Latest Book—First Round of Edits Complete

Not ten seconds before I pulled up my administration page here, I finished the first round of edits on my latest book, Documenting America: Civil War Edition. I’ve spoken about it before on this blog. I can’t remember how much I’ve spoken about the specifics.

Documenting America
I wouldn’t call it a smash hit, but I’ve had a few sales of “Documenting America”.

In 2011 I published Documenting America: Lessons From the United States’ Historical Documents. Then in 2012 I added a homeschool version of it. In that book I took documents from a variety of eras in

Mathew Brady did such a good job of capturing the Civil War in photos.
Mathew Brady did such a good job of capturing the Civil War in photos.

US history, excerpted them, commented on their historical significance, then tied them to an issue in our country at that time. My goal was to get people interested in reading original source documents, rather than just trust history books to give an accurate historical picture.


As I wrote that, I realized I could do that with a whole series of books. I had the whole of a four hundred year span to choose from for the next book. I decided to go with the Civil War. The format will be the same: choose a document; excerpt it; give historical context; tie it to a current issue. I found the writing more difficult, as writing about several military battles made differentiating those battles difficult. But I was able to persist, and completed the book about three weeks ago, having started it in 2014 but then laid it aside. This first round of edits left me pleased with it. At the risk of breaking my arm patting myself on the back, I think it does a good job of bringing historical documents to life. And, I think my historical context and issues comments are fine. I’ll do another round of edits, of course, but perhaps only one more. My guess is I’ll be publishing this in July.

Now, I’m going to paste in the Table Of Contents, so you can see what exactly is in the book.

1. A Merciless and Fearful Retribution: The firing on Fort Sumter, in the Charleston Mercury, April 13, 1861

2.  I Appeal to All Loyal Citizens: Executive orders and Proclamations issued by President Lincoln from April 15 to April 27, 1861

3. The Lamentable and Fundamental Error: Jefferson Davis address to the C.S.A. Congress, April 29, 1861

4. Interests of Transcendent Magnitude: Jefferson Davis address to the C.S.A. Congress, April 29, 1861

5. Exhaustion of All Peaceful Measures: Abraham Lincoln address to the USA Congress, July 4, 1861

6. Ballots the Rightful Successors to Bullets: Abraham Lincoln address to the USA Congress, July 4, 1861

7.  Shattered and Panic-Stricken: The Battle of Bull Run, in the New York World, July 21, 1861

8. The Wondrous Chain of Providence: Southern Presbyterian Church minutes, late 1861

9. His Virtues and His Merits: J.S. Rock Speech before the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, Jan 23, 1862

10. Not Hastily, But Deliberately: Abraham Lincoln on Compensated Emancipation, March 6, 1862

11. Show Yourselves Worthy: Various Orders and Reports about the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862

12. Be It Enacted: The Homestead Act, May 20, 1862

13. Disappointed and Deeply Pained: Horace Greely, editorial in the New York Times, against the conduct of the war, Aug 19, 1862

14. Worthy of a Better Cause: Report on the Peninsula Campaign, Stonewall Jackson, Aug 25-27, 1862

15. Such a Gigantic Scale: Wartime Finances in the North, October 1862

16. Sore Tongued and Fatigued: Various correspondence and reports, Sep 7-Nov 5, 1862

17. What Defeats Our Best Plans?: General Sherman on the press and wartime security, Feb 18, 1863

18. Instruments of Despotism: Vallandigham’s address at Cooper Union, Mar 7, 1863

19. The Peril of his Government: Lincoln re: habeas corpus, June 12, 1863

20. Merited a Better Fortune: General John H. Forney, Siege of Vicksburg Battle Report, July 10, 1863

21. On That Blood-Soaked Field: General George Pickett, letter to his wife, July 6, 1863; General Robert E. Lee, Gettysburg Battle Report, July 31, 1863

22. Repugnant To My Feelings: Louis Agassiz, letter on the fate of the freed Negro, August 9, 1863

23. When The War Trumpet Sounded: James Gooding, letter to Lincoln on equal pay for Black soldiers, Oct 12, 1863

24. Steps to a Great Consummation: Abraham Lincoln address to Congress on reconstruction, Dec 8, 1863

25. Unwise, Impolitic, Unconstitutional: A.H. Stephens on Habeas Corpus in the Confederacy, March 16, 1864

26. A Windrow of Dead Men: On the Wilderness campaign, May 1864

27. A Full Load of Responsibility: Sherman’s March to the Sea, November 1864

28. Unsurpassed Courage & Fortitude: Horace Porter’s account on Appomattox, Apr 1865; General Robert E. Lee’s final order to his troops, Apr 10, 1865

29. This Cup of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln’s Last Public Address, Apr 11, 1865

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