21 March 2013

My Next Book - The Battle Of Waynesboro

Shortly after my recent book about Lexington, Virginia and the Civil War was completed, I submitted another proposal to the History Press. 

Regular readers here know that I was born (and spent most of my childhood growing up) in Waynesboro, Virginia. I was actually born in a hospital that sat on ground where the last Civil War battle in the Shenandoah Valley took place. I had a couple of ancestors that fought for the Confederacy in that battle and my great-grandfather once owned part of the battlefield (after the war) and built a home there. I spent many summer days and holidays in that home and would one day come to own it. I retain a lot of happy memories exploring the banks of (as well as swimming and fishing) in the South River that formed part of the perimeter for the battle in an area that is today known as the "Tree Streets." My grandparents' home sits on Locust Avenue, right in between the Union and Confederate lines. In so many ways, it was the idyllic childhood for a Southern boy with strong ties to the history that took place on that land.

So my next book will be about the Battle of Waynesboro which took place in March of 1865. The book will be part of the History Press's Sesquicentennial Series:

This series honors the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States. Each book is a concise illustrated history of an epic battle, a critical turning point, a pivotal campaign or a hallowed location. Authors are respected Civil War scholars who condense their research into accessible volumes of 40,000 to 50,000 words and 60 to 70 images. Successful subjects have on-site visitor centers with retail operations that support the books.
My great-great grandfather,
John McGann who fought
for the 51st Virginia.

Obviously, this will be a project near and dear to my heart and I've already gathered research material and begun some of the initial writing. This will be somewhat of a challenge as this battle was not a major engagement and there's not a whole lot that has been written about the battle. Nonetheless, I believe it's a worthy project and I'm excited about diving in to it. The book is to be published in late 2013 or early 2014.


Anonymous said...


Amazing Story

ropelight said...

The significance of the Battle of Waynesboro might grow in considerable proportion as you prepare to write about it. (I admit I'm late to the party, but Waynesboro seems more significant than you acknowledge.)

Your early residence there and an accompanying familiarity may have contributed to an under appreciation of its rightful place in the events culminating in the conclusion of the WBTS.

Without a clear victory at Waynesboro would Sheridan have been able to leave the Shenandoah Valley with the still dangerous remnants of Jubal Early's Army on the loose, or march on Charlottesville, or bust up the James River locks at Goochland Courthouse cutting off river-born supplies for Richmond?

Without overstating the case, I view the Battle of Waynesboro as an essential contribution to the strengthening of Grant's forces as they take Petersburg and chase Lee to Appomattox.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Rope - I perhaps "overstated" the "insignificance" of the battle. All of your points are ones with which I agree. Perhaps "overlooked" would be a better characterization of the battle.

That being said, Early's army was a mere shell of it's former glory by the time the Battle of W'boro took place.

Desta Elliott said...

My gg grandfather was at the Battle of Waynesboro...with the 50th regiment virginia infantry.

According to the NARA records, he was captured and imprisoned at Ft. Delaware at this battle.

Do you know anything more about these prisoners? The 50th fought in many major battles--including Gettysburg. It is so sad that after all that he was captured on the last day of the last battle.

(He survived and lived to 1891.)

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hello Desta - thanks for the comment and question. Not specifically, but I recall a fair amount of info available on the web. I would suggest a simple google search. Thanks again.