In this first full consideration of the remarkable Union army that effectively won the Civil War, historian Steven Woodworth tells the engrossing story of its victory by drawing on letters, diaries, and newspaper accounts of the time. The Army of the Tennessee operated in the Mississippi River Valley through the first half of the Civil War, ...
In this first full consideration of the remarkable Union army that effectively won the Civil War, historian Steven Woodworth tells the engrossing story of its victory by drawing on letters, diaries, and newspaper accounts of the time. The Army of the Tennessee operated in the Mississippi River Valley through the first half of the Civil War, winning major victories at the Confederate strongholds of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and Vicksburg. The army was created at Cairo, Illinois, in the summer of 1861 and took shape under the firm hand of Ulysses S. Grant, who molded it into a hard-hitting, self-reliant fighting machine. Woodworth takes us to its winter 1863 encampment in the Louisiana swamps, where the soldiers suffered disease, hardship, and thousands of deaths. And we see how the force emerged from that experience even tougher and more aggressive than before. With the decisive victory at Vicksburg, the Army of the Tennessee had taken control of the Mississippi away from the Confederates and could swing east to aid other Union troops in a grand rolling up of Rebel defenses. It did so with a confidence born of repeated success, even against numerical odds, leading one of its soldiers to remark that he and his comrades expected "nothing but victory." The Army of the Tennessee contributed to the Union triumph at Chattanooga in the fall of 1863 and then became part of William Tecumseh Sherman's combined force in the following summer's march to Atlanta. In the complicated maneuvering of that campaign, Sherman referred to the army as his whiplash and used it whenever fast marching and arduous fighting were especially needed. Just outside Atlanta, it absorbed theConfederacy's heaviest counterblow and experienced its hardest single day of combat. Thereafter, it continued as part of Sherman's corps in his March to the Sea and his campaign through the Carolinas. The story of this army is one of perseverance in the face of difficulty, courage amid severe trials, resolute lessons in fighting taught by equally courageous foes, and the determination of a generation of young men to see a righteous cause all the way through to victory. "Nothing but Victory" is an important addition to the literature of the Civil War.
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-09-05 The Union's military effort in the first half of the Civil War remains essentially defined by the Army of the Potomac: earnest and willing, but consistently outfought and outgeneraled. A similar image accompanies the Army of the Cumberland, the second most familiar Union field army. But in the Mississippi Valley, the North developed an army that defeated all comers from Shiloh to Savannah, participated in the war's decisive battles from Fort Donelson through Vicksburg to Atlanta, and raised some of the war's finest generals. Until now, the Army of the Tennessee has been relatively neglected-perhaps because it fails to fit the Union stereotype of triumphing by force rather than finesse. Woodworth, a historian at Texas Christian University who has written several books on the Civil War (Beneath a Northern Sky; A Scythe of Fire; etc.), corrects this oversight in what is arguably the best one-volume history written to date of a Civil War field army. Combining impeccable scholarship and comfortable style, Woodworth describes a force whose tone was set by volunteer regiments from the farms and small towns of the Mississippi Valley: Iowa, Illinois, Missouri. Already accustomed to hard work and rough living, these men readily learned how to march and fight. Though Woodworth credits the army's unique combination of steadiness and aggressiveness to its first commander, Ulysses S. Grant, he details how the Army of the Tennessee learned war from other masters as well: West Point graduates, like William Sherman and James McPherson; civilian corps commanders, like "Black Jack" Logan and Frank Blair; and hundreds of field and company officers who learned their craft on the job and who led by example rather than by order. They made the Army of the Tennessee the Union's whiplash in the West and one of the three or four most formidable large formations in America's military history. (Oct. 28) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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