Mountains Touched with Fire: