Tuesday, November 27, 2012

PROFILES: Lt. William Hume, Company B

1st Lt. William H. Hume, Co. B

William H. Hume was only twenty years old when, in September 1861, he enlisted into Company B, of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. Company B was recruited largely from Pottsville and neighboring St. Clair and was first commanded by Captain James Wren. Many of its members, including Wren, had served during the first three-months of the war as part of the Washington Artillery, one of the first five First Defender companies. 
 
William Hume stood 5'9" in height, had a "Light" Complexion, "Gray" Eyes, and "Dark" Hair. By occupation, he was a clerk, who hailed from St. Clair. Hume entered Company B as 1st Sergeant, and just a year later--on September 20, 1862, just a few days after the bloodletting that was Antietam, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant. Promotion to First Lieutenant arrived the following year, on September 1, 1863, while the regiment was campaigning in Kentucky. Having survived the worst of war during the its first two years, Hume reenlisted in the winter of 1863-1864 and after a thirty-day furlough, he and the 48th once more departed from Schuylkill County, once more to the seat of war. He survived the figthing at the Wilderness and at Spotsylvania unscathed, but would fall to a sharpshooter's bullet on May 31, 1864, after the regiment crossed the North Anna River and approached the Armstrong farm. It was a particularly deadly day for the officers of the 48th, for on that same May 31, the regiment's major, Joseph Gilmour of Pottsville, as well as Lieutenant Samuel Laubenstein of Schuylkill Haven, would also be struck down and mortally wounded by Confederate sharpshooters.
 
Hume lingered for a month before finally succumbing to his wound at the age of 23. His remains were brought home to Schuylkill County and laid to rest in Pottsville's Odd Fellows Cemetery.


The Grave of Lt. William Hume in Pottsville's Odd Fellows' Cemetery
 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Confrontation at Gettysburg. . .Coming Soon To A Bookstore Near You

Well. . .
Where to start?
It has most certainly been a long, long time (several months) since I last updated the blog.  Quite simply, life has been incredibly busy. Between work and teaching, traveling for presentations, and finishing up a book project, I found myself simply not finding the time for any new posts. And for this I am sorry. Time seems to have been on fast forward since the start of this summer, a trend that has continued apace well into the fall.  Since my last posting, way back in August, I returned to Antietam following a ninety-day stint at Gettysburg National Military Park and in September I had the distinct privilege of participating in the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Battle of Antietam, presenting a number of programs, including some In Depth Hikes, the Morning in the Cornfield, and the All-Day Hike on September 17, which, collectively, represented the greatest moment of my years as a Park Ranger. It was truly an experience I will never forget, a sentiment shared by most of my colleagues in the green and gray at Antietam, and something I will no doubt share, many times over with my children and hopefully grandchildren one day.   
 
During this same time, I devoted all my non-work time to finishing up my history of the Campaign and Battle of Gettysburg for the History Press’ Civil War Sesquicentennial Series. Just a few days after the release of my South Mountain book in February 2011, Doug Bostick, the managing editor for the Sesquicentennial Series, asked whether I would be interested in penning the series' Gettysburg title. It was a difficult decision to do so since the literature is so vast and because the story of this battle is so shrouded in legend, myth, and controversy. But after much thought, I ultimately decided to do so, believing it an opportunity I could not pass up but, even so, not quite realizing at the time just how very difficult it would be to condense the story of so important a battle and so consequential a campaign into a short narrative. But after many sleepless nights, burning the midnight oil over and over again, after many revisions, and after much editing, I am relieved to say that the book is finally finished and that it will “hit the shelves” in a little over a week, scheduled for release on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. 
 
 
The book's cover illustration is a Rothermel painting depicting the charge of the Pennsylvania Reserves through the Plum Run Valley on July 2, 1863.                                        
 
As is stated in the book’s introduction, I set out on this project not attempting to pave new ground, nor to mine any new, undiscovered sources. From the start, I approached this more as a storyteller than a historian. Students of the battle will find nothing new here, for the intended audience all along was not those who already possess an understanding of the battle but those who are seeking a concise narrative; those who are seeking, perhaps for the first time, a general understanding of why the battle was fought, how it unfolded, and what happened as a result. My sources were by and large secondary, with the works of Coddington, Sears, Trudeau, Woodworth, Symonds, and especially Pfanz serving as my guides and providing the framework. Confrontation at Gettysburg is a short work, coming in at around 250 pages of text, with nearly 100 images and illustrations (including a number of incredible hand-drawn maps by my good friend Mannie Gentile, which will knock your socks off, supplemented by maps by Hal Jespersen), with a total of just over 90,000 words. . . retailing for $16.99.  As with all things Gettysburg, the criticisms will surely come; for not focusing enough on the cavalry actions, for example, or perhaps my handling of Lee, Meade, Chamberlain and a host of others. But this, of course, is to be expected. My intention from day one was to write a clear and concise narrative of the campaign, a synthesis, with the hope being that I could both inspire further study and repay the faith placed in me by Doug Bostick and everyone at the History Press. 
 
For more information, including on how you could reserve a copy, please click here.