The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War

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Simon and Schuster, Mar 30, 2002 - History - 992 pages
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Like no other conflict in our history, the Civil War casts a long shadow onto modern America," writes David Eicher. In his compelling new account of that war, Eicher gives us an authoritative modern single-volume battle history that spans the war from the opening engagement at Fort Sumter to Lee's surrender at Appomattox (and even beyond, to the less well-known but conclusive surrender of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith in Galveston, Texas, on June 2, 1865).
Although there are other one-volume histories of the Civil War -- most notably James M. McPherson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom, which puts the war in its political, economic, and social context -- The Longest Night is strictly a military history. It covers hundreds of engagements on land and sea, and along rivers. The Western theater, often neglected in accounts of the Civil War, and the naval actions along the coasts and major rivers are at last given their due. Such major battles as Gettysburg, Antietam, and Chancellorsville are, of course, described in detail, but Eicher also examines lesser-known actions such as Sabine Pass, Texas, and Fort Clinch, Florida. The result is a gripping popular history that will fascinate anyone just learning about the Civil War while at the same time offering more than a few surprises for longtime students of the War Between the States.
The Longest Night draws on hundreds of sources and includes numerous excerpts from letters, diaries, and reports by the soldiers who fought the war, giving readers a real sense of life -- and death -- on the battlefield. In addition to the main battle narrative, Eicher analyzes each side's evolving strategy and examines the tactics of Lee, Grant, Johnston, Sherman, and other leading figures of the war. He also discusses such militarily significant topics as prisons, railroads, shipbuilding, clandestine operations, and the expanding role of African Americans in the war.
The Longest Night is a riveting, indispensable history of the war that James McPherson in the Foreword to this book calls "the most dramatic, violent, and fateful experience in American history."
 

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Contents

James M McPherson
17
Introduction
21
1915
29
The War Begins at Sumter
33
Organizing the Struggle
57
Southern Joy over First Bull Run
80
A Massacre at Balls Bluff
110
An Unlikely Hero at Belmont
130
Three Days at Gettysburg
501
Visiting the River of Death
570
The Battles for Chattanooga
600
Sherman Eyes the Deep South
624
The Red River Campaign
641
Grant Moves into the Wilderness
659
Action at Atlanta and Petersburg
705
Sheridan Raids the Valley
735

Grant Moves into Tennessee
154
Clash of the Ironclads
183
A Bloodbath at Shiloh
219
Jacksons Valley Campaign
243
The Peninsular Campaign
268
Confederate Triumph at Second Bull Run
298
The Wars Bloodiest Day
335
Fredericksburgs Appalling Loss
381
Stalemate at Stones River
408
The Campaign for Vicksburg
436
Lees Master Stroke
457
Shermans March to the Sea
760
Fall of the Last Confederate Port
785
Lees Army Crumbles
802
The End of the Civil War
841
1865
852
Acknowledgments
856
Notes
858
Bibliography
897
Index
939
Copyright

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Page 51 - We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

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About the author (2002)

David J. Eicher is an astronomer and Civil War historian. The managing editor of Astronomy magazine, he is the author of several books on the Civil War, among them, Mystic Chords of Memory: Civil War Battlefields and Historic Sites Recaptured and The Civil War in Books: An Analytical Bibliography. He lives with his wife and son in the Milwaukee suburbs.

Pulitzer Prize winner and Guggenheim Fellow James Alan McPherson was born in Savannah, Georgia. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and holds an MFA from the University of Iowa. In a writing career that spans forty years, McPherson has been a contributor to many publications, including The Atlantic, Esquire, and Playboy, and was the editor of Double Take magazine. He is a professor of English at the University of Iowa.

James M. McPherson is the author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, which won a Pulitzer Prize in history, and For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, a Lincoln Prize winner. He is the George Henry Davis Professor of American History at Princeton University in New Jersey, where he also lives. His newest book, entitled Abraham Lincoln, celebrates the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth with a short, but detailed look at this president's life.

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