Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Non-fiction, pictures, appendix, notes, bibliography, index, 189 pp., 2008. McFarland & Co, Inc., Publishers, Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640. $45 plus shipping and handling.

Mystery and intrigue surround the events that take place in July 1864 in Roswell and New Manchester, Georgia. Innocent mill workers, predominately women and children, go to work as usual, only to be arrested for treason by the Union army as they invade their villages. The mills they are employed by manufacture items for the Confederate Government. In the eyes of Union General Sherman, their way of making a living is considered sedition, so he ordered their arrest and deportation to “north of the Ohio River.” “The Women Will Howell”, The Union Army Capture of Roswell and New Manchester, Georgia, and the Forced Relocation of Mill Workers gives a comprehensive study of this ambiguous subject.

Author Mary Deborah Petite first gives the reader a preview of Roswell King, founder of Roswell, and the “Roswell royalty,” who help create the colony from the wilderness to a thriving mill town. The creation of Roswell Mills brings in people from South Georgia and South Carolina to hone out a living for their families. Ms. Petite provides the background for Roswell to help the reader better understand the dynamics of the situation and people.

On the eve of Sherman’s march, inhabitants of Georgia are preparing for the worse. “Time after time we had been told of the severity of General Sherman, until we came to dread his approach as (one) would that of a mighty hurricane which sweeps all before it caring naught for justice or humanity,” sates Mary Rawlson of Atlanta. “It is sad to witness the fearful suffering of the people, particularly the women and children, in those parts of Georgia through which we (the Union) campaigned… I am sorry to say that our men often wantonly burned down the houses, destroyed the contents, and drove forth their inmates, houseless, homeless, starving outcasts, to perish of cold and hunger,” per David Conyngham, Sherman’s aide-de-camp. Even with all of this, the residents of Roswell, especially the poor, working class, did not expect what was about to happen next.

In a play by play account, Ms. Petite gives a report of what takes place when the Union army enters Roswell to the burning of the mills. She includes actual orders when available, but also relies on personal accounts. At this point, the facts are detailed and abundant. However, once the mills are burned, Sherman claims that the mill workers were “tainted with treason,” and orders the arrest of “all people, male and female, connected with those factories.” The morning after the mills are torched, General Kenner Garrand’s troops begin gathering the employees of the mill.

At this point the information trail gets vague and elusive. The number of women and children that were apprehended is unclear. The most common number is 400, but it is unsure if this is accurate. With only the items they can carry, the women are placed into holding to be transported by supply wagons to Marietta. It is uncertain how long it took to move the prisoners, but it is certain that some females were present that night when allegedly Union soldiers took advantage of them. “The hideousness of war breeds atrocities and tales of atrocities. The strength with which these stories persist through the years in the county necessitates mention of them,” writes Ms. Petite.

Within days of each other, Sweetwater Mills in New Manchester received similar treatment as the mills in Roswell. The main difference is that many of the prisoners had to walk to Marietta due of the lack of supply wagons to carry them. It is estimated that the number of captives was between 150 and 200. Again it is unsure how exact these figures are.

Once the captives arrived in Marietta, they are sent by rail to Nashville, Tennessee in the middle of July. From there they are transported to Louisville, Kentucky, which was already at capacity with refugees. “Although Sherman ordered the arrest of the women, formal charges were never issued, and no evidence has been found that any official record was made of their transportation or of their confinement at any point from Marietta to Louisville. The women and children were confined against their will and held under guard but appear to have been treated much the same as refugees in all other respects,” asserts Ms. Petite.

A hospital in Louisville was converted into a refugee prison for the detainees; however, it lacked heat, water and other necessities to house such large numbers. The living conditions deteriorated day by day. “Old men, women and children huddled together in barracks with no provision for comfort. While many were sick and filled with despair, large numbers were dying and hurried to ‘rude unknown graves,’” depicts Ms. Petite. The Sisterhood of Nuns of Nazareth in Bardstown, Kentucky, took some of the children, and others were given to families throughout the country side.

