We hope this finds you and yours well. One season folds into another with alarming speed! Here on the farm, the signs of autumn abound while our list of chores seems eternal.
I have two new products to announce, and progress to report about my Spring 1813 campaign study. Regarding 1813, after re-reading my “Spring Update,” I decided I could do no better than repeat: the “voyage of discovery” continues, with each week adding a new piece to the puzzle. A fourth visit to the U.S. Army Military History Institute library at Carlisle, Pennsylvania filled in a few gaps. However, research has advanced to the point where new discoveries are increasingly rare. Instead, new sources mostly confirm my tentative conclusions. I have arrived at a fairly clear understanding of the sequence of events, written some 60,000 words of first draft, and am focusing on the “why” now that I understand the “what.”
Sometimes a new source provides a valuable tidbit, like reading a French lieutenant’s account of his experience at Bautzen. He was wounded early on the second day and spent the next many weeks in a difficult convalescence. At one point he finds himself lying next to a colonel of the 1st Naval Artillery regiment. Although he misspells that officer’s name, a search through Martinien’s “Officers Tués et Blessés” produced the man and a re-read of the regimental history provided confirmation that Colonel Falba was wounded at Bautzen. Then, Tony Broughton (who has published much valuable data on the French army on the Napoleon Series site) kindly answered a query and gave me Falba’s Christian name. Thus, I was able to add an informative, colorful account of French casualty clearing operations to my narrative.
The challenges of reading old German script remain. I have electronic copies of various primary Prussian sources but since I read only minimal German, translation is terribly slow. Making the problem harder was the decision of one of my helpful volunteer translators to go and get married! Somehow, his time and interest in Napoleonic history has temporarily receded. Go figure. Anyway, if any of you, dear readers, want to help out with small bits of German translation (mostly action-packed battle material) please contact me.
Also, since all our sales, and hopes to publish future titles, depend upon word of mouth, if you feel inspired to write a short review (it only takes about five minutes) of any of our books on Amazon, or anywhere else, I, and “Packing and Shipping,” (my wife, Roberta) will be most appreciative.
By the way, my article, “America’s Napoleonic War,” appeared in Issue 19, December 2012 of the War of 1812 Magazine. It can be downloaded for free at: www.napoleon-series.org
As promised, now available on the Napoleon Books website is a first wargame scenario, “The Battle of Alexandria, March 21, 1801.” This represents an experiment. Our Battles for Empire, which is still available, offers a set of printed scenarios that provide everything a gamer requires to stage a game. The color illustrations add visual stimulation. As you probably know, printing in color is costly. Also, there appears to be a fine abundance of published color photographs of tabletop games, many more expertly taken than my own, that fill this niche.
So, I decided to focus on what I think I do well; namely, provide my own interpretation of how to re-fight select, historical battles. Once you purchase the scenario, you will be redirected to the download page where a PDF of the scenario awaits. The risk to me is that there is nothing to prevent the buyer from reproducing or retransmitting the files. I will rely upon the honorable conduct of the buyer to recognize that I have an implicit copyright. It’s a risk I happily accept because I have experienced nothing but gentlemanly behavior from my readers.
If this experiment works, I have pre-tested a second scenario, The 1814 Battle of Orthez, and it will become available in short order. If there is demand, Napoleon Books intends to branch out and offer scenarios for other periods as well. Already, I have two American Civil War scenarios completed and play-tested (Sabine’s Crossroads-Pleasant Hill, 1864). Over the years I have collected a lot of information that makes for some compelling and fun table top fights, but again, this is an experiment, so we will see how it goes.
Since my Spring Update, we have published a paperback version of my first work of historical fiction, The Cost of Freedom, a novel of the Civil War. It sold enough copies as an e-book that we decided to plow our profits back into a print version and offer it both here and on Amazon. I have been promoting it a bit by giving presentations to Civil War Roundtables about the historical background to the book’s characters and events. People are amused and informed by incidents like a Virginia Quaker, Isaiah Virts, who joined a Union-loyal ranger outfit, and, rationalized his presence in the fighting line by saying, as he squeezed trigger, “Friend, it is unfortunate, but thou stands exactly where I am going to shoot.” I weave these historical incidents to form what I hope is a page-turning adventure story as well as an examination of character challenged by stark choice. The target readership is male and female alike.
Wishing you all a peaceful, healthy, and prosperous season,