LINCOLN’S BOLD LION at the Woodville Festival

LINCOLN’S BOLD LION  author James Huffstodt performed in character last weekend as an old Civil War veteran who knew General Hardin. He was featured during the Woodville (Fl.) Festival at the Woodville Library near Tallahassee, an annual event  and celebration of the history and people of Woodville Florida that includes music, historical re-enactors, literature, plays, demonstrations, and vendors of all kinds.

James’  talk attracted a nice crowd of people and was followed by a book signing.

The event was by invitation of Ms. Verna Brock, Woodville Library Director, who is very well read on American history, her major at Florida State University (FSU) before earning her master’s in library science. (Photos by Verna Brock, Woodville Library, Woodville, Fl.)

“Lincon’s Bold Lion: The Life and Times of Brigadier General Martin Davis Hardin” Q&A with author

Originally Featured on St Augustine 02/06/2016

Posted: February 6, 2016 – 11:31pm  |  Updated: February 7, 2016 – 12:02am

The story of Martin Davis Hardin provides more than a combat record — in fact, it comprises a tour through 1800s America, with its most costly war only the centerpiece.

Abraham Lincoln was a close friend and political ally of Hardin’s father, who died a hero in the Mexican War. The family were also relatives of Mary Todd.

Made brigadier general at age 27, Hardin fought with distinction at Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, Gettysburg, Grant’s Overland Campaign and the Jubal Early’s 1864 raid on Washington. He was wounded four times, nearly died on two occasions and lost an arm during the war. Hardin himself took part in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth after Lincoln’s assassination.

In “Lincoln’s Bold Lion,” Huffstodt walks the reader through Hardin’s life as it reveals the progress of a century. After the war, Hardin survived the Chicago Fire and the Gilded Age, with all its newfound fascinations.

Like many wealthy Northerners in the late 1800s, St. Augustine became the Hardins’ winter refuge. Martin and his wife, Estelle, stayed in hotels in the beginning, but eventually leased a winter “cottage” at 22 St. Francis St., known today as the Tovar House.

Anyone who is interested in the Civil War will surely want to read “Lincoln’s Bold Lion,” but locals will also enjoy the riveting tale that connected a decorated Civil War general to Henry Flagler’s elite Southern tourist haven.

Q&A with author

What inspired you to write the book?

I love biography. I love telling stories about people. I love giving history a human face. When I learned about Gen. Hardin’s fascinating life many years ago, I was stunned to learn that he had been almost completely forgotten. From that point on, I resolved to write his biography.

What type of research was involved?

Hunting down Gen. Hardin’s story led me to research his personal letters, photos, journals, photos, official Army reports and contemporary newspaper articles preserved at The National Archives in Washington, the St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library, the Saratoga Springs Walworth (Memorial) Museum, and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. The research took the better part of six years.

Describe your writing process.

Research until you know the subject like a family member. Then put words on paper. Rewrite. Cut. Add. Prune. Rewrite again. Like someone once said: It’s 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. You keep rewriting until you get it right, not before.

What do you hope readers get out of the book?

My hope is that my readers meet and get to know this long-forgotten American hero who lived a remarkable life during a crucial span off American history. Despite the cynics, I believe strongly that America needs heroes; perhaps we need them more now than ever before. Gen. Hardin is such a hero: a soldier, a Christian and a gentleman.

Who is your favorite author?

As a lifelong reader, my list of favorite authors would probably top 100. But, if forced, my favorite historians would include David McCullough, Hampton Sides, T.J. Stiles, Eric Larson, Diane Preston, Iris Chang, Barbara Tuchman, Lloyd Lewis, Francis Parkman, William Manchester and Bruce Catton.


Ed and Cathy Gilbert awarded Presidential Service Center’s Distinguished Service Medal

Casemate is proud to announce that authors Ed and Cathy Gilbert were recently awarded the Presidential Service Center’s Distinguished Service Medal.

