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Isolated Incident of Civil War History Deftly Brought to Life

LINCOLN, Neb. (August 17, 2006) – The American Civil War continues to spark people’s imaginations, but most documentaries, books and movies focus on its most famous generals and battles. Author and Indiana historian Ray Mulesky relates a little-known, but fascinating nugget of Civil War history with Thunder from a Clear Sky: Stovepipe Johnson’s Confederate Raid on Newburgh, Indiana.

Thunder from a Clear Sky takes an in-depth look at the swaggering rebel icon, Adam “Stovepipe” Johnson, and the first Confederate attack north of the Mason-Dixon Line during the American Civil War. With period photos, maps, illustrations of prominent characters, a timeline and an extensive bibliography, Thunder from a Clear Sky is the first full-length work that explains how Johnson, with a band of only twenty-seven Kentucky rebels, crossed the Ohio River at Newburgh, Indiana, and confiscated supplies and ammunition without a shot being fired. But it also re-introduces the nation to a quintessential American—Adam Johnson, a man just as famous for his unlikely civic and economic accomplishments after the war as he is for his intrepid exploits before and during the war.

Mulesky’s book sheds light on a relatively unknown aspect of America’s bloodiest affair. “Are any unique, unexplored corners of the great American conflict remaining after 140 years of treading the same ground over and over,” Mulesky asks. “This book offers a resounding ‘yes!’”

Thunder from a Clear Sky combines two of Mulesky’s interests. “For a long time I was trying to find a way to spotlight one of my biggest passions in life - historic preservation,” Mulesky said. “I was also very interested in writing and history. When this story fell into my lap, I decided to combine all my interests into one grand project.”

The Civil War is often viewed through the lens of great men and great events: the battlefield victories and defeats of Federal and Confederate generals, the declarations of socio-economic independence, and the struggle to free an enslaved population. However, historians often overlook the common man’s voice. Thunder from a Clear Sky showcases an ordinary man who “performed perhaps the most reckless, and yet most successful, military master stroke achieved by any commander of high or low authority, in either army during the war.” Thunder from a Clear Sky is an invaluable contribution to Civil War scholarship. Mulesky brilliantly restores a forgotten but epic episode to its rightful place in the history of the war.