New Release and New Series Launch!

For the next two days, that’s 8/13 and 8/14 you can grab Death’s Confessor for only 99c. This is a limited time deal for the launch. Click the image or the link below to take advantage of this great deal.

Want a great read just in time for the weekend?

My wife and I have collaborated on our first civil war murder mystery, Death’s Confessor. It’s a fast paced and dusty (lots of dust and sand here in New Mexico) set during the Civil War and chock full of lots of history and the appropriate amounts of murder, greed, etc. etc. etc. Continue reading “New Release and New Series Launch!”

New Release! 4th book in the Shiloh Series.


River of Blood, Murfreesboro, Shiloh Series
River of Blood (Book 4 Shiloh Series)

It’s been a full six months of producing another book. Book 4 released earlier in May and was a long time in coming. All but one of this series has been under 100K word count, and this one at its draft reached 155K. I cut a lot in my rewrite to bring it back down to 130K. These are necessarily long stories, woven around the history of a campaign and a view of soldiering from the ranks while describing an ebb and flow of combattants upon a field and the strategic decision-making of higher command to bring the reader a complete picture. They Met at Shiloh stands at 90K word count but I’ve not been able to get in a story below that since and the campaigns just keep getting longer!

RoB is centered around the late 1862 maneuvers in Tennessee around Nashville and Murfreesboro, TN as winter is settling in and the soldiers are looking forward to rest in winter abode. This is denied them and the story of familiar characters moves forward along with the armies.

I always have a choice to make when starting a new novel. Who will continue on? Some of that is decided for me. If I’m to tackle another campaign then I need to know what regiments participated in that campaign. For instance, after They Met at Shiloh’s story was completed, men from the 25th Missouri Volunteers (Hube and Robert) were consolidated into an engineering regiment and their term of service took them elsewhere and out of the Army of the Tennessee. Others, like Michael Grierson of the amalgamated Texas and Tennessee battery under Major Polk were so decimated after Shiloh that the battery was disbanded. I managed to redeploy Michael in order to continue his story into the third novel but after 2nd Corinth, his historical destiny with General Price’s Army takes him out of the immediate series for the time being. There is also always the choice to keep a character alive or to make them a casualty as I chose to do with another character from They Met at Shiloh. For this novel, I wanted to highlight another type of unit in the Civil War, the regular. I then had a choice, Confederate or Union.

The Confederacy didn’t employ regular soldiers in great numbers. Though one had the option of volunteering for a regular force that the new government was putting together, this force was never filled out. Instead what you find in researching orders of battle on the Confederate side are units that look like they were regular formations. This lead to my discovery of the history behind the 3rd Confederate Infantry. What made them a little unique was the presence of a single company of Arkansas soldiers. The Confederacy, like the Union states, called for all states to contribute a quota of volunteer formations. What happened in Arkansas was something out of a Vietnam movie storyline. A troublemaker is given a choice, volunteer for the army or face prison. At the time of the state secession movements there were in Arkansas men who opposed secession and formed a secret society for mutual protection and warning as those who favored secession were targeting those men who vocally opposed it for threats, beatings, and lynchings. Acts of sabotage were blamed on anyone who opposed secession and might be a member of the Arkansas Peace Society. Once the secession ordinance passed the Arkansas Secession convention these men became fair game to be rounded up and given a choice: volunteer or face prison and loss of land.

Discovering this also lead to another interesting find: there were several men who deserted during the Murfreesboro campaign. From there, a storyline was born.

River of Blood (Book 4 Shiloh Series) Amazon 
River of Blood (Book 4 Shiloh Series) iBooks

Gods and Generals: Chancellorsville

I’ve gotten to the end of the movie, through some of the more droll scenes in between Fredericksburg and the final engagement of the movie. The portrayal is a little stilted, only showing Jackson’s Corps assault on the 11th Corps and not the other fighting until it leads up to Jackson’s wounding, but I appreciated the construction of those scenes, the reenactor extras who took time to run silently out of the trees tens of times to get the scene right, and the view where this video spot starts of several brigades worth of Confederates at right shoulder shift arms at the double quick showing how it probably looked had one been there to witness it.

Visiting the battlefield is interesting. There are gun emplacements still visible, emplacements that were dug before the battle started pointing to something of Hooker’s mindset at the time. These emplacements had to be repositioned, faced in a direction Hooker suspected he might be attacked and they had to be swiveled as Jackson’s attack drove the 11th Corps in on the III Corps positions. These are small burms now, preserved and cut into the earth to protect field batteries. They are sort of unique for this time period on a civil war battlefield save for Petersburg and Vickburg where long term siege lines were constructed. Emplacements such as this were constructed when one thought they were going to occupy this spot for more than a day.

