Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander


Edward Porter Alexander - 1989
    Alexander was involved in nearly all of the great battles of the East, from First Manassas through Appomattox, and his duties brought him into frequent contact with most of the high command of the Army of Northern Virginia, including Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and James Longstreet. No other Civil War veteran of his stature matched Alexander's ability to discuss operations in penetrating detail - this is especially true of his description of Gettysburg. His narrative is also remarkable for its utterly candid appraisals of leaders on both sides.

Stars in Their Courses: The Gettysburg Campaign, June-July 1863


Shelby Foote - 1994
    Historian/novelist Foote's masterly work has been culled from his critically acclaimed three-volume narrative of the Civil War.

Reflections on the Civil War


Bruce Catton - 1981
    In this, his final book, edited from many hours of tapes after Catton's death, he goes right to the heart and soul of what brought this nation to the battlefield. He reflects not only on military history, but also on the actual experience of army life for the common soldier; 17 period drawings by soldier-artist John Geyser, a young private in the Union Army, enhance the insightful words. Catton plunges into the spirit of the time to uncover the motives and emotions that caused the flood of war.

General Lee's Army: From Victory to Collapse


Joseph T. Glatthaar - 2008
    His army -- General Robert E. Lee's army -- was a surprise to almost everyone: With daring early victories and an invasion into the North, they nearly managed to convince the North to give up the fight. Even in 1865, facing certain defeat after the loss of 30,000 men, a Louisiana private fighting in Lee's army still had hope. "I must not despair," he scribbled in his diary. "Lee will bring order out of chaos, and with the help of our Heavenly Father, all will be well."Astonishingly, after 150 years of scholarship, there are still some major surprises about the Army of Northern Virginia. In General Lee's Army, renowned historian Joseph T. Glatthaar draws on an impressive range of sources assembled over two decades -- from letters and diaries, to official war records, to a new, definitive database of statistics -- to rewrite the history of the Civil War's most important army and, indeed, of the war itself. Glatthaar takes readers from the home front to the heart of the most famous battles of the war: Manassas, the Peninsula campaign, Antietam, Gettysburg, all the way to the final surrender at Appomattox. General Lee's Army penetrates headquarters tents and winter shanties, eliciting the officers' plans, wishes, and prayers; it portrays a world of life, death, healing, and hardship; it investigates the South's commitment to the war and its gradual erosion; and it depicts and analyzes Lee's men in triumph and defeat.The history of Lee's army is a powerful lens on the entire war. The fate of Lee's army explains why the South almost won -- and why it lost. The story of his men -- their reasons for fighting, their cohesion, mounting casualties, diseases, supply problems, and discipline problems -- tells it all.Glatthaar's definitive account settles many historical arguments. The Rebels were fighting above all to defend slavery. More than half of Lee's men were killed, wounded, or captured -- a staggering statistic. Their leader, Robert E. Lee, though far from perfect, held an exalted place in his men's eyes despite a number of mistakes and despite a range of problems among some of his key lieutenants."General Lee's Army" is a masterpiece of scholarship and vivid storytelling, narrated as much as possible in the words of the enlisted men and their officers.

High Tide at Gettysburg


Glenn Tucker - 1958
    How near the South came to victory is clearly set forth in these pages. The author vividly conveys the background of the crucial b attle of the Civil War so that the reader can fully appreciate its unfolding.

Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign


Peter Cozzens - 2008
    Moving seamlessly between tactical details and analysis of strategic significance, Peter Cozzens presents a balanced, comprehensive account of a campaign that has long been romanticized but little understood. He offers new interpretations of the campaign and the reasons for Stonewall Jackson's success, demonstrates instances in which the mythology that has come to shroud the campaign has masked errors on Jackson's part, and provides the first detailed appraisal of Union leadership in the Valley Campaign, with some surprising conclusions.

Gettysburg--The First Day


Harry W. Pfanz - 2001
    With this book, however, the critical first day's fighting finally receives its due. After sketching the background of the Gettysburg campaign and recounting the events immediately preceding the battle, Harry Pfanz offers a detailed tactical description of events of the first day. He describes the engagements in McPherson Woods, at the Railroad Cuts, on Oak Ridge, on Seminary Ridge, and at Blocher's Knoll, as well as the retreat of Union forces through Gettysburg and the Federal rally on Cemetery Hill. Throughout, he draws on deep research in published and archival sources to challenge many long-held assumptions about the battle.

