Great Civil War Heroes and Their Battles

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9780789210647: Great Civil War Heroes and Their Battles

Dramatic biographies of fifty famous generals and admirals of the Union and Confederacy, with full-color portraits.

Exciting illustrations of nearly seventy important battles, including the complete series of Kurz and Allison prints.

Informative chronology of significant events illustrated with authentic documents.

Accurate full-page maps show the location of every momentous battle of the Civil War.

Official uniforms with rank and grade insignia and buttons.

Authentic drawings of all the major weaponry including muskets, rifles, revolvers, swords, and artillery.

And more!

In this beautifully produced compilation are the biographies of fifty famed commanders from both the Union and the Confederacy, accompanied by lifelike portraits and more than seventy full-color and duotone full-page battle scenes, including images from Currier & Ives and the treasured Kurz and Allison series. This highly anticipated commemorative edition brings a classic American history book back in stock for the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War on April 12, 1861.

The biographies and captions in this indispensable collector’s item are derived from nineteenth-century publications written for a popular audience when many Civil War heroes were still alive, and they contain fascinating first-person narratives and anecdotes that might not otherwise have survived. The heroes’ two thousand word histories are supplemented with separate lists of their important battles, independent commands, and dates of rank, to aid the reader in following a general’s career.

Each exciting battle picture is presented in proper chronological order, identified by the names both sides used, and shows its correct date. The essential maps indicate the sites of all important engagements, and carefully selected illustrations from official atlases and ordnance manuals help the reader identify the major sidearms and field weapons pictured, as well as uniforms and insignia. Colorful vignettes and patriotic drawings taken from troops’ writing paper and envelopes complete this enriching volume a must-have for history buffs on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

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About the Author:

Walton Rawls is the author of several books in the field of American popular culture, most notably Abbeville’s The Great Book of Currier & Ives' America (which The New York Times Book Review designated . . . a definitive presentation.”) and Wake Up, America!: World War I and the American Poster (which Americana magazine called ". . . a totally original way to document a dynamic period in our history.") His Great Civil War Heroes and their Battles was an Alternate Selection of Book-of-the-Month Club. He’s also the author of Disney Dons Dogtags: The Best of Disney Military Insignia from World War II. Trained at Harvard in American history and literature, Rawls was a contributor to the Oxford Companion to American Military History, and is a member of Atlanta’s Civil War Round Table.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

PREFACE

At the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, General Robert E. Lee watched in wonder as General Ambrose Burnside threw one futile attack after another against Confederate breastworks built into the natural advantage of a sunken roadway. Before the day was out, more than 12,000 Union soldiers lay dead or dying upon that battlefield. The sheer futility of Burnside’s repeated assaults was underscored by Federal General Francis Palfrey: The distance the Union troops had to march in attack was 1,700 yards, exposed to a murderous fire of musketry and artillery, without being able to return a single effective shot.” Confederate General James Longstreet later commented on what he had witnessed: A series of braver, more desperate charges than those hurled against the troops in the sunken road was never known, and the piles and cross-piles of dead marked a field such as I never saw before or since.” As General Lee so gravely observed that day, It is well that war is so terrible or we should grow too fond of it.
But how could anyone grow fond of a war that killed or seriously wounded well over a million of the country’s ablest youth North and South? And yet, today, many thousands of Americans young and old, male and female, are consumed by a passion for the Civil War as dedicated members of countless military units reenacting famous battles and at hundreds of Civil War Round Tables sharing a common interest in learning more and more about this fascinating conflict.
Soon after the Confederate surrender, groups were mobilized to aid the surviving veterans materially and emotionally and to offer comradeship in their adjustment to peace. On the Northern side there was the Grand Army of the Republic. And amongst the earliest similar organizations in the South was the Confederate Survivors Association, which, along with other local and regional entities, was to be sheltered beneath the United Confederate Veterans umbrella. The ladies of both sides dedicated themselves to tending the final resting place of sons, brothers, and husbands.
By 1875 much of the residual bitterness in survivors’ hearts was ebbing away. Even General William T. Sherman, who made Georgia howl” in his scorched-earth March to the Sea, now admitted that he felt kindly toward all Southern generals.” Indeed, many of them had been old friends from West Point. Most of the aging troopers were to concede that their former foes also had fought honorably and bravely in the great battles of their youth, and, to help reunite their country, they should all commemorate jointly their military service and their sacrifice. But, for their first bivouac together, the veterans chose to meet at Bunker Hill, where in a great battle just a century earlier it was a common enemy their country had faced. In 1913, for the 50th anniversary of the decisive Battle of Gettysburg, more than 50,000 old soldiers from both sides came together for a combined reunion sponsored by the Grand Army of the Republic and the United Confederate Veterans. The old men camped out adjacent to where General George Pickett’s brave soldiers made their historic Charge, and they now walked arm-in-arm up Cemetery Ridge to pause at the Angle in the low stone wall where the Confederacy had reached its high-water mark.” Subsequent reunions were to muster fewer and fewer of the aged veterans, but, increasingly, their places were taken by authentically outfitted enthusiasts who restaged many of the battle’s memorable scenes. For the 135th anniversary of Gettysburg, there were 30-40,000 of these reenactors” in the field. And ever since, the drama of their engagements has been a significant feature of many a Civil War anniversary.
General Sherman was the first major figure of the war to publish his Memoirs, his recollections of events,” but many another old soldier was to recollect events differently. In a first critical riposte, the author of Sherman’s Historical Raid: The Memoirs in the Light of the Record declared: Our erratic General thrusts his pen recklessly through reputations.” Of course, all of this had to be sorted out carefully for posterity, and thus was launched an extensive bibliography that in 150 years has grown to more than 65,000 volumes on every aspect of the Civil War, with about 2,000 books currently in print.
In 1880, Uncle Billy” Sherman addressed a GAR gathering of good old boys,” and famously told them this: There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell.” He strongly urged them to bear this warning voice to generations to come,” but in this last campaign General Sherman fought a losing battle. To Americans proudly commemorating their Civil War’s Sesquicentennial, this was a war that is now all glory.

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