General James Longstreet fought in nearly every campaign of the Civil War, from Manassas (the first battle of Bull Run) to Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chickamauga, Gettysburg, and was present at the surrender at Appomattox. Yet, he was largely held to blame for the Confederacy's defeat at Gettysburg. General James Longstreet sheds new light on the controversial commander and the man Robert E. Lee called "my old war horse."
On September 13, 1862, in a field near Frederick, Maryland, four Union soldiers hit the jack-pot. There they found, wrapped carelessly around three cigars, a copy of General Robert E. Lee's most recent orders detailing Southern objectives and letting Union officers know that Lee had split his Army into four vulnerable groups. General George B. McClellan realized his opportunity to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia one piece at a time. "If I cannot whip Bobbie Lee," exulted McClellan, "I will be willing to go home." But the notoriously prudent Union general allowed precious hours to pass, and, by the time he moved, Lee's army had begun to regroup and prepare for battle near Antietam Creek. The ensuing fight would prove to be not only the bloodiest single day of the entire Civil War, but the bloodiest in the history of the U.S. Army.
Countless historians have analyzed Antietam (known as Sharpsburg in the South) and its aftermath, some concluding that McClellan's failure to vanquish Lee constituted a Southern victory, others that the Confederate retreat into Virginia was a strategic win for the North. But in Antietam: The Soldiers' Battle, historian John Michael Priest tells this brutal tale of slaughter from an entirely new point of view: that of the common enlisted man. Concentrating on the days of actual battle--September 16, 17, and 18, 1862--Priest vividly brings to life the fear, the horror, and the profound courage that soldiers displayed, from the first Federal cavalry probe of the Confederate lines to the last skirmish on the streets of Sharpsburg. Antietam is not a book about generals and their grand strategies, but rather concerns men such as the Pennsylvanian corporal who lied to receive the Medal of Honor; the Virginian who lay unattended on the battlefield through most of the second day of fighting, his arm shattered from a Union artillery shell; the Confederate surgeon who wrote to the sweetheart he left behind enemy lines in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that he had seen so much death and suffering that his "head had whitened and my very soul turned to stone."
Besides being a gripping tale charged with the immediacy of firsthand accounts of the fighting, Antietam also dispels many misconceptions long held by historians and Civil War buffs alike. Seventy-two detailed maps--which describe the battle in the hourly and quarter-hourly formats established by the Cope Maps of 1904--together with rarely-seen photographs and his own intimate knowledge of the Antietam terrain, allow Priest to offer a substantially new interpretation of what actually happened.
When the last cannon fell silent and the Antietam Creek no longer ran red with Union and Confederate blood, twice as many Americans had been killed in just one day as lost their lives in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Spanish-American war combined. This is a book about battle, but more particularly, about the human dimension in battle. It asks "What was it like?" and while the answers to this simple question by turns horrify and fascinate, they more importantly add a whole new dimension to the study of the American Civil War.
The companion volume to the celebrated PBS television series, with a new preface to mark its twenty-fifth anniversary
With more than 500 illustrations: rare Civil War photographs--many never before published--as well as paintings, lithographs, and maps reproduced in full color
For almost 100 years, analysis of the Gettysburg Campaign has been centered around a set of commonly held beliefs, among them an oversimplified view of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's goals for the battle. Author and Gettysburg National Military Park historian Troy D. Harman believes this view is misinformed. Lee's Real Plan at Gettysburg presents a provocative new theory regarding Lee's true tactical objectives during this pivotal battle of the American Civil War.
The 1862 battle of Pea Ridge in northwestern Arkansas was one of the largest Civil War engagements fought on the western frontier, and it dramatically altered the balance of power in the Trans-Mississippi. This study of the battle is based on research in archives from Connecticut to California and includes a pioneering study of the terrain of the sprawling battlefield, as well as an examination of soldiers' personal experiences, the use of Native American troops, and the role of Pea Ridge in regional folklore.
