Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Civil War author due at museum today

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Late word on this, I realize, but it couldn’t be helped:

James S. Price, a young but accomplished Fredericksburg historian, will be doing a book-signing today from 11 to 3 p.m. at the Civil War Life Museum in Fredericksburg.

Price is author of a brand-new book that I think is a must-read for those interested in Virginia’s role during the American Civil War: “The Battle of New Market Heights: Freedom Will Be Theirs By The Sword.”

The Fredericksburg resident, who spent years researching and writing this work, thoroughly examines the action on Sept. 29-30, 1864, when Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James crossed James River to attack Richmond’s defenses north of the river.

After early Union successes, the Confederates contained the breakthrough.. Gen. Robert E. Lee moved troops to counter the threat against the rebel capital, weakening his lines at Petersburg.

U.S. Colored Troops under Butler fought with great courage, and the War Department bestowed the Medal of Honor on 14 black veterans of New Market Heights (also known as the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm). In the entire war, only 16 black soldiers and five black sailors received the award.

Price, who has worked for the American Civil War Center at Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond and Henrico County’s heritage tourism branch, is currently a historical consultant to the upcoming TV miniseries “To Appomattox.”

He did most of the legwork on a recent exhibition at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, “Take Our Stand,” about African Americans’ military service to their nation in conflicts from the Civil War until the Truman administration.

Price’s book has been published by The History Press. I’ll be visiting the museum, at 829 Caroline St., to purchase my copy, and I encourage you to drop by and chat with Jimmy.

He posts regularly at two blogs, The Sable Arm, and Over There.