Folks, hi– good to see you again. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?
So in light of recent events on Twitter which I’m sure you’ve all heard of by now, I’ve been in the midst of something of a realignment. Not leaving any platforms, mind you, but simply realigning where I focus my energy in putting content up.
So I’m back to what will likely be regular content on here. Some of it will be integrated with Patreon, once I get the Patreon plug-in to play nice with my WordPress setup, but for now, expect more content in general, here. It’s a useful medium, and it doesn’t have a character limit like Twitter does, so I figure let me use it.
It also occurs to me that inasmuch as I have a Patreon, this blog is the nearest thing I have to an official website, so, I should be updating it, huh?
Updates will continue here as the new episodes go up, but will link to the Patreon side. Other posts will continue here on WordPress, as this is my primary public-facing blog. Thank you so much for reading the series, and please consider becoming a patron, becoming a Twitch subscriber, or sending a one-time donation via bit.ly/2lQfdZ8.
Your support makes all of this possible. Thank you for being the wind beneath my wings.
Folks, this is a post to explain the new goal on the Patreon at http://patreon.com/riversidewings and to talk a bit about what you’re making possible and where I hope to take things.
Right now, we’re at $666, and it’s helping me devote more time to creating Friday Night History, my book projects, art, and more. I’ve been able to afford tools like new brushes, a podcasting microphone, and licenses for apps like ClipStudio Paint, where earlier, I’d have had to make do with bare minimum of tools to get by, and focus more on just surviving. You helped make Grey Dawn happen. You helped make Friday Night History go from a thread to a podcast. As I always say, you’re the wind beneath my wings.
I want to keep growing what I do– I want to devote more time to this work. This is my passion, but interacting with you all– here, on Twitter, on Discord, on Twitch, and elsewhere — is also a joy. The more of you sign up here, the closer I get to making this my full-time focus, and doing still more. This is not a hobby. This is how I make a significant portion of my livelihood.
There’s so much I want to do! I’d like to pay to enter my books and podcasts in more award competitions. I’d like to buy a PO Box so y’all can send me books and games to review. I’d like to be able to afford ads on social media. I’d like to travel, and to buy books and make photocopies that I count on for making this content. So truly, your support is bringing me closer to all of that.
With that in mind, an explanation of the next few goals and perks on Patreon.
At $750, I’ll begin a once-a-month cooking stream. The plan is to cook something historical, and to talk in realtime about it, probably on Twitch. Right now, we’re about $84 away from this.
At that point, I will also be able to start looking at buying some modest, initial adspace– all the better to bring new listeners and readers to the podcast and my books. I’ve already begun laying the groundwork for the support I’ll need at that point– the mods I’ve brought onboard over on Twitch and on Discord are part of that.
At $800/month I’ll be able to set up a PO Box, which will give you a place to direct your mail– books you’d like me to review, or video games or movies. Right now we’re about $134 away from this.
It will also make possible physical rewards. Pencil and ink sketches at first, once a month, but also stickers, and other merch.
When we hit $1000/month, this will be close to being my day job! and at that point, I will edit, record, and release pre-2021 #FridayNightHistory threads as podcasts– stuff like The Ninja that Met James Buchanan, or The Gang Goes to War Over a Tree. Right now we’re about $333 away from this.
Beyond that, this effectively becomes my day job, and we can talk further about goals when we get there.
But for now, this is what’s on deck.
So. If you like my work on #FridayNightHistory. If you read #GreyDawn. If you want to see #TheSparrowsDream and other history writing of mine make it to publication. If you want to get early glimpses of my second novel #HomewardStars as I write it: please spread the word.
Folks, Season 1 of Friday Night History is coming to a close soon– though the series itself has been running for exactly 2 years as of my writing these words. The stats on Anchor.com for the podcast tell me that it’s had just shy of 1000 listens in total, and hey, that’s not bad for a new podcast that only really got launched this January!
I’ve been a freelance author, artist, and historian for 4 years now, and when I think of how many different platforms I have a presence on these days, it’s a little wild to think back to being a brand new, bewildered former academic unsure of how to make this whole business-on-the-internet thing work. I podcast, I stream on Twitch, I have ebooks and audiobooks on itch.io and Gumroad, I’ve been commissioned for translation and research work and have published articles, short stories, and even my first novel!
That’s all thanks to readers and listeners and viewers like you. My goal is to make this my fulltime job, and you’ve helped me make serious progress in that direction.
I have plans for further endeavors in the near future. My publisher is pushing me to put forth my novel Grey Dawn for awards, first of all. Second, I will be hosting the first of what will– given sufficient interest– be many digital workshops. My first history book — built out of my dissertation but expanded and revised with a general audience in mind– needs editing, and further resources. I want to take out adspace to bring bigger audiences to the podcast, the Twitch streams, and this blog. All of that comes at a cost– but we can make them happen, with your support.
I got my first round of Covid 19 vaccination last Saturday, and that wound up throwing my entire week out of alignment– the rhythms of my week, from their beginning, were not in order, because I spent Saturday, Sunday, and Monday utterly wiped and with an aching arm.
The result is that I am struggling to catch up with everything, and there will be no podcast this week.
I am currently talking to an old friend who’s expressed some interest in joining me for some episodes of the podcast. We went to school together, and she’s also a historian, but unlike me, she went into primary education. We’re still ironing out the details, but I’m of the opinion that the difference in our particular avenues of work will make for good conversation.
Our first shared episode is going to be titled “Paradigm Shift.” I hope you’ll look forward to it.
