Emerging Civil War Series

Recipient of the Army Historical Foundation’s Lieutenant General Richard G. Trefry Award for contributions to the literature on the history of the U.S. Army: “an invaluable collection of Civil War battlefield guides”

The authors of this Savas Beatie series continue to provide quality additions to the conflict’s literature.” — Civil War News

“The Emerging Civil War Series has been a pleasure to read since its inception . . . .” — Gettysburg Chronicle

The Civil War is America’s great story. We want to introduce as many people as possible to that history by telling the war’s many great stories in fresh new ways.

The Emerging Civil War Series, published by Savas Beatie LLC, offers compelling and easy-to-read overviews of some of the Civil War’s most important battles and issues. Each volume features more than a hundred-and-fifty photos and graphics, plus sharp new maps and visually engaging layouts.

To order any of these titles, visit their individual pages or the Savas Beatie website. Signed copies are available.

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The Aftermath of Battle: The Burial of the Civil War Dead
by Meg Groeling

Layout 1The clash of armies in the American Civil War left hundreds of thousands of men dead, wounded, or permanently damaged. Skirmished and battles could result in casualty numbers as low as one or two and as high as tens of thousands. The carnage of the battlefield left a lasting impression on those who experienced or viewed it, but in most cases the armies quickly moved on to meet again at another time and place. When the dust settled and the living armies moved on, what happened to the dead left behind.

Unlike battle narratives, The Aftermath of Battle: Burial of the Civil War Dead picks up the story as the battle ends.

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All the Fighting They Want: The Atlanta Campaign, from Peachtree Creek to the Surrender of the City, July 18-September 2, 1864
by Steve Davis

Layout 1John Bell Hood brought a hang-dog look and a hard-fighting spirit to the Army of Tennessee. Once one of the ablest division commanders in the Army of Northern Virginia, he found himself, by the spring of 1864, in the war’s Western Theater. Recently recovered from grievous wounds sustained at Chickamauga, he suddenly found himself thrust into command of the Confederacy’s ill-starred army even as Federals pounded on the door of the Deep South’s greatest untouched city, Atlanta.

The crisis could not have been more acute.

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All Hell Can’t Stop Them: The Battles for Chattanooga: Missionary Ridge and Ringgold, November 24 – 27, 1863
by David A. Powell

Front coverTo many of the Federal soldiers watching the Stars and Stripes unfurl atop Lookout Mountain on the morning of November 25, 1863, it seemed that the battle to relieve Chattanooga was complete. The Union Army of the Cumberland was no longer trapped in the city, subsisting on short rations and awaiting rescue; instead, they were again on the attack.

Ulysses S. Grant did not share their certainty. For Grant, the job he had been sent to accomplish was only half-finished. Braxton Bragg’s Confederate Army of Tennessee still held Missionary Ridge, with other Rebels under James Longstreet threatening more Federals in Knoxville, Tennessee. Grant’s greatest fear was that the Rebels would slip away before he could deliver the final blows necessary to crush Bragg completely.

That blow landed on the afternoon of November 25. Each of Grant’s assembled forces—troops led by Union Generals William T. Sherman, George H. Thomas, and Joseph Hooker—all moved to the attack. Stubbornly, Bragg refused to retreat, and instead accepted battle. That decision would cost him dearly.

But everything did not go Grant’s way. Despite what Grant’s many admirers would later insist was his most successful, most carefully planned battle, Grant’s strategy failed him—as did his most trusted commander, Sherman. Victory instead charged straight up the seemingly impregnable slopes of Missionary Ridge’s western face, as the men of the much-maligned Army of the Cumberland swarmed up and over Bragg’s defenses in an irresistible blue tide.

Caught flat-footed by this impetuous charge, Grant could only watch nervously as the men started up . . .

All Hell Can’t Stop Them: The Battles for Chattanooga—Missionary Ridge and Ringgold, November 24-27, 1863—sequel to Battle Above the Clouds—details the dramatic final actions of the battles for Chattanooga: Missionary Ridge and the final Confederate rearguard action at Ringgold, where Patrick Cleburne held Grant’s Federals at bay and saved the Army of Tennessee from further disaster.

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Attack at Daylight and Whip Them: The Battle of Shiloh, April 6 – 7, 1862
by Gregory A. Mertz

Front coverAttack 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 Major General 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 General 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.

Historian Greg Mertz grew up on the Shiloh 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.

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The Battle above the Clouds: Lifting the Siege of Chattanooga and the Battle of Lookout Mountain
by Dave Powell

In October 1863, the Union Army of the Cumberland was besieged in Chattanooga, all but surrounded by familiar opponents: The Confederate Army of Tennessee. The Federals were surviving by the narrowest of margins, thanks only to a trickle of supplies painstakingly hauled over the sketchiest of mountain roads. Soon even those quarter-rations would not suffice. Disaster was in the offing.

