Emerging Civil War is pleased to honor Jack Melton with its Brig. Gen. Thomas Greely Stevenson Award for 2020. Melton and his wife, Peggy, own and publish Civil War News, the oldest continuing newspaper for Civil War enthusiasts, and The Artilleryman magazine.
The Stevenson Award is presented to an individual or organization in recognition of their outstanding service to ECW.
“Civil War News has been a wonderful partner for ECW, a relationship suggested by Jack and grounded in a shared desire to serve the Civil War community,” says ECW Editor-in-Chief Chris Mackowski. “The common vision has given us many opportunities to work together in positive ways that have helped both organizations thrive. Most importantly, Jack is a true southern gentleman, good guy, and strong advocate for Civil War buffs everywhere.”
Melton agrees both companies complement each other. “It’s a good fit,” he says. “Civil War News and Emerging Civil War are both publications for the serious study of the American Civil War, working with the top contributors in the field. I saw the energy and commitment of ECW’s founders and ask that they partner on spreading the word.”
Each month, Civil War News includes ECW’s newsletter in its pages. ECW has run content on its blog highlighting the papers columnists (you can read that series here). ECW writers have also contributed book reviews, feature stories, and other articles to the newspaper.
“The synergy has been great,” Mackowski says. “We thankful for the chance to work with Jack, and his wife and partner, Peggy, in making the Civil War as accessible as possible to as many people as possible.”
The Meltons purchased Civil War News in 2016. “We are on Vol. 46, No. 9, and in three issues will be in our 47th year of continuous publication,” Jack Melton says. “We have published almost 1,000 articles, press releases, columns, etc. since we purchased Civil War News, and over 600 book reviews.” Prior to acquiring the newspaper, the Meltons purchased The Artilleryman magazine in 2015. “We are on Vol. 41, No. 3, and will be in our 42nd year this winter,” Jack adds. “The magazine is my real passion.”
Melton is a life-long resident of Georgia, born in Columbus in 1960. He grew up adjacent to the Kennesaw Mountain National Military Park near Kolb Farm. Knowing that several ancestors fought for the South heightened his curiosity about the rich history in his backyard. His great-grandfather, Jefferson Love, was an artillery driver for Milton Light Artillery of Florida. His great-great-grandfather, Samuel Troup Carter, was in the 14th Alabama Infantry.
“I was destined through geography and heredity to be a student of the Civil War,” he says.
Melton’s interest in the history-rich area surrounding him spurred him to respond to the National Park Service’s need for a historical trail through Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. After constructing the trail for his Eagle Scout project, he was awarded his Eagle Scout Badge, making him a Bicentennial Eagle Scout on July 4, 1976.
Melton also began metal detecting at age 14, and found his first Civil War 12-pounder solid shot that same year with his dad. Thus, began his interest in the field of artillery projectiles from the Civil War. Melton became an authority on Civil War artillery, known for his historical accuracy. With Lawrence Pawl, he co-authored Field Artillery Ordnance 1861–1865 (1994) and Melton & Pawl’s Guide To Civil War Artillery Projectiles (1996). With Steve Mullinax, he co-authored In The Line Of Fire (2006). With Josh Phillips and John Sexton, he co-authored Confederate Bowie Knives (2012). He has also authored the only artillery projectile book in color, Civil War Artillery Projectiles – The Half Shell Book (2018). Recently, he co-authored with Stephen Davis 100 Significant Civil War Photographs – Charleston in the War (2020).
Melton has also consulted on another 20 military artifact reference books on topics including accoutrements, uniforms and equipment, edged weapons, Bowie knives, belt buckles, firearms, and artillery. He is also a photographer and Civil War artillery consultant to the Atlanta History Center. His photographs have appeared on almost 100 Civil War magazine and book covers.
Aside from his partnership with Emerging Civil War, Melton has worked with publishers including National Geographic, University of Georgia Press, The New York Times, The Civil War Trust, Emerging Civil War, Weider History Group (World History Group: Civil War Times and America’s Civil War), North South Trader’s Civil War, McFarland & Co., O’Donnell Publications, Mowbray Publishing, and Potomac Publishing Co.
Melton is a Life member Company of Military Historians and past president of the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta.
Emerging Civil War’s Thomas Greeley Stevenson Award is named after Brig. Gen. Thomas Greeley Stevenson, a Union IX Corps division commander killed at the battle of Spotsylvania Court House in May 1864. Emerging Civil War holds its annual Symposium at Stevenson Ridge, located on the battlefield in the area where Stevenson was killed.
Previous recipients of the award have included C-SPAN, historian Greg Mertz, Southern Illinois University Press’s Sylvia Frank Rodrigue, and publisher Ted Savas.