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The Nature and Consequences of Civil War Combat
Edited by Kent Gramm
University of Alabama Press, 2008
A collection of essays that reveals the reality of war behind the pageantry of the American Civil War

“In our youth, our hearts were touched with fire,” wrote Oliver Wendell Holmes of his generation’s Civil War days. Through the ages, war stories have gleamed with romantic glory, and American memories of the cataclysmic Civil War inspire pageantry and poetry even today.

The essays in Battle form a corrective to such celebratory histories by examining the lethal realities of Civil War combat—Enlightenment science applied to the creation of weapons that maimed and killed, which far outpaced advances in diet, sanitation, and medical treatment. The book reveals that behind the drums and trumpets, sashes and swords, the armies of the Union and Confederacy alike were haunted by fear, pain, and death.

The collection includes an introduction and afterword by editor Kent Gramm, who also contributes an essay titled “Numbers” that reveals the war in statistics. Paul Fussell contributes a powerful essay titled “The Culture of War.” D. Scott Hartwig examines the face of battle at Gettysburg. Bruce A. Evans discusses medical technology in “Wounds, Death, and Medical Care in the Civil War.” Eric T. Dean challenges the meanings and consequences of combat in “The Awful Shock and Rage of Battle.” The collection is rounded out by Alan T. Nolan’s masterful review of the national consequences of battle and the resultant myth of the Confederacy’s Lost Cause.

front cover of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Volume 5
Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Volume 5
Edited by Peter Cozzens
University of Illinois Press, 2001

Indispensable must-reads for all Civil War buffs and historians, bringing together little-known and never before gathered first-hand accounts, articles, maps, and illustrations 

The first four volumes of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, published in the late nineteenth century, became the best-selling and most frequently cited works ever published on the Civil War. Volume 5, assembled by the acclaimed military historian Peter Cozzens, carries on the tradition of its namesake, offering a dazzling new collection of fresh material written by military and civilian leaders, North and South, on a broad array of war-related topics. Featured articles include General Grant on the second battle of Bull Run, General Beauregard on the Shiloh campaign, General Sherman on the conference at City Point, Joshua Chamberlain on the Fredericksburg campaign, and many more. Also presented are dozens of maps and more than one hundred illustrations.


front cover of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Volume 6
Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Volume 6
Edited by Peter Cozzens
University of Illinois Press, 2001
Sifting carefully through reports from newspapers, magazines, personal memoirs, and letters, Peter Cozzens' Volume 6 brings readers more of the best first-person accounts of marches, encampments, skirmishes, and full-blown battles, as seen by participants on both sides of the conflict. Alongside the experiences of lower-ranking officers and enlisted men are accounts from key personalities including General John Gibbon, General John C. Lee, and seven prominent generals from both sides offering views on "why the Confederacy failed." This volume includes one hundred and twenty illustrations, including sixteen previously uncollected maps of battlefields, troop movements, and fortifications.

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The Battles of Armageddon
Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley from the Bronze Age to the Nuclear Age
Eric H. Cline
University of Michigan Press, 2002
>   Best Popular Book on Archaeology
        --Biblical Archaeology Society
Apocalypse. Judgment Day. The End Time. Armageddon. Students of the Bible know it as the place where the cataclysmic battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil will unfold. Many believe that this battle will take place in the very near future. But few know that Armageddon is a real place--one that has seen more fighting and bloodshed than any other spot on earth.
The name Armageddon is a corruption of the Hebrew phrase Har Megiddo, and it means "Mount of Megiddo." More than thirty bloody conflicts have been fought at the ancient site of Megiddo and adjacent areas of the Jezreel Valley during the past four thousand years. Egyptians, Israelites, Greeks, Muslims, Crusaders, Mongols, British, Germans, Arabs, and Israelis have all fought and died here. The names of the warring leaders reverberate throughout history: Thutmose III, Deborah, Gideon, Saul and Jonathan, Jezebel, Saladin, Napoleon, and Allenby, to name but the most famous. Throughout history Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley have been ground zero for battles that determined the very course of civilization. No wonder that the author of Revelation believed Armageddon, the penultimate battle between good and evil, would also take place here!
The Battles of Armageddon introduces readers to a rich cast of ancient and modern warriors, while bringing together for the first time the wide range of conflicts that have been fought at Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley from the Bronze Age to the Nuclear Age.
Eric H. Cline has participated in more than seventeen seasons of excavation and survey in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Greece, and the United States. He is currently a Senior Staff Archaeologist at the ongoing excavations of Megiddo.