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Bloody Autumn: The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864
by Daniel T. Davis and Phillip S. Greenwalt

Layout 1In the spring of 1862, a string of Confederate victories in the Valley had foiled Union plans in the state and kept Confederate armies fed and supplied. In 1863, the Army of Northern Virginia used the Valley as its avenue of invasion, culminating in the battle of Gettysburg. The Valley continued to offer Confederates an alluring backdoor to Washington D.C.

But when Sheridan returned to the Valley in 1864, the stakes jumped dramatically. To lose the Valley would mean to lose the state, Stonewall Jackson had once said—and now that prediction would be put to the test as Sheridan fought with Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early for possession.

For the North, the fragile momentum its war effort had gained by capturing Atlanta would quickly evaporate; for Abraham Lincoln, defeat in the Valley could very well mean defeat in the upcoming election. For the South, more than its breadbasket was at stake—its nascent nationhood lay on the line.

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Bushwhacking on a Grand Scale: The Battle of Chickamauga, Sept. 18-20, 1863
by William Lee White

Layout 1The battle of Chickamauga brought an early fall to the Georgia countryside in 1863, where men fell like autumn leaves.

The smoke of gunfire filled the vine-choked forest around Chickamauga Creek, making the already impenetrable landscape an impossible place for battle. Unable to see beyond their immediate surroundings, officers found it impossible to exercise effective command, and the engagement deteriorated into what many participants later called “a soldier’s battle.” It was, said Union Brigadier General John Turchin, “Bushwhacking on a Grand Scale.”

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Calamity in Carolina: The Battles of Averasboro and Bentonville
by Daniel T. Davis and Phillip S. Greenwalt

Layout 1Robert E. Lee gave Joseph E. Johnston an impossible task.

Federal armies under Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman had rampaged through Georgia on their “March to the Sea,” and now were cutting a swath of destruction as they marched north from Savannah through the Carolinas. Locked in a desperate defense of Richmond and Petersburg, there was little Robert E. Lee could do to stem Sherman’s tide—so he turned to Joseph E. Johnston. And he gave Johnston an impossible task.

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Call Out the Cadets: The Battle of New Market, May 15, 1864
by Sarah Kay Bierle

Front cover“May God forgive me for the order,” Confederate Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge remarked as he ordered young cadets from Virginia Military Institute into the battle lines at New Market, just days after calling them from their academic studies to assist in a crucial defense.

Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley had seen years of fighting. In the spring of 1864, Union Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel prepared to lead a new invasion force into the Valley, operating on the far right flank of Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign. Breckinridge scrambled to organize the Confederate defense.

When the opposing divisions clashed near the small crossroads town of New Market on May 15, 1864, new legends of courage were born. Local civilians witnessed the combat unfold in their streets, churchyards, and fields and aided the fallen. The young cadets rushed into the battle when ordered—an opportunity for an hour of glory and tragedy. A Union soldier saved the national colors and a comrade, later receiving a Medal of Honor.

The battle of New Market, though a smaller conflict in the grand scheme of that blood-soaked summer, came at a crucial moment in the Union’s offensive movements that spring and also became the last major Confederate victory in the Shenandoah Valley. The results in the muddy fields reverberated across the North and South, altering campaign plans—as well as the lives of those who witnessed or fought. Some never left the fields alive; others retreated with excuses or shame. Some survived, haunted or glorified by their deeds.

In Call Out the Cadets, Sarah Kay Bierle traces the history of this important, yet smaller battle. While covering the military aspects of the battle, the book also follows the history of individuals whose lives or military careers were changed because of the fight.

New Market shined for its accounts of youth in battle, immigrant generals, and a desperate, muddy fight. Youth and veterans, generals and privates, farmers and teachers—all were called into the conflict or its aftermath of the battle, an event that changed a community, a military institute, and the very fate of the Shenandoah Valley.

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Dawn of Victory: Breakthrough at Petersburg, March 25-April 1, 1865
by Edward S. Alexander

Layout 1After the unprecedented violence of the 1864 Overland Campaign, Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant turned his gaze south of Richmond to Petersburg, where the railroads that supplied the Confederate capital and its defenders found their junction. Nine grueling months of constant maneuver and combat around the “Cockade City” followed. Massive fortifications dominated the landscape, and both armies frequently pushed each other to the brink of disaster.

As March 1865 drew to a close, Grant planned one more charge against Confederate lines.

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Determined to Stay and Fight: The Battle of Monocacy, July 9, 1864
by Ryan Quint

In early July 1864, a quickly patched together force of outnumbered Union soldiers under the command of Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace prepared for a last-ditch defense along the banks of the Monocacy River. Behind them, barely fifty miles away, lay the capital of the United States, open to attack.