It’s the #FridayNightHistory Christmas 2020 livestream! Crossposted from the original stream on Facebook. A retrospective, a reading from Chamberlain’s Passing of the Armies, and a look at the year ahead. As ever, to support my work, sign up at http://patreon.com/riversidewings for as low as $1 a month, and consider buying some merch from http://hellaradsparrow.redbubble.com
Thank you for your support in 2020! Here’s to a healthy and safe new year and to reunion with the people and places we love and have longed for, all year long.
On this day in 1868, the house of Nanbu won its final battle, the Battle of Noheji, in modern-day Noheji, Aomori.
Latest Friday Night History blogpost, on the Election of 1869, needs an edit– it’s been a long week for all of us, including me, and I made some errors that a watchful regular reader caught in the Twitter thread version. It’ll be up soon, though. Thank you for your support, friends.
Heading south from Breezewood, Pennsylvania. Photo by me.
Recently we visited Kernstown, an unincorporated community in Winchester, Virginia, where on July 24th, 1864, the Union and Confederate armies clashed in the Second Battle of Kernstown. My partner’s ancestor, John Regester, fought and died there as part of the 22nd Pennsylvania Cavalry. Ever since we got back yesterday, I’ve been wanting to put together a basic reconstruction of John Regester’s last battle. This is an initial attempt to do so.
The 22nd was a new guise for an ultimately old unit called the Ringgold Cavalry, which was a Western Pennsylvania cavalry battalion that was one of the first units to serve in the war, in the Western Virginia Campaign of 1861. The Ringgolds were combined with a newly raised battalion of western Pennsylvania cavalry to form the 22nd Pennsylvania Cavalry, in February 1864. John Regester belonged to the new battalion, as a trooper of Company D.
On the morning of 23 July 1864, the Army of West Virginia, to which the 22nd belonged, was encamped around the Winchester/Kernstown area, with the Rebels close by to the south. General Alfred Napoléon Alexander Duffié, an officer of what seems like rightfully poor reputation, commanded the army’s 1st Cavalry Division.
Colonel A.J. Greenfield, commanding the 22nd, ordered Major George Work and Captain James P. Hart to reconnoiter the area in front of the army to evaluate the enemy troop strength. They soon returned with word that there was a strong force of enemy infantry, cavalry, and artillery waiting south of Kernstown.
Somehow, Duffié didn’t hear that– for reasons that are utterly beyond me, and were beyond his contemporaries, he insisted that there was “only a corporal’s guard” (i.e., a tiny force) of enemies, and ordered Hart to take 45 troopers to take the enemy’s artillery that sat in view, and bring them back to Union lines.
Captain James P. Hart of the 22nd Pennsylvania. (Image is PD)
Hart knew it was a fool’s errand, but orders were orders, and so he rounded up 45 volunteers, including Corporal Regester of D Company. They rode off to the edge of Union lines to await the signal to move out. They wouldn’t know the exact numbers, but Ellwood’s Stories of the Ringgold Cavalry reports that the Rebels waiting for them, under General Ramseur’s command, were 5000 infantry, 600 cavalry, and two batteries of artillery with six guns each.
While they waited, Colonel Allen of the First New York Veteran Cavalry, commanding the outer edge of the Union picket line, met with Hart and discussed his orders. According to Ellwood, Allen said
“I am not in the habit of advising men to disobey orders, but I would not obey your orders.”
“I have the first one yet to disobey; I won’t begin here.”
Allen complained to Duffié, to no avail.
And so the 45-soldier detachment charged Ramseur’s command; and was immediately fired upon by artillery and infantry– but miraculously, a dip in the terrain around Opequon Creek protected them– and the rebels at the top of the ridge fired too high (in the case of the artillery) or fired low and missed (in the case of the infantry).
Hart ordered a retreat: his detachment had two miles to ride, some of them had their horses shot out from under them, and they were soon chased by 600 troopers of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry. Of the 45 troopers of the 22nd, only John Shallenburger of D Company, and Levi Patterson of the old Ringgolds, were captured. John Regester was mortally wounded and his horse immediately killed by an artillery shell that passed through the treeline during the retreat. The Rebels found him on the battlefield, and in a strange irony, he was treated by a Rebel doctor from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
The “corporal’s guard” that Duffié insisted that Hart and his 45 troopers could take, marched up the road the next day and drove the Army of West Virginia back over the Potomac soon afterward, continuing north to burn Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in the final Confederate stab north in the Civil War.
Despite the attention of the Rebel surgeon, Corporal John Regester died just shy of 21 years old. His body was eventually recovered by his comrades. His brother Isaac, a 2nd Lieutenant in the same company, was severely wounded several days earlier, but lived.
We visited them yesterday, 17 October 2020, in their hometown of Beallsville, Pennsylvania. Having been to the part of Virginia where both brothers fought and one died, we thought to bring them home along the old National Road.
On 7 August, Grey Dawn: A Tale of Abolition and Union, had its world premiere. It’s been an eventful first month-and-a-half, during which it hit #1 on the trans romance category and #21 in the timetravel romance category. Not bad for a debut novel!
If you haven’t read it, please consider picking up a copy today. Don’t forget to leave a rating and review on your platform of choice!
Thank you so much for your support, everyone. You can find bonus art and other material expanding the Grey Dawn universe, and updates on my next book project, at http://patreon.com/riversidewings
Friends, it’s been awhile, and I have outstanding news. Balance of Seven Press has picked up my novel Grey Dawn for publication next year!
Grey Dawn is the story of two women– time-displaced Civil War Union Army veteran Chloë Logan, and former infantry platoon sergeant Leigh Hunter– bonding in modern Philadelphia over shared experiences at war. It’s a romance, but it’s more than that: it’s about learning to trust, being whole scars-and-all, and after all the years and all the miles and all the battles a person goes through, coming home again.
To keep up with and support my work, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Patreon, and Sponsus at riversidewings. We have a hell of an adventure ahead, friends. It’s my privilege to share it with you.