Kirk Mitchell Fredericksburg

ISBN 13: 9780743458276

Fredericksburg

4.25 avg rating
( 20 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780743458276: Fredericksburg

This is a riveting account of one of the bloodiest days in the Civil War! It is a gritty, historically accurate novel of the brutal fight for a lone stone wall along Marye's Heights, and it is the chronicle of six Irish-Americans, revealing their sufferings and aspirations in both the Old World and the New World as they pass through the shock of combat and the fog of war. But beyond that, Fredericksburg is a microcosm of the Civil War, bringing to awful light the reality of war between brothers.

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Review:

Fredericksburg works as a chronicle of battle, life and belief during those times. Tyrrell checked the colors. Shredded but still billowing off the pole. Must find someone trustworthy to take them, should he pass out. His vision had turned gray, and his thigh was beginning to throb with breathtaking pain, keeping time with the runaway beats of his heart. He was slipping under, he realized, Dying even. Frantically, he thought of McCarter as the man to take the flag, and he looked that way again. But the clerk now appeared to be dead or unconscious, jaw slack, face soft and childlike. He'd bunched his blanket against the top of his head as if to deflect enemy balls. The breeze lifted his cape over his cap, then smoothed it down again. Tyrell felt the staff break in two.

The colors began floating down, spreading over him like a striped canopy. He was reaching out to catch the flag when he was knocked backward. Still clawing for the tumbling silk as he fell, he saw a red mist envelope his left hand. He tried to raise his right arm, but it refused to move.~

Blackness sifted down around him. He saw nothing but could still hear the cannon and musketry as clearly as ever. Indians. He could also hear Indians whooping. -- Rock Hills, South Carolina Herald, 3/10/96

Kirk Mitchell uses the story of that dismal battle to fashion a fine historical novel, one that adds to the ever-growing shelf of Civil War literature.

Fredericksburg will no doubt be compared to Michael Shaara's classic, The Killer Angels, and while this book may not quite reach that level, it is still very high quality goods. And where Shaara told the story of Gettysburg through eyes and thoughts of the commanders, Mitchell takes his readers into the minds of a special class of ordinary soldiers and junior officers. There is an elegiac note to this book. Perfectly appropriate to the people and the events it so vividly describes. -- American Way, Feb. 15, 1996, Amer. Airlines In-flight Magazine

The Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., in 1862 was the Union's most costly and humiliating defeat of the Civil War. -- Publisher's Weekly, Jan. 22, 1996

From Kirkus Reviews:

An impressive addition to the list of recent, grimly realistic (and well-researched) novels about the Civil War. Mitchell (Shadow on the Valley, 1994, etc.) gives one of the most venerable clich‚s of the conflict (brother vs. brother) new life by focusing on one the war's less well-known ironies. On December 13, 1862, at the battle of Fredericksburg, Confederate and Union regiments composed largely of Irish emigrants came face to face for the first time. The resulting slaughter demonstrated to both sides how little the old identities they had clung to in America now meant. They shared, after all, bitter memories of the Great Famine of the 1840s in Ireland, and of their long struggle to make a place for themselves in a new country. They also shared a belief that one day they would somehow unite to oust the British from Ireland. Yet suddenly none of that mattered. At Fredericksburg, the blithely incompetent commander of the Union Army, Ambrose Burnside, sent his troops against an almost impregnable Confederate line. In a pivotal moment in the novel, Irish troops serving with the Confederates cheer when they see the Union's Irish regiments, identified by the banners, advancing. They are moved to joy by the sight of so many Irishmen in arms, stepping forward with such cool discipline. And then they open fire. In a series of six doomed charges, the Irish regiments were destroyed by their kinsmen. Mitchell, in a work reminiscent of such Civil War novels as The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara, and The Crater, by Richard Slotkin, traces the moment-by-moment flow of the battle; deftly weaves together historical and fictional characters; and renders with conviction the horrific experience of battle. In catching the moment when men discovered how the war had swept away their old lives, Mitchell offers an apt metaphor for the way in which that conflict dissolved and reshaped America's identity. A highly original work of historical fiction. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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