Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable

Civil War Education, Remembrance and Preservation


Members of the Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable are not only interested in the Civil War, but their talents have resulted in several well-written and interesting titles. The following descriptions are only a smattering of the books written by our members.

Crossing Antietam: The Civil War Letters of Captain Henry Augustus Sand, Company A, 103rd New York Volunteers Edited by Peter H. Sand & John F. McLaughlin

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“Bearing aloft the flag of his country in the final charge” by Company A, 103rd New York Volunteers at the Battle of Antietam, Captain Henry Augustus Sand fell wounded. He penned a letter to his family in Brooklyn Heights while lying on the battlefield, and then three more before dying of his wounds six weeks later. His complete correspondence from the field, covering the first 18 months of the Civil War, paints a vivid picture of combat and life in a 19th-century German-Irish immigrant family.

Captain Sand helped raise the 103rd - known as “the German Grenadiers” and “Seward’s Infantry” - at the beginning of the war. The unit joined General Ambrose Burnside’s 1862 campaigns in North Carolina and Virginia. His letters were collected and transcribed by his sister, Emily Isabella Rossire n
ée Sand, and illustrated with her own watercolors of the Antietam battlefield and sketches by their younger brother, Maximilian Edward Sand.

My Dear Wife and Children: Civil War Letters From a 2nd Minnesota Volunteer by Nick K. Adams

What does a father write to his wife and young children when he’s gone to war? Does he explain why he left them? How does he answer their constant questions about his return? Which of his experiences does he relate, and which does he pass over? Should he describe his feelings of separation and loneliness?

These questions are as relevant today as they were over 150 years ago, when David Brainard Griffin, a corporal in Company F of the 2nd Minnesota Regiment of Volunteers, wrote to those he left behind on the family’s Minnesota prairie homestead while he fought to preserve the Union.

His letters cover the period from his enlistment at Minnesota’s Fort Snelling in September 1861, to his death in Georgia during the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863. One hundred of them were preserved and passed down in his family. They, along with one from his daughter as she asked the next generation to read her father’s words, have been carefully transcribed and annotated by a great-great-grandson, Nick K. Adams, allowing further generations to experience Griffin’s answers to these questions.

Filled with poignant images of his daily activities, his fears and exhilarations in military conflict, and his thoughts and emotions as the Civil War kept him apart from his family, these letters offer a fascinating insight into the personal experiences of a common soldier in the American Civil War.

True North: A Captivating 85-Day Solo Journey To All of South America & Easter Island & The Antarctic (Volume 1) by Lawrence Arthur Cenotto V

Leaving no bucket list location or global power vortex spot behind. Nearly everything that is a "must see" in South America is described in this adventure, from Easter Island, to Machu Picchu, The Sacred Valley of The Incas, the notorious "Road of Death" in Bolivia, Tiwanaku, the beaches of Ecuador, Ollantaytambo, the Floating Islands of the Uros Indians on Lake Titicaca, Iguazu Falls, Angel Falls, Carnival in Rio, many Unesco World Heritage sites such as Cartagena and Cuzco, most major cities on the continent, and a few Caribbean island retreats on the way out.

True North: A Captivating 85-Day Solo Journey To All of South America & Easter Island & The Antarctic (Volume 1) is NOT a travel guide. This is Travel drama at its best, with a surprising blend of personal revelation and transformation layered in with always insightful observations as a result of colorful, unexpected, sometimes difficult but very well-written adventures on the road. The reader of True North will get a broad introduction to top South American travel spots, experience startling moments of recognition, and enjoy frequent moments of delight and discovery.

The J Amendment by Garth Holmes

The J Amendment is about a Mexican youth who was recruited from Mexico to play soccer at San Diego State University. He completes his college, becomes a naturalized citizen, serves his country in Vietnam and returns to enter law school. After law school, Juan Cardova gets involved in the political arena. First, he becomes the Santa Barbara County DA, then state senator, then Governor of California. His aspirations don't stop there when he moves on to the U.S. Congress. Through devious means, he induces powerful U. S. Senators to amend the Constitution to allow him to become President of the United States. His presidency is a disaster leading to hemispheric tension and conflict.

The Border by Garth Holmes

The Border is the sequel to the author's first novel, The J Amendment. In The J Amendment, the main character Juan Cardova, a Mexican immigrant, comes to America and aspires to the presidency. Juan becomes President by forcing powerful members of Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution, but his administration is such a failure, Congress recalls him and exiles Juan to Mexico with the admonishment, "never to return".

