This year witnessed the passing of several fine Civil War historians--notably Alan Nolan and John Simon. On a more local level, 2008 also saw the passing of Mr. Leo Ward, the long-time director of the Historical Society of Schuylkill County. I learned today that the Civil War community has lost yet another author and scholar in the death of Mr. Al Gambone.
Ted Alexander called me today with the sad, and rather unexpected news. Although I did not know Mr. Gambone personally, I have long admired his work. His obituary in the Norristown Times Herald stated that his life's passion was the Civil War, and it showed. A native of Norristown, Gambone was a champion of Pennsylvania's illustrious wartime history. His most noted works included biographies of General John Hartranft, General Winfield Scott Hancock, and even General Samuel Zook, all of whom, like Gambone, called Norristown home. Gambone also authored a biography of General Darius Couch. Gambone was 69 years of age, but as Ted put it, he was "a youthful 69."
As I told Ted, the timing of this news was strange, at least for me, since just last week, I began reading (and am enjoying) Gambone's well-known work Hancock at Gettysburg and Beyond.
He contributed much to our understanding of the American fratricidal conflict, and he will be missed.