Union Artillery facing Hazel Grove’s confederate batteries, dug in emplacements in the foreground facing towards the Orange Plank road.
View of Union Artillery positions looking towards Hazel Grove, emplacements in the background.

Joseph Hooker had stolen a march on Lee, placing the bulk of the Army of the Potomac on Lee’s flank and leaving two corps back on Stafford Heights overlooking Fredericksburg to demonstrate – which Sedgewick does and takes Maryes Heights finally. Why Hooker paused and waited and why he waited for Lee to make the next move is up for debate. The fighting was  a precursor to what fighting would be like in a year when Grant pushes the AoP into the Wilderness and Lee meets him again near the site of the bitter two day struggle known as Chancellorsville. Jackson’s attack is commenced with limited daylight left and is able to push in the 11th Corps but is unable to do more, the other attacks by Lee’s army also fail to drive into the Union left and center and a stalemate ensues the continuing day with neither side gaining any advantage. Hooker finally pulls back across the Rappahanock river and the rest is history leading up to the invasion of Pennsylvania and Gettysburg.

At the bottom is a Google Maps view of land that the Civil War Trust is trying to save on the Jackson Sneak Attack and marshaling area. You can see from the patchwork of colors that this area is only partially preserved. This battlefield is hemmed in by lots of development and a fight was waged several years ago to prevent a Walmart going in on ground that abutted the park.

In other news, work on Iuka to Corinth has gone into its final phases, the first pass edit has come back from the editor and I’m busy rewriting a few chapters to flesh out the Michael Greirson character introduced first in They Met at Shiloh and his involvement with the renowned 2nd Texas Infantry. The rewrite is always an interesting exersize as you cover stuff you are already over familiar with but need to read with a new eye for the detail that needs to be added. The conflict had already been set when I first wrote the manuscript out and fortunately this is just bringing certain things out and not a full alteration of the text.

ARC versions of Iuka to Corinth will be available soon, if you’re interested in a copy in electronic format, sign up for the news letter as I’ll be letting members have first stab at copies.


Satellite view of Jackson’s Flank attack, noting the land preserved by the Civil War Trust (blue), CVBT (brown), and the National Park Service (green). The 2013 target properties are highlighted in yellow. (Google Earth)

Gods and Generals

I started watching my copy of Gods and Generals this weekend, working through my war movie collection. I know several of my civil war online acquaintances dislike various things about the Maxwell movies, some things that I’ve not even noticed before unless they were pointed out for me, but one of the things I liked most about the movie was its grounding in the unit and soldier portrayals. Not just satisfied to show you men in blue or grey moving hither and thither, but to tell you who they were. The opening sequence also sets this up rather well:
Gods and Generals opening

Having served in the military in the late 80’s through 2002 I had an appreciation for unit designations. I served all of that time in the 44th Army Band in Albuquerque, NM and we marched hundreds of ceremonies and trooped the line with a new or outgoing commander and the unit’s colors with its battle streamers (New Mexico is home to the predecessors of 200th Coastal Artillery Regiment – the Battling Bastards of Bataan fame) and other awards adorning and often eclipsing the flag itself. Each unit has a stand of colors and each is unique. The opening sequence with the music by Mary Fahl rightly sets the stage for the movie to come, that it is not going to be partisan (though, for better or worse it is almost wholly about Jackson with Chamberlain as the Union counterpoint) and it is going to portray a level of historical performance not seen in many war movies.

It can be preachy, there are some annoying soliloquy’s by a few characters you’d just soon fast forward over, but I appreciated adding dimensions to what I already knew about Fredricksburg and Chancellorsville and 1st Bull Run.

Novel #3 is off to the editor who is hard at work with it, my wife has worked up the cover and is tweaking it, I hope to do a cover reveal soon. A recent bargain book promotion moved more copies of They Met at Shiloh and moved copies of the other books in my series which was nice to see.

A reminder, a sign up to the email list will keep you up to date on book progress and release dates: Email list.

A Certain Death cover reveal

battle of Corinth, At the Double Quick, Shiloh seriesBook 2 is about to be released, March 1st to be exact, so mark your calendars! A follow on to the story set during the battle of Shiloh, a battle that set the course for the rest of the war in the west. What follows is an excerpt from the Prologue and the teaser description.

