I am interested in delving into CW related subjects that have not received much, if any, attention. But whoa you say. That war began 150 years ago. Hasn’t everything about that war been discovered? Those who have not spent much time digging through the records would say yes. Based on my numerous trips to the National Archives, the U.S Army Military History Institute [Carlisle, Pa], the Virginia Historical Society archives or even my local place, the Handley Archives in Winchester, the answer is no. There are literally reams of interesting stories waiting to be found at these and many other places that will perhaps shine insight into a battle or famous person. When you find that nugget it certainly makes time spent as an “archives rat” worth it. That said, a good archivist can really help you make the most of your time. Most archivists realize that their visitors/researchers don’t usually live nearby. These visitors have time constraints, so helpful and knowledgeable archivists are wonderful because they can help point you in the right direction with guidance for their particular institution. The staffs at the above four places are at the top of my list for their professional and helpful assistance.
After my recent book, The Confederate Alamo, came out last April, I waited for readers to bring me new information on the battle. It did not take long. This of course is the bane of historians as you want to look under every rock but you don’t know where all the rocks are. The part of this book that took the longest to put together was the roster of Confederate defenders at Fort Gregg. I compared list after list of soldiers’ names. Many thanks to K.L from Louisiana as he helped me with the roster. I did not want to leave the name of a dedicated soldier off, simply due to poor or minimal record keeping at the end of the War – not to mention the bloody chaos that surrounded the fall of Fort Gregg after more than two hours of fighting by 334 Southerners against about 4,400 Federal soldiers from John Gibbon’s Twenty-fourth Corps.
I have received many kind emails and letters from descendants of the Fort Gregg veterans, both Union and Confederate. Thank you to all who read and liked the book and then took the time to let me know. An author’s biggest fear is to get a part of history wrong – especially once it’s in print. Thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case with this book.
Several readers contacted me and sent me evidence to let me know that their relative had been in the Confederate garrison at Fort Gregg, but was absent from the roster. I would like to thank the following readers for bringing this to my attention and I will be adding an updated garrison roster to this website. Bob Fugate let me know that Private Bright Williams, Company A, 12th Mississippi had been wounded at Fort Gregg on April 2, 1865. Federal surgeons removed his right arm at the Fort Monroe hospital. Stephen Douglas let me know that Sergeant Elijah Putnam Douglas [Douglass], Company H, 12th Mississippi was captured at Fort Gregg when the fort fell. Both of these gentlemen sent me documents which confirmed their claim.
I encourage anybody else who believes that I left a Confederate soldier off the list to please let me know.
Until next time, pick a book up, any book, and turn the screen and telephone off!