In late 2010, having volunteered to assist Drum Barracks Civil War Museum in Wilmington, California, with research in pro-secession activity in California, director Susan Ogle handed me a list of names, places and events for possible investigation. One of those names was that of Dan Showalter, a California politician turned Confederate cavalry officer of whom I'd never heard.

Becoming fascinated just after reading the barest outline of Showalter's life, the next year found me hunting down everything I could find about this largely forgotten character. When I had finished my research -- which included the discovery of several previously unpublished items as well as obtaining the only known photograph from a Showalter descendent -- I had so much material that Susan exclaimed, "You've got a whole exhibit right here!"

And with her guidance, on November 5, 2011, co-curated by myself and Susan Ogle, my "Dan Showalter: California's Arch Rebel" exhibit went on display at the Drum.

Now being slated for removal in August 2012 in that ongoing round of ever-successive new exhibits that mark good museums, I've started this website as a place where, over time, I can memorialize and expand upon all the material accumulated on this remarkable Californian.

Hope you'll return often as this website expands and enjoy!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Publication is on course! Big announcements!

We are pleased to announce that our publisher, McFarland, has agreed to title the upcoming book "An Arch Rebel Like Myself": Dan Showalter and the Civil War in California and Texas.This is particularly good news for us in that that was our own first choice of titles (publishers have the right of final choice on titles). The subtitle certainly identifies Showalter as the subject and highlights those historical arenas with which he is primarily identified, but the quote used as the title itself is Dan Showalter's own self-description, from a wonderful letter written by him to Anna Forman of California in 1864.

We have also received an endorsement of the book from Dr. Jerry D. Thompson. During our later research, Gene made contact and consulted with Dr. Thompson inasmuch as he is a noted historian of the Civil War and the Southwest (over 20 books published), a past President of the Texas State Historical Association, and the Regents Professor of History of the Texas A&M University system. After reading our manuscript, Dr. Thompson wrote:

          "This stunning historical inquiry into the pugnacious life and
          times of Dan Showalter is ambitious in scope and fascinating
          in its contents. The authors paint a panoramic view of the
          Southwest borderlands in those tumultuous Civil War years
          without losing sight of the details of the life of an absolutely
          fascinating individual. This meticulously researched and
          compelling story is likely to keep the reader captivated.
          Needless to say, this masterful and definitive study is highly


Endorsements of this type are typically used, in whole or in part, in publisher promotions to reviewers and booksellers, and may also appear on the back covers of books. Gene and I are extremely honored to have received such a strong endorsement from such a noted historian and author.

In addition to approval of the title, McFarland has also reviewed and approved the permissions we obtained for illustrations. McFarland is moving steadily toward publication; based upon Gene's prior publication experience with them, we remain hopeful that "An Arch Rebel Like Myself": Dan Showalter and the Civil War in California and Texas will be released prior to the end of this year.

This blog will continue to update you on the progress of publication of this first biography of Dan Showalter. Once again, if you would like personal notification upon the book's publication, please send a comment to this blog including your valid email address. All comments are moderated before being posted on this blog, and I will not post any comment received that contains email or personal identification information.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

If requesting publication notice...

We've had a congratulatory comment come in (thank you), but received one of those undeliverable notices when I tried to reply and put the sender on our list of email addresses for notice upon publication. If you write and wish to receive that notice, please be sure you indicate an accurate email address. As mentioned previously, even though sent in a comment on this blog, they are reviewed by me personally before appearing anywhere, and I will not publicly post any comment with an email address. Thanks!

We are in Publication!

The process for publication of the biography of Dan Showalter by Gene Armistead and myself has finally begun!

We are contracted with McFarland & Co., Publishers, Inc., of Jefferson, North Carolina, to publish the book. McFarland is a leading independent publisher of scholarly books and publisher of Gene's previous Horses and Mules in the Civil War (2013). 

The process of publication for that book was exactly one year. We hope that steps taken by ourselves in light of Gene's previous experience and my own editing skills (a legal editor-proofreader by trade) will advance that timing somewhat, but a primary determinant will be the number of manuscripts at McFarland awaiting publication. McFarland is, though, a diligent and timely publisher.

At this point, we would estimate publication not sooner than August 2018, but almost surely in time for delivery by Christmas 2018. As we reach various milestones in the publication process, we will continue to post updates on this blog.

If you would like personal notification of the book's publication, feel free to send your email address in a comment to this posting. All such comments are reviewed prior to posting on the blog itself, and no comment containing a personal email address will be posted. Your privacy will be respected.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Updating again

We've still heard nothing back from the university press that's now had us in suspension for two years, so we've decided to search out other options in the hope that we can finally get the Showalter biography out there. We have a reasonable expectation that we'll have the upshot of our current explorations within the next month or two; we fully intend, even if it ends up involving self-publishing, not to have this hanging out there anywhere near another two years.

So, if anyone's still out there following this (in which case we are very, very grateful), hang on and we'll try to have a much more positive update online before too much longer!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Latest word

Time marches on and still no update from the university press which has now had our manuscript for two years. We are in contact with the press and have indications that we should know something at least perhaps a bit more concrete in early March, so we anxiously wait, and I will update again once word has come. Can't believe it's already been that long since this project was completed. We are grateful for whatever continued interest for this project may still be out there!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Yet Another Update

Although it seems to be taking forever, so much so that Gene and I begin to doubt anything will ever happen, we just today received another note from the publisher indicating that it is indeed "in the mill" and that this is a "good project," but explaining that it just takes a lot of time with academic publishers -- as we've more than learned. But in any event, this is good news, and it looks like the Showalter bio may yet be a reality.

Will post again as soon as there's anything more of note.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Update again

Happy New Year!

As we head into 2016, our biography of Dan Showalter is still in pre-publication. Co-author Gene and I have been assured that this many-months progression is not unusual, so all seems to be moving along. Will keep posting updates as more information becomes available.