Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Since I finally have something to report, the time has come for a status update.

As many who would read this already know, work on the third and concluding book in the Stonewall Goes West trilogy was postponed by the birth of my son, Luke. I went to part-time work status and began “Daddy Day Care Service,” so writing fiction went on the shelf. At that time, I had written about 50,000 words of draft material on the new book.

The last few weeks have seen sustained work on the new novel again. The “sustained” part is important, because I’ve tried restarting many times only to be completely derailed by events, and found myself unable to work on it again for weeks or even months at a time. If there is one thing I’ve learned about this process, it’s that it only works if I get some momentum going and it cannot be done in dribs and drabs.

This is the most work I’ve been able to do since my son was born, so it looks like I will finally be able to push on to the very end. I will post step-by-step status updates, and at some point release a couple of scenes as a sneak peek.

With Spring 2015 coming up, the third and final book in the Stonewall Goes West trilogy is due… or it should have been due, had I not known a major, life-changing event was in the works. Eagle-eyed readers might have spotted that there was no ad at the end of Mother Earth, Bloody Ground announcing a publication date for the end of the series, and that was for a very good reason: my wife was six months pregnant at the time.

The third book was half-finished when my son was born, and since then it’s been on the shelf. I hope to start working on it again a few weeks from now, so it should be published before the year is out.


Most of the changes reflect casualties, sackings and promotions due to the action in Stonewall Goes West. The one change that might strike even those who have read Mother Earth, Bloody Ground as strange, and therefore demands a comment here, is Patrick Cleburne’s promotion to Brevet Lieutenant General.

In the Old U.S. Army, brevet rank was given as a reward and was a de facto temporary promotion, effective only in the current assignment and without the accompanying raise in pay. It was quite common in the Old Army, what with its many small and far flung postings, because the need for field officers was high but the number of them was kept low by law. So a lieutenant or captain might find himself bumped up to brevet major and put in charge of a frontier post. During the Mexican War, many officers were given brevet promotions for meritorious service as well.

The Union Army continued to use brevet rank during the Civil War, following its Old Army antecedents. The Confederate Army had the provision for brevet rank on the books, as their 1861 Articles of War and C.S. Army regulations, both of which were virtually copies of their older U.S. counterparts.

However, the Confederates never used brevet ranks, and even passed a law creating “temporary general” rank (meaning full or “four-star” general) rather than use brevet general rank instead. This was despite the fact that the two amounted to practically the same thing.

Cleburne became, insofar as my story is concerned, the Confederacy’s first and only brevet lieutenant general as part of an elegant solution to a thorny problem, a solution devised by Judah Benjamin. To find out the details, you will need to read the book, but I thought some detailed explanation of this part of army regulations was in order.

Overall Commander and Field Commander, Army of Tennessee: Gen. Thomas J. Jackson, Department of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi

Polk’s Corps
Commanding: Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk

French’s Division

  • Ector’s Brigade
  • Cockrell’s Brigade
  • Sears’s Brigade
  • Cantey’s Brigade

Maney’s Division

  • Featherston’s Brigade
  • Quarles’s Brigade
  • Lowry’s Brigade (no relation to Mark Lowery of Polk’s Division)
  • Scott’s Brigade

Stewart’s Corps
Commanding: Lt. Gen. A.P. Stewart

Stevenson’s Division

  • Brown’s Brigade
  • Cumming’s Brigade
  • Reynold’s Brigade
  • Pettus’s Brigade

Clayton’s Division

  • Stovall’s Brigade
  • Holtzclaw’s Brigade
  • Gibson’s Brigade
  • Baker’s Brigade

Cleburne’s Corps
Commanding: Brevet Lt. Gen. Patrick Cleburne

Cheatham’s Division

  • Strahl’s Brigade
  • Wright’s Brigade
  • Vaughn”s Brigade
  • Walker’s Brigade (home of the 41st TN Infantry and the Grimes Brothers)

Polk’s Division (Lucius Polk)

  • Govan’s Brigade
  • Lowery’s Brigade
  • Granbury’s Brigade
  • Smith’s Brigade

Forrest’s Cavalry Corps
Commanding: Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest

“Red” Jackson’s Division (three brigades)
Buford’s Division (three brigades)Rucker’s Brigade (independent)