Facing Wallace’s men were Lt. Gen. Jubal Early’s Confederates. In just under a month, they had cleared the Shenandoah Valley of Union soldiers and cross the Potomac River, invading the north for the third time in the war. The veterans in Early’s force could almost imagine their flags flying above the White House. A Confederate victory near Washington could be all the pro-peace platforms in the north needed to defeat Abraham Lincoln in the upcoming election.

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Don’t Give an Inch: The Second Day at Gettysburg, from Little Round Top to Cemetery Ridge, July 2, 1863
by Chris Mackowski, Kristopher D. White, and Daniel T. Davis

Layout 1July 2, 1863, was one of the Civil War’s bloodiest. With names that have become legendary—Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, the Peach Orchard, the Wheatfield—the second day at Gettysburg encompasses some of the best-known engagements of the Civil War—and the Pennsylvania landscape ran red as a result.

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Embattled Capital: A Guide to Richmond during the Civil War
by Robert M. Dunkerly and Doug Crenshaw

“On To Richmond!” cried editors for the New York Tribune in the spring of 1861. Thereafter, that call became the rallying cry for the North’s eastern armies as they marched, maneuvered, and fought their way toward the capital of the Confederacy.

Just 100 miles from Washington, DC, Richmond served as a symbol of the rebellion itself.

Richmond was home to the Confederate Congress, cabinet, president, and military leadership. And it housed not only the Confederate government but also some of the Confederacy’s most important industry and infrastructure. The city was filled with prisons, hospitals, factories, training camps, and government offices.

Through four years of war, armies battled at its doorsteps—and even penetrated its defenses.

Civilians felt the impact of war in many ways: food shortages, rising inflation, a bread riot, industrial accidents, and eventually, military occupation. To this day, the war’s legacy remains deeply written into the city and its history.

Embattled Capital: A Guide to Richmond During the Civil War by historians Doug Crenshaw and Robert M. Dunkerly tells the story of the Confederate capital before, during, and after the Civil War. This guidebook includes a comprehensive list of places to visit: the battlefields around the city, museums, historic sites, monuments, cemeteries, historical preservation groups, and more.

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Fight Like the Devil: The First Day at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863
by Chris Mackowski, Kristopher D. White, and Daniel T. Davis

Layout 1Do not bring on a general engagement, Confederate General Robert E. Lee warned his commanders. The Army of Northern Virginia, slicing its way through south-central Pennsylvania, was too spread out, too vulnerable, for a full-scale engagement with its old nemesis, the Army of the Potomac. Too much was riding on this latest Confederate invasion of the North. Too much was at stake.

As Confederate forces groped their way through the mountain passes, a chance encounter with Federal cavalry on the outskirts of a small Pennsylvania crossroads town triggered a series of events that quickly escalated beyond Lee’s—or anyone’s—control. Waves of soldiers materialized on both sides in a constantly shifting jigsaw of combat. “You will have to fight like the devil . . .” one Union cavalryman predicted.

The costliest battle in the history of the North American continent had begun.

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Grant’s Last Battle: The Story Behind The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
by Chris Mackowski

Layout 1Facing financial ruin and struggling against terminal throat cancer, Ulysses S. Grant putting pen to paper for one final campaign: an effort to write his memoirs before he died.

Filled with personal intrigues of its own and supported by a cast of colorful characters that included Mark Twain, William Vanderbilt, and P. T. Barnum, Grant’s Last Battle recounts a deeply personal story as dramatic for Grant as any of his battlefield exploits. The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant would cement his place as not only one of America’s greatest heroes but also as one of its most sublime literary voices.

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Grant’s Left Hook: The Bermuda Hundred Campaign, May 5-June 7, 1864
by Sean Michael Chick

Robert E. Lee feared the day the Union army would return up the James River and invest the Confederate capital of Richmond. In the spring of 1864, Ulysses Grant, looking for a way to weaken Lee, was about to exploit the Confederate commander’s greatest fear and weakness. After two years of futile offensives in Virginia, the Union commander set the stage for a campaign that could decide the war.

Grant sent the 38,000-man Army of The James to Bermuda Hundred, to threaten and possibly take Richmond, or at least pin down troops that could reinforce Lee. Jefferson Davis, in desperate need of a capable commander, turned to the Confederacy’s first hero: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard. Butler’s 1862 occupation of New Orleans had infuriated the South, but no one more than Beauregard, a New Orleans native.

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The Great Battle Never Fought: The Mine Run Campaign, November 26 – December 2, 1863
by Chris Mackowski

Front coverThe stakes for George Gordon Meade could not have been higher.

After his stunning victory at Gettysburg in July of 1863, the Union commander spent the following months trying to bring the Army of Northern Virginia to battle once more and finish the job. The Confederate army, robbed of much of its offensive strength, nevertheless parried Meade’s moves time after time. Although the armies remained in constant contact during those long months of cavalry clashes, quick maneuvers, and sudden skirmishes, Lee continued to frustrate Meade’s efforts.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Meade’s political enemies launched an all-out assault against his reputation and generalship. Even the very credibility of his victory at Gettysburg came under assault. Pressure mounted for the army commander to score a decisive victory and prove himself once more.