Sherman’s goal was to have all prisoners sent “north of the Ohio River.” While some were able to find employment in Louisville, there were those that were too infirmed to travel or had died. “History has recorded but a few of the names of the women and children who arrived in Indiana from Roswell and New Manchester.” With no written record, it is hard to research and ascertain which women remained where. Those who did arrive across the border of Indiana faced hardships as bad if not worse than that in Louisville.

Without a way to provide for themselves, the women and children improvised by making shacks in the woods or got permission from the locals to live in old stables, barns or other structures to shelter them from the cold of a Northern winter. “In one or two instances, children have been found dead in the woods, actually starved or frozen to death,” reports The New Albany Ledger. Other tragic deaths are reported by this newspaper, revealing the horrors that these displaced women and children faced daily.

It is unknown how many people survived these travesties. Only a few accounts can be found of women who remained up north or traveled back to Georgia, mainly due to the fact that these women were illiterate. Sadly, the “Roswell Royalty” returned to their homes and were not concerned about “those people” who were beneath them. They blamed their ransacked homes on them, and looked at them with disgust, forgetting that the Union army was to blamet. Had the women made their way back to their home, it was certain that there would be no jobs for them.

The title of this publication is taken from a correspondence from Sherman to Garrand, “The women will howl.” Unfortunately, his words came true. Ms. Petite uses primary sources, even though they were hard to obtain. She gives as detailed account as possible, exploring possible clues from family oral histories. It is important to note that majority of the manuscript focuses on Roswell. This moving book investigates the atrocities committed on women and children by the Union army are likely the best comprehensive study of this subject matter.

Written by Cassie A. Barrow


Non-fiction, notes, maps, illustrated, bibliography, 370 pp., 2007. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN 37996-4108 www.utoress.org.

The War Between the States has more books written about it than any other era in history; however, most of what is available pertains to the Army of Northern Virginia and Army of Tennessee. The Army of Trans-Mississippi has been largely disregarded by authors and historians. With a need to educate on this particular theatre, Earthen Walls, Iron Men: Fort DeRussy, Louisiana, and the Defense of Red River gives an account of this major Confederate fortification located on the lower Red River.

“Long regarded as little more than a footnote by historians, the fort in fact played a critical role in the defense of the Red River region,” writes author Steven M. Mayeux. Even though the period that Fort DeRussy was in operation was short, mid-1862 to mid-1864 with a long duration of being abandoned within this time frame, its tale is one full of naval battles, land battles, battles between gunboats and the shore batteries, and personalities that would control its fate. “Acts of extreme cleverness, incredible stupidity, admirable loyalty, loathsome betrayal, noble heroism, and base cowardice all played themselves out” during the stretch of time the fort was active.

After the fall of New Orleans in April 1862, there were tales that a Union gunboat would attempt to come up the Red River. Even though these rumors did not occur at that point in time, the police juries along the Red River spoke to Major General Richard Taylor to “contemplate erecting fortifications to defend Red River.” Col. Lewis G. DeRussy was appointed as superintendent of the construction of a fort on the Red River. “Barbin’s Landing” was chosen as the site and construction began, thus commencing the saga of this fort.

It is important to note that Fort DeRussy was an impressive stronghold. When assessing the fort, U.S. Admiral David Porter observes, “The works… are of the most extensive and formidable kind. Colonel DeRussy, from appearances, is a most excellent engineer to build forts.” In addition to this, Capt. Thomas Selfridge, commander of the USS Osage, declared Fort DeRussy “a formidable work, probably the strongest constructed by the Confederates during the war.” Twenty years after the capture of the fort, U.S. Admiral Porter wrote, “Without a doubt, they (Confederates) established a new era in military engineering which none have ever excelled, and on a scale equaled by the works of the Titans of old.”

For those who have lived in Louisiana, it has been rumored that the Red River Campaign was primarily fought for cotton – the Southerners had it and the Yankees wanted it. “Whether or not cotton stealing was the primary reason for the expedition, the U.S. Navy certainly lost no time in getting down to the business of hauling cotton,” contend Mr. Mayeux. Many accounts are given where loyal Southerners are relived by force of their stores of cotton. To victors go the spoils.

