Video 4 – 10th Amendment

Hello again! Continuing with my academic break from my writing career, here is the next in the series of videos I have produced in my classes. This one focuses on the Tenth Amendment. I hope you enjoy it.

Click here to watch.

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Video 3 – Thomas Jefferson

Hello again! Continuing with my academic break from my writing career, here is the next in the series of videos I have produced in my classes. This one focuses on Thomas Jefferson. I hope you enjoy it.

Click here to watch.

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Video 2 – Nancy Hart

Continuing with my sharing of historical videos I did for my American Revolution class. This one is on the subject of women in the American Revolution, I chose one near to my heart, Nancy Hart. I was raised on stories of Nancy Hart as she was a local heroine in my native Georgia. Enjoy the video and let me know what you think.

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Academic break from writing

Folks I just realized how long I have gone without an update on my blog. I apologize for that. I have been on a break from writing to work on a Masters Degree in History. I am now in the home stretch and expect to be finished after the Fall semester, so I should be back in full production by early 2020. In the meantime, I would like to begin sharing some videos I had the opportunity to compose for a couple of classes. So, for my class on the American Revolution, I began with a video on Public History that I did on the Alamance Battlefield in Burlington. I will share that one here. I plan to release these in the order that I did them so you can see the progression in my video production skills with each release. I hope you enjoy it.

Alamance Battlefield Park – Watch Video.

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Review of Five or Ten Minutes of Blind Confusion

Five or Ten Minutes of Blind Confusion: The Battle of Aiken, South Carolina, February 11, 1865
By Eric J. Wittenberg
Fox Run Publishing
Reviewed by J. Keith Jones

Finally, the Battle of Aiken, South Carolina has gotten the full treatment it merits. For many years, as a child, I knew of the re-enactments of the Battle of Aiken, but for much of that time, I did not realize that it was a real battle. The attention it has gotten is so scant, that many others in the history community did not know this either. Only those with local interest willing to dig into scattered sources and gather the knowledge over a lifetime really knew.

That now changes. This book covers the Battle of Aiken in great detail and places it in its full context within the Carolina’s Campaign. Using his normal level depth, Eric Wittenberg covers all phases of the days leading up to the clash at Aiken, the fight on February 11, 1865 and the outcome. This book is carefully indexed and has three appendices with difficult to obtain information. The appendices include an Order of Battle, Known Confederate Casualties and a discussion about the defense of Augusta, Georgia.

This book is a welcome addition to the body of history about the Carolina’s Campaign.

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Review of Hurrah For Georgia: History of 38th Georgia Infantry

Hurrah For Georgia! (The History of the 38th Georgia Regiment)
By D. Gary Nichols
A15 Publishing

Reviewed by Keith Jones

This is an excellent work of regimental history. Nichols great flow and style is backed up by meticulous research and fact checking. This beautifully laid out book contains dozens of hard to find photographs of members of the 38th Georgia Infantry.

I was glad to see a history of the 38th Georgia Infantry as this was the regiment in which both grandfathers of my mother served. The vivid detail and thorough research Nichols poured into this project brings the actions of these men to life on the page before you.

Overall, this is among the best regimental histories I have read. This should be in the collection of any Georgian, or any military history buff, who wants to understand the bravery and sacrifice of the common citizen in this bloody war.

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Rescuing the Stone of Wiley W. Dye

J. Keith Jones with Coach Vince Dooley

J. Keith Jones with Coach Vince Dooley

I recently had the pleasure of taking a trip to attend the Vince Dooley Leadership Conference at Kennesaw State University.  There were many fine speakers along with Coach Dooley, the legendary football coach of the national championship University of Georgia team in 1980.  It was a great joy experiencing this.

On a side trip into Atlanta, my brother and I got to visit Historic Oakland Cemetery right in the heart of town.  There are a number of notable Georgians buried there — Lt. Gen. (later Governor and Senator) John B. Gordon, golfing great Bobby Jones and Margaret Mitchell — to name but a few.  The sculpture known alternately as either the Lion of Atlanta or the Lion of the Confederacy stands guard over the unknown soldiers in the Confederate section.

W.W. Dye grave 1998 – From Find A Grave by Rachal Grizzle

All great sites, but we had an even greater mission.  We have family in that section.  Wiley William Dye, the younger brother of my great great grandfather Thompson B. Dye was a private in the 9th Georgia Battalion of Infantry, Co. D when he became ill in 1862.  He passed away in the Fairgrounds Hospital near the cemetery on November 30, 1862.  Thanks to the efforts of Rachal Grizzle through the wonderful site, Find A Grave, I was able to locate this uncle’s final resting place.  It appears that the city or state had provided stones for the identified veterans at some point.  There were many uniform markers that appear to predate the Veterans Administration markers later provided.