Smaller victories, like those at Bristoe Station and Rappahannock Station, did little to quell the growing clamor—particularly because out west, in Chattanooga, another Union general, Ulysses S. Grant, was once again reversing Federal misfortunes. Meade needed a comparable victory in the east.

And so, on Thanksgiving Day, 1863, the Army of the Potomac rumbled into motion once more, intent on trying again to bring about the great battle that would end the war.

The Great Battle Never Fought: The Mine Run Campaign, November 26-December 2 1863 recounts the final chapter of the forgotten fall of 1863—when George Gordon Meade made one final attempt to save the Union and, in doing so, save himself.

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Hell Itself: The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-7, 1864
by Chris Mackowski

Layout 1Soldiers called it one of the “waste places of nature” and “a region of gloom”—the Wilderness of Virginia, 70 square miles of dense, second-growth forest known as “the dark, close wood.”

“This, viewed as a battleground, was simply infernal,” a Union soldier later said. “A more unpromising theatre of war was never seen,” said another.

Yet here, in the spring of 1864, the Civil War escalated to a new level of horror.

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Hellmira: The Union’s Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp, Elmira, NY
by Derek Maxfield 

Front coverLong called by some the “Andersonville of the North,” the prisoner of war camp in Elmira, New York, is remembered as the most notorious of all Union-run POW camps. It existed for only a year—from the summer of 1864 to July 1865—but in that time, and for long after, it became darkly emblematic of man’s inhumanity to man.

Confederate prisoners called it “Hellmira.”

Hastily constructed, poorly planned, and overcrowded, prisoner of war camps North and South were dumping grounds for the refuse of war. An unfortunate necessity, both sides regarded the camps as temporary inconveniences—and distractions from the important task of winning the war. There was no need, they believed, to construct expensive shelters or provide better rations. They needed only to sustain life long enough for the war to be won. Victory would deliver prisoners from their conditions.

As a result, conditions in the prisoner of war camps amounted to a great humanitarian crisis, the extent of which could hardly be understood even after the blood stopped flowing on the battlefields.

In the years after the war, as Reconstruction became increasingly bitter, the North pointed to Camp Sumter—better known as the Andersonville POW camp in Americus, Georgia—as evidence of the cruelty and barbarity of the Confederacy. The South, in turn, cited the camp in Elmira as a place where Union authorities withheld adequate food and shelter and purposefully caused thousands to suffer in the bitter cold. This finger-pointing by both sides would go on for over a century.

And as it did, the legend of Hellmira grew.

In Hellmira: The Union’s Most Infamous Civil War Prison Camp—Elmira, NY, Derek Maxfield contextualizes the rise of prison camps during the Civil War, explores the failed exchange of prisoners, and tells the tale of the creation and evolution of the prison camp in Elmira. In the end, Maxfield suggests that it is time to move on from the blame game and see prisoner of war camps—North and South—as a great humanitarian failure.

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Hurricane from the Heavens: The Battle of Cold Harbor, May 26-June 5, 1864
by Daniel T. Davis and Phillip S. Greenwalt

HurricaneMay 1864 had witnessed near-constant combat between his Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Grant, unlike his predecessors, had not relented in his pounding of the Confederates. The armies clashed in the Wilderness and at Spotsylvania Courthouse and along the North Anna River. Whenever combat failed to break the Confederates, Grant resorted to maneuver. “I propose to fight it out along this line if it takes all summer,” Grant vowed—and it had.

The stakes had grown enormous. Grant’s staggering casualty lists had driven Northern morale to his lowest point of the war. Would Lee’s men hold on to defend their besieged capital—and, in doing so, prolong the war until Northern will collapsed entirely? Or would another round of hard fighting finally be enough to crush Lee’s army? Could Grant push through and end the war?

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The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson
by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White


May 1863. The Civil War was in its third spring, and Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas Jonathan Jackson stood at the peak of his fame. He had arisen from obscurity to become “Old Stonewall,” adored across the South and feared and respected throughout the North. On the night of May 2, however, just hours after Jackson executed the most audacious maneuver of his career and delivered a crushing blow against an unsuspecting Union army at Chancellorsville, disaster struck.

The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson recounts the events of that fateful night—considered one of the most pivotal moments of the war—and the tense vigil that ensued as Jackson struggled with a foe even he could not defeat.

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The Last Road North: A Guide to the Gettysburg Campaign, 1863
by Robert Orrison and Dan Welch

Layout 1“I thought my men were invincible,” admitted Robert E. Lee. A string of battlefield victories through 1862 had culminated in the spring of 1863 with Lee’s greatest victory yet: the battle of Chancellorsville. Propelled by the momentum of that supreme moment, confident in the abilities of his men, Lee decided to once more take the fight to the Yankees and launched this army on another invasion of the North.

