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Born to Battle: Grant and Forrest--Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga

Overview

Beginning with the Union victory at Tennessee's Fort Donelson in February 1862, Hurst follows Ulysses S. Grant and Nathan Bedford Forrest through the campaigns of the next twenty months, showing how this critical period—and these unequaled leaders—changed the course of the war.

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Born to Battle: Grant and Forrest--Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga

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Overview

Beginning with the Union victory at Tennessee's Fort Donelson in February 1862, Hurst follows Ulysses S. Grant and Nathan Bedford Forrest through the campaigns of the next twenty months, showing how this critical period—and these unequaled leaders—changed the course of the war.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hurst (Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography) juxtaposes Ulysses S. Grant and Nathan Bedford Forrest during the period when each began demonstrating the abilities that made them respected opponents. They first faced each other at Shiloh in April 1862. By the summer of 1863, Forrest had developed a reputation as the western Confederacy’s “wizard of the saddle,” master of the lightning strike and the long-distance raid. Grant was established as an artist of maneuver. His feints and slashes had confounded his opponents and culminated in the capture of Vicksburg. At Chattanooga he showed he could fight and win a head-to-head battle as well. Making sophisticated use of archival and printed sources, Hurst maintains that the marginalization of Forrest, a blacksmith’s son, by a Confederacy insisting on “blue-blood leadership” was “a chief cause of the Confederacy’s death.” The Union, by contrast, made effective use of the equally lowborn and unpolished Grant. Both, Hurst asserts, exemplified the common men who did most of the war’s dying. Both understood what soldiers could do in particular situations. And both were accustomed by peacetime hardship to the fears and anxieties of wartime command. The comparison, if not entirely convincing, is original and provocative. Photos. Agent: Deborah Grosvenor, Grosvenor Literary Agency. (June)
From the Publisher
Ernest B. Furgurson, author of Chancellorsville 1863 and Not War But Murder: Cold Harbor 1864
“In a finely wrought battle narrative and character study, Jack Hurst shows how two men seemingly so different—one flamboyant and daring, the other solid and determined—became great soldiers by struggling not only against their enemies, but against their own inner demons.”

Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country
“It is rare indeed to have a writer like Jack Hurst, both a careful and meticulous historian and a first-rate storyteller.  Born to Battle is what Jack Hurst does best.  Drawing on many years of examination and research, Hurst has laid out the details of history as if he were crafting an epic myth.  Grant and Forrest come alive as they take on the roles of the very human giants of the war, battling through the western campaign in what would be the death knell of the Confederacy.  Hurst’s epic tale of history gives us a better understanding of why the war would be won or lost far from borders of Virginia.”
 

Gordon C. Rhea, author of Carrying the Flag
“Jack Hurst’s Born to Battle brings the American Civil War’s Western Theater alive through dramatic portraits of Ulysses S. Grant and Nathan B. Forrest.  The product of working-class backgrounds, each general approached warfare with a uniquely American blend of cunning, resourcefulness, and resolve—traits that both contributed to their successes and baffled their superiors.  Masterfully recounted, this gripping tale will enthrall seasoned Civil War buffs and history novices alike.”
 
John F. Marszalek, Giles Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Mississippi State University, and Executive Director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association
“Not all readers will agree with everything Jack Hurst says, but they will find the argument intriguing that a commoner won the Civil War because his side gave him the chance, while the Confederacy lost because it kept its most talented commoner at arms length.”
 

Publishers Weekly
“Making sophisticated use of archival and printed sources, Hurst maintains that the marginalization of Forrest, a blacksmith’s son, by a Confederacy insisting on ‘blue-blood leadership’ was ‘a chief cause of the Confederacy’s death.’ The Union, by contrast, made effective use of the equally lowborn and unpolished Grant. Both, Hurst asserts, exemplified the common men who did most of the war’s dying. Both understood what soldiers could do in particular situations. And both were accustomed by peacetime hardship to the fears and anxieties of wartime command. The comparison…is original and provocative.”

American History
“[A] well-told take on a great face-off.”
 
Kirkus Reviews
“A lively narrative of the Civil War’s Western theatre, too often overshadowed by the better known armies and battles in the East.... Hurst amply illustrates the misery visited upon Tennessee and Mississippi as the armies moved back and forth across the land, along with the backbiting, blunders and inflated egos that abounded in both armies.”

Star-LedgerBorn to Battle is smoothly readable, packed with details of battles from contemporary sources…. It makes clear that much of the difference between [Grant and Forrest] was the smooth way Grant got past bad supervision and rivals, and the dyspeptic bad temper that kept Forrest from rising higher.”

