Wel­come to my blog site!

My name is Tom Clemens, and the focus of this site, in a broad sense, is any­thing deal­ing with the Mary­land Cam­paign of 1862. Because there is already a great site devoted to the bat­tle of Anti­etam, Brian Downey’s Anti­etam on the Web, and an equally great chat group, Talk­A­nti­etam, I will not try to dupli­cate their efforts. Instead the focus of this site to dis­cuss the events related to Gen. Ezra A. Car­man and his 1,800 page man­u­script his­tory of the cam­paign, and the other projects under­taken dur­ing his tenure on the Anti­etam Bat­tle­field Board.

I have been work­ing on anno­tat­ing and “decon­struct­ing” Carman’s man­u­script for sev­eral years, and am pleased to announce that Savas-Beatie LLC will release the first vol­ume of my ver­sion of this work on May 15, 2010. The first vol­ume con­tains the chap­ters lead­ing up to the bat­tle of Anti­etam and includes the plans of both com­man­ders, the pre­lim­i­nary move­ments of both armies and the bat­tles of South Moun­tain. A sec­ond vol­ume will include the bat­tle of Anti­etam and the imme­di­ate aftermath.

This man­u­script is crit­i­cally impor­tant because Car­man assem­bled it, with con­tri­bu­tions from the other mem­bers of the board, using almost exclu­sively pri­mary source mate­r­ial. This included the after-action reports of the var­i­ous com­man­ders as com­piled in the pub­lished War of the Rebel­lion: Offi­cial Records of the Union & Con­fed­er­ate Armies. In fact, one of the prin­ci­pal edi­tors of these 70 vol­umes in 128 parts was George B. Davis, who later served on the Anti­etam Bat­tle­field Board. In addi­tion to these reports, the Board requested writ­ten accounts from many brigade and reg­i­men­tal com­man­ders, and even pri­vate sol­diers. Many vet­er­ans who came to the bat­tle­field were inter­viewed by Car­man who used notes from these con­ver­sa­tions to flesh out his nar­ra­tive. Car­man used some of the printed mem­oirs avail­able at the time, up to approx­i­mately 1900, includ­ing Heros von Borke, Fran­cis Pal­frey, William Allan and sev­eral oth­ers. The Cen­tury Mag­a­zine’s com­pi­la­tion of pri­mary par­tic­i­pant accounts called Bat­tles and Lead­ers of the Civil War is also often cited by Carman.

By far the most obscure of these many sources are the veteran’s let­ters. Scat­tered among sev­eral repos­i­to­ries, these let­ters con­tain some of the most detailed and descrip­tive accounts of what hap­pened in this vital cam­paign. In edit­ing Carman’s man­u­script I have assem­bled a data­base to orga­nize these let­ters and sort them by reg­i­ment and brigade. Draw­ing on the let­ters located at the National Archives, Library of Con­gress, and the New York Pub­lic Library, I have amassed over 1,800 entries so far. Car­man also cor­re­sponded with Maj. John Gould of the 10th Maine Infantry. Gould had also cor­re­sponded with vet­er­ans as he sought to unravel the intri­ca­cies of the move­ments and actions in the East Woods. Because they shared infor­ma­tion I have also included sev­eral hun­dred of the Gould let­ters in my data­base. When it is com­plete I will make it avail­able so that any­one can search it to see who wrote to the board, from what reg­i­ment or com­mand, and where the orig­i­nal let­ter can be found today.

Many of these let­ters con­tained far more per­sonal accounts and detail than Car­man could use in his man­u­script. Some are hazy and inac­cu­rate oth­ers are quite mov­ing and poignant. It is my intent to use this site to share some of these let­ters with you on a semi-regular basis. I will post type­scripts of those less leg­i­ble, or scans of the more read­able so that you can expe­ri­ence the Mary­land Cam­paign from the words of those who lived it. There is not planned order or method planned for this so far, but if you have a spe­cial inter­est, feel free to let me know and I will accom­mo­date as best I can.

I look for­ward to hear­ing from you, and hope you find some­thing here to enjoy. And, because I have found these let­ters were often scat­tered to the four winds, please let me know if you have any let­ters to or from Ezra Car­man or the Anti­etam Bat­tle­field Board.

Thank you!

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  1. Larry Freiheit
    Posted March 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Permalink


    Con­grat­u­la­tions on your upcom­ing books! I plan on pre­order­ing the first one soon. I’ve used your doc­toral the­sis often and other than it hav­ing no index which is usual for the­ses, I’ve found it very valu­able espe­cially your notes and bios.

    Will your book have foot­notes or end­notes? My per­sonal pref­er­ence is for foot­notes unless the notes are just cites and con­tain lit­tle or no ver­biage, then end­notes are fine for me and less intrusive.

    Since I am fin­ish­ing up my work on cav dur­ing the Mary­land Cam­paign, any­thing you have from/to Car­man re the cav­alry would be helpful.


  2. Posted March 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I am very excited to see Vol­ume 1 com­ing out this spring. Good luck with the blog. Both the book and your blog will be a great resources for those of us who study the Mary­land Cam­paign.

  3. Tom
    Posted March 23, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Send me an email ASAP, for some strange rea­son I do not have your email address.

  4. Brian S.
    Posted April 11, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Permalink


    I had no idea that I would be able to say hello to you out­side of a chance meet­ing in some book­store some­where. I had read on maybe Dim­itri Rostov’s blog (?) that some­one was edit­ing Carmen’s book and it was going to have all kinds of maps, notes etc., but when I saw Pierro’s book come out I assumed “the other guy’s” book had fallen through. I tried to find a men­tion of the other book any­where online but gave up. I became con­vinced I had mis­read some­thing and you were in fact Pierro. I’m glad I was proved wrong. I have Pierro’s book and it’s fine, not knock­ing him too much. Look­ing for­ward to your vol­umes. Brian

  5. Tom
    Posted April 12, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the kind words. Pierro’s book is fine as far as it goes, and I address that in an inter­view that Savas-Beatie will run on their site. He delib­er­ately did a lim­ited edit­ing job, and says so. Mine is more in-depth so I do not think there is any con­flict between the two ver­sions. We have chat­ted on line a few times and he has offered sev­eral help­ful sug­ge­tions. I hope you like the S-B ver­sion, and thanks again for your comment.

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