Fort DeRussy changes hands several times during her existence. “The capture of Fort DeRussy was a serious blow to Richard Taylor and the defenders of central and northwestern Louisiana. The Red River was, for now, for all practical purposes, open to Shreveport.” It is interesting to read how this strategic bend in the river is utilized by the different armies. The Confederate forces tried to maintain its fortifications, while the Union attempted to destroy the earth works.

In late May 1864, the Confederate forces regained control of the fort, only to find her in ruins. No only was this garrison in shambles, “there was nothing left in the lower Red River valley to defend. All of the cotton was gone, stolen, or destroyed, along with the tools, horsepower, and manpower necessary to make any more. From Natchitoches to Simmesport, the area was now known as the ‘Burnt District,’” asserts Mr. Mayeaux.

After the war, Fort DeRussy remained in the memories of the locals, while it was overlooked by history. She changed owners and was used for various different reasons until February 1994 when several members of la Commission des Avoyelles met to discuss possibly purchasing the property to establish a park. The wheels were set into motion. The Friends of Fort DeRussy was established and the property purchased. The land is in control of the Louisiana Office of State Parks, where it receives visitors throughout the year.

The cemetery located within the fort is cloaked with mystery itself. The number of burials has been an item of speculation. The wooden crosses have long since deteriorated, leaving unmarked graves. It should be noted that the remains of Col. Lewis Gustave DeRussy were re-interred to the grounds of the fort that bears his name.

In addition to the chronicle of Fort DeRussy, a listing of combat casualties – Union and Confederate – are included in the book. Slaves who died building the fortification are also noted. Short histories of the other Forts DeRussy is provided for the reader.

Being a native of Louisiana, it was exciting to read about a fort that was mentioned by school teachers and local historians. Mr. Mayeaux does an exceptional job in exposing the history of Fort DeRussy. As a Marine officer, he reviews the primary sources to give the reader an insight as to the military operations. When dealing with first person accounts, he delves into its accuracy and authenticity of the statement by examining all of the details.

The author also does a superb job by writing in a fashion that reads more like a novel than a non-fiction publication. The reader is held in suspense waiting for the outcome of the different actions taking place in and around Fort DeRussy. Earthen Walls, Iron Men is essential to any historian desiring to better educate himself about the Army of Trans-Mississippi and the Red River Campaign.

Written by Cassie A. Barrow


Non-fiction, illustrated, 48 pp., 2002. Grosset & Dunlap, NewYork, NY. $3.99, plus shipping and handling.

The story of the Hunley has been told by different people in many styles. Civil War Sub: The Mystery of the Hunley is written for grade school children to learn about the first submarine to sink an enemy war ship. The simplicity of the writing does not take away from the exciting tale that has captivated young and old alike.

Kate Boehm Jerome takes the reader from the first conception of the idea of an “underwater ship” until the final crew of the Hunley is brought to the surface of the water, which has been her home for almost 140 years. The mystery that surrounds the Hunley is conveyed in the book, encouraging a desire for the reader to learn more about this sub. In the last sentence of the book, Ms. Jerome states, “These rare finds could tell us much more about the men and the lives they led. And what a rich history present that would be from the brave crew of the Hunley!” What a present indeed that the young people of the South have, not only a Confederate submarine that will forever be on the pages of history, but also men and women that fought for a cause in which they believed.

Written by Cassie A. Barrow


Ron Jones transforms the personal thoughts and feelings related through the diary of his second great grandfather Isaac V. Moore into a historical novel by creating dialogue for the many characters. The campaigns and battles that the men of Company B 9th Georgia Regiment later Company E of the 37th Regiment Georgia fought and participated in from the beginning of the War Between the States until the surrender can be relived through the author’s story telling methods. A reader with little to no knowledge of the war can appreciate and understand how the average soldier in the Army of Tennessee lived and survived daily. You can relate to the lives, which are a part of a larger picture in history that molds the future we live in now.

The unfolding story shows the many different facets of the war including fraternal bonds of friendship, hardships on the home front, personal heartache, fear and others. You will experience a wealth of different emotions as you are brought to a personal level with the characters.

Jones states he is trying to, “merely tell a story of a real person and his friends and family framed by his service to his country and participation as a soldier in the ‘Greatest Fighting Force Ever Assembled.’” This unique style of writing combines fact with fiction, truth with imagination. The journal offers primary source for research of a first-person account of the War Between the States while the story is unfolded for the reader’s enjoyment with a realistic description of the soldier’s life. War Comes to Broad River would be an excellent addition to anyone’s library, especially those who would like to learn more about the common soldier and his daily routine during the War Between the States.

Written by Cassie Barrow


Non-fiction, foot notes, maps, glossary, assignments, disk, bibliography, index, 183 pp., 2006. Mercer University Press, Macon GA.

Two Confederate Hospitals and Their Patients, Atlanta to Opelika appears to be like any other book; however, like the old adage states, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Once the reader begins reading, he/she realizes that this publication is different in many ways. Taking the time to explore the author’s extensive research revealed within the pages is exciting and worth the effort.

The information about the Confederate hospitals in the Army of Tennessee contained within this book is any researcher’s dream. The table of contents reveals the extent of knowledge within the pages. A few of the different chapters are Admissions and Discharges, Patient Admissions and Distributions, Medical Conditions and Wounds, and Comparison with Other Medical Data. As stated on the cover, “This work provides in-depth information and analysis of Confederate medicine in the Army of Tennessee using primary sources and individual patient reports in a form not previously available.”

This book appeals to readers who are interested in the daily operations at Southern hospitals of this era. The complex system of general hospitals is a fascinating area many historians over-look. The main reason for this is due to the lack of information on the subject. Much of the paperwork was burned in Richmond, Virginia during the War Between the States, or scattered throughout the South. However, medical documents by Dr. Samuel A. Stout, Medical Director of the Army of Tennessee, were preserved. Dr. Stout kept over 1,500 pounds of medical records after the end of the war. “Stout had wanted to record the history of the medical service of the Army of Tennessee before he ‘shuffle(d) off his mortal coils,’” is stated in the introduction of this book. Jack D. Welsh, MD made Dr. Stout’s dream a reality by publishing Two Confederate Hospitals and Their Patients, Atlanta to Opelika.

Many terms were used to diagnosis illnesses and injuries that are not familiar to our culture today. A glossary helps define the words so the reader can better understand the medical data of that period. The ability to cross reference the diseases and illnesses of each hospital helps to grasp the conditions faced by the patients and doctors. The reader is able to explore why it is difficult to compare medical records, especially those of the Union to the few remaining Confederate records.

The true diamond in the rough for this publication is the CD-ROM, which contains the complete patient listing of more then 18,000 patients in alphabetical order. The CD lists the names and units of soldiers in one folder, and the roster of men from Fairground Hospital No. 1 & 2 in another. This is truly a jewel for historians, genealogists and those who are interested in the medical history of the War Between the States.

The vast amount of data within Two Confederate Hospitals and Their Patients, Atlanta to Opelika is ideal for genealogy libraries, research centers, and War Between the States historians looking for a fresh approach to this period of time. Though this book is not one to sit a read from front to back, the reader will find a desire to continue to absorb the knowledge found within the pages.

Written by Cassie A. Barrow


Novel, 183 pp., 2007. Catwba Publishing Company, 5945 Orr Road, Suite F, Charlotte, North Carolina, 28213, $9.95 plus shipping.
Westerns, an American genre, have intrigued generations. Most, at some point in life, have played “cowboys and Indians” or watched a John Wayne movie. The literary world is not immune to the attraction the Wild West has on individuals.

Based on Cherokee Blood Law, Thirty Years of Hate is a historical western set in 1868 in Calvary, Texas. The main character, Morgan Black, is half-blooded Cherokee Indian. Black’s story begins when he is ten. At this young age he is a witness to Battle of Neches/ Cherokee War and his mother and sister’s death by a man who would become Black’s sworn enemy. Black would later participate in the Battle of Pea Ridge/ Elkhorn Tavern with Col. Stand Waite. Although the book is not in chronological order, the story flows flawlessly to allow the reader an insight into the past to understand the current circumstances.

R.L. Woods captivates the reader with his writings. “It is symphonic, allegory, blending Arthurian legend, Cherokee and Greek mythology, without sacrificing its message to the average reader,” stated the Cherokee Nation newspaper in its review. Black’s desire for revenge leads him to the love of his life, but choices must be made. Mr. Woods does a fascinating job to pull the reader in and keep them hanging to the last second.

Even though this book only has a glimpse into the time period during the War Between the States, it is a perfect fiction book for those who love Westerns. The amount of violence and some language urges this reviewer to state that this publication is not suitable for children.

Written by Cassie A. Barrow

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our History Project – “In the Dirt with American Digger” – Getting Started in Metal Detecting: The Beginners Guide

This week we on Our History Project’s “In the Dirt with American Digger” segment we host what you would call the Beginners Guide to the Hobby of Metal Detecting. From the stores, to the machines, to the places to hunt. The contacts, groups, strategies and more, it’s all here.

So if you have ever had the question asked of you your asked just to yourself – “What do you find with that thing?” Or better yet –“How do I get me one?” Then this show is for them - or you.

Our History Project is Nonprofit and open sourced, we promote Preservation and Education of our history, and as I have always said – “That starts with you!” – and in this show we will tell you how.

If you would like this show hosted by a player on your site or your business site send me an email and I will supply the code, it’s free. It will put a player on your page just like we have on ours (nothing to install and nothing goes on your server). If you would like I can even take off the opening comments (just let me know). The main goal of this episode is to promote our hobby in a positive light and give a basic foundation on which to grow. Bringing new blood into our world of research, history and preserving artifacts can only increase our understanding of the past.

Pass this show around folks!

Lenght: 49 Min

Size: 19MB

Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, June 8, 2009


Exploring Civil War Campsites
by Dave Poche and Wayne Rex

An American Digger Magazine Review for Our History Project

272 page book on CD
$29.95 srp

Available from http://www.americandigger.com, http://www.greybirdrelics.com,and other selected dealers

Review by John Velke
American Digger Magazine

At first glance, Dave Poche’s and Wayne Rex’s new book on CD, Exploring Civil War Campsites, seems strikingly similar to Finding Civil War Campsites in Rural Areas and Interpreting History from Relics Found in Rural Civil War Campsites, two printed books previously reviewed in this column. In fact, a close examination reveals that much of the information appearing in the two previously published works is included under this new title. However, one benefit of publishing a book on CD is that the authors have not been constrained by page count. The two previous works contain a combined total of 104 pages, whereas this new title contains 272 pages and eight Excel spreadsheets. Instructions on interpreting aerial photographs expand from five pages to ten pages, and examples of typical Civil War campsites expand from twenty to twenty-seven pages. The additional details and examples will be helpful to most researchers.

The main text of the book is in Adobe Acrobat as a PDF file, which makes it easy to open and use on most computers. Although the instructions don’t say to do so, I found it easiest to copy the file to my hard drive and use it from there. One of the great advantages of a book on CD is that it is extremely easy to link to a helpful website for further information. The authors have done a marvelous job of creating links to more than 20 websites that are referenced or recommended.

Those new to relic hunting will find the do’s and don’ts in Chapter 6 and the search pattern techniques in Chapter 7 particularly worthwhile. Chapter 17 on cleaning and preservation should be read by anyone unacquainted with the effects of corrosion or the reactivity table for metal objects.

Among the most useful chapters for even the most experienced relic hunters are Chapters 14 and 15, “Simple Bullet Forensics” and “Advanced Techniques and Observations.” But a word of caution: on page 164 the authors enter into a discussion regarding the interpretation of ramrod impressions using the premise that “If a ramrod is heavily applied to the nose of a bullet or to a musket ball, it is an indicator that [of] the ‘greenness’ of the soldier.” While this is certainly one possible interpretation, another equally credible interpretation, particularly when applied to fired Confederate bullets, is that the soldiers lacked the necessary supplies and equipment to keep their gun barrels cleaned and that during the heat of battle it became increasingly necessary to exert additional force to ram the cartridge down the barrel.

Exploring Civil War Campsites is not without other faults. For example, under the heading “Additional Research Sources,” several relic identification books are recommended, including the fine works by Francis Lord, Stanley Phillips, and Howard Crouch, but conspicuously missing are Stephen Sylvia’s and Mike O’Donnell’s Illustrated History of Civil War Relics and Charlie Harris’s Civil War Relics of The Western Campaign.

