Purdue Northwest professor to sign copies of Civil War history book

Miles Book Store of Highland is pictured. 

Purdue University Northwest history professor James Pula will sign copies of his book "Under the Crescent Moon with the XI Corps, 1862-63" next week.

Pula will meet and greet readers from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 11 at Miles Books at 2819 Jewett Ave. in Highland. He's the editor of Gettysburg Magazine and has written extensively about the Civil War.

His new book concerns the 11th Corps of the Army of the Potomac, which fought in the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg during the Civil War. The two-volume study chronicles how the corps marched through harsh December conditions to rescue another Northern Army unit under siege in Knoxville, Tennessee, and other battles.

Pula hoped to set the record straight about the unit's bad reputation of cowardice and failure according to a news release.

"'Under the Crescent Moon' is the first study of this misunderstood organization," according to the news release. "The first volume, 'From the Defenses of Washington to Chancellorsville,' opens with the organization of the corps and a lively description of the men in the ranks, the officers who led them, the regiments forming it, and the German immigrants who comprised a sizable portion of the corps. Once this foundation is set, the narrative flows briskly through the winter of 1862-63 on the way to the first major campaign at Chancellorsville. Although the brunt of Stonewall Jackson's flank attack fell upon the men of the 11th Corps, the manner in which they fought and many other details of that misunderstood struggle are fully examined here for the first time, and at a depth no other study has attempted."

The second volume concerns the unit's exploits in Gettyburg and Tennessee before the corp's two divisions were broken up in 1864.

"'Under the Crescent Moon' draws extensively on primary sources and allows the participants to speak directly to readers," according to the news release. "The result is a comprehensive personalized portrait of the men who fought in the 'unlucky' 11th Corps, from the difficulties they faced to the accomplishments they earned. As the author demonstrates time and again, the men of the 11th Corps were good soldiers unworthy of the stigma that has haunted them to this day. This long overdue study will stand as the definitive history of the 11th Corps."

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.