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The bloody and decisive two-day battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) changed the entire course of the American Civil War. The stunning Northern victory ...Show synopsisThe bloody and decisive two-day battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) changed the entire course of the American Civil War. The stunning Northern victory thrust Union commander Ulysses S. Grant into the national spotlight, claimed the life of Confederate commander Albert S. Johnston, and forever buried the notion that the Civil War would be a short conflict. The conflagration at Shiloh had its roots in the strong Union advance during the winter of 1861-1862 that resulted in the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson in Tennessee. The offensive collapsed General Albert S. Johnston advanced line in Kentucky and forced him to withdraw all the way to northern Mississippi. Anxious to attack the enemy, Johnston began concentrating Southern forces at Corinth, a major railroad center just below the Tennessee border. His bold plan called for his Army of the Mississippi to march north and destroy General Grant's Army of the Tennessee before it could link up with another Union army on the way to join him. On the morning of April 6, Johnston boasted to his subordinates, "Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee!" They nearly did so. Johnston's sweeping attack hit the unsuspecting Federal camps at Pittsburg Landing and routed the enemy from position after position as they fell back toward the Tennessee River. Johnston's sudden death in the Peach Orchard, however, coupled with stubborn Federal resistance, widespread confusion, and Grant's dogged determination to hold the field, saved the Union army from destruction. The arrival of General Don C. Buell's reinforcements that night turned the tide of battle. The next day, Grant seized the initiative and attacked the Confederates, driving them from the field. Shiloh was one of the bloodiest battles of the entire war, with nearly 24,000 men killed, wounded, and missing. Edward Cunningham, a young Ph.D. candidate studying under the legendary T. Harry Williams at Louisiana State University, researched and wrote Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 in 1966. Although it remained unpublished, many Shiloh experts and park rangers consider it to be the best overall examination of the battle ever written. Indeed, Shiloh historiography is just now catching up with Cunningham, who was decades ahead of modern scholarship. Western Civil War historians Gary D. Joiner and Timothy B. Smith have resurrected Cunningham's beautifully written and deeply researched manuscript from its undeserved obscurity. Fully edited and richly annotated with updated citations and observations, original maps, and a complete order of battle and table of losses, Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 will be welcomed by everyone who enjoys battle history at its finest. Edward Cunningham, Ph.D., studied under T. Harry Williams at Louisiana State University. He was the author of The Port Hudson Campaign: 1862-1863 (LSU, 1963). Dr. Cunningham died in 1997. Gary D. Joiner, Ph.D. is the author of One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864, winner of the 2004 Albert Castel Award and the 2005 A. M. Pate, Jr., Award, and Through the Howling Wilderness: The 1864 Red River Campaign and Union Failure in the West. He lives in Shreveport, Louisiana.returncharacterreturncharacterTimothy B. Smith, Ph.D., is author of Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg (winner of the 2004 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Non-fiction Award), The Untold Story of Shiloh: The Battle and the Battlefield, and This Great Battlefield of Shiloh: History, Memory, and the Establishment of a Civil War National Military Park. A former ranger at Shiloh, Tim teaches history at the University of Tennessee.returncharacterreturncharacter returncharacterreturncharacter REVIEWS returncharacterreturncharacter"With their sparkling introductory essay, editors Gary Joiner and Timothy Smith give readers ample reason to want to read O.Edward Sullivan's 1966 dissertation....Anyone with a serious interest in the early Western theater campaHide synopsis
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Reviews of Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862
Having not read another book on the Battle of Shiloh, I can't comment on whether this work is better or more important than previous work on the subject. I am very surprised that only four books have been written before. The fact that this is a previously unpublished dissertation which experts adjudge to be the most important and complete work on the battle surprised me even more. The editors of the book, Gary Joiner and Timothy Smith, have made a few changes to the original text, and are very careful to explain every significant change they have made. The maps (by Gary Joiner) are quite good, although they do give a strong impression of being made with computer software not completely familiar to the user. I would have liked more detail on the units involved though. I would say that, while not quite up to the standard I normally expect from Savas Beatie, they're still superior to the maps you usually find. Cunningham begins by giving us some in-depth background to the campaign, not a background to the war, but serious arguments as to why both sides were eager to control the Mississipi and its tributaries, the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Coming up to the battle, attention is given to the intentions and concerns (or lack of concern) of the generals. Here where so many authors might have planted a flagpole on the pro/con-Grant argument, Cunningham allows the participants actions and words to speak for themselves. So too, serious amounts of ink are spilled in discussing the respective experience of both armies and their generals. When we get to the battle itself, several things become clear; Cunningham has walked the ground, and has poured through the primary sources. He is very careful in analysing exactly what (insofar as is possible in this chaotic battle) occured in all sections of the battlefield. While other historians have apparently spent a lot of time on one particular facet of the battle, Cunningham applies an even hand, and it is obvious, though never explicit, that he thinks the chaos of the battle is its most significant aspect. He finished with a careful, though short, appraisal of the Corinth operation which followed. I would have hoped for more explicit summation of why the battle went the way it did, and some weighing of generals' performance on each side. That said, I would recommend this book easily.
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