Presidential Service began with the American military, in the late 1700’s, as military aides and other positions.  In the 1880’s The US Navy requested of President Rutherford B. Hayes, to open a “mess,” (or restaurant) which is now known as the White House Staff Mess. It features restaurant service and thousands of take-out meals daily with close to 75 US Navy chefs.  The Navy chefs shop, cook, travel with and protect the Presidency.  The Presidential Service Center™ is presently in a five-year feasibility and research study phase, that began in 2010.  It is housed with the existing, and highly successful, Presidential Culinary Museum®. It remains interactive (under agreement) with The Official Society of World Chefs in Friendship since request in 1994.  Their aim being to foster care and kindness amongst countries of the world visiting the American White House and Camp David.  To interact with our Presidential Service Badge (PSB) authorized, serial numbered members – please contact us at 001 (704) 937-2940. The museum is open seven days per week for tours and bus groups.

In 2008 a new, gold Presidential Service Center (PSC) Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) was discussed, reviewed and authorized for complete payment under private funds forwarded from 14592 badge holder and member Martin CJ Mongiello. Discussion ensued in 2008/9 with a sample idea commissioned in 2010. During the years of 2010 and 2011, the program was sent to feasibility and research with possible adoption, was rejected and eventually suspended for further design. In 2012, Mr. Mongiello received guidance from former Presidential aides that visited the museum in 2013 with former Presidential Security Detail member (USMC) Travis McVey. The medal moved forward in 2013 under new design and was authorized for striking to showcase a font of knowledge, lit with flame, bearing present status and ongoing service to better society. Encased in a traditional wreath with a circular design of continuity, the medal is awarded to those serving to make society better and subject to revocation and stripping of award (droit moral) based on behavior standards. Each award winner agrees to their good conduct in the future as it would reflect on our members center and association.

The numeral system to be used was offered in 2014 beginning with 1776, a year well-known amongst Americans, as significant and noteworthy for service to our country.

medals 3 - DSC_0004
1794: Presently rejected during the investigation. Resubmitting.
1793: In committee reviewing letters of reference.
1792: Cathy Gilbert, author.
1791: Ed Gilbert, author





Cathy and Ed’s most recent books, TRUE FOR THE CAUSE OF LIBERTY  is now available from Casemate and all fine retailers.

Layout 1Ed is also the author of several other Casemate titles, including Marine Corp Tank Battles in the Middle East, Marine Corp Tank Battles in Korea, Marine Corp Tank Battles in Vietnam,  and Tanks in Hell

Marine Corps Tank Battles in the Middle EastMarine Corps Tank Battles in VietnamTanks in Hell

Lincoln’s Bold Lion author gets in the holiday spirit

Author James Huffstodt had a great time at the Victorian Christmas event held Thursday and Friday, December 11-12, in Thomasville, Georgia. The parade, various chorale presentations, people in period costume, and other holiday entertainments attracted more than 12,000 people.

Ms. Rebekha Arwood, the manager of “The Book Shelf” in Thomasville, provided James with display space. Dressed as a Civil War veteran, James handed out pre sale flyers for “Lincoln’s Bold Lion”

FIGHTS ON THE LITTLE HORN awarded by Little Big Horn Associates

carroll awardIt was with great pride that we learned our “Fights on the Little Horn: 50 Years of Research into Custer’s Last Stand” had earned the John M. Carroll Award from the Little Big Horn Association as their best book of 2014. The LBHA had its annual conference last week in Virginia, with tours of cavalry battlefields and every other kind of nice time. Given that Gordon Harper, the author of “Fights on the Little Horn,” is deceased, and his daughter Tori is far away in the west, and Harper’s co-author, Gordon Richards, currently lives on the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel, we were at a significant loss how to accept the award. The editor of this company, as I can attest, along with our promo director, dearly wanted to attend, but circumstances intervened. But as we can see, the LBHA took care of matters for us. The Carroll Award Chairman, Jeff Broome, along with his son Kile, was able to accept the beautiful plaques for us at the gala dinner that culminated the week’s events. Not only that, they have a member of the Assoc. going to the Custer Battlefield in Montana soon to present the plaque in person to Mr. Harper’s daughter, Tori. Also another member going to England in order to present his to Mr. Harper’s closest colleague, Gordon Richard. The honor of the award has been welcomed here at Casemate, while in addition one can hardly say enough about the people in the LBHA. We especially wish to give a shout-out to Don Schwarck, who has kept us apprised of the events. Our thanks to one and all for recognizing Mr. Harper’s book. As a core of learning, expertise and enthusiasm, the LBHA captures our imagination, and at their next annual meeting we should all be sure to attend.9781612002149 9999999999929

Historicon 2014 in Fredericksburg, VA!