The cover image is the bas relief prominent at the Corinth Interpretive Center, Corinth Mississippi and part of the Shiloh National Battlefield NPS park and cemetery.

The battle at Pittsburg Landing altered the course of the war in the west and changed the lives of thousands who fought there and survived.

Will Hunter’s pursuit of higher command has been interrupted by his capture, the fault of his jealous commanding officer. Stuck far behind enemy lines with little hope for exchange, escape seems improbable. Neither high prison walls nor hundreds of miles of Ohio backwoods trails will keep him from trying.

Philip Pearson survived Shiloh but wonders if his luck will hold much longer. Pursuing reinstatement in the Methodist Episcopal Church brings him full circle: his battlefield experience calling him back to the collar he left behind. Only convincing the bishop of Dayton and surviving the coming assaults on Corinth stand in his way of a chaplaincy.

Ohio, far from the theaters of war, will test both men’s ambitions and trust in their fellow man.

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A Certain Death (The Shiloh Series)

Book Excerpt

Huntsville, Alabama, 1847

Will Hunter stole ever so close to his prey. He was dressed in pants and a shirt of old muslin, fading in color and too long in use. The boy’s sandy blond hair and wry smile finished the look of an Alabama backwater, son of a white-trash drunk with nothing better to do but get into shines. The day was bright and hot, his shirt hanging loosely upon his slim shoulders, his cuffs open and begrimed. He would strike a blow for his father or just for himself—what did it matter when the target was a black?

Excitement animated his hands as he looked one way, then the other, then back. The house stood by the side of the road, an old wooden shack not much different from many other rural homesteads. The target of Will’s attentions was not deserving of mischief, nor were its occupants beholden to him in any way. Perhaps that was what irked the boy the most: their total lack of the customary deference expected between people of certain classes and races. The law being in his favor was not enough to satisfy his caprice for the man known as Baxter. He needed to do this to satisfy his superiority in deed as well as station.

Youthful pride and ignorance were no exception for Will. It was mischief he wanted on this day, and what better way to do it than in secret? He was not so protected by the law as to be brazen with his destructive errand, but anonymity would give him his revenge and protection at the same time. He had picked a spot to run and hide where he could watch the shenanigans, and now he needed only strike the match and watch the fun, storing up the details to share with his chums. He wouldn’t burn down the house—just the fence surrounding it. He reasoned that Alabama did not need free blacks and therefore did not need to extend the rights of property to them either.

Baxter’s slave wife, June, was a house slave of one of the larger plantations around Huntsville belonging to the Kearns family. Baxter could visit her and the children now and again. He lived alone and worked his own land, having been freed years before and allowed to build his little home on land his former owner willed to him and a few other former slaves. No longer the possession of another, Baxter was not entirely free to do as he pleased, but he tried to make due with what life and the law would allow.

The house looked still and empty, and the field in the back where the man raised cotton and foodstuffs was lonely. Baxter himself was not to be seen. This was the perfect time.

Engrossed in his preparations, Will did not hear the land owner close up behind him.

“Whut you do there, boy?”

Will gave a cry of surprise and dropped his match. Caught, he had nothing to say.


Continue reading “A Certain Death cover reveal”

A Certain Death, book 2 of the Shiloh Series

scene of camp life - of the 18th Illinois Infantry, in the camp before Corinth, Miss.
Caption on illustration reads: scene of camp life – of the 18th Illinois Infantry, in the camp before Corinth, Miss.

It was about this time last year that I began work on book 3 of the Shiloh Series, Iuka to Corinth and that work is now nearly completed. What of book 2? Book 2, A Certain Death is nearing completion from the remainder of the production process with the cover designer. I do not have a cover to reveal at this point, but will hopefully in a few days.

When I began writing They Met at Shiloh, I’d envisioned a three book series. Starting with the battle of Shiloh I would follow a few characters to Chickamauga and then with a closing book centering on the USCT to end the series. At the time my concept was to market these to the homeschool community as fully fledged curricula covering the beginning, the middle, and then the end of the war. That has been modified somewhat now to a six book series (don’t tell my wife, but it may be a seven book series and another trip to Tennessee to tromp around more battlefields 😉 )

A Certain Death was begun in 2011 and while I was starting Iuka to Corinth I was beginning to edit and rewrite ACD. I learned a lot from the experience of this novel and the rewriting. I learned to listen to the story all over again as I started and stopped and changed directions numerous times with this work.