In The Border, Juan becomes President of Mexico and vows revenge on his formerly adoptive country. Juan's plan is to raise Mexico to a standard are exceeding that of America. He challenges the Unites States as a world power. Juan's scheme is full of twists and turns and ends with an encounter that dramatically impacts his life.

In The Very Thickest of the Fight: The Civil War Service of the 78th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment by Steve Raymond

The 78th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment took the field under command of a lackadaisical colonel who was frequently absent and feuded with his own officers and superiors.  Distrusted by senior officers, the 78th became a regiment that was always left behind—until its own officers forced their reluctant colonel to resign.  His replacement was a forceful leader who turned the regiment into a crack fighting outfit that performed heroically in the battle of Chickamauga and many of the great battles of the Atlanta campaign. 

It later joined Sherman’s March to the Sea and fought its way out of the tangled swamps of Bentonville in one of the war’s last battles.  Its story is told here mostly in the words of its soldiers through letters, diaries and other sources, many never before accessed by historians.  In the Very Thickest of the Fight: The Civil War Service of the 78th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment sheds new light on many important incidents and battles in the Civil War’s Western Theater.

Backcasts: A History of the Washington Fly Fishing Club 1939-1989 by Steve Raymond

Backcasts a History of the Washington Fly Fishing Club 1939-1989 chronicles the storied history of the Washington Fly Fishing club. It was founded in 1939, and for over 50 years has been one of the Northwest's leading voices for conservation and sportsmanship.

In 1940 it was responsible for establishment of the first fly-fishing-only regulations in the Western United States and it has led the fight for conservation-oriented angling regulations ever since. Its public fly-tying and casting classes have taught these skills to hundreds of anglers, and its youth programs have educated generations of children in outdoor crafts and sportsmanship.

In 1965 the club helped establish the international Federation of Fly Fishers and WFFC members are still active in Federation affairs. With a membership that has included several world-champion fly casters plus many well-known fly tiers, rod builders, writers, and photographers, the club also has contributed significantly to the art, literature, and technical development of fly fishing.

The WFFC continues to offer public classes in fly tying (winter) and fly casting (spring) and also continues to sponsor an active youth program. A subsidiary organization, the WFFC Foundation, provides financial grants for fisheries research and enhancement, conservation education, and similar activities.

Based in Seattle, the WFFC meets once a month throughout the year. It also sponsors periodic outings for members and their families on Northwest streams, lakes, and saltwater estuaries.

Blue Upright: The Flies of a Lifetime by Steve Raymond

Taking its name from one of the author's favorite fly patterns, Blue Upright: The Flies of a Lifetime takes a look at the top dozen fly fishing lures in Raymond's vast tackle collection. Focusing on one fly at a time, Raymond breaks down each fly's origins, how it is made and how and for what fish he employs it. Most importantly, Raymond uses these rather technical fishing narratives as an impetus to explore cherished personal memories as well as a host of fishing and related non-fishing topics close to his heart.

Some of Raymond's tangents are strictly for diehard fishermen, as when he discusses the many fly boxes, in various shapes and sizes, that he keeps his precious flies in or when he looks at various controversies over who first tied a fly pattern. Other memories are more universal, as when he muses about the last time he fished with his father or when he wonders what his favorite river might have looked like 200 years ago.

Raymond's storytelling and writing skills enable him to seamlessly work these varied topics into cohesive chapters that both inform and amuse. And no matter where Raymond's thoughts take him, he's always able to convey how each of these tiny fishing flies has affected his life in a big way.

Kamloops: An Angler's Study off the Kamloops Trout by Steve Raymond

This is a completely New Edition done in full color and coffee table printing quality and size. Raymond has updated the entire book and you will love the way it reads and looks. Information about: the fish, lakes, insects, hatches, trout feeding habits, watercraft, personalities, history, fly tackle needs, fly selection, seasons, plus area maps, and fly plates and fly tying recipes. Kamloops: An Angler's Study of the Kamloops Trout is truly a great book that will inspire your next trip.

Nervous Water: Variations on a Theme of Fly Fishing by Steve Raymond

Nervous water: sometimes it’s nothing more than a fleeting crease or wrinkle on the surface of a lake or stream, or a small patch of salt water that looks as if it’s shivering. But wise anglers know that such subtle surface movements are nearly always signs of fish stirring down below.

