8:45 pm (et) ks: LOL. I know a bit more than that, all what my (Czech) family describes as "low, sloppy, German". ;)

4/2/2006 8:45 pm (et) Basecat: Fire away Babs.

4/2/2006 8:45 pm (et) jim morgan: Let me add that when McCall got to Dranesville and found that Evans was back in Leesburg there was some confusion. McClellan actually came to Dranesville to consult with McCall, didn't lilke what he saw, and ordered McCall back to Langley. That could have been the end of the story right there.

4/2/2006 8:46 pm (et) Babs: What kind of pressure do you put on a kid by naming him Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana?

4/2/2006 8:46 pm (et) jim morgan: Mac order McCall back to Langley on the night of Oct 19.

4/2/2006 8:47 pm (et) jim morgan: Babs: His parents didn't want him to become a metrosexual.

4/2/2006 8:47 pm (et) Teej: LOL

4/2/2006 8:47 pm (et) Basecat: Nice to see Little Mac did go out into the field for a change at this time. Very good point made that he did not tell Stone all of the orders he gave McCall.

4/2/2006 8:48 pm (et) bcoff12: Yes - the story of the phantom camp, as related by Lt. Howe. I'm having a tough time with how that happened. Was that basically due to the time of day?

4/2/2006 8:48 pm (et) Babs: Jim, That was my thought. What if the poor kid had wanted to play the violin?

4/2/2006 8:49 pm (et) jim morgan: Re McCall: he asked to stay an extra day so as to map the roads and Mac said yes. So Mac lets McCall stay and, the next day, tells Stone that McCall is in Dranesville. But he does NOT tell Stone t hat he's already ordered McCall back to Langley. All day long on October 21, Stone thinks McCall is in supporting distance when he's really taken his 12,000 men and marched away.

4/2/2006 8:49 pm (et) ks: So you understood it. ;) I had to consult word spy. Just not up to snuff on these more recently coined terms. :)

4/2/2006 8:50 pm (et) jim morgan: bcoff: the recon patrol took place from roughly dusk on October 20 until maybe 10:00 pm. What the yanks saw was a row of trees in the distance that the darkness gave the appearance of tents. The problem was that they didn't get closer and check it out. Just reported what they thought they saw. Stone got faulty intel.

4/2/2006 8:50 pm (et) Babs: KS, I watch too much TV. That's how I knew.

4/2/2006 8:51 pm (et) Teej: I live in PInehurst. That's how I knew. :-)

4/2/2006 8:52 pm (et) ks: Obviously I don't watch enough South Park. ;)

4/2/2006 8:52 pm (et) Basecat: I love the title of Chapter 3. At The First Symptom of Light. :) Which means comments and questions about Chapter 3.:)

4/2/2006 8:53 pm (et) jim morgan: bcoff: Remember too that these were green troops. Everything was still very amateurish.

4/2/2006 8:53 pm (et) bcoff12: Jim, do you think Stone was overly aggressive in initiating a raid based on that intel alone? Aside from our 20/20 hindsight I mean :)

4/2/2006 8:53 pm (et) jim morgan: Basecat: all the chapter titles are taken from quotes by various participants.

4/2/2006 8:53 pm (et) bcoff12: Good point Jim, I try to keep that in mind when reading this.

4/2/2006 8:54 pm (et) Basecat: Jim...Which is a great idea...Me...I would have said, what the heck am I doing up at this hour? :)

4/2/2006 8:54 pm (et) jim morgan: bcoff: No, I don't. His orders to Col. Devens were very cautionary, plus he ordered the small cavalry diversion at Edwards Ferry. The key decision was not that Stone ordered a raiding party (which he DID have the authority to do) but that, on learning of the mistake about the camp, Devens didn't come back right away but decided to stay and send for further instructions.

4/2/2006 8:55 pm (et) Teej: Considering it took nearly 5 hours to get 400 men across, why was no thought given to "what if we have to bail?"

4/2/2006 8:56 pm (et) jim morgan: Teej: Col. Devens DID give some thought to that. He ordered that one of the large flatboats be brought across the river to help with the crossing and with the eventual withdrawal.

4/2/2006 8:58 pm (et) Babs: Paul Revere. It was interesting to read about him and others from the Mass 20th as I only know them for their part at Gettysburg.

4/2/2006 8:58 pm (et) jim morgan: Remember, all, that the crossing at BB was actually TWO crossings of the river. Most of the men had to get from Maryland to Harrison's Island across a 250-yd wide river channel; then across the island; then across the 80-yard wide Virginia channel of the river. Plus, it had been raining for most of the previous three weeks so the river was very high and fast. And all of this was done in the dark with inexperienced troops.