The biggest change was the introduction of Will Hunter, an Alabamian who grows up a reckless and ambitious son of a white trash blacksmith who is not content to stay white trash himself. What made this character interesting to write was his vocation as a runaway slave hunter. He’s good at what he does and he does it without any particular malice, as a lucrative means to rise above his birth. Yet one gets away from him and but for the nagging failure, he neither curses the slave that eluded him or those in Ohio who might be harboring him. He curses the slavers that lord it over men of his standing.

Born of an ambition that is not matched by money or birth, Will Hunter finds he cannot escape the slaver class in both pre-war politics and in wartime volunteer militia. His rough and selfish nature has lead him to do things as a boy that he’d rather forget, secrets that he’d like kept secret but for the one man whom he can’t seem to escape, Joshua Kearns. Born of planter blood and privilege and someone who knows Will’s secrets, Will has to deal with this man’s petty and vindictive nature.

Philip Pearson and Stephen Murdoch are back in this novel as well as action shifts from the theater of the war in Tennessee through the attempt by Major General Halleck to invest Corinth, Mississippi throughout the month of May, 1862 to the peaceful fields and forests of Ohio, the POW compound of Camp Chase outside of Columbus and the village of Germantown, Ohio.

For more news and promotions, sign up for the Shiloh Series mail list. Also, They Met at Shiloh is $0.99 cents this week in recognition of this 151st anniversary of the fall of Fort Donelson.

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History or Story; when does one interfere with the other?

Memorial to colored troops in the civil war, Spirit of Freedom
“Spirit of Freedom” memorial for the USCT and Navy service of free blacks in the civil war, Ft. Myers Fl.

I had opportunity to read the first chapter of an independently written work about a black man at the end of the civil war. If you haven’t ever seen this site before, I’d recommend you check it out: historical The owner is an author herself and takes chapter submissions, posts them, and then invites comments and suggestions from readers. If you write historical fiction and want a short beta read of your best chapter, I’d recommend submitting something.

I was intrigued and started skimming, reading lightly so I could see the author’s command of military knowledge and in general civil war aptitude. Sometimes a little knowledge can be a bad thing. I found that there were some things that I knew were not exactly right from my own research into the USCT, officer selection, USCT regiment numbering, where they saw action, when recruiting started, etc.

I won’t comment further on the work in particular but it got me to pondering the role of historical record and forming a story around it. Clearly, if it is fiction it didn’t happen with these characters, with these thoughts, with these experiences etc. So, there is a level of license that is to be expected in any work of historical fiction. For me, I was derailed by the blaring inaccuracies (blaring because of what I know) and unfortunately  could not finish reading all of it nor comment (it’s probably not a good practice for authors to comment unsolicited on other works lest the negatives be taken to heart and a tit for tat ensue where no one wins).

Personally, it is the little details that make the world work for me. It is fairly easy for me to read something written by someone with only a cursory knowledge of the civil war military to see some holes and then be thrown out of the world they are creating. So, I endeavor to be a detail oriented as I can (I will still find I’ve made mistakes by relying on memory for something that I could have easily looked up). This is not the authors fault, that I have a deep understanding and knowledge of how USCT regiments were formed and organized. For me, this just adds other levels to anything that I write in building a scene or making an interaction between two individuals. There are probably no details that are not usable in a narrative of fiction and there’s always another level of understanding to be had when researching.

I suppose I write this way for me or for someone like me and I lived in fear when I published They Met at Shiloh for this very version of me as a reader to pop up and find some detail that I missed or was incorrect about. I’ve not encountered that person yet (save for in the mirror). I have blogged before about this struggle Drama or History, who wins?. I’ve not resolved that yet, but this latest thing has only brought me closer to how I regard history and minutia of fact in story building. It has also for me highlighted the need to really know what I am writing about lest I become too cavalier with building that story and leave holes for someone to shoot through. Writing and publishing is hard work and we have our reasons for what we write and why.

If I want to be excellent at what I do I need to find that balance between story telling (and the freedom to tell the story) and historical fact and with some mind of me as a reader. I do not write nonfiction history. There are others who are far better at it than I. I want to teach through story telling and I think this is what sometimes drives my fanaticism in getting the details correct. For me, these details and teaching moments drive my story telling.

I’m not sure I’ve answered the question posed by this post satisfactorily for myself, but this has become the thing that has consumed me for these past few days.

Short story for Kindle.

Two Struck Images

Drama or History? Who wins?

“At the Double Quick”, bronze relief at the Corinth Interpretive Center, Corinth Ms.

