Cavalry of the Heartland: The Mounted Forces of the Army of Tennessee

Overview

While Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia prosecuted the war in the East for the Confederacy, the Army of Tennessee fought in the West, ranging over a tremendous expanse during the course of the Civil War, from southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky all the way to Georgia and the Carolinas. Unlike Lee's army, however, the Army of Tennessee suffered at the hands of a series of uninspired commanders and had fewer impressive victories. It did have, however, arguably the best cavalry of any army in the war in terms...

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Overview

While Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia prosecuted the war in the East for the Confederacy, the Army of Tennessee fought in the West, ranging over a tremendous expanse during the course of the Civil War, from southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky all the way to Georgia and the Carolinas. Unlike Lee's army, however, the Army of Tennessee suffered at the hands of a series of uninspired commanders and had fewer impressive victories. It did have, however, arguably the best cavalry of any army in the war in terms of numbers and leadership. Led by some of the most colorful officers of the Civil War—the brilliant, passionate Nathan Bedford Forrest, the flamboyant but erratic John Hunt Morgan, and the quietly competent "Fightin' Joe" Wheeler—and grabbing headlines for daring raids, such as Morgan's foray into Ohio, the mounted forces of the Army of Tennessee developed a strategy of a highly mobile fighting unit that could be deployed rapidly in strength to strike deep behind enemy lines and maneuver at a moment's notice during a battle, tactics that were to have the most impact on military operations in the future. As distinguished historian Edward G. Longacre chronicles in Cavalry of the Heartland: The Mounted Forces of the Army of Tennessee, the army's top generals failed to recognize the battle-winning potential of their cavalry and instead sent them off on sideshow operations rather than deploy them consistently to assist the main body's efforts. Based on a wide array of research materials including the unpublished writings of more than 300 officers and enlisted men, Cavalry of the Heartland is the only book-length study of the strategy and tactics of the Army ofTennessee's mounted forces from its inception in the spring of 1861 to its final bow at Bentonville, North Carolina, four years later. Throughout, numerous campaigns and battles are described in full detail, including Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro (Stones River), Tullahoma, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Nashville, and the Carolinas.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594160981
  • Publisher: Westholme Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/18/2009
  • Pages: 429
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

EDWARD G. LONGACRE has taught history at the University of Nebraska and the College of William and Mary. He is the author of 23 books, including The Cavalry at Gettysburg, recipient of the Fletcher Pratt Award.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Readable but questionable

    A Longacre book is always a question. He is capable of outstanding work but often, seems willing to work below his talents. Many of his books lack original research and depend instead on secondary sources. Often they contain little analysis and are prone to errors. All of his books are very readable. He is an excellent author, able to be informative and entertaining at the same time. Often he seems to strive for quantity over quality making him one of our most prolific authors.

    This book has all the good and bad that we expect from this author.

    With over 30 pages of Bibliography, the primary reference source is the excellent work by Horn & Connelly. Almost every footnote I checked referenced one of their books. The author uses his own books as a source on Joseph Wheeler.

    The impact of the raiding done by Morgan & Forrest seems overstated. While they were a major PR problem, snapping up small garrisons never stopped Grant or Sherman. They created a great deal of addition effort and expenses but the impact was never as major as the author implies. Van Dorn's Holly Spring raid, one of the most successful of the war, rates one paragraph. Wheeler's role in the Tullahoma Campaign, Fort Pillow and Spring Hill are reported but not analyzed or cover in any depth.

    An early statement that I found upsetting is on page 84. The author states that the "Native American" units fighting for the CSA at Pea Ridge "were permitted to scalp their victims". CSA General Albert Pike lost his command over this. Pike and Van Dorn, the CSA commander, denied and disavowed any knowledge of the incident when question by Curtis. That something nasty occured concerning these units is not a question. Stating this was a sanctioned activity is incorrect.

    What is right with the book? It is an enjoyable read and provides a view of the Civil War we have not seen. Like the provable dice game, even though the dice are loaded and if you win, they will beat you up and steal your money. If you want to play dice, this is the only game in town. Until something else is written this is the only book, I know of, on the subject. It will give the reader a foundation to work with in trying to understand cavalry operations between the two major western armies. Read in conjunction with Connelly's books this book will be of real value.

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