Author Mark Zimmerman is available for presentations on his books and topics therein. Use the Contact page to inquire. Certain travel restrictions may apply.

June 5, 2020

Iron Maidens and the Devil's Daughters


Author Mark Zimmerman will present his new book “Iron Maidens and the Devil’s Daughters” on Fri., June 5th, 2020 at 9:00 am at the Bellevue (Tenn.) YMCA/Fifty Forward Turner Center, 8101 Hwy. 100, in an event co-sponsored by the Metro Nashville Public Library and Archives. Books will be available for purchase and autographing. The book focuses on the unique form of Civil War combat between Confederate cavalry and Federal river gunboats with an emphasis on the Battle of Bell’s Bend, downstream on the Cumberland River from Nashville, in December 1864. In fact, the battle site is about seven miles from the Bellevue YMCA.

May 21, 2020

The Battle of Bell's Bend


Author Mark Zimmerman gave a hour-long online presentation via ZOOM to 20 attentive members of SCV Camp 768 in Athens, Alabama on May 21st. The slideshow featured maps, paintings, historical photos, and information on the clashes between Federal river gunboats and Confederate cavalry. Thanks for the invitation, Lee! Virtual online presentations may be the wave of the future whenever presenting in person is not possible.

Dec. 14, 2019

The Battle of Bell's Bend


Author Mark Zimmerman presented “The Battle of Bell’s Bend,” an engagement between Federal river gunboats and Confederate cavalry on the Cumberland River, at the 155th Anniversary Battle of Nashville Symposium on Sat., Dec.14, 2019 at 1:00 pm at the Fort Negley Visitor’s Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The topic followed an interesting presentation by Dr. Jerry Wooten on his book on the Battle of Johnsonville.

Dec. 17, 2019

Iron Maidens and the Devil's Daughters


Author Mark Zimmerman presented his new book, “Iron Maidens and the Devil’s Daughters,” the story of Federal river gunboats battling Confederate cavalry, at the Dec. 17, 2019 meeting of the Nashville Civil War Round Table  at the Fort Negley Visitor’s Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Greg Biggs, NCWRT Program Chair, reported:

Local historian and author Mark Zimmerman (and Nashville CWRT member), regaled us with tales from his current book, Iron Maidens and the Devil’s Daughters, which delves into the various times during the Civil War where Confederate cavalry and artillery clashed with U.S. Navy gunboats on the rivers of Kentucky and Tennessee starting in 1861 and running through the December 1864 Battle of Nashville where Confederate cavalry and artillery at Bell’s Bend in the Cumberland River west of the city blockaded Union gunboats.  


On first look, one might think that field artillery going up against much larger gunboat cannons carried by vessels often clad in iron would be sheer madness, but Confederate commanders usually chose their ground well--high enough where the naval guns could not be elevated to reach but giving their guns plunging fire.


By the time of Nashville in December 1864, the Confederates had a lot of experience going up against gunboats particularly portions of commands under Nathan Bedford Forrest.  His destruction of the large Union supply depot at Johnsonville in early November 1864 was the culmination of facing Union gunboats and shore defenses while destroying the base and causing several millions of dollars in damage. The book and program went deep into this history, offering up, for many, little-known aspects of the war especially those events like Canton, KY in November 1861.  


Some of these were tied into campaigns while others, like Forrest in Kentucky on the Cumberland River in 1861, were isolated events. Guerrillas sometimes took to shooting at gunboats and transports as well as famous sharpshooter Jack Hinson. Col. Thomas Woodward attacked gunboats and transports at Palmyra, helping to cause major supply headaches for the Union Army in Middle Tennessee.  Zimmerman tied these incidents together well, expanding our knowledge of them and proving that these events, while sometimes small, bore larger consequences for both sides. Thanks, Mark, for the fine program and expanding our knowledge of these engagements.