The sport of fly fishing is like that. It has a reputation as a tranquil, contemplative sport, but something is nearly always going on down below: constant currents of new thought and theory, a relentless drive to develop new technologies, an ongoing muted chorus of debate.

Esteemed fly fisher and author Steve Raymond has contemplated these issues and presented them in articles and essays published in many magazines. Now, for the first time, many of these works have been collected in a single book—Nervous Water: Variations on a Theme of Fly Fishing. Together they form a selective, opinionated chronicle of the trends, developments, and changes in fly fishing from the 1960s to the present, along with a look back at some pioneers of the sport—and the fish that make it all possible. Most of these pieces have been updated, expanded, or otherwise revised or edited for publication in this book; several appear here for the first time.

Some tackle important topics—such as the very definition of fly fishing itself—and others take a light look at the more trivial angling concerns—such as how, or even whether, to dress for fishing.

A thoughtful, engaging contemplation of this complex sport, Nervous Water belongs on the shelf of anyone who loves fly fishing.

Rivers of the Heart & Fly-Fishing Memoir by Steve Raymond

Like colorful patterns in a fly box, Rivers of the Heart hold some of the best and brightest moments of a long fly-fishing life. Here is the ecstasy (and occasional agony) of fishing for trout, salmon, and saltwater gamefish in waters from Canada to the Caribbean, from Northern Scotland to the South Pacific.

Here too you'll meet some of the most memorable fishing partners ever to share a stream, discover the long-lost legacy of a famous pioneer fly tier, and feel the warmth of an extraordinary gift from an old fishing friend.

And there's much more in this warmly-written memoir of the people, places, things, realities, and fantasies encountered by the author in more than fifty years of fishing the waters he now remembers as his "rivers of the heart."

Steelhead Country by Steve Raymond

To be a steelhead fly fisherman, says Steve Raymond at the start of this memorable book, "is to spend hundreds of long days under leaden skies oozing endless rain, to feel the sudden crackle of energy that comes on those wonderful rare mornings when the sun rises in a cloudless sky and reveals the country in all its freshly washed splendor, to stand for countless cold hours in icy gray rivers while the hope for a steelhead burns lower and lower...and then to experience the explosive, helpless, breath-robbing excitement that comes in the split second when a steelhead finally does take with a strike that shakes your arms all the way to their sockets, to see the unforgettable sight of the fish's first cartwheeling leap, its sides flashing with a brighter light than day."

Steelhead Country brilliantly captures the great joys and challenges of fly fishing for steelhead trout. It is a warmly personal account of the author's long pursuit of these great sea-run rainbow trout and what he has learned about fishing for them in the rivers and estuaries of the Pacific Northwest.

The Estuary Flyfisher by Steve Raymond

Estuaries have much to offer the fly fisher -- from a variety of exciting fishes, beautiful surroundings and the distinct possibility of complete solitude, a rarity in fishing these days. The Estuary Flyfisher takes a thorough look at the rapidly-growing sport of fly fishing estuaries, including: characteristics of estuaries, the species that inhabit them, the best tackle and tactics, the nature of tides and the most productive flies. If you want to learn more about this exciting sport, profit from this book and Raymond's 25 years of experience.

The Year of the Angler by Steve Raymond

Steve Raymond's collection of essays about fly fishing in the great rivers of the Pacific Northwest has gone through successive editions in three decades and it rightfully deserves the designation of "classic." The writing is lyrical and always highly informative, and beyond the solid material about fish and fishing, the reader is spellbound by evocative descriptions of how a cold spring stream chills an angler's legs through his waders, how it feels to have a strong trout stripping line off your reel, and what it's like to know you've landed (and then released) a very difficult fish.

Best of all, The Year of the Angler transcends fishing. It's well worth reading for the quality of the writing alone. But for those who fish, it's like a having a trout on the end of a very tight line.

The Year of the Trout by Steve Raymond

One of the great writers on the subject of angling takes his readers wading into the cold clear currents of the great trout streams of the Northwest. A sequel to his classic Year of the Angler, The Year of the Trout now brings his considerable gifts of observation and writing to an angling specialty requiring great skill and patience: casting artificial flies to trout.

Raymond writes lyrically of the passing seasons, his prose developing a gentle rhythm that mirrors fishing itself. Calm clear observation of the woods, the rivers, and of his own thoughts and emotions are punctuated by lively scenes of action as he feels the strong pull of a bite on the line. These essays aren't only for those who fish, though they will likely make readers wish they could slip on their waders.