W.W. Dye grave 2018

W.W. Dye stone seeing light of day first time in decades.

There was a problem, however.  His grave rests at the base of a stately old magnolia tree.  The tree had greedily claimed the stone many years ago and had sucked it down into the ground.  The old Polaroid picture Mrs. Grizzle had posted on Find A Grave was taken in 1998 and has several inches of stone showing.  It is hard to tell, but it appears that some of the name might have still been visible.  Twenty years later, though, that was no longer the case.  Barely two inches of stone remained above ground and the name was then far beneath the soil.  Another decade and it would likely be gone altogether.

W.W. Dye stone in a new base.

I enlisted the aid of the cemetery’s preservationists, Ashley Shares and Sean Diaz, to correct this and less than two weeks later, the stone was extracted, mounted on a new base and now signals that Wiley W. Dye is not forgotten.

W.W. Dye grave now restored. Set in a base a safe distance from the tree.


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Review of Diary of an Unkempt Woman

Diary of an Unkept Woman
By Sandra Miller Linhart
Lionheart Group Publishing

Reviewed by Keith Jones

The only complaint I have about “Diary of an Unkempt Woman” is that the title tends to shy most men away from reading it. That’s a shame. There is a lot of funny social commentary in this book that would be enjoyed by all.

This book is a mix of everything Sandra Miller Linhart, from daily ramblings on miscellaneous life events to some of her short stories. The social commentary contained within is reminiscent of the newspaper columns of Erma Bombeck and Lewis Grizzard. Thoughtful points wrapped up in great humor. Perhaps if today’s newspapers published more of this and less bloviating by political activists shaking their fists against all things American, they would not be in the grave danger in which they now find themselves.

This book is a great collection of short pieces that will make you smile whether you want to or not. Don’t let the title fool you, while it is by a woman, it’s not just for women.

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Review – Texans at Antietam

Texans At Antietam: A Terrible Clash of Arms, September 16-17, 1862
By Joe Owen, Philip McBride, and Joe Allport
Fonthill Media

Reviewed by Keith Jones

This book presents a great collection of accounts that brings the battle into focus from the perspective of the Texas soldiers. With an introduction to orient the reader to the facts of the overall operations of the Texas Brigade, the story then shifts to the actual words and experiences of the veterans themselves.

Lovingly illustrated with photographs of the people involved and items such as battle flags, this book is a must have for any Texas history bookshelf.

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Review – We Ride a Whirlwind

We Ride a Whirlwind: Sherman and Johnston at Bennett Place
By Eric J. Wittenberg
Fox Run Publishing
Reviewed by J. Keith Jones

For so many, their knowledge (if they bother to have any) of the so-called American Civil War ends with Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. What most don’t know is that there was still a much larger contingent of Confederate troops in the field that those surrendered by Lee. Most belonged to the Army of Tennessee (not to be confused with the Union’s Army of THE Tennessee – Southerners prefer land and the Union army seemed to prefer bodies of water for naming purposes for some reason) which was under the command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston for the second time in its life.

“We Ride a Whirlwind: Sherman and Johnston at Bennett Place” is the first comprehensive work dedicated to the War’s largest surrender. Eric Wittenberg provides great detail of the three meetings between Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston in which they negotiated the surrender of the remaining Confederate forces east of the Mississippi River. He wraps the events leading up to the meetings, the events of the meetings, the dynamics within the Confederate army and government and the fallout into his usual smooth narrative. Included are appendices covering the forces involved, Lincoln’s meeting with Sherman, correspondence within the Davis administration and the sub-plot of Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton and his dilemmas surrounding the surrender.

The surrender of Johnston’s forces was not a fait accompli, in fact, there was a very real possibility that he could flee to the mountains with his army or head south to Texas or west to continue the war on a guerrilla basis. Johnston did not want this any more than Sherman did, but the terms had to be acceptable before surrender was an option. Sherman took this knowledge and fear into the first meeting. He also carried another piece of information that neither Johnston nor the members of either army knew, the assassination of Lincoln. Sherman knew that once this became common knowledge, the behavior of his army would become worse and his odds of reaching an accord would lessen. He had a strong incentive to act quickly and the directives that Lincoln himself had given to guide him. Wittenberg does yeoman’s work in communicating the complex interactions that resulted in the final meeting and aftermath.

Beautifully illustrated with photographs and maps, this book takes you into the events of April, 1865 at the Bennett farm then brings you forward to the present. This book is a must have for any serious student of the Civil War.

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