Jess McLean’s invaluable history

Undeniably the most complete work in print about the regiment is Jess N. McLean Sr.’s so-called “Official Records.” They’re official insofar as they are muster rolls and orders and after-action reports. The book also contains excerpts from private diaries and letters, many of which are available in various archives in Mississippi and elsewhere. I’ll be quoting from them from time to time.

Mr. McLean spent years gathering the rosters and individual records and also some photographs, diaries, and letters which are not available anywhere else. His book is well worth owning. It suffers only from repetition and could use a good editor and an index. But, for the present, it is the very best source available for anyone with more than a passing interest in the Thirteenth Mississippi. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

UPDATE:  On Oct. 23, Mr. McLean announced that a new version of the book that is less repetitious and considerably cheaper than the old one is now available.

About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
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18 Responses to Jess McLean’s invaluable history

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  11. Dick –

    Thanks for the kind words.

    You are absolutely right about the need for editing.

    After about 25 years of collecting data on the 13th, for fun and personal interest, I was reviewing and sorting it out, when suddenly the realization of my own mortality came to mind.

    I’m thinking that when they put me in the ground the next day all of my research goes into the trash. WASTED!

    To head that off I started talking to publishers. As you know there is a perpetual difference of goals between a writer/researcher and a publisher; one only wants to make money and the other only wants his “stuff” published. This difference prevented the normal publication for me.

    So I simply put it into chronologal sequence, trimmed it up a little, took it to Kinkos and and published it. I sold it via internet, web page and word of mouth for about 10 years. Not sure how many were sold.

    But – I have now taken your advice and that of others. It has been edited down to size, eliminating a lot of duplication making it more readable. I am – as I write having it published as a 300+ page slick paperback with a full color cover and will be selling it via and other methods.

    The book will include in the ORIGINAL CD for back up reference and the exciting part will be the PRICE.

    So KEEP POSTED till I can figure out a price the buyers and I can both afford.
    regards –

    Jess McLean

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