Friday, December 30, 2016

Et tu, King County Library System?

Whenever I'm shopping for a used book, I look for ex-library copies. They usually arrive in decent shape, encased in a nifty mylar dust jacket. Occasionally, the margins contain the amusing or even insightful scribbles of some discourteous library patron. So, I had mixed feelings when I recently found an ex-library copy of Richmond Must Fall offered for sale online. The price was decent and, in a few minutes, the book was in my cart and on its way to my house. It arrived at my doorstep with the words "King County Library System, WA" stamped prominently across the top edge.

I'm no library expert, but I figure books get the boot when they gather too much dust on the shelves. However, this copy has a few signs of life: small coffee stains on the fore edge and a less than tight spine. Western Washington is one of my favorite places. So I felt a little deflated that the good people of King County had demonstrated little appetite for a detailed, tactical study of Grant's sixth offensive at Petersburg - what's wrong with them? However, my faith rebounded and my spirits rose when I checked the King County online catalog and found three copies still circulating in their system. I am happy to take this fourth copy off their hands. Besides, the mylar is nice and shiny.  

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Petersburg National Battlefield Expansion
Petersburg National Battlefield - Fort Stedman (Source: National Park Service)

Boundary Expansion (Source:
On December 8, 2016, Congress passed legislation to significantly expand the Petersburg National Battlefield. This is big news, at least for those interested in the Petersburg Campaign. The bill authorizes the National Park Service to add more than 7,000 acres to the park's land. The Civil War Trust, which has done much to preserve land around Petersburg and elsewhere, released a detailed announcement. The new land includes parcels at Peebles' Farm, Five Forks, Reams Station, and the White Oak Road among many other locations. It also appears the expansion may include a part of the Burgess Farm along the Boydton Plank Road - the fields where the Burgess family barns stood and Brigadier General Thomas Egan deployed his division during the battle on October 27, 1864. I recently posted a little-known map of this area from the National Archives.