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The Battles of Connecticut Farms and Springfield, 1780
Edward G. Lengel
Westholme Publishing, 2020
The Final Significant Clashes of the Revolutionary War in the North
By the spring of 1780, American fortunes were at a low point. Charleston, South Carolina, fell to British forces on May 12. At Morristown, New Jersey, George Washington’s army struggled to recover from the worst winter of the entire war. The national economy failing, his troops short of supplies and on the verge of mutiny, Washington prepared for an all-out assault on British-occupied New York City with the support of approaching French naval and land forces under General Rochambeau. The planned attack was a gamble born of desperation. Washington felt he had to risk it, or face certain defeat. In New York City, German General Wilhelm von Knyphausen sensed opportunity. Commanding there in the absence of British General Henry Clinton, who was on his way back from Charleston, Knyphausen hoped that a quick strike into New Jersey could deliver a staggering blow to Washington’s weakened army. The June 7–8 Battle of Connecticut Farms, however, found American militia and Continentals—mostly soldiers of General William Maxwell’s New Jersey Brigade—to be shockingly stalwart. In a series of sharp engagements, fought hard on both sides, the Americans convinced Knyphausen to turn back. Clinton, fresh from his victory in the South, tried again on June 23 to end the war. His advance into New Jersey, intended to draw Washington into the open and perhaps capture Morristown, culminated in the Battle of Springfield. Once again, though, Washington’s hardened soldiers, led by men like Colonel Israel Angell, Colonel Elias Dayton, and Major “Light Horse Harry” Lee, fought Clinton’s forces to a standstill.
            The Battles for Connecticut Farms and Springfield, 1780, by distinguished historian Edward G. Lengel, chronicles these two important battles that marked a turning of the tide in the Revolutionary War. Drawing on newly available primary sources, the author presents a fresh and engaging interpretation of these events, which exposed King George III’s declining military fortunes in North America even as they revealed the resilience of George Washington’s army.

The Small Battles Series: Military History as Local History
Mark Edward Lender and James Kirby Martin, Series Editors
Small Battles 
offers a fresh and important new perspective on the story of America’s early conflicts. It was the small battles, not the clash of major armies, that truly defined the fighting during the colonial wars, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the hostilities on the frontiers. This is dramatic military history as seen through the prism of local history—history with a depth of detail, a feeling for place, people, and the impact of battle and its consequences that the story of major battles often cannot convey. The Small Battles Series focuses on America’s military conflicts at their most intimate and revealing level.

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The Battles of Germantown
Effective Public History in America
David W. Young
Temple University Press, 2019

2020 Philip S. Klein Book Prize Winner, Pennsylvania Historical Association

Known as America’s most historic neighborhood, the Germantown section of Philadelphia (established in 1683) has distinguished itself by using public history initiatives to forge community. Progressive programs about ethnic history, postwar urban planning, and civil rights have helped make historic preservation and public history meaningful. The Battles of Germantown considers what these efforts can tell us about public history’s practice and purpose in the United States.  

Author David Young, a neighborhood resident who worked at Germantown historic sites for decades, uses his practitioner’s perspective to give examples of what he calls “effective public history.” The Battles of Germantown shows how the region celebrated “Negro Achievement Week” in 1928 and, for example, how social history research proved that the neighborhood’s Johnson House was a station on the Underground Railroad. These encounters have useful implications for addressing questions of race, history, and memory, as well as issues of urban planning and economic revitalization. 

Germantown’s historic sites use public history and provide leadership to motivate residents in an area challenged by job loss, population change, and institutional inertia. The Battles of Germantown illustrates how understanding and engaging with the past can benefit communities today.