Book #2 in my civil war series is finished as far as the first draft is concerned and now I’m knee deep in the rewrite. I had a character jump back into the WIP, a character I’d excised as the storyline just wasn’t feeling right. So, mid way through this year it made sense to reintroduce him and he plays a part in the climax of the novel after all. Actually, he has become one of the main characters again (I say again, he was a main character in TMAS). So, I’ve made one pass through my hard copy making notes and cutting sections out that didn’t fit or needed to be reworked and decided that this characters actions after Shiloh needed to be highlighted.

The campaign to take Corinth, Mississippi had been General Halleck’s goal since establishing a presence at Pittsburg Landing and ordering the Army of the Ohio to link up with Grant’s Army of the Tennessee. Pope’s Army of the Mississippi was also to cooperate, leading three armies to converge on Corinth, where Confederate General A.S. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard were concentrated. Shiloh disrupted all of that and nearly wrecked Halleck’s overall plans. Unfortunately for the Confederates Johnston is killed and they fail to destroy the Army of the Tennessee. Now, however, after a month of refitting Halleck is ready to try again at the beginning of May.

Book #2 (tentative title Certain Death) picks up after the battle of Shiloh where a new character has been captured and some old characters are preparing to march south from Pittsburg Landing to a fate unknown. In reading the report of Nelson’s division (where Ammen’s brigade is, a clue to anyone who remembers what characters were in Ammen’s brigade) I’d read that there was a delay in movement forward from Mount Olivet Church where the division camped for a few days before moving on due to two days of heavy rain fall that destroyed the bridges and corduroy roads they’d spent the first few days of May constructing (this area between Corinth and Pittsburg Landing is cut by numerous creeks and marshy lowlands that were impassable for heavy, wheeled artillery and supply trains as well as cavalry, barely so for infantry).

So, knowing all of this I decided to add this little happenstance as part of the story, the destruction of the bridges due to too much water flow, the problem of getting supplies to the forward divisions, the danger of trying to repair the pontoon bridges and keep them secure in the middle of the creeks overflowing, the possibility that someone will be swept downstream in an accident. So, I got to chugging along in a dramatic scene that was to chronicle the attempts to secure the pontoon bridge in heavy rain and a swift current and what that might look like. Soon my creek became a river of some unknown breadth from bank to bank and the pontoon bridge of perhaps thirty feet or more long and the water possibly above a man’s head.

Yesterday as I sat to finish the scene the disaster was complete and my MC was swept downstream. I stopped to go back to my source as it occurred to me that I should know where this little creek was to lead to, was it leading towards the confederate lines? How wide was it really if my MC is to let go of what he is clinging to and swim for the nearest bank? It was then that I realized I’d not gotten down to my regimental reports of the 30 day period and learned that my MC’s regiment wasn’t at Mount Olivet Church but still on the north side of one of these creeks and further was prevented from crossing due to damage done by this rain storm. I’d had them on the south side and going back to do the repairs.

These are niggling little details. What side of a creek a unit was on in this little narrative of a minor event probably does not deserve all of the angst and reworking of the details but it would have bugged me all the same. If I make a mistake in error and ignorance that is my bad, but to make it when I know better is something that I cannot abide. In this sense, the drama becomes emptied of its truth if I knowingly record some errors that are easily discovered if someone means to do so.

In the end, I altered some of the details of the event to fit the truth and kept the dramatic scene of the disaster in place, fixing some historic details to suit my own conscience. There’s detail in the reports of General Nelson (Division commander) that initially set me to building the scene but I’d neglected to dig down into the regimental reports where finer details existed and called my initial assumptions into question. But, in the end, history won out where it was important to me to get right and the scene of the disaster was honed to be more realistic for a creek based on the other details gleaned from the brigade reports of each regiment.

They Met At Shiloh

Civil War Memorial Day

Memorial Day is ending (it is later in the evening on May 28th) but I have the only tribute I can to this day where we remember those who fell on America’s battlefields. The following are from the Shiloh and Stone’s River National Cemeteries.

At Shiloh alone there are over 2300 unknown graves, at Stone’s River 2500. These cemeteries hold the honored dead not only from the battles fought there but also from other skirmishes and battles all along the western theater. In addition to Civil War dead, these cemeteries also hold those veterans who have passed on from our other wars.

Shiloh National Battlefield




Stone’s River National Battlefield



No better place to die, General Rosecrans

Quote attributed to General George H. Thomas at council of war held in the late of night on December 31st, 1862. Purportedly uttered in support of staying and fighting despite the rough handling the army was given by the confederates that day.