"A model campaign history that merits recognition as a major contribution to the literature on Civil War military operations.--Journal of Military History
"Shines welcome light on the war's largest battle west of the Mississippi.--USA Today
"With its exhaustive research and lively prose style, this military study is virtually a model work of its kind.--Publishers Weekly
"A thoroughly researched and well-told account of an important but often neglected Civil War encounter.--Kirkus Reviews
"Offers the rich tactical detail, maps, and order of battle that military scholars love but retains a very readable style combined with liberal use of recollections of the troops and leaders involved.--Library Journal
"This book is assured of a place among the best of all studies that have been published on Civil War campaigns.--American Historical Review
"Destined to become a Civil War classic and a model for writing military history.--Civil War History
"A campaign study of a caliber that all should strive for and few will equal.--Journal of American History
"An excellent and detailed book in all accounts, scholarly and readable, with both clear writing and excellent analysis. . . . Utterly essential . . . for any serious student of the Civil War.--Civil War News
"In the first twenty-seven months of combat 175,000 Southern soldiers died. This number was more than the entire Confederate military force in the summer of 1861, and it far exceeded the strength of any army that Lee ever commanded. More than 80,000 Southerners fell in just five battles. At Gettysburg three out of every ten Confederates present were hit; one brigade lost 65 percent of its men and 70 percent of its field officers in a single charge. A North Carolina regiment started the action with some 800 men; only 216 survived unhurt. Another unit lost two-thirds of its men as well as its commander in a brief assault."Why did the Confederacy lose so many men? The authors contend that the Confederates bled themselves nearly to death in the first three years of the war by making costly attacks more often than the Federals. Offensive tactics, which had been used successfully by Americans in the Mexican War, were much less effective in the 1860s because an improved weapon - the rifle - had given increased strength to defenders. This book describes tactical theory in the 1850s and suggests how each related to Civil War tactics. It also considers the development of tactics in all three arms of the service during the Civil War. In examining the Civil War the book separates Southern from Northern tactical practice and discusses Confederate military history in the context of Southern social history. Although the Southerners could have offset their numerical disadvantage by remaining on the defensive and forcing the Federals to attack, they failed to do so. The authors argue that the Southerners' consistent favoring of offensive warfare was attributable, in large measure, to their Celtic heritage: they fought with the same courageous dash and reckless abandon that had characterized their Celtic forebears since ancient times. The Southerners of the Civil War generation were prisoners of their social and cultural history: they attacked courageously and were killed - on battlefields so totally defended by the Federals that "not even a chicken could get through."
Second only to Mathew Brady as the foremost early American photographer was Alexander Gardner, the one-time manager of Brady's Washington salon and Brady's chief photographer in the field during the early days of the Civil War.
Indeed, Gardner -- who later photographed the War independently -- often managed the famous horse-drawn photographic laboratory and took many of the pictures that used to be attributed to Brady. He accompanied the Union troops on their marches, their camps and bivouacs, their battles, and on their many hasty retreats and routs during the early days of the War.
In 1866 Alexander Gardner published a very ambitious two-volume work which contained prints of some 100 photographs which he had taken in the field. A list of them reads like a roster of great events and great men: Antietam Bridge under Travel, President Lincoln (and McClellan) at Antietam, Pinkerton and His Agents in the Field, Ruins of Richmond, Libby Prison, McLean's House Where Lee's Surrender Was Signed, Meade's Headquarters at Gettysburg, Battery D, Second U.S. Artillery in Action at Fredericksburg, the Slaughter Pen at Gettysburg, and many others. This publication is now amoung the rarest American books, and is here for the first time republished inexpensively.
Gardner's photographs are among the greatest war pictures ever taken and are also among the most prized records of American history. Gardner was quite conscious of recording history, and spared himself no pains or risk to achieve the finest results. His work indicates a technical mastery that now seems incredible when one bears in mind the vicissitudes of collodion applications in the field, wet plates, long exposures, long drying times, imperfect chemicals -- plus enemy bullets around the photographer's ears. It has been said of these photographs: photography today . . . is far easier, but it is no better.
Drawing on primary sources, Wheeler creates a first-person account of Sherman's march, providing a new perspective supporting his contention that Sherman's strategy shortened the war by destroying property rather than soldiers