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Battles of the North Country
Wilderness Politics and Recreational Development in the Adirondack State Park, 1920-1980
Jonathan D. Anzalone
University of Massachusetts Press, 2018
The Adirondack region is trapped in a cycle of conflict. Nature lovers advocate for the preservation of wilderness, while sports enthusiasts demand infrastructure for recreation. Local residents seek economic opportunities, while environmentalists fight industrial or real estate growth. These clashes have played out over the course of the twentieth century and continue into the twenty-first.

Through a series of case studies, historian Jonathan D. Anzalone highlights the role of public and private interests in the region and shows how partnerships frayed and realigned in the course of several key developments: the rise of camping in the 1920s and 1930s; the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics; the construction of a highway to the top of Whiteface Mountain; the postwar rise of downhill skiing; the completion of I-87 and the resulting demand for second homes; and the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. Battles of the North Country reveals how class, economic self-interest, state power, and a wide range of environmental concerns have shaped modern politics in the Adirondacks and beyond.

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Castles, Battles, and Bombs
How Economics Explains Military History
Jurgen Brauer and Hubert van Tuyll
University of Chicago Press, 2008

Castles, Battles, and Bombs reconsiders key episodes of military history from the point of view of economics—with dramatically insightful results. For example, when looked at as a question of sheer cost, the building of castles in the High Middle Ages seems almost inevitable: though stunningly expensive, a strong castle was far cheaper to maintain than a standing army. The authors also reexamine the strategic bombing of Germany in World War II and provide new insights into France’s decision to develop nuclear weapons. Drawing on these examples and more, Brauer and Van Tuyll suggest lessons for today’s military, from counterterrorist strategy and military manpower planning to the use of private military companies in Afghanistan and Iraq.


"In bringing economics into assessments of military history, [the authors] also bring illumination. . . . [The authors] turn their interdisciplinary lens on the mercenary arrangements of Renaissance Italy; the wars of Marlborough, Frederick the Great, and Napoleon; Grant's campaigns in the Civil War; and the strategic bombings of World War II. The results are invariably stimulating."—Martin Walker, Wilson Quarterly


"This study is serious, creative, important. As an economist I am happy to see economics so professionally applied to illuminate major decisions in the history of warfare."—Thomas C. Schelling, Winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics


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Decisions at Forts Henry and Donelson
The Twenty One Critical Decisions that Defined the Battles
Hank Koopman
University of Tennessee Press, 2024
The Battles of Forts Henry and Donelson took place in February of 1862 and were early indicators of the success the US would have in the Civil War’s Western Theater. Due to Kentucky’s neutrality at the time, Brig. Gen. Daniel S. Donelson was instructed to find suitable sites for fortification along the Tennessee River but just inside the state boundaries of Tennessee. Forts Henry and Donelson were constructed in the summer of 1861 and were quickly identified by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant as strategic fortifications that, if conquered, would open the Federal Army’s path to Alabama and Mississippi. Fort Henry fell to Federal control on February 6, 1862, and Fort Donelson fell six days later. With the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers now open to Federal gunboats, Grant and his army would head southwest to Memphis and on to Vicksburg.

Decisions at Forts Henry and Donelson explores the critical decisions made by Confederate and Federal commanders during the battle and how these decisions shaped its outcome. Rather than offering a history of the battle, Hank Koopman hones in on a sequence of critical decisions made by commanders on both sides of the conflict to provide a blueprint of the Battles of Forts Henry and Donelson at their tactical core. Identifying and exploring the critical decisions in this way allows students of the battles to progress from a knowledge of what happened to a mature grasp of why events happened.

Complete with maps and a driving tour, Decisions at Forts Henry and Donelson is an indispensable primer, and readers looking for a concise introduction to these battles can tour this sacred ground—or read about it at their leisure—with key insights into the campaigns and a deeper understanding of the Civil War itself.