4/2/2006 8:59 pm (et) jim morgan: Babs: Lots of famous names at that battle. Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr was a Lieut in the 20th Mass as well. And there were two Revere boys, Paul and Edward.

4/2/2006 8:59 pm (et) Teej: So the fact that they did get over w/o mishap was really quite an accomplishment, no?

4/2/2006 9:00 pm (et) Basecat: Just an aside...The Potomac could have a weird current at times...Just ask John Wilkes Booth and Davy Herold in 1865 after the assassination.

4/2/2006 9:00 pm (et) jim morgan: Teej: Indeed. What Devens accomplished in crossing the river under those circumstances was very much to his credit.

4/2/2006 9:01 pm (et) jim morgan: Basecat: Also, the current in the narrower Virginia channel would have been moving much faster than in the other channel.

4/2/2006 9:01 pm (et) Basecat: Jim...How deep is the water there, at the time of the battle I mean?

4/2/2006 9:02 pm (et) bcoff12: The Bartlett map is something I kept referring to

4/2/2006 9:02 pm (et) bcoff12: On page 7

4/2/2006 9:02 pm (et) Basecat: Bob...Same here.

4/2/2006 9:02 pm (et) jim morgan: Basecat: From what I've been able to determine, the depth in the Virginia channel would have been a good 20 feet, possibly deeper in the very middle. At normal water, its around 8-10 feet.

4/2/2006 9:03 pm (et) jim morgan: I think the Bartlett map is THE definitive map of the field on the day of the battle. I just wish it had some kind of scale.

4/2/2006 9:04 pm (et) Basecat: Thanks...Hard for me to imagine how they thought they could get across that channel at dark with that type of current and depth of the water...Would have made me nervous as well.

4/2/2006 9:04 pm (et) jim morgan: There were lots of battlefield maps that appeared in the weeks after the battle. Various newspapers and sketches in letters home. None come remotely close to the precision of the Bartlett map. Plus, Bartlett was there all day, had lots of time to look over the field, and drew his map within 4 days of the battle.

4/2/2006 9:05 pm (et) Vickie: I found my atlas of the CW  helpful. I haven't visited that area much.

4/2/2006 9:06 pm (et) Teej: After all this time, I'm just beginning to realize what an incredible feat that was on Devens part.

4/2/2006 9:06 pm (et) ks: Question...I was surprised to read about Capt. Charles Stewart (real name - Lord Ernest Vane-Tempest of Her Majesty's 4th Light Dragoons) who was serving as a volunteer aide to Stone. Can you elaborate on how he found himself there??

4/2/2006 9:06 pm (et) jim morgan: Basecat: Well, the depth shouldn't have mattered as long as they could control the boats in the current. Thing was, they thought they had a great target of opportunity in that "unguarded" camp. As with all military operations, the question the commander had to ask is whether the potential gains were worth the risk.

4/2/2006 9:08 pm (et) Basecat: Jim...True, but am guessing not that many knew about how to pilot a boat. Think it is also an important part that many of those involved did not know how to swim either.

4/2/2006 9:08 pm (et) Basecat: Teej...I agree...Especially when done during that time frame.

4/2/2006 9:08 pm (et) jim morgan: ks: Vane-Tempest is worth a book himself. I don't have a lot of detail on him except that he was something of a troublemaker within his regiment. Dueling and fighting at mess and such. He also seems to have been (and this is something I've just recently learned and still need to document) involved with John Brown in Kansas, believe it or not. Not sure how he ended up on Stone's staff though. There had to have been some kind of personal recommendation there.

4/2/2006 9:10 pm (et) jim morgan: Basecat: actually they had lots of guys who could and should have been put in charge of the boats. Co. I, 20th Mass was from Nantucket Island. Its always amazed me that Devens and Lee didn't agree to let them run the boat shuttle.

4/2/2006 9:10 pm (et) ks: Involved with John Brown? Now that's something I'd find fascinating.

4/2/2006 9:10 pm (et) Babs: Maybe it was actually a Secret Seven?

4/2/2006 9:11 pm (et) jim morgan: ks: You and me both. He does seem to have had some abolitionist connections though.

4/2/2006 9:11 pm (et) Basecat: Jim...Which is another good point. Makes me wonder just how well they knew the background of the men they commanded.

4/2/2006 9:11 pm (et) Teej: Which should have put V-T at odds with Stone?