Experienced diggers are also likely to take offense at some of the unsupported generalizations made about relic hunters sprinkled throughout the text. For example, on page 51 the authors say, “Most people who metal detect Civil War campsites are not disciplined enough to document their finds.” Earlier on the same page, after listing the equipment the authors carry into the field every time they go out, they say, “Unfortunately, most people who detect probably don’t carry this much equipment with them.” However, absent from the authors’ own list is a small camera to be used in documenting finds.

Conversely, in Chapter 10 the authors go into great detail on the value of using a GPS unit to pinpoint the location of each find. Their instructions are simple enough for even the technologically challenged to comprehend. If you are not using a handheld GPS device or if you are merely using one to find your way back to your vehicle at the end of the day, you will want to read this chapter.

Chapter 16 ties everything together when the authors use all of the lessons from the previous chapters and share a real-life example of finding a previously unknown Union Infantry camp. Whether you are a novice or an experienced relic hunter you can’t help but envy success. With a retail price of $29.95, you could easily spend much more than that amount on gas driving around to unproductive sites. Exploring Civil War Campsites will help put you in the right place to make some finds, saving both gas and time.

(American Digger Vol 4 Issue 2)
All rights reserved. No portion of this review can be used without written consent of American Digger Magazine - www.americandigger.com
2009 ©

(Written Permission on file with Our History Project, Inc.)


Confederate Bowie Knives of the Georgia State Arsenal
by Josh Phillips

118 pages, softbound
Available from selected dealers
SRP $25.00

Review by Charlie Harris,
American Digger Magazine

This is an informative and well researched book, both by use of bibliographic references (3 pages) and, perhaps even more importantly, years of on the spot, first hand intuitive study of all known examples of the Georgia State Arsenal bowie knives. Throughout his years of research, Josh Phillips has positively identified 6 different varieties, but has not been able to tie all of them to definitive makers, though types 1 and 4, by means of logic and intuition, are good educated guesses as to their actual manufacturers.

High quality photos by noted photographer Jack Melton abound throughout this book with critical angles and details well illustrated. Not only does the author cover individual types, but where needed, he also provides photos of other examples to further illustrate.

As far as relic hunters are concerned, they definitely have not been ignored. Excavated examples abound throughout the book and help support Josh’s theories. I personally photographed a recently recovered example that has a 21½ inch blade, that may tie even another manufactory to the list of known contractors, this one located in Graysville, Georgia, where the blade was found by a road crew. Concerning that knife, Josh says, “I’ve never seen a Milledgeville (Georgia Arsenal knife) with a blade longer that 18½”, but J.D. Gray made some 600 knives under contract and as I recall, his large enterprise was located in Graysville and the town was named after him. It’s a fair bet that the knife was made by Gray.” This blade was shown in Just Dug in the March-April 2009 issue of American Digger.

One of the most significant revelations put forth in this book is that the highly prized “Richmond” bowie knives are not a Richmond, Virginia product, as has long been thought, but actually a Milledgeville, Georgia product. It is an interesting and refreshing read when the author explains how this misconception almost became the undisputed truth. It personally reminds me of the famous “Confederate” Swiss Chasseur bullet that is now positively identified as 100% Federal.

By showing excavated examples along with non excavated pieces, it once again proves the value of the Civil War relic hunter. Without them, many artifacts would remain lost in the “Black Hole” of identification, never to be recognized for what they really are.

If there is any downside to this book, it’s that it focuses on only one subject: Georgia bowie knives. But then again, that was the book’s target and it hits this subject dead on.

(American Digger Vol 5 Issue 3)
All rights reserved. No portion of this review can be used without written consent of American Digger Magazine - www.americandigger.com
2009 ©

(Written Permission on file with Our History Project, Inc.)


Augusta on Glass by Bill Baab

An American Digger Magazine Review for Our History Project

74 pgs soft cover
$40 (includes shipping)
Available from the author
Bill Baab, 2352 Devere Street,
Augusta, GA 30904.