Decisions at Forts Henry and Donelson is the eighteenth in a series of books that will explore the critical decisions of major campaigns and battles of the Civil War.

front cover of Decisions at The Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House
Decisions at The Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House
The Eighteen Critical Decisions That Defined the Battles
Dave Townsend
University of Tennessee Press, 2020

The successive battles of The Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House opened Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s 1864 Overland Campaign. As the first confrontation between Union and Confederate leaders Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee, these two bloody battles signaled the new reality of war. The fighting at the Battle of The Wilderness, immediately followed by the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, was costly for both sides, and while the Union army could replace its losses, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia could not. It would be exactly one year from Grant’s orders to Gen. George G. Meade stating that Lee’s army would be his objective until the surrender at Appomattox.

Decisions at The Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House introduces readers to critical decisions made by Confederate and Union commanders throughout the two costly meetings. Dave Townsend examines the decisions that prefigured the action and shaped the course of each battle as it unfolded. Rather than a linear history of the battles, Townsend’s discussion of the critical decisions presents readers with a vivid blueprint of the battles’ developments. Exploring the critical decisions in this way allows the reader to progress from a sense of what happened in these battles to why they happened as they did.

Complete with maps and a guided tour, Decisions at The Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House is an indispensable primer, and readers looking for concise introductions to the battles can tour this sacred ground—or read about it at their leisure—with key insights into the battles and a deeper understanding of the Civil War itself.

Decisions at The Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House is the seventh in a series of books that will explore the critical decisions of major campaigns and battles of the Civil War.


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An Instinct for War
Scenes from the Battlefields of History
Roger Spiller
Harvard University Press, 2005

Stories about war are some of the oldest stories told--used to entertain, to glorify, to lament, to educate. An Instinct for War utilizes myriad tales of war to offer a remarkable look at one of humanity's oldest plagues. Roger Spiller excavates the essence of war and its evolution through the words and thoughts of those who led--and those who were led--into battle, moving from the perspective of an ancient Chinese emperor to Napoleon's command, from a Civil War soldier's final days to the particularities of today's small wars throughout the globe.

Spiller combines a mastery of the primary sources with a vibrant historical imagination to locate a dozen turning points in the world's history of warfare that altered our understanding of war and its pursuit. We are conducted through profound moments by the voices of those who witnessed them and are given a graphic understanding of war, the devastating choices, the means by which battles are won and lost, and the enormous price exacted. Spiller's attention to the sights and sounds of battle enables us to feel the sting and menace of past violent conflicts as if they were today's.

A bold departure from standard military history, An Instinct for War will challenge our understanding of how war forever alters the landscape--both human and geographic--and how individuals can alter the nature of battle. This collective portrait of the life of war offers unparalleled insight into our struggle for mastery over a fundamental instinct.


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Partisans, Guerillas, and Irregulars
Historical Archaeology of Asymmetric Warfare
Edited by Steven D. Smith and Clarence R. Geier
University of Alabama Press, 2019

Essays that explore the growing field of conflict archaeology

Within the last twenty years, the archaeology of conflict has emerged as a valuable subdiscipline within anthropology, contributing greatly to our knowledge and understanding of human conflict on a global scale. Although archaeologists have clearly demonstrated their utility in the study of large-scale battles and sites of conventional warfare, such as camps and forts, conflicts involving asymmetric, guerilla, or irregular warfare are largely missing from the historical record.

Partisans, Guerillas, and Irregulars: Historical Archaeology of Asymmetric Warfare presents recent examples of how historical archaeology can contribute to a better understanding of asymmetric warfare. The volume introduces readers to this growing study and to its historic importance. Contributors illustrate how the wide range of traditional and new methods and techniques of historiography and archaeology can be applied to expose critical actions, sacrifices, and accomplishments of competing groups representing opposing philosophies and ways of life, which are otherwise lost in time.

