Chancellorsville

Chancellorsville

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by Stephen W. Sears
     
 

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Sears describes the series of controversial events that define this crucial battle, including General Robert E. Lee's radical decision to divide his small army—a violation of basic military rules—sending Stonewall Jackson on his famous march around the Union army flank. Jackson's death—accidentally shot by one of his own soldiers—is one of the

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Overview

Sears describes the series of controversial events that define this crucial battle, including General Robert E. Lee's radical decision to divide his small army—a violation of basic military rules—sending Stonewall Jackson on his famous march around the Union army flank. Jackson's death—accidentally shot by one of his own soldiers—is one of the many fascinating stories included in this definitive account of the battle of Chancellorsville.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Definitive - A must." Kirkus Reviews
Chicago Tribune
The finest and most provocative Civil War historian writing today.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Chancellorsville was one of the Civil War's pivotal campaigns, a great victory for the South that, however, led directly to the death of top Confederate general Stonewall Jackson. It hasn't generated the amount of literature devoted to most major Civil War battles, largely because John Bigelow's 1910 classic, The Campaign of Chancellorsville, seemed for years to offer the last word. But Sears, employing a mix of published and unpublished primary accounts to buttress secondary studies, manages to offer more than one new word in a thoroughly engaging text. Most notable is his use of Union military intelligence reports to show how General Joseph Hooker was fed a stream of accurate information about Robert E. Lee's troops; conversely, Sears points out the battlefield communications failures that hampered the Union army at critical times. He also examines the roles of Hooker and his corps commanders, finding that half of the latter badly served their commander in the campaign. On the Confederate side, Sears analyzes Lee's faulty intelligence and his relationships with his subordinates. Throughout, he highlights Lee's marvelous good luck, as well as his army's fighting capability. One of the book's three appendices explores several of the battle's "romances" e.g., Jackson's wounding, Alfred Pleasonton's false stories, while two other appendices present orders of battle and casualties. A model campaign study, Sears's account of Chancellorsville is likely to remain the standard for years to come.
Library Journal
Sears turns his formidable skills from General George McClellan (To the Gates of Richmond) to "Fighting Joe" Hooker and the last great battle in which Napoleonic-style tactical offense prevailed. Sears's almost hour-by-hour account of soldiers under fire will confuse some, but close readers will find a stunning analysis of how terrain, personality, chance, and other factors affect fighting and distort strategic design. Sears offers new information on the "modern" intelligence gathering of the Union Army, refutes many old "romances" of Chancellorsville, especially the one that Hooker lost his nerve, and adds vital details to both commanders and battle movements. He also shows that Hooker, more than McClellan, made the Army of the Potomac into "the finest army on the planet" -- one that survived bad generalship and Robert E. Lee's aggressive moves at Chancellorsville. Sears also reminds us that "character" and "will" count for much in war. The Confederacy did not die with Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville, as Southerners often lament, but many men did and to little purpose. Battlefield victory alone did not win the war. A tour de force in military history. -- Randall M. Miller, St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395877449
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
06/28/1998
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
640
Sales rank:
445,217
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.45(d)

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