This work is essentially a republication of the wartime diary of a Confederate infantryman who served from the outbreak of the War Between the States until he was killed in one of the Seven Days' Battles near Richmond in 1862. The diary has been illuminated with pertinent maps and illustrations, and its day-to-day immediacy has been embellished throughout with lively and colorful excerpts from D. Augustus Dickert's History of Kershaw's Brigade to put the diary into a broader context. The editor has broken down the text into chapters to further categorize the events as the war progressed. Chapters include South Carolina's secession, the call to arms and the march to Virginia, the first Battle of Manassas, winter quarters in Northern Virginia, the Peninsula Campaign, and the Seven Days' Battles around Richmond. Taken as a whole, this work gives the reader a portrait of Southern hopes in the early days of the war, and introduces to the reader the stormy birth of General Lee's legendary Army of Northern Virginia in the days before the stormy death of traditional agrarian civilization.
This work offers a contemporaneous portrait of Old Virginia, her unwavering stance on State sovereignty, and her fight to the death to defend the fundamental principle upon which the Republic was founded.
In the middle of the nineteenth century steam power replaced muscle power as the prime mover of civilization, and the Industrial Revolution roared across the world. A new World-Cycle, the Machine Age, was born. But in the Southern United States men took up arms against the imperatives of the machine, and their Lost Cause marked the end of the Age of Agriculture – the Age that had given rise to all of the ancient civilizations. By the editing of contemporary diaries, letters, essays, newspaper editorials, memoirs, histories and official records, and the collation of them into a narrative form, this work offers a contemporaneous portrait of the old Republic, the Old South, the storm-tossed Confederacy, and the revolution that swept it all away. This work is presented as a Bard singing the Confederate Epic, but to a de jure Federated Republic in the last stages of transformation into a centralized Colossus that knows no bounds, it speaks Truth to Power. The secession of the Southern States remains as its rebuke, and the secession of Virginia – “The Mother of States and the Mother of Presidents” – remains its most monumental indictment in history.
Why Virginia Seceded from the Union
When a strictly Northern sectional majority elected Abraham Lincoln, the presidential candidate of a strictly Northern political party, it precipitated the secession of the Cotton States. Virginia called a Peace Conference of all States to try to preserve the Union that she, the “Mother of States and Statesmen,” had done so much to create, and she offered her Judges to serve as mediators between the two sections during the crisis of the Union. But she made it plain to the Lincoln Administration that she would brook no coercion of the seceded States to force them back into a Union that had been created and voluntarily entered into by sovereign States with their separate, sovereign ratifications of the Constitution. Virginia had specifically made it known at the time of her own ratification of the Constitution in 1788, that she retained the right to withdraw from that Union if she ever found it to be “perverted” to her “injury and oppression.” The same condition had been specified by both New York and Rhode Island, but after their recently won independence, it was fully understood by all that no State at the time would have voluntarily entered into any Union that they knew they could never get out of. No objections to this condition, then, were made by any States party to the founding of the Union. But by 1861, things had changed…
Awarded the Jefferson Davis Historical Gold Medal Certificate by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (2018).
Third printing. Awarded the Jefferson Davis Historical Gold Medal Certificate by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (2016). Commended for its scholarship by the Virginia General Assembly (House Resolution no. 189, January 16, 2015).
In the summer of 1969 young American men were being sent to Vietnam to fight in a war that many felt had lost its meaning. The “Vietnamization” of the war had just begun and US troop units were being withdrawn and replaced by units of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN.) The author of Road Gang was one of those arriving “in country” to serve a year’s tour of duty during this period of transition. The heart of his narrative is an account of his service as the commander of an Army Engineer company engaged in the construction of a section of the Main Supply Route (MSR) to the 1st Air Cavalry Division, but his other experiences are touched on as well - including service with the 82nd Airborne Division at Phu Loi, and duty as an Engineer reconnaissance officer on the Cambodian border.
This work offers a glimpse of the Army Engineers and some of the work they did in the Vietnam conflict. The focus is on the officers and men of “The Road Gang” - D Company, 34th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade - and the road they built, but this straightforward narrative transcends the simple memoir. Behind it lies a portrait of the poisoned political atmosphere of the times, the mortality of an army, and the end of an era.
"History is the propaganda of the victorious," said Voltaire, and such has it permeated our modern-day interpretation of the so-called "Civil War" that Southerners and descendants of Confederate soldiers, like a recent correspondent in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, are crying mea culpa, rolling in the dust, and covering themselves in sackcloth and ashes. It is unbecoming of descendants of men who were fighting to defend their country from invasion, conquest, and coerced political allegiance, just as their forefathers had done in 1776. Perhaps this true perspective of history will assuage their guilt.
A work of high adventure and philosophy in the vein of Peter Matthiessen's Far Tortuga, this chronicles the end of an era.
IN this sequel to his Road Gang: A Memoir of Engineer Service in Vietnam, the author sheds his uniform to tour far corners of the country as a freight-train-riding hobo, oil field roustabout, commercial diver, marine engineer in tramp freighters and tall ships, boat builder, trawler captain, and "lover of poetry, women, rock and roll, good food, strong drink and sunsets across the marsh."