4/2/2006 9:13 pm (et) jim morgan: Basecat: Col. Lee should have known. I can't explain it except to say again that it was early in the war and things were still very amateurishly done.

4/2/2006 9:14 pm (et) jim morgan: Teej: It should have indeed. V-T is one of those shadowy figures who deserves a deeper look. Maybe I'll do it one of these days.

4/2/2006 9:14 pm (et) Teej: That wouldn't have happened in the Confederate army. :-)

4/2/2006 9:14 pm (et) jim morgan: Teej: Yes, its not likely that an abolitionist would have been on a general's staff in the Confederate army.

4/2/2006 9:15 pm (et) Teej: That's not what I meant. I just meant the man in charge would have said, "who here knows how to row a boat?

4/2/2006 9:16 pm (et) jim morgan: Teej: I know. That was a joke.

4/2/2006 9:16 pm (et) Teej: Oops...

4/2/2006 9:17 pm (et) Basecat: Just an aside...Some good companion reading to Jim's book are the letters of Captain Francis Donaldson. Very good book edited by Greg Acken.

4/2/2006 9:17 pm (et) Teej: Oooo...I LOVE that book!!!!!!!!!!!

4/2/2006 9:19 pm (et) jim morgan: Basecat: Agree. The Donaldson letters are very good. One of those wonderful brother-against-brother stories as he was in the 1st Cal (71st Penn) and his brother was in the 22nd Virginia.

4/2/2006 9:19 pm (et) jim morgan: Another aside ... Donaldson's brother was in Co H, 22nd Virginia, commanded by Captain George S. Patton whose grandson had some wartime adventures of his own later on.

4/2/2006 9:21 pm (et) ks: Is that the name of the book? "The Letters of Capt. Francis Donaldson...."

4/2/2006 9:21 pm (et) Basecat: Thing about Donaldson that always sticks with me...Ball's Bluff, and then almost the same type of situation after the Battle of Antietam...He must have hated the Potomac River. Know I would have.

4/2/2006 9:22 pm (et) jim morgan: "Inside the Army of the Potomac" is the title

4/2/2006 9:22 pm (et) Basecat: ks..IIRC, came out in 1998 from Stackpole Books. One of the better books on letters from a soldier back home. In the vein of the letters Shaw wrote home to his family during the war.

4/2/2006 9:22 pm (et) ks: thanks

4/2/2006 9:22 pm (et) Teej: He mentions that in his letters, IIRC.

4/2/2006 9:23 pm (et) Basecat: Anymore comments or questions about the first 3 chapters tonight?

4/2/2006 9:23 pm (et) jim morgan: Yes, Donaldson mentions that the post-Antietam fight at Shepherdstown reminded him of Ball's Bluff. BB, in fact, stuck in the minds of lots of the men who were there. It gets mentioned in various memoirs later on with regard to other fights being called "another Ball's Bluff" or something similar.

4/2/2006 9:24 pm (et) Teej: It followed Stone for the rest of his career too.

4/2/2006 9:24 pm (et) bcoff12: I think I'

4/2/2006 9:25 pm (et) bcoff12: I'm clear Basecat. Jim, just wanted to say thanks for participating. You've obviously researched your book well and love the subject, it is clear in reading it.

4/2/2006 9:26 pm (et) jim morgan: bcoff: Thanks. Hope to see you here next week.

4/2/2006 9:26 pm (et) bcoff12: I really appreciate the opportunity to participate in this discussion.

4/2/2006 9:26 pm (et) Teej: Enjoyed it, Jim.

4/2/2006 9:27 pm (et) bcoff12: depends on if my hotel has internet :) I'll be in DC for a conference

4/2/2006 9:27 pm (et) Basecat: Bob.. I agree...very well written, and like the mentions of what is now on the spots where the battle was fought. Thing that bothers me about the housing development down there...Bad enough they built on that land, and then have the nerve to name streets after those who fought there. Pet peeve of mine.

4/2/2006 9:27 pm (et) Babs: Thanks to Jim. Also thanks to Teej for working so hard to get me the book.

4/2/2006 9:27 pm (et) ks: We're VERY pleased to have some new book chat participants, Bob. Thanks for joining us.

4/2/2006 9:28 pm (et) jim morgan: You'll be in this area? How long? If you'd like to tromp about BB one day, let me know. Maybe we can work out a time and meet there.

4/2/2006 9:28 pm (et) Basecat: Reading for next week will be Chapters 4 and 5. Would do more, but I know folks will be busy with Holy week coming up.

