Born in Virginia, Thomas survived Nat Turner's rebellion as a boy, then studied at West Point, where Sherman was a classmate. Thomas distinguished himself in the Mexican War and then returned to West Point as an instructor. When the Civil War broke out, Thomas remained loyal to the Union, unlike fellow Virginia-born officer Robert E. Lee (among others). He compiled an outstanding record as an officer in battles at Mill Springs, Perryville, and Stones River. At the Battle of Chickamauga, Thomas, at the time a corps commander, held the center of the Union line under a ferocious assault, then rallied the troops on Horseshoe Ridge to prevent a Confederate rout of the Union army. His extraordinary performance there earned him the nickname "The Rock of Chickamauga."
Promoted to command of the Army of the Cumberland, he led his army in a stunning Union victory at the Battle of Chattanooga. Thomas supported Sherman on his march through Georgia in the spring of 1864, winning an important victory at the Battle of Peachtree Creek. As Sherman continued on his March to the Sea, Thomas returned to Tennessee and in the battle of Nashville destroyed the army of Confederate General John Bell Hood. It was one of the most decisive victories of the war, and Thomas won it even as Grant was on his way to remove Thomas from his command. (When Grant discovered the magnitude of Thomas's victory, he quickly changed his mind.) Thomas died of a stroke in 1870 while still on active duty. In the entire Civil War, he never lost a battle or a movement.
Throughout his career, Thomas was methodical and careful, and always prepared. Unlike Grant at Shiloh, he was never surprised by an enemy. Unlike Sherman, he never panicked in battle but always remained calm and focused. He was derided by both men as "Slow Trot Thomas," but as Bobrick shows in this brilliant biography, he was quick to analyze every situation and always knew what to do and when to do it. He was not colorful like Grant and Sherman, but he was widely admired by his peers, and some, such as Grant's favorite cavalry commander, General James H. Wilson, thought Thomas the peer of any general in either army. He was the only Union commander to destroy two Confederate armies in the field.
Although historians of the Civil War have always regarded Thomas highly, he has never captured the public imagination, perhaps because he has lacked an outstanding biographer -- until now. This informed, judicious, and lucid biography at last gives Thomas his due.
The legacy of General Nathan Bedford Forrest is deeply divisive. Best known for being accused of war crimes at the Battle of Fort Pillow and for his role as first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan—an organization he later denounced—Forrest has often been studied as a military figure, but never before studied as a fascinating individual who wrestled with the complex issues of his violent times. Bust Hell Wide Open is a comprehensive portrait of Nathan Bedford Forrest as a man: his achievements, failings, reflections, and regrets.
The Civil War in Mississippi: Major Campaigns and Battles will be a must-read for any Mississippian or Civil War buff who wants the complete story of the Civil War in Mississippi. It discusses the key military engagements in chronological order. It begins with a prologue covering mobilization and other events leading up to the first military action within the state’s borders. The book then covers all of the major military operations, including the campaign for and siege of Vicksburg, and battles at Iuka and Corinth, Meridian, Brice’s Crossroads, and Tupelo. The colorful cast of characters includes such household names as Sherman, Grant, Pemberton, and Forrest, as well as a host of other commanders and soldiers. Author Michael B. Ballard discusses at length minority troops and others glossed over or lost in studies of the Mississippi military during the war.
This work, with a thought-provoking introduction exploring the true causes of the war, traces the entire story of the conflict in a concise monthly summary. In addition to all the major events that shaped the war, key facts that have disappeared from most mainstream texts are also included, such as:
• Both Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis lost young sons during the war • The legendary Robert E. Lee faced intense southern criticism for military failures in the war’s first year
• U.S. forces battled the Sioux Indians during the war, leading to the largest mass execution in American history
• A former Ohio congressman was banished to the South by Lincoln for opposing the war
Facts are explored and myths are exposed as the conflict is put in its proper chronological perspective. For anyone seeking a general resource guide to the seminal event in American history, this is required reading.
Forrest, a man of simple upbringing, is the perfect symbol for the odd mélange that was the Confederate Army; patrician West Pointers like Lee side by side by unregenerate racists like Forrest. These well-bred students of battles and from the classical era were not prevented by an almost unimaginable difference in class from being able to recognize the tactical genius of a farmer from the low country...
That any scholar of this history of warfare would have to judge Forrest rather more harshly for his conduct after the war than this conduct during it is just another tragic aspect of the larger tragedy that generated The War Between the States. Heroes rose from unlikely places and returned, when the time for heroism had past, to their more unheroic pursuits. Whether than return negates the valor shown during the conflict is only for you to determine, after you have learned of Forrest’s life in all its aspects, heroic, and less so.
Shrouds of Glory brings the reader into the general's tent, where Grant, Sherman, Lee, and others plot out their often unorthodox strategies for winning the war. At its center is the courageous but reckless Hood, prematurely thrust into the spotlight by a combination of destiny and fate. We witness the unlikely rise of this young Confederate, who graduated 44th out of a class of 52 at West Point, as he overcomes a nearly fatal amputation of his shattered leg and eventually devises a strategy to turn the tide of the war. From the fall of Atlanta, during which Hood assumed command, to the eventual decimation of his troops on the outskirts of Nashville, Groom presents Gen Hood and his nemeses--Union generals Sherman, Schofield, and Thomas--on their bizarre cat-and-mouse chase through Georgia and Tennessee to the horrors of the heroic charge at Franklin, where five Confederate generals died and the great Confederate army of of Tennessee marched into legend.
Weaving eyewitness accounts, journal entries, military communiques, and newspaper headlines with his own straightforward narrative style, Groom constructs a meticulous and atmospheric re-creation of the war— especially the charged battlefields where general and foot soldier alike were thrown into the fray. Groom paints vivid portraits of the major players in the conflict, revealing the character, the faults, the emotions, and most of all the doubts that molded the course of the war.