Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S.C. (1860)

All things Fort Moultrie on the eve of the Civil War. A remarkable site presenting a great deal of information and some truly splendid graphics. Here:

Troops of the Maison de Condé

L'Entrée de Monseigneur le Prince de Condé dans la ville de Ipre [i.e., Ypres] : [estampe]
Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Estampes et photographie, RESERVE FOL-QB-201 (39)

A recent post by the Baró de Claramunt on his blog, “La Guerra dels Segadors,” focused on the entry of the small French auxiliary corps commanded by Roger de Bossost, comte d’Espenan, into Barcelona in support of the Catalan republicans (winter 1640). This little-known episode of the Thirty Years’ War (or Franco-Spanish sub-war thereof) reminded me of the connection of Espenan and two of the three infantry regiments he brought with him to the Maison de Condé. The princes of Condé were princes of the Blood Royal. These royal “cousins,” who would occasionally oppose or rebel against royal policies or authority (typically as represented by a minister), had immense power in the France of Louis XIII and Louis XIV, and many military units were owned by them either directly or through what we might term as patronage. In effect, these units constituted a private army within (and occasionally without) the royal army. Here is a list showing the troops associated with the Maison de Condé:

In Volume 3 of his Histoire des princes de Condé, the duc d’Aumale provides an interesting “Note on the Troops of the House of Condé.” The statement below is based on the note, which names the various infantry and cavalry units associated with the powerful noble house.


     July 1630 Anguien-cavalerie; 6 cos.

     1634 Gendarmes de Condé; 1 co.

     1636.  Gendarmes d'Anguien; 1 co.

     1627.  Chevau-légers de Condé; 1 co. (40 men).

     ?.  Chevau-légers d'Anguien; 1 co. (40 men).

     Others. Not mentioned here are the carabins, the guards of the governments of Berry and Burgundy, the arquebusiers à cheval, the troops of the chateau de Dijon, the archers of Montrond, and other troops--provincial, frontier, and garrison.

Infantry Regiments

     1622 - dissolved “immediately” Anguien [Enghien] > reestablished 8 July 1635 > dissolved 1650 or 13 September 1651, according to Belhomme > reestablished 1667 > 1686 Bourbon.

     25 January 1636 Conti > 1698 (4 June 1649, according to Belhomme).

     1644 Condé > 1650 > reestablished 7 November 1659. This was the duc d’Albret’s regiment.

     In addition, the regiments of Persan, Espenan, and Bourgogne were associated with the House of Condé, though not as proprietary regiments.

     Companies in infantry regiments: Anguien: 30; Conti: 30; Condé: ?; Persan: 30; Espenan: 20; Bourgogne: 20.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Waterloo en images

[Navez, Louis]. Waterloo en images. Bruxelles: J. Lebègue, 1900.

This is an interesting fin de siècle book with photos and engravings of the Waterloo battlefield and some of the leaders. The text of course is in French. It can be viewed in a variety of formats on Open Library at this link:

I added the name of the author in the bibliographical citation from the March 2002 catalog (No. 349) of the Paris bookseller Jean Clavreuil, which I regard as authoritative. Navez was the author of several books on the 1815 campaign and Lebègue was his publisher.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gettysburg Sources: Collective Biography

Tagg, Larry. The Generals of Gettysburg: The Leaders of America's Greatest Battle. Campbell, Calif.: Savas Pub. Co., 1998.

Larry Tagg introduces his book with a quote from Heraclitus: “character is destiny.” This epigram of the Greek philosopher informs the author’s approach, which provides well-written biographies of the leaders at Gettysburg, concentrating on their character attributes, backgrounds, personalities, and battlefield performance. In this he succeeds admirably. The book is organized according to the orders of battle of the armies (Federal first), proceeding through the various corps in numerical order, with commanders of divisions and brigades discussed under corps’ heads. Where colonels commanded brigades, they are included. Officers who succeeded to the command of formations during the battle –- for example Fry for Archer -- are not discussed.