4/2/2006 9:28 pm (et) Teej: You're welcome, Babs.

4/2/2006 9:28 pm (et) ks: And speaking of next week, new reading assignment is posted on YODB. If you're ever in doubt about what we'll be covering, check the link on the logon page.

4/2/2006 9:29 pm (et) bcoff12: That would be great. It would have to be Sunday the 9th. I'm planning on traveling that day, and I could leave here anytime. I'm about 6 hours to DC, more or less.

4/2/2006 9:29 pm (et) ks: You've got that right, Basecat. Extra rehearsals this week in prep for Holy Week services.

4/2/2006 9:29 pm (et) Babs: Will we be meeting Easter Sunday?

4/2/2006 9:29 pm (et) jim morgan: bcoff: drop me an email ... ... and we'll work on it.

4/2/2006 9:30 pm (et) Basecat: Babs. Yes..we will.

4/2/2006 9:30 pm (et) bcoff12: Jim, thanks a lot, will do!

4/2/2006 9:30 pm (et) Babs: Scalpem?!?!?!?!?!

4/2/2006 9:31 pm (et) Basecat: Jim...Many thanks from the Garden State. Not every day we do a chat in here and the author agrees to join us in this asylum. :) It is much appreciated by all...and yes, we did fill up the scroll.:)

4/2/2006 9:32 pm (et) jim morgan: Well, getting to be my bedtime so I'll sign off. Thanks again for choosing my book. Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I'll be here next week.

4/2/2006 9:32 pm (et) ks: No special plans for the evening of Easter Sunday, but this earlier time slot is going to take some getting used to. Now don't think I'm suggesting we change back. I'm not saying that. If the earlier time allows more to participate, I'm all for it. Just looking at reality of DST and the hour earlier. It's going to make some discussions difficult to get to on time here in SEK. :)

4/2/2006 9:32 pm (et) Teej: Bye, Jim.

4/2/2006 9:32 pm (et) ks: Looking forward to it, Jim. :)

4/2/2006 9:32 pm (et) jim morgan: Babs: "Scalpem" as in "Scalp 'em, Seminoles." I'm a Florida State guy.

4/2/2006 9:32 pm (et) Basecat: Night Jim. Take Care.

4/2/2006 9:33 pm (et) Basecat: Which we won't hold against Jim...:)

4/2/2006 9:33 pm (et) Teej: Ask me that when UNC has to play them in football. :-)

4/2/2006 9:33 pm (et) Basecat: Teej...:)

4/2/2006 9:33 pm (et) jim morgan: logs off.

4/2/2006 9:34 pm (et) Babs: I do appreciate the earlier time.

4/2/2006 9:35 pm (et) Basecat: Thank you all for participating tonight. Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. :)

4/2/2006 9:35 pm (et) Teej: It was great, Steve, but I knew it would be.

4/2/2006 9:35 pm (et) Vickie: earlier time is good for me ,now I don't have to rush off right away to go to work

4/2/2006 9:35 pm (et) ks: Babs, we figured that the Eastern Time zoners would appreciate it. Have seen too many sign off early stating that they had to get to bed. Definitely not the LATE SHIFT type. Are ANY of us the LATE SHIFT type any more??? ;)

4/2/2006 9:37 pm (et) bcoff12: not I!

4/2/2006 9:38 pm (et) Babs: Nice to get back in a routine. A good chat as usual.

4/2/2006 9:38 pm (et) bcoff12: good night everyone, thanks again!

4/2/2006 9:38 pm (et) bcoff12: logs off.

4/2/2006 9:38 pm (et) Babs: Good Night

4/2/2006 9:38 pm (et) ks: Bob, there used to be a crew of us that rarely started chatting before midnight, Central. Was still typing away when the birds started chirping in the AM. ;) Those were the days....

4/2/2006 9:38 pm (et) Basecat: Not a regular East Coast person time wise, but that said...know we had a fine 90 minute talk tonight.

4/2/2006 9:38 pm (et) ks: Babs, really good to see you back. You've been missed.

4/2/2006 9:38 pm (et) Babs: logs off.

4/2/2006 9:38 pm (et) Basecat: Night Bob. Take Care.

4/2/2006 9:38 pm (et) Basecat: Night Babs. Take Care.

4/2/2006 9:40 pm (et) ks: Believe I'll head on out as well. Haven't had dinner and would like to check the television for some *surprise, surprise* basketball. ;) Take care all. Night....

4/2/2006 9:40 pm (et) Teej: Guess I should go too. I'm not certain if I'll be here next week because I might be on the road back from Winchester.