The case studies offered cover significant events in American and world history, including the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, Indian wars in the Southeast and Southwest, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Prohibition, and World War II. All such examples used here took place at a local or regional level, and several were singular events within a much larger and more complex historic movement. While retained in local memory or tradition, and despite their potential importance, they are poorly, and incompletely addressed in the historic record. Furthermore, these conflicts took place between groups of significantly different cultural and military traditions and capabilities, most taking on a “David vs. Goliath” character, further shaping the definition of asymmetric warfare.


front cover of To the Battles of Franklin and Nashville and Beyond
To the Battles of Franklin and Nashville and Beyond
Stabilization and Reconstruction in Tennessee and Kentucky, 1864–1865
Benjamin Franklin Cooling
University of Tennessee Press, 2011

“Benjamin Franklin Cooling has produced a triumphant third volume to his definitive study of Tennessee and Kentucky in the Civil War. Like his first two volumes, this one perfectly integrates the home front and battlefield, demonstrating that civilians were continually embroiled in the war in intense ways comparable to and often surpassing the violence experienced by soldiers on the battlefield. The impacts of armies, guerrillas, and other military forces on civilians was continual, terrifying, and brutal in nearly all parts of the Confederacy’s Heartland.” —T. Michael Parrish, Linden G. Bowers Professor of American History, Baylor University

“Cooling’s scholarship is indeed sound and based on extensive research in a variety of original sources that range from manuscript collections to newspapers, with an exhaustive list of secondary sources. His work represents the first new interpretations of this important part of the war in decades.” —Archie P. McDonald, Regent’s Professor and Community Liaison, Stephen F. Austin State University

In two preceding volumes, Forts Henry and Donelson and Fort Donelson’s Legacy, Benjamin Franklin Cooling offered a sweeping portrayal of war and society in the upper southern heartland of Kentucky and Tennessee during the first two and a half years of the Civil War. This book continues that saga as Cooling probes the profound turmoil—on the battlefield, on the home front, within the shadow areas where lawlessness reigned—that defined the war in the region as it ground to its close.

    By 1864 neither the Union’s survival nor the South’s independence was any more apparent than at the beginning of the war. The grand strategies of both sides were still evolving, and Tennessee and Kentucky were often at the cusp of that work. With his customary command of myriad sources, Cooling examines the heartland conflict in all its aspects: the Confederate cavalry raids and Union counteroffensives; the harsh and punitive Reconstruction policies that were met with banditry and brutal guerrilla actions; the disparate political, economic, and sociocultural upheavals; the ever-growing war weariness of the divided populations; and the climactic battles of Franklin and Nashville that ended the Confederacy’s hopes in the Western Theater. Especially notable in this volume is Cooling’s use of the latest concepts of “hybrid” or “compound war” that national security experts have applied to the twenty-first-century wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—a mode of analysis that explores how catastrophic terrorism and disruptive lawlessness mix with traditional combat and irregular operations to form a new kind of warfare. Not only are such concepts relevant to the historical study of the Civil War in the heartland, Cooling suggests, but by the same token, their illumination of historical events can only enrich the ways in which policymakers view present-day conflicts.

    In chronicling Tennessee and Kentucky’s final rite of passage from war to peace, To the Battles of Franklin and Nashville and Beyond is in every way a major contribution to Civil War literature by a masterful historian.


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The Verdict of Battle
The Law of Victory and the Making of Modern War
James Q. Whitman
Harvard University Press, 2012

Today, war is considered a last resort for resolving disagreements. But a day of staged slaughter on the battlefield was once seen as a legitimate means of settling political disputes. James Whitman argues that pitched battle was essentially a trial with a lawful verdict. And when this contained form of battle ceased to exist, the law of victory gave way to the rule of unbridled force. The Verdict of Battle explains why the ritualized violence of the past was more effective than modern warfare in bringing carnage to an end, and why humanitarian laws that cling to a notion of war as evil have led to longer, more barbaric conflicts.

Belief that sovereigns could, by rights, wage war for profit made the eighteenth century battle’s golden age. A pitched battle was understood as a kind of legal proceeding in which both sides agreed to be bound by the result. To the victor went the spoils, including the fate of kingdoms. But with the nineteenth-century decline of monarchical legitimacy and the rise of republican sentiment, the public no longer accepted the verdict of pitched battles. Ideology rather than politics became war’s just cause. And because modern humanitarian law provided no means for declaring a victor or dispensing spoils at the end of battle, the violence of war dragged on.

The most dangerous wars, Whitman asserts in this iconoclastic tour de force, are the lawless wars we wage today to remake the world in the name of higher moral imperatives.


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