I just wanted to give everyone an update on where things stand with the book on the history of the 49th that I’ve been working on a for a long time. A draft of the manuscript is complete up through the beginning of the battle for Spanish Fort near Mobile. I’ve been sort of stuck at this point for a while as there is almost no specific information about the role that the regiment played in this campaign. For example, Col. Dyer apparently didn’t write an after-action report and I’ve not come across any letters or diaries from soldiers of the 49th written during this period.
In the last few months I’ve been trying to clear up a lot of confusion regarding the spelling of soldier names. Anyone who has dealt with manuscripts from this period understands the difficulty in interpreting the writing and when you combine this with the fact that there are several different ways to spell the names of many of the unit’s German soldiers, confirming the accuracy of a particular spelling can sometimes be almost impossible. I feel that I owe it to the soldiers to do the best I can to make sure that their names are spelled correctly both on the web site and in the book.
One resource that has proven to be particularly helpful is FindAGrave.com, which often has photos of gravestones, which I take as the definitive spelling — though even these are sometimes contradicted by the spelling in newspaper obituaries.
Update on the Update (May 2015)– I’ve had to put the book on hold as I prepare to get married and move. Hopefully, I will be able to finish it up later this summer