An appointment with destiny awaited in the little Pennsylvania college town of Gettysburg.

Based on the Civil War Trails system, and packed with dozens of lesser-known sites related to the Gettysburg Campaign, The Last Road North: A Guide to the Gettysburg Campaign offers the ultimate Civil War road trip.

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Let Us Die Like Men: The Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864
by William Lee White

Front coverJohn Bell Hood had done his job too well. In the fall of 1864, the commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee had harassed Federal forces in north Georgia so badly that the Union commander, William T. Sherman, decided to abandon his position. During his subsequent “March to the Sea,” Sherman’s men lived off the land and made Georgia howl.

Rather than confront the larger Federal force directly, Hood chose instead to strike northward into Tennessee. There, he hoped to cripple the Federal supply infrastructure and the Federal forces that still remained there—the Army of the Cumberland under George Thomas. Hood hoped to defeat Thomas’s army in detail and force Sherman to come northward to the rescue.

On November 30, in a small country town called Franklin, Hood caught part of Thomas’s army outside of its stronghold of Nashville. But what began as a promising opportunity for the outnumbered Confederate army soon turned grim. “I do not like the looks of this fight,” one of Hood’s subordinates said; “the enemy has an excellent position and is well fortified.”

Hood was determined to root the Federals out.

“Well,” said a Confederate officer, “if we are to die, let us die like men.”

And thousands of them did. As wave after murderous wave crashed against the Federal fortifications, the Army of Tennessee shattered itself. It eventually found victory—but at a cost so bloody and so chilling, the name “Franklin” would ever after be synonymous with disaster.

Historian William Lee White, whose devotion to the Army of Tennessee has taken him from the dense forests of northwest Georgia to the gates of Atlanta and back into Tennessee, now pens the penultimate chapter in the army’s storied history in Let Us Die Like Men: The Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864.

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Lincoln Comes to Gettysburg: The Creation of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
by Bradley M. Gottfried and Linda I. Gottfried

Almost 8,000 dead dotted the fields of Gettysburg after the guns grew silent. The Confederate dead were hastily buried, but what of the Union dead? Several men hatched the idea of a new cemetery to bury and honor the Union soldiers just south of town. Their task was difficult to say the least.

As these tasks gained momentum, so too did planning for the cemetery’s consecration or dedication. A committee of agents from each state who had lost men in battle worked out the logistics. Most of the program was easily decided. It would be composed of odes, singing, prayers, and remarks by the most renowned orator in the nation, Edward Everett. The committee argued over whether President Abraham Lincoln should be invited to the ceremony and, if so, his role in the program. The committee, divided by politics, decided on a middle ground, inviting the President to provide “a few appropriate remarks.”

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A Long and Bloody Task: The Atlanta Campaign, from Dalton through Kennesaw Mountain to the Chattahooche River, May 5-July 18, 1864
by Steve Davis

Layout 1Spring of 1864 brought a whole new war to the Western Theater, with new commanders and what would become a new style of warfare. Federal armies, perched in Chattanooga, Tennessee, after their stunning victories there the previous fall, poised on the edge of Georgia for the first time in the war.

Atlanta sat in the far distance. Major General William T. Sherman, newly elevated to command the Union’s western armies, eyed it covetously?the South’s last great untouched prize. “Get into the interior of the enemy’s country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their War resources,” his superior, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, ordered.

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A Mortal Blow to the Confederacy: The Fall of New Orleans, 1862
by Mark F. Bielski

Abraham Lincoln knew if the Union could cut off shipping to and from New Orleans, the largest exporting port in the world, and control the Mississippi River, it would be a mortal blow to the Confederate economy. Union military leaders devised a secret plan to attack the city from the Gulf of Mexico with a formidable naval flotilla under one commander, David G. Farragut, a native New Orleanian.

Jefferson Davis also understood the city’s importance—but he and his military leaders remained steadfastly undecided about where the threat to the city lay, sending troops to Tennessee rather than addressing the Union forces amassing in the Gulf. In the city, Confederate General Mansfield Lovell, a new commander, was thrust into the middle and poised to become a scapegoat. He was hamstrung by conflicting orders from Richmond and lacked both proper seagoing reconnaissance and the unity of command.

In the spring of 1862, when a furious naval battle began downriver from the city at Forts Jackson and St. Philip, the joyous celebrations of Mardi Gras turned into the Easter season of dread as the sound of the distant bombardment reached New Orleans, portending an ominous outcome.

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The Most Desperate Acts of Gallantry: George A. Custer in the Civil War
by Daniel T. Davis

Front coverOn June 25, 1876, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer led the 7th U.S. Cavalry into the valley of the Little Bighorn. By sunset, Custer and five of his companies lay dead—killed in battle against Sioux and Cheyenne warriors.

Through the passage of time, Custer’s last fight has come to overshadow the rest of his military career, which had its brilliant beginning in the American Civil War.