Casemate is pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting all weekend at Historicon 2014 in Fredericksburg, VA! The convention will be held at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center, and this year’s theme is “Big Wars, Little Soldiers–World Wars throughout time.” We will be showcasing a variety of our New Releases, so make sure to stop by the stand and say hello if you are attending!

Vendor Hall Hours of Operation:

Thursday: 12 Noon-6 PM

Friday: 9 AM-6 PM

Saturday: 9AM-6PM

Sunday: 9 AM-12 Noon

Make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! We will be posting pictures and tweeting live from the convention!

A Special review for “BARKSDALE’S CHARGE: The True High Tide of the Confederacy at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863”


Last July, for the 70th anniversary of Gettysburg, we at Casemate were pleased to release Dr. Phillip Thomas Tucker’s latest work, “Barksdale’s Charge,” an in-depth look at the height of the battle on the second day, when one Confederate brigade nearly cracked the entire Union position on Cemetery Ridge.

But it did not escape us that another book had been published last summer, by Knopf, called “Gettysburg: The Last Invasion,” which described the entire three days of the battle, with rare expertise. This work, by Professor Alan C. Guelzo, became a national sensation, and perhaps the most important Civil War book in the last 20 years. From the New York Times and the Economist, to the Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor, it has been lauded, often called the “definitive” account of the battle.

You can imagine our pleasure, then, at finding that while we were reading Prof. Guelzo’s book, he was also reading “Barksdale’s Charge,” and in the respected journal, Civil War News, penned a review of our work. It said, in part:

“Launched from Seminary Ridge in the late afternoon as part of Longstreet’s assault, Barksdale’s brigade, with Barksdale himself riding at the head, overran the Sherfy farm and the Peach Orchard, captured the Trostle farm, and very nearly broke through the wreckage of the 3rd Corps to the Taneytown Road. In that event, the Army of the Potomac might have had little option but retreat. . . . Barksdale, frantic at how near he was to a complete breakthrough, was cut down by Union bullets. . . . Phillip Thomas Tucker takes up Barksdale’s cause with a vigor that would certainly have won the old fire-eater’s approval.”—Alan C. Guelzo, in Civil War News

It has been flattering in the extreme that Prof. Guelzo chose to read and review our work, in which we posit that Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade might have turned the tide of the battle.

In turn we will now review his excellent work. To be short, Prof. Guelzo’s superb prose and deep grasp of detail caused the battle to come to life once again for another generation of American readers. His combination of strategic grasp, as well as on-the-ground insights, stands as the envy of future historians.

We only hesitate slightly in declaring Prof. Guelzo’s book “definitive.” Instead, to students of the battle, we believe he was purposely being provocative. One must read “Gettysburg: The Last Invasion” to see, but never has the public seen Hancock portrayed so poorly, nor O.O. Howard so well. Or Humphreys, Gibbon and Hunt so poorly, while Jeb Stuart at least has an explanation. His in-depth insights into that 3-days fight are nothing short of amazing.

To we at Casemate it only made the book more of a delight, as Prof. Guelzo, on the basis of his unprecedented expertise, simply knocked down shibboleths or common wisdom left and right.

“Barksdale’s Charge” was written in the same vein, and the most pleasant news of all was that Prof. Guelzo agreed with its premise—that if the Cemetery Ridge position had been cracked on Day 2, the Army of the Potomac would have had no other recourse but retreat.  To be clear, Dr. Tucker did not think the half-shattered Mississippi Brigade could have held that position by its own on July 2, even if gained. But twice in his pages he states that that evening was when Pickett’s division should have gone in.  Pickett’s men had begun arriving at 2:00 that afternoon, fully assembled around 5:00. But at Gettysburg there was to be no A.P. Hill such as at Antietam. Instead Lee sent Pickett an order: “I shall not want you today.”

