March 24, 2008

Huzzah! A Home For Poe

I’m pleased to announce that my biography of Union officer and engineer Orlando M. Poe has been accepted for publication by Kent State University Press. The 126,000-word manuscript will contain fifteen maps commissioned especially for the book as well as 20 or so period photographs and drawings, at least five of which are previously unpublished.

I believe Poe to be one of the more underrated and overlooked individuals from both the Civil War and the late nineteenth-century. As important as many of his wartime engineering contributions were, I make the case that his post-war career spent largely on the Great Lakes had a far greater impact on society as a whole. Much of his work affects Great Lakes mariners to this very day. This work will tell his life’s story in depth for the first time ever.

I’m currently considering two titles. The original working title was Great Lakes Engineer: The Life of Civil War General Orlando M. Poe while a more recent idea is “An Approving Conscience is Sufficient Reward:” The Life of Civil War General Orlando M. Poe. I find the former to be more descriptive (think marketing) though the latter seems more “artsy.” Opinions are welcomed.

With the contracts now signed, it’s time to settle down into all the fun pre-production stuff! Also, an article-length version of Poe’s life, entitled Orlando Metcalfe Poe: General William T. Sherman’s Right Hand Man, will be published in North and South magazine. Editor Keith Poulter informs me it should appear in the upcoming issue.


Drew W. said...

How about "Poe: The One that Actually Graduated from West Point"?

Congratulations, by the way.

Paul Taylor said...

Thanks Drew. I wonder how many times OM Poe was asked if he was related to good ol' Edgar?

Brett S. said...


I think I like the sound of Great Lakes Engineer better. The title seems to flow more nicely.


Paul Taylor said...

Thanks Brett. Another benefit (I think) is that having the phrase "Great Lakes" in the title will immediately put the book on the radar of Great Lakes / Midwest regional history buffs, even if they're not students of the Civil War or particularly aware of who Poe was. That's not the case with the other option.

Harry said...


I think you need to somehow work into the title Poe's crucial role in saving the Union at Gettysburg (maybe Hero of Medium Round Top). Also put a big Confederate battle flag on the cover, flying over the heads of Forrest,Jackson and Poe.

It will fly off the shelves.

Paul Taylor said...


That's sage advice. I'm revising the entire ms. at this very moment! :-)


Barb from Milwaukee, WI said...

Would like to be on your email list. When will the book be published?
Am a lighthouse researcher/historian and am wondering if you located any info. about the at least eight lighthouses Poe designed after his career during the Civil War?

Anonymous said...


Great news about your upcoming book on my favorite engineer.

I sometimes portray GEN Poe (Bvt. Brigadier General) when I participate in CW Living History Programs.

Tell "Harry" to recheck his facts. GEN Poe was in Kentucky in July 1863 serving as the chief engineer of the 23rd Corps, Army of the Ohio and missed the Battle of Gettysburg.

Email me - I have a very interesting story about GEN Poe and the Carolinas Campaign. If it's too late to add to your book maybe you could put it in the next edition.


Tom in Beaufort, SC

Paul Taylor said...


Thanks for writing in, however I think Harry wrote his Gettysburg bit with tongue in cheek!