The Sword of Lincoln: The Army of the Potomac


Jeffry D. Wert - 2005
     From Bull Run to Gettysburg to Appomattox, the Army of the Potomac repeatedly fought -- and eventually defeated -- Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia. Jeffry D. Wert, one of our finest Civil War historians, brings to life the battles, the generals, and the common soldiers who fought for the Union and ultimately prevailed. The Army of the Potomac endured a string of losses under a succession of flawed commanders -- McClellan, Burnside, and Hooker -- until at Gettysburg it won a decisive battle under a new commander, General George Meade. Within a year the Army of the Potomac would come under the overall leadership of the Union's new general-in-chief, Ulysses S. Grant. Under Grant the army would finally trap and defeat Lee and his forces. Wert's history draws on letters and diaries, some previously unpublished, to show us what army life was like. Throughout the book Wert shows how Lincoln carefully monitored the operations of the Army of the Potomac, learning as the war progressed, until he found in Grant the commander he'd long sought. Perceptive in its analysis and compellingly written, The Sword of Lincoln is the finest modern account of the army that was central to the Civil War.

The Battle of the Wilderness May 5-6, 1864


Gordon C. Rhea - 1994
    Grant and Robert E. Lee. Gordon C. Rhea, in his exhaustive study The Battle of the Wilderness, provides the consummate recounting of that conflict of May 5 and 6, 1864, which ended with high casualties on both sides but no clear victor.Whereas previous studies have stood solely on published documents—mainly the Official Records and regimental histories—The Battle of the Wilderness not only takes a fresh look at those sources but also examines an extensive body of unpublished material, much of which has never before been brought to bear on the subject. These diaries, memoirs, letters, and reports shed new light on several aspects of the campaign, compelling Rhea to offer a critical new perspective on the overall development of the battle.For example, it has long been thought that Lee through his superior skill as general lured Grant into the Wilderness. But as Rhea makes clear, although Lee indeed hoped that Grant would become ensnared in the Wilderness, he failed to take the steps necessary to delay Grant's progress and even left his own army in a position of peril. It was only because of miscalculations by the Federal high command that Grant stopped in the Wilderness rather than continuing on to a location more favorable to Union forces.Through The Battle of the Wilderness Rhea gives close attention to the hierarchy of each army. On the Confederate side, he scrutinizes the evolving relationship between Lee and his corps commanders. On the Federal side, he reviews the several tiers of command, including the tense alliance between Grant and George G. Meade, head of the Union Army of the Potomac.Rhea presents a balanced analysis of events and people, command structures and strategies, while gracefully infusing excitement and immediacy into a subject for which he obviously feels great enthusiasm. Both the general reader and the specialist will find this important contribution to Civil War scholarship rewarding.

To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign


Stephen W. Sears - 1992
    This is a history of the largest and bloodiest campaign of the American Civil War - one in which a quarter of a million men fought, and one in four died.

Lee The Last Years


Charles Bracelen Flood - 1981
    Lee lived only another five years - the forgotten chapter of an extraordinary life. These were his finest hours, when he did more than any other American to heal the wounds between North and South. Flood draws on new research to create an intensely human and a "wonderful, tragic, and powerful . . . story for which we have been waiting over a century" (Theodore H. White).

Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas


John J. Hennessy - 1993
    Lee’s triumph over Union leader John Pope in the summer of 1862. . . . Lee’s strategic skills, and the capabilities of his principal subordinates James Longstreet and Stonewall Jackson, brought the Confederates onto the field of Second Manassas at the right places and times against a Union army that knew how to fight, but not yet how to win."–Publishers Weekly

Jack Hinson's One-Man War: A Civil War Sniper


Tom C. McKenney - 2009
    Opposed to secession and a friend to Union and Confederate commanders alike, he did not want a war. After Union soldiers seized and murdered his sons, placing their decapitated heads on the gateposts of his estate, Hinson could remain indifferent no longer. He commissioned a special rifle for long-range accuracy, he took to the woods, and he set out for revenge. This remarkable biography presents the story of Jack Hinson, a lone Confederate sniper who, at the age of 57, waged a personal war on Grant's army and navy. The result of 15 years of scholarship, this meticulously researched and beautifully written work is the only account of Hinson's life ever recorded and involves an unbelievable cast of characters, including the Earp brothers, Jesse James, and Nathan Bedford Forrest.

To Appomattox: Nine April Days, 1865


Burke Davis - 1959
    Provides a chronicle of the nine final days of the Civil War, and a portrait of Grant, Lee, Lincoln, and the war's other notable personalities as they play out the end-game to America's bloodiest war.

I Rode With Stonewall: Being Chiefly The War Experiences of the Youngest Member of Jackson's Staff from John Brown's Raid to the Hanging of Mrs. Surratt


Henry Kyd Douglas - 1940
    Henry Kyd Douglas devoted himself to the Southern cause, fighting its battles and enduring its defeats, and during and shortly after the Civil War, Douglas set down his experiences of great men and great days. In simple, resonant prose written wholly firsthand from notes and diaries made on the battlefield, he covered the full emotional spectrum of a soldier's life. I Rode with Stonewall is one of the most remarkable stories to come out of any war.