Review by Charlie Harris
American Digger Magazine

Most collectors know that Southern made bottles are highly collectible. This new 74 page book by Bill Baab helps prove that point. It is very well laid out with the help of Kathy Hopson-Sathe, the editor of Bottles and Extras magazine, who is well qualified to help with such publishing ventures.

Mr. Bill Baab began bottle collecting, like the majority of us, as a casual collector in a hobby based greatly on chance. As he says in the introduction, “You happen to find an old bottle in a junk yard, another in an antique store, and soon you have a collection that you know little about, except the size, shape and color of your bottles.” Bill is trying to change that lack of knowledge when it comes to the bottles of Augusta, Georgia.

What makes Bill different from many other collectors is his zeal in identifying the provenance of each item, involving time consuming investigations of the newspaper archives and city directories. Eventually, he became known as the “Bottle Man of Augusta,” a well deserved title.

It is the voracious search, as a hobby, that led Bill into the compilation and publication of this book. Of course, his friends urging him along the way didn’t hurt matters either. This book is written in a very easy to read style and an interesting format that tends to keep one from laying it down in preference of jobs around the house that need to be done before heading out into the field. He has researched every known bottle and glass manufactory in and around Augusta, Georgia, and unselfishly passes the acquired information on to the reader.

One of Bill’s crowning achievements was when he proved and documented that the famous, rare and in high demand “FROG POND” bottle was not a Charleston, SC, bottle as had been previously thought, but an Augusta bottle. This was one of the Golden Threads now belonging to the Augusta bottle collectors and a great boost to the “Local Pride” of antique bottle collecting.

Not only does Bill share what he has learned from these years of research, but he also includes good color photographs of many of the finds from the collections of others along with his own. He even covers the pottery jug makers from the Augusta vicinity, giving them near equal coverage in the history of the Augusta bottle and container production.

This book is definitely an asset for the advanced collector, but the beginner should not shy away from it, for the down to earth knowledge imparted is valuable to all concerned. At the beginning of the book he also gives the reader a glossary of bottle terms, a great help in keeping the novice from becoming confused.

As is expected in a venture like this undertaking, he forthrightly admits that as soon as the book was published, new finds will probably be made, making the work obsolete. This is expected in all research books and hopefully there will be updated copies available in the future. It should be noted that he doesn’t give values to any of the bottles. While some may think this regretful, I see it is a plus, as values can fluctuate so often. Instead, he uses a rarity scale in the last part of the book, assigning the items a number from 1 (common) to 6 (rare or unique). These scales will hold true long after any listed value would become obsolete.

All things considered, this book should be a must-read by not only those who specialize in southern bottles, but those who have an interest in Augusta history.

(American Digger Vol 4 Issue 3)
All rights reserved. No portion of this review can be used without written consent of American Digger Magazine - www.americandigger.com
2009 ©

(Written Permission on file with Our History Project, Inc.)

Friday, June 5, 2009


by James Everett Kibler
Pelican Publishers, 282 pages

This is not a rip roaring tale of intrigue and suspense, there are no cliff hangers waiting at the end of the chapters that leave you foaming at the mouth in anticipation. However, this book will grip you and invite you to the next chapters. Which, by the way, you will gladly go without pause.

The Education of Chauncey Doolittle is a wonderful nostalgic read that blends the world of today and the world of the past together. You are invited into the inner circle of Chauncey and his friends as they debate, explore and help each other to survive in an ever changing world. This is a book as I said before not to be blown through in a hurried read, but on to actually sit back and enjoy at a pace that the book takes you.

The story centers around a way of life threatened by urban sprawl. A way of life like most of us folks who do not want to see their routine changed and forced away. It is a story of knowing your neighbor and yourself. A story of the important things in life, and no, it is not the tangibles, but it is about friends, family, fun and helping one another.

I for one have always liked those fast paced novels and usually loath the slow, but not this one. I enjoyed the pace of the book; it made me feel a part of the story. This is the third novel in the Clay Bank County Series and the first one that I have read or reviewed and this one after reading compels me in wanting to read the others.

James Everett Kibler has done a wonderful job in bringing the characters of this community to life and knits together not only the personalities but also the new and old world views of life in the fast lane or the slow lane.

A great book worthy of the read.

Craig Anderson
Our History Project