Civil War Tactics Manuals on Your Blackberry
koppie — Wed, 11/04/2009 - 06:07
When I put Casey's Infantry Tactics on my Blackberry, I chuckled to myself that I'm the only person who would enjoy such a confluence of the deep past and the ultra-modern. In 1855, US Secretary of War Jefferson Davis commissioned as US Army officer, Hardee, to write a new manual on tactics. When the Civil War started, both Davis and Hardee went to the South, and in 1862 Hardee wrote a new manual for the Confederates. The US Army couldn't stand using a tactics manual that had been written by a Confederate so they commissioned Casey to write a new one.
Why does this matter? Well, as most of you are undoubtedly aware, I'm in a club that portrays living history of the Civil War. Next season I'm running for sergeant and as far as I know I'm running unopposed, so I'll probably win. I want to be the best sergeant I possibly can, and I want to make my unit the best it possibly can, and that means learning the tactical manual. Thanks to the internet, it's pretty easy to find Casey's. Google Books will even let me download it as a PDF.
"Okay, but what about the Blackberry?" I'm getting there.
Since I started working downtown, I've got a lot of commute time on my hands. I could print out Casey's and bring it with me, but (a) that's clunky, (b) I don't want to waste paper, and (c) why use a simple solution when there's technology?
I've been using an e-reader on my Blackberry for some time. It's called MobiPocket and it's great. It's free and it'll take books from Project Guttenberg, an online repository of all public domain litterature (isn't the internet great?). Sadly, Project Guttenberg doesn't have Casey's manual. But Google Books will let me download Casey's as an ePub document. EPub is a new internet standard for e-readers. The biggest e-readers like Amazon's Kindle support it. So does MobiPocket--kind of. It took a little futzing.
If you want Casey's on your Blackberry, here's how:
1. Point your desktop browser to MobiPocket and install the MobiPocket Desktop program (Windows only)
2. Point your Blackberry browser to MobiPocket and install the Blackberry MobiPocket Reader
3. Look up Casey's on Google Books and download the ePub document
4. "Import" the ePub into MobiPocket Desktop. The program will automatically convert the ePub to the MobiPocket format.
5. Transfer Casey's to your Blackberry. MobiPocket Desktop should do this for you.
6. Open MobiPocket Reader on your Blackberry.
That's it! Notice that the reader will save your place and you can save additional bookmarks. You can also change the font and size (to make it easier to read on the tiny screen) and copy text. Congratulations, you now have a 19th century military manual on a 21st century device. That definitely goes under the category of "if they'd had it they would have used it."