CharlestonPost & Courier
“Hurst’s writing style has an easy story like quality to it…. Readers will appreciate the work. They also will appreciate that it is a subject treated with a unique perspective on these two soldiers and their rise to prominence in the western theater of the Civil War.”

Kirkus Reviews
A lively narrative of the Civil War's Western theatre, too often overshadowed by the better known armies and battles in the East. Historian Hurst (Men of Fire: Grant, Forrest, and the Campaign That Decided the Civil War, 2007, etc.) continues the work he began in Men of Fire, following the careers of Ulysses S. Grant and Nathan Bedford Forrest from Shiloh to the defense of Chattanooga. These biographies appear together in support of his thesis that both generals were of working-class origin but "Northern inclusiveness permitted the rise of Grant...while Southern insularity predestined the Confederacy to squander the brilliance of Forrest, whose fertile brain and vicious valor might have helped fashion an opposite outcome." This appears to be a stretch, however; it is not clear that given greater command, Forrest could have done more to turn the Union tide. Further, Grant was a West Point graduate, while Forrest was a nearly unlettered former slave trader who spoke "primitive English." These differences would have been significant in any officer class, but Forrest nevertheless achieved the rank of major general. He appears here as a brilliant, determined, crude and insubordinate warrior, chafing under snubs from the aristocratic Gen. Braxton Bragg, who considered him "nothing more than a good raider" despite his spectacular exploits against superior forces. Grant, the stolid but surprisingly resourceful commander, suffered under similar prejudices on the part of his superior, Gen. Henry Halleck, but ultimately brought Halleck around through battlefield success and their shared opposition to the scheming politician Gen. John McClernand. Hurst amply illuminates the misery visited upon Tennessee and Mississippi as the armies moved back and forth across the land, along with the backbiting, blunders and inflated egos that abounded in both armies. Particularly recommended for fans of the controversial Forrest.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455160907
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/29/2012
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Hurst is a historian and former journalist who has written for newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Nashville Tennessean. His books include Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography, and Men of Fire. A native of Maryville, Tennessee and a descendant of both Union and Confederate soldiers, he currently lives with his wife outside Nashville, Tennessee.

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Table of Contents

Glossary of Participants ix

Introduction: Scouting the Ground xvii

I Glancing Back

Chapter 1 Late Winter-Early Spring 1862-Grant 3

Chapter 2 Late Winter-Early Spring 1862-Forrest 13

II Shiloh: "The Devil's Own Day"

Chapter 3 April 6, Forenoon-Forrest 23

Chapter 4 April 6, Forenoon-Grant 31

Chapter 5 April 6, Afternoon-Forrest 41

Chapter 6 April 6, Afternoon-Grant 49

Chapter 7 April 6, Night-Forrest 5 7

Chapter 8 April 6, Night-Grant 63

Chapter 9 April 7-Forrest 67

Chapter 10 April 7-Grant 71

Chapter 11 April 8-Forrest 77

Chapter 12 April 8-Grant 83

III Mississippi and Kentucky: Tidal Ebbs and Flows

Chapter 13 Mid-April-Late June 1862-Grant from Corinth to Memphis 89

Chapter 14 June-July 13, 1862-Forrest at Murfreesboro 99

Chapter 15 July-Early October 1862-Grant in North Mississippi 121

Chapter 16 July-November 1862-Forrest in the Central South 139

IV Vicksburg: Impregnability Defied

Chapter 17 October-December 1862-Grant at Corinth 163

Chapter 18 December 1862-Forrest in West Tennessee 179

Chapter 19 December 1862-February 1, 1863-Grant in Memphis 209

Chapter 20 January 3-February 3, 1863-Forrest at Dover 227

Chapter 21 February-April 1863-Grant in Louisiana 241

Chapter 22 March 4-May 3-Forrest in Middle Tennessee and North Alabama 259

Chapter 23 May 1-18, 1863-Grant from Port Gibson to Big Black River 281

Chapter 24 May-June 1863-Forrest in Middle Tennessee 303

Chapter 25 May 19-July 3, 1863-Grant at Vicksburg 313

V Chattanooga

Chapter 26 August-September 1863-Forrest at Chickamauga 335

Chapter 27 September-October 1863-Grant Heads to Chattanooga 363

Chapter 28 November 1863-February 1864-Forrest on the Mississippi 375

Chapter 29 November 1863-February 1864-Grant at, and after, Chattanooga 383

Epilogue: Hard Roads Onward 411

Acknowledgments 415

Notes 419

Bibliography 461

Index 467

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