The truth is, there were no other days! Can one imagine if Pickett’s division had been able to go in on Day 2, following up Barksdale, who was already fighting on Cemetery Ridge, with a completely unopposed approach-march with the entre Potomac Army then hanging by a thread? And with Wofford’s brigade still there, and entire other Rebel divisions on the left not yet committed? It can be said that the entire Potomac Army was just waiting to be defeated again, and were more surprised than anyone that they weren’t.

We know that Longstreet never wanted to go into battle with “one boot off.” But if Pickett’s Virginians, under Armistead, Garnett, and Kemper, had been able to follow Barksdale’s path in that twilight, it is nearly inconceivable to imagine Meade’s army not hastening to try to get back to their Pipe Creek line in Maryland, as best as they could.

In any event, we can all refight the Battle of Gettysburg continuously—while in normal life mistakes are made on all sides, in that case the mistakes were crucial to our entire nation. The final result was grand, as the Union held sway. But it was a near-run thing.

For a comprehensive look at the three days of Gettysburg we urge everyone to read Prof. Guelzo’s “Gettysburg: The Last Invasion.” For those who wish to see what one Confederate brigade was thinking at the time, in just one segment, including their ardor when attacking across those open fields in the face of bullets, grape, and canister, in the hope that they could win the war by themselves, if properly led (and then simply go home), we also recommend “Barksdale’s Charge.”

Happy Birthday to Jack Womer!

Today is the 96th birthday of Jack Womer, World War II hero and Casemate author of Fighting with the Filthy Thirteen.  A few weeks ago, Jack and his daughter Ellen traveled to Europe and Fighting with the Filthy Thirteen co-author Steven Devito had some incredible stories to share:

Jack with his new medal

Jack and Ellen began their trip by staying a few days at what is now known as the Littlecote House, in Wiltshire England. During World War II Jack and the rest of the Filthy Thirteen, as well as the rest of the Regimental Headquarters Company of the 101st Airborne Division’s 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment stayed at the same place, only then it was known as Sir Will’s Manor Estate. They where there for a total of about 7 months or so, mostly during 1944.  Jack told me that the place looks largely the same since he was last there (September, 1944.)

They then went to Normandy France, to participate in the anniversary events commemorating the Normandy Invasion. Jack received the French Legion of Honor Medal in Carentan. Apparently, the book about Jack Womer has brought a lot of attention throughout Europe to Jack and his military service during World War II. Months ago these people petitioned the French government to award Jack the Legion of Honor Medal. It was quite an elaborate ceremony, and many people were in attendance.

Receiving the Legion of Honor

Jack receiving the insignia of the Knight of the Legion of Honor.

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World War II Weekend

This past weekend, Casemate traveled to Reading PA for the Mid Atlantic Air Museum’s World War II Weekend.

We all enjoyed the perfect weather (aside from the surprise thunderstorm on Sunday!) and it was great to meet and talk to everyone who stopped by our table.

We can’t wait to see everyone again next year!

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The Boston Massacre and the American Revolution

242 years ago today, hostilities between British soldiers and American colonists escalated after five men were killed in the notorious Boston Massacre.

via Library of Congress


British Captain Thomas Preston, the commanding officer at the Customs House, ordered his men to fix their bayonets and join the guard outside the building. The colonists responded by throwing snowballs and other objects at the British regulars, and Private Hugh Montgomery was hit, leading him to discharge his rifle at the crowd. The other soldiers began firing a moment later, and when the smoke cleared, five colonists were dead or dying—Crispus Attucks, Patrick Carr, Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, and James Caldwell—and three more were injured. Although it is unclear whether Crispus Attucks, an African American, was the first to fall as is commonly believed, the deaths of the five men are regarded by some historians as the first fatalities in the American Revolutionary War.

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