America's Civil War: The Operational Battlefield, 1861-1863
In 1861, when the Confederate States of America seceded from the Union and Civil War broke out between the North and the South, few people had much idea of the scale, intensity, and duration of the conflict they were about to enter. Politicians, generals, and common folk on both sides blithely assumed that the conflict would be over quickly and were naively convinced of the superiority of the leadership and the forces at their disposal. Three years later, after many horrendous battles and huge loss of life, the tragic realities of this war had begun to sink in. Stalemate had led to great frustration and suggested a protracted conflict with no end in sight.
In this successor volume to his acclaimed Origins of the American Civil War (1996), Civil War historian Brian Holden Reid examines in depth the operational military history during the first three years of America’s Civil War. In particular, he focuses on generalship, command decisions, strategy, and tactics, as well as the experiences of ordinary soldiers.
Besides lack of experience among generals, Holden Reid reveals that for the first few years of the war there was considerable indecisiveness in the North, a hesitancy to punish the South, and a fruitless hope that the Confederacy would agree to some form of reconciliation. He highlights certain important political and social developments during the course of the war that had an effect on Union soldiers and shows how their views became a catalyst in hardening the attitudes in the North toward the South.
This important analysis makes a major contribution to Civil War military history within the larger context of a turbulent political and social climate. It will be followed by another work covering the final eighteen months of the conflict.
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Why the War Came How It Was Fought
April 1861 to March 1862
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advance American Civil American Civil War Antietam Army of Northern Army of Tennessee artillery assault attack Baton Rouge battle Beauregard Bragg Brian Holden Reid brigades Buell Burnside campaign Catton cavalry Chancellorsville Chattanooga concentration Confederacy Confederate armies corps decisive defeat defensive division enemy failure Farragut federal field commander fighting flank Fredericksburg Gettysburg Gettysburg Campaign Grant Halleck Hattaway and Jones Hill historians Hooker infantry J. F. C. Fuller Jackson Jefferson Davis John Johnston lacked launched Lee's Lincoln Finds logistical Longstreet Louisiana State University Manassas Marszalek McClellan McClernand Meade military Mississippi move Napoleon North Won Northern Virginia offensive operations Pemberton political Porter position Potomac president R. E. Lee regiments Richmond River Rosecrans Rosecrans's Sears Shenandoah Valley Sherman slavery slaves soldiers South Southern staff Stanton Stonewall Stonewall Jackson strategic success tactical Tennessee Thomas thousand tion troops Union army University Press Vicksburg victory Wartime Papers Williams York