Plucked from obscurity by Maj. Gen. George McClellan, Custer served as a staff officer through the early stages of the war. His star began to rise in late June, 1863, when he catapulted several grades to brigadier general and was given brigade command. Shortly thereafter, at Gettysburg and Buckland Mills, he led his men—the Wolverines—in some of the heaviest cavalry fighting of the Eastern Theater.

At Yellow Tavern, Custer’s assault broke the enemy line, and one of his troopers mortally wounded the legendary Confederate cavalryman, J.E.B. Stuart. At Trevilian Station, his brigade was nearly destroyed. At Third Winchester, he participated in an epic cavalry charge. Elevated to lead the Third Cavalry Division, Custer played a major role at Tom’s Brook and, later, at Appomattox, which ultimately led to the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Historian Daniel T. Davis, a long-time student of George Custer, has spent countless hours walking and studying the battlefields where Custer fought in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. In The Most Desperate Acts of Gallantry, he chronicles the Civil War experiences of one of the most recognized individuals to emerge from that tragic chapter in American history.

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No Turning Back: A Guide to the 1864 Overland Campaign, from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, May 4-June 13, 1864
by Robert M. Dunkerly, Donald C. Pfanz, and David R. Ruth

Layout 1“There will be no turning back,” said Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. It was May, 1864. The Civil War had dragged into its fourth spring. It was time to end things, Grant resolved, once and for all.

With the Union Army of the Potomac as his sledge, Grant crossed the Rapidan River, intending to draw the Army of Northern Virginia into one final battle. Short of that, he planned “to hammer continuously against the armed forces of the enemy and his resources, until by mere attrition, if no other way, there should be nothing left to him…”

Almost immediately, though, Robert E. Lee’s Confederates brought Grant to bay in the thick tangle of the Wilderness. Rather than retreat, as other army commanders had done in the past, Grant out maneuvered Lee, swinging left and south.

There was, after all, no turning back.

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Out Flew the Sabres: The Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863
 by Eric J. Wittenberg and Daniel T. Davis 

Out Flew the Sabres-coverOne day. Fourteen hours. Twelve thousand Union cavalrymen against 9,000 of their Confederate counterparts with three thousand Union infantry thrown in for good measure. Amidst the thunder of hooves and the clashing of sabers, they slugged it out across the hills and dales of Culpepper County, Virginia.

And it escalated into the largest cavalry battle ever fought on the North American continent.

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Passing Through the Fire: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in the Civil War
by Brian F. Swartz

As the brigade he commanded attacked a Confederate battery on a hill outside Petersburg in July 1864, a bursting shell blew Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain from the saddle and wounded his horse. After the enemy battery skedaddled, the brigade took the hill and dug in, and up came supporting Union guns.

Chamberlain figured the day’s fighting ended. Then an unidentified senior officer ordered his brigade to charge and capture the heavily defended main Confederate line. Chamberlain protested the order, then complied, taking his men forward—until a bullet slammed through his groin and left him mortally wounded.

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Richmond Shall Not Be Given Up: The Seven Days’ Battles, June 25-July 1, 1862
by Doug Crenshaw

In the spring of 1862, the largest army ever assembled on the North American continent landed in Virginia, on the peninsula between the James and York Rivers, and proceeded to march toward Richmond. Between that army and the capital of the Confederate States of America, an outnumbered Confederate force did all in its feeble power to resist?but all it could do was slow, not stop, the juggernaut.

To Southerners, the war, not yet a year old, looked lost. The Confederate government prepared to evacuate the city. The citizenry prepared for the worst. And then the war turned. During battle at a place called Seven Pines, an artillery shell wounded Confederate commander Gen. Joseph E. Johnston. His replacement, Gen. Robert E. Lee, stabilized the army, fended off the Federals, and then fortified the capital. “Richmond must not be given up!” he vowed, tears in his eyes. “It shall not be given up!

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A Season of Slaughter: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 8-21, 1864
by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White

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“I intend to fight it out along this line if it takes all summer,” Union commander Ulysses S. Grant wrote to Washington after he’d opened his Overland Campaign in the Spring of 1864. His resolve entirely changed the face of warfare.

Grant, the irresistible force, hammering with his overwhelming numbers and unprecedented power, versus Lee, the immovable object, hunkered down behind the most formidable defensive works yet seen on the continent—Spotsylvania Court House represents a chess match of immeasurable stakes between two master opponents.

Click here for more information on A Season of Slaughter  ·  Click here to order

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Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862
by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White

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They melted like snow on the ground, one officer said—wave after wave of Federal soldiers charging uphill across an open muddy plain. Confederates, fortified behind a stone wall along a sunken road, poured a hail of lead into them as they charged . . . and faltered . . . and died.

“I had never before seen fighting like that, nothing approaching it in terrible uproar and destruction,” said one eyewitness to the slaughter. “It is only murder now.”

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Strike Them A Blow! Battle Along the North Anna, May 21-25, 1864
by Chris Mackowski

Layout 1For sixteen days the armies had grappled—a grueling horror-show of nonstop battle, march, and maneuver that stretched through May of 1864. Federal commander Ulysses S. Grant had resolved to destroy his Confederate adversaries through attrition if by no other means. He would just keep at them until he used them up.

Meanwhile, Grant’s Confederate counterpart, Robert E. Lee, looked for an opportunity to regain the offensive initiative. “We must strike them a blow,” he told his lieutenants.

The toll on both armies was staggering.

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That Field of Blood: The Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862
by Daniel J. Vermilya

September 17, 1862—one of the most consequential days in the history of the United States—was a moment in time when the future of the country could have veered in two starkly different directions.

The fighting near Sharpsburg, Maryland, that day would change the course of American history, but in the process, it became the costliest day this nation has ever known, with more than 23,000 men falling as casualties.

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That Furious Struggle: Chancellorsville and the High Tide of the Confederacy, May 1-4, 1863
by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White

Layout 1It has been called Robert E. Lee’s supreme moment: riding into the Chancellorsville clearing . . . the mansion itself aflame in the background . . . his gunpowder-smeared soldiers crowding around him, hats off, cheering wildly.

After one of the most audacious gambits of the war, Lee and his men had defeated a foe more than two and half times their size. The Federal commander, “Fighting Joe” Hooker, had boasted days earlier that his plans were perfect—yet his army had crumbled, and Hooker himself had literally been knocked senseless.

History would remember the battle of Chancellorsville as “Lee’s Greatest Victory.”

But Confederate fortunes had reached their high tide.

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To the Bitter End: Appomattox, Bennett Place, and the Surrenders of the Confederacy
by Robert M. Dunkerly

Layout 1Across the Confederacy, determination remained high through the winter of 1864 into the new year. Yet ominous signs were everywhere. The peace conference had failed. Large areas were overrun, the armies could not stop Union advances, the economy was in shambles, and industry and infrastructure were crumbling—the Confederacy could not make, move, or maintain anything. No one knew what the future held, but uncertainty.

Collectively and individually, civilians and soldiers, generals and governors, resolved to fight to the bitter end.

Click here for more information on To the Bitter End.

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To Hazard All: A Guide to the 1862 Maryland Campaign
by Rob Orrison & Kevin R. Pawlak

Front coverConfederate armies advanced across a thousand mile front in the summer of 1862. The world watched anxiously—could the Confederacy achieve its independence?

Reacting to the Army of Northern Virginia’s trek across the Potomac River, George B. McClellan gathered the broken and scattered remnants of several Federal armies within Washington, D. C. to repel the invasion and expel the Confederates from Maryland. “Everything seems to indicate that they intend to hazard all upon the issue of the coming battle,” he said of the invading force.

Historians Robert Orrison and Kevin Pawlak trace the routes both armies traveled during the Maryland Campaign, ultimately coming to a climactic blow on the banks of Antietam Creek. That clash on September 17, 1862, to this day remains the bloodiest single day in American history.

Click here for more information on To Hazard All.

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Traces of the Bloody Struggle: The Civil War at Stevenson Ridge, Spotsylvania Courthouse
by Chris Mackowski

As the 1864 Overland Campaign shifted from the Wilderness toward Spotsylvania Court House, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee successfully bottlenecked the Federal army just outside the village. Undeterred, Union commander Ulysses S. Grant sent part of his forces on a wide flanking maneuver to attack Confederates from the east. Lee scrambled to block them.

Thus the Civil War came to the property now known as Stevenson Ridge.

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Unlike Anything that Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8 – 9, 1862 by Dwight Sturtevant Hughes

“Ironclad against ironclad, we maneuvered about the bay here and went at each other with mutual fierceness,” reported Chief Engineer Alban Stimers following that momentous engagement between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (ex USS Merrimack) in Hampton Roads, Sunday, March 9, 1862.

The day before, the Rebel ram had obliterated two powerful Union warships and was poised to destroy more. That night, the revolutionary—not to say bizarre—Monitor slipped into harbor after hurrying down from New York through fierce gales that almost sank her. These metal monstrosities dueled in the morning, pounding away for hours with little damage to either. Who won is still debated.

One Vermont reporter could hardly find words for Monitor: “It is in fact unlike anything that ever floated on Neptune’s bosom.” The little vessel became an icon of American industrial ingenuity and strength. She redefined the relationship between men and machines in war. But beforehand, many feared she would not float. Captain John L. Worden: “Here was an unknown, untried vessel…an iron coffin-like ship of which the gloomiest predictions were made.”

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A Want of Vigilance: The Bristoe Station Campaign, October 9 – 19, 1863
by Bill Backus and Robert Orrison

Vigilance-coverThe months after Gettysburg had hardly been quiet—filled with skirmishes, cavalry clashes, and plenty of marching. Nonetheless, the Union commander, Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade, had yet to come to serious blows with his Confederate counterpart, Gen. Robert E. Lee.

“Lee is undoubtedly bullying you,” one of Meade’s superiors goaded.

Lee’s army—severely bloodied at Gettysburg—did not quite have the offensive capability it once possessed, yet Lee’s aggressive nature could not be quelled. He looked for the chance to strike out at Meade.

In mid-October, 1863, both men shifted their armies into motion.

Click here for more information on A Want of Vigilance.

15 Responses to Emerging Civil War Series

  1. Pingback: BOOK REVIEW: “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson” | Civil War Diary

  2. Sylvia says:

    Is there a list of the entire series? I would like to begin purchasing them from the first book.

    • • Grant’s Last Battle: The Story Behind the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant by Chris Mackowski (July 2015)
      • Strike Them a Blow: Battle Along the North Anna River, May 21-May 26, 1884 by Chris Mackowski (June 2015)
      • Fight Like the Devil: The First Day at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863 by Chris Mackowski, Kristopher D. White, and Daniel T. Davis (April 2015)
      • To the Bitter End: Appomattox, Bennett Place, and the Surrenders of the Confederacy by Robert M. Dunkerly (March 2015)
      • Dawn of Victory: Breakthrough at Petersburg, March 25-April 2, 1865 by Edward S. Alexander (March 2015)
      • Calamity in Carolina: The Battles of Averasboro and Bentonville, March 1865 by Daniel T. Davis and Phillip S. Greenwalt (March 2015)
      • That Furious Struggle: Chancellorsville and the High Tide of the Confederacy, May 1-5, 1863 by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White (August 2014)—Now in a second edition
      • Hurricane from the Heavens: The Battle of Cold Harbor, May 26-June 5, 1864 by Daniel T. Davis and Phillip S. Greenwalt (April 2014)—Now going into a second edition
      • No Turning Back: A Guide to the 1864 Overland Campaign by Robert M. Dunkerly, Donald C. Pfanz, and David R. Ruth (April 2014)—Now in a second printing
      • Bloody Autumn: The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 by Daniel T. Davis and Phillip S. Greenwalt (Fall 2013)—Now in a second edition
      • Bushwhacking on a Grand Scale: The Battle of Chickamauga, Sept. 18-20, 1863 by William Lee White (Sept. 2013) —Now going into a second edition
      • A Season of Slaughter: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 8-21, 1864 by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White (May 2013)—Now in a second edition
      • The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson: The Mortal Wounding of the Confederacy’s Greatest Icon by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White (May 2013)—Now in a second edition
      • Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862 by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White (December 2012)—Now in a second edition

      • Thomas Place says:

        Thank you Chris Great in the museum . is there a non profit rate ?
        Tom Place
        Echos Though Time

  3. Pingback: A Season of Slaughter | Student of the American Civil War

  4. Pingback: Civil War Book Review: Dawn of Victory: Breakthrough at Petersburg, March 25-April 2, 1865 — TOCWOC - A Civil War Blog

  5. pde21 says:

    What books research etc would you recommend to help me understand what events and circumstances caused the Civil War? I have been reading “The Impending Crisis, America before the Civil War 1848 to1861”, by David M Potter.

    • William Baltz says:

      A Disease of the Public Mind by Thomas Fleming (2014). An even-handed account of how when the extremes of an argument dominate the narrative conflict replaces resolution. Addresses the history of the slavery in the in the New World while exploring the politics, morality and economics of the Peculiar Institution. Well-researched, readable, most importantly not agenda-driven thesis. Though certainly not a definitive work, it certainly is a worthwhile and honest offering of the complex issue and its contributions to the Civil War.

  6. rarerootbeer says:

    This is a great Civil War series. All that is missing is root beer.

  7. Kathleen Riley says:

    Dr. Mackowski: I recently visited Gettysburg and purchased “Fight Like the Devil” and “Don’t Give an Inch” from the Historian’s book store. I noticed these books chronicle the first 2 days of fighting and wonder if there is a final volume on the third day. I am half-way through General Grant’s memoirs. It’s a bit of a tough slog but very detailed. Thank you.

    • Bill Price says:

      Yes, Kathleen, there is. A good book to study the 3rd day is “The Third Day at Gettysburg and Beyond” by Dr.Gary W.Gallagher. There is also a good text by Harry Pfanz, “Gettysburg: Culp’s Hill & Cemetary Hill” about day 3. Enjoy.

  8. Patrick Sullivan says:

    Can you just subscribe to the whole series

  9. kenneth dahl says:

    Is “Stay and Fight it out” still in the works? is there a timetable for release?

    thanks great series

  10. William T. Anderson says:

    What book covers Sailor’s Creek?

  11. Will there be an issue of the footnotes for “Mortal Blow to the Confederacy”?

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