It must have been fate. In the airport waiting for my flight and without Internet I was working on this entry, a little thought running through my head that I should copy the text to the note pad as I wasn’t entirely sure that the iPad app would work that well in offline mode. So I finish the entry and then attempt to upload a photo. Stupid. Further I hit cancel thinking I was canceling the photo upload and not the whole entry. Stupid x2. Gone baby gone.

It was either genius unrealized or it saved me a lawsuit. Either way it is lost in the ether.

On Thursday of this week we traveled to the Stone’s River battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tn. It was sobering. Not just because it is hallowed ground but because so little of it has been saved for posterity. Key positions in the center and Union left flank are preserved, but the vast majority of the Confederate right where the fighting took place has been forever lost. Further, aside from then civil war’s oldest monument, the Hazen brigade monument in Hell’s Half Acre and a few artillery emplacements that have been labeled, the battlefield is bereft of markers. There are park markers giving the history of the specific location and there are plenty of cannon about, but they are unmarked as to what battery they might have been.


There are some key locations near the Union center (what had been before the confederate attacks forced the Union right to collapse) like the Knoll, an area of high ground astride the Nashville Turnpike where fleeing remnants of Rosecrans’ right flank brigades fled to as the confederate attacks of Hardee’s then Polk’s Corps drove deep into the union lines, through thick woods and came out of the trees to face Sheridan’s division and whatever union brigades that could be rallied. Repeated attacks upon this position on the first day were unable to force their way to the turnpike. Here the Chicago Board of Trade Battery deployed on the rise and fired into advancing confederates of Cheatham’s division. Batteries deployed beyond the turnpike in what is now the national cemetery blunted the confederate attacks here and along the Cotton Field.

20120519-173244.jpg 20120519-231950.jpg

Pictures cannot do the Slaughter Pen justice, however. In a heavily wooded area, Sheridan’s division found themselves beset by Polk’s attacks. The whole area is strewn with glacially deposited rocks, rocks whose surface was worn smooth by years of constant grating and deposited in parallel lines, not unlike a natural trench work of rock. Here Union soldiers lay and fought, taking cover in these formations and dying by the score, so much so that the place was likened to the slaughter houses of Chicago by then Illinois troops who fought there, the pens becoming a pen for the slaughter. The ground is uneven and broken by these rocks making any movement difficult. Rocks like this are all over the ground here and some as big as a man.

Hell’s Half Acre is hard to visualize as the Round Forest is now gone and but for the Hazen Memorial it would not be recognizable. The field just across the Nashville Turnpike and just up against the Chattanooga and Nashville Rail Road line and the facing of the canon at the sight give the direction that the brigade defended against as attacks came from two sides as the Confederates made both for the road and for the rail line, cutting both would have been disastrous for Rosecrans. Hazen’s brigade of Sheridan’s division would be the only part of the original Union line to not bend under the attacks by Polk’s brigades.

I did not make it around to all of the markers and walk all the trails, but the last part that has been preserved is the Union held McFadden farm and ford where the last day’s action took place. The confederate positions are all gone, hidden under asphalt and concrete where Breckenridge’s Orphan Brigade were cut to pieces as they punched through the Union positions on the opposite bank and tried to cross the ford and attack the opposite heights. There is a set of canon on the Union side of the ford marking the line of Mendenhall’s 58 guns that were instrumental in breaking up the attack. The vista is broke by trees that are growing up from the river bank that obscure the opposite heights on the Confederate side of the river, but it is just as well since the view is of a freeway turnoff and other modern development.

If you are like me, you have to read every marker. Stone’s River is an easy read if you have time to walk the trails. I had high hopes of locating positions and monuments for note taking and in that regard was disappointed. I did get good notes for the 4th novel which will center on Stone’s River and walked the ground so tenaciously fought over by both sides.

The battle was an attempt by both sides to attacks each other’s right flanks. As it turned out the Confederate attack hits a weak point as Rosecrans has his left built up and his own right is unprepared. Rosecrans abandons his own attack and the Confederates crush his right so successfully that the whole battle hangs in the balance as Bragg’s attacking divisions fight their way through the thick woods. The battle will end with confederates entrenched in front of the Cotton Field and pulled back from the Knoll. Fighting shifts to other parts of the field inconclusively and there is a rare lull in the fighting as a day passes before Bragg decides to hit Rosecran’s left flank (the McFadden farm) and sends Breckenridge’s division into the meat grinder and the battle ends.

A short story for Kindle is out about these two armies:
Two Struck Images

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