“One thing is certain of this campaign thus far, and that is that more blood has been shed, more lives lost, and more human suffering undergone, than ever before in a season.”
— Dr. Daniel Holt, 121st New York Infantry
A Season of Slaughter: The Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, May 8-21, 1864
by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White
“[A] wonderful book for anyone interested in learning about the fighting around Spotsylvania Court House or who would like to tour the area. It is well written, easy to read, and well worth the price.” — Civil War News
an “insightful examination of the campaign’s context” — Civil War Times
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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.
Promoted to command of all the Federal armies, the new lieutenant general chose to ride shotgun with the Army of the Potomac as it once again threw itself against the wily, audacious Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia. But Grant did something no one else had done before: he threw his army at Lee, over and over again.
At Spotsylvania Court House, the second phase of the campaign, the two armies shifted from stalemate in the Wilderness to slugfest in the mud. Most commonly known for the horrific twenty-two-hour hand-to-hand combat in the pouring rain at the Bloody Angle, the battle of Spotsylvania Court House actually stretched from May 8-21, 1864, fourteen long days of battle and maneuver.
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. This clash is detailed in A Season of Slaughter: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 8-21,1864.
As former battlefield guides at Spotsylvania Court House, authors Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White know the ground as intimately as anyone today. With the knowledge and insight that comes from that familiarity, coupled with their command of the fact, Mackowski and White weave together a gripping narrative of one of the war’s most consequential engagements.
A Season of Slaughter is part of the new Emerging Civil War Series offering compelling, easy-to-read overviews of some of the Civil War’s most important stories. The masterful storytelling is richly enhanced with hundreds of photos, illustrations, and maps.
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A Season of Slaughter also includes:
- Appendix A: The Battle of Yellow Tavern by Daniel T. Davis
- Appendix B: Civilians on The Battlefield by Kathleen Logothetis
- Appendix C: A History of The Battlefield by John F. Cummings III
- Appendix D: Spotsylvania in Memory by Chris Mackowski
- Order of Battle for Spotsylvania Court House
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About the Authors:
Chris Mackowski is a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York, and works with the National Park Service at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Kristopher D. White is a historian for the Penn-Trafford Recreation Board, served as a staff military historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, and is a former Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg. Mackowski and White have co-authored several books, including Chancellorsville’s Forgotten Front: The Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church, May 3, 1863 and Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, and co-founded the blog Emerging Civil War, which can be read at http://www.emergingcivilwar.com.