Tagg provides strength data for the various units and formations that is drawn from the authoritative work of Busey and Martin (1982 ed.). I’ll probably discuss this book in a future post. Each entry is supplemented by appropriate bibliographical references. There are also nine maps by John Heiser. The one thing the book lacks is an index, so even those familiar with the orders of battle may find themselves thumbing back-and-forth to find a particular entry.

All in all, I think this is a book that belongs on your Civil War bookshelf, more particularly if you’re a Gettysburg junkie.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gettysburg Sources: The First Day (2)

In this post I want to briefly mention a couple older sources that must be considered worthy ancestors of the works of Pfanz and Martin cited in my earlier post on this subject. First, is the following, with a rather prodigious, full-on Victorian title.

Vanderslice, John Mitchell. Gettysburg, Then and Now, the Field of American Valor: Where and How the Regiments Fought, and the Troops They Encountered ; an Account of the Battle, Giving Movements, Positions, and Losses of the Commands Engaged. New York: G.W. Dillingham Co, 1899.
Now, this is not a work on the first day, but it belongs here because Vanderslice, a Civil War veteran, Medal of Honor winner, and director of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, made one of the first (if not the first) attempts to delineate the various engagements that made up the battle, and lay out the statistics related to each, particularly with respect to the casualties. This pioneering effort is not without its problems, but it was a beginning. For more on this fascinating, sometimes puzzling and difficult to digest work, I recommend reading Dr. David G. Martin’s Introduction to the work in the Morningside reprint edition of 1983.

Vanderslice’s work has continued to influence the historians of the first day and of course the battle as a whole.

This is apparent in the fine work of Dr. Warren W. Hassler, which is very much a product of the centennial era, that is to say before the grand narrative of American history fell prey to the revisionist narrative of the Civil Rights/Vietnam War era.

Hassler, Warren W. Crisis at the Crossroads: The First Day at Gettysburg. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1970.

Hassler’s work is of interest here chiefly because it is the first of the first day works, and it continued the development of the delineation begun by Vanderslice and the refinement of Vanderslice’s work on strengths and casualties. To one used to working with the numbers, the result is somewhat disappointing. Hassler was more interested in telling the story of the epic battle of the first day, and his attention to the numbers was primarily to reinforce the picture of the high intensity of the fighting with its attendant large casualties on both sides. Nonetheless, the work is worthwhile, despite its being superseded by subsequent works that in some instances focused on the first day’s experience of individual brigades.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gettysburg Sources: The First Day

Above: Monument to the 7th Wisconsin Infantry of the Union Iron Brigade on the northeast edge of Herbst Woods (Reynolds’ Grove) on the battlefield of the first day at Gettysburg (July 1, 1863).

Like all great battles, Gettysburg was an ensemble of battles, some large, some small, and many somewhere in between. It is impossible to understand, much less analyze, the battle without breaking it down into its constituent parts. Even to attempt that requires an analytical framework and, in addition, a body of knowledge that in itself requires years of study to acquire. Fortunately, many others have trod those paths and plowed those furrows and offered up the goodies for your edification.

One analytical construct is to examine each of the battle’s three days in book length. This poses certain very real problems with the second day, but seems to work quite well for the first day. Here are two readily available book-length treatments of the battle’s first day:

Martin, David G. Gettysburg July 1. Conshohocken, Pa.: Combined Books, 1995, 1996 (revised edition).

Pfanz, Harry W. Gettysburg--the First Day. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

Both of these are fine books, though in the case of Martin’s, I would suggest the “Completely Revised Edition,” since the first edition suffered from editorial defects.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Roco's T-34-85

Probably not the best model of the iconic Soviet tank, but there's no mistaking what it is. As I mentioned in a previous post, just adding some hand-grabs and other bits, plus a paint job and minimal weathering, tarts it up fine for wargaming. Wiki here: