The Emerging Civil War Series is finally breaking further into the Western Theater!
Greg Mertz’s book, Attack at Daylight and Whip Them: The Battle of Shiloh, allows the ECWS to head out West for the first time since Lee White’s book about the battle of Chickamauga, Bushwhacking on a Grand Scale. This is Greg’s first contribution to the ECWS (published by Savas Beatie).
Mertz has a lifelong attachment to Shiloh. He grew up on its battlefield, hiking its trails and exploring its fields. Attack at Daylight and Whip Them taps into five decades of intimate familiarity with a battle that rewrote America’s notions of war.
“A significant part of the story of Shiloh is how raw troops fought so well, and the persevering leadership qualities of the two commanding generals,” said Mertz. “One of the things that I find astonishing about Shiloh is how two armies composed predominantly of inexperienced soldiers could fight so effectively in terms of the massive casualties they inflicted upon each other in what became the bloodiest battle in all of American history.”
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From the back cover:
Attack at daylight and whip them?that was the Confederate plan on the morning of April 6, 1862. The unsuspecting Union Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, had gathered on the banks of its namesake river at a spot called Pittsburg Landing, ready to strike deep into the heart of Tennessee Confederates, commanded by Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston. Johnston’s troops were reeling from setbacks earlier in the year and had decided to reverse their fortunes by taking the fight to the Federals.
Johnston planned to attack them at daylight and drive them into the river.
A brutal day of fighting ensued, unprecedented in its horror?the devil’s own day, one union officer admitted. Confederates needed just one final push.
Grant did not sit and wait for that assault, though. He gathered reinforcements and planned a counteroffensive. On the morning of April 7, he intended to attack at daylight and whip them.
The bloodshed that resulted from the two-day battle exceeded anything America had ever known in its history.
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About the Author:
Gregory A. Mertz has worked for the National Park Service for 35 years and is currently the supervisory Historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Raised in what is now Wildwood, Missouri, he has a degree in park administration from the University of Missouri and a master’s in public administration from Shippensburg University. He has written several articles for Blue & Gray Magazine, is the founding president of the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table, and is a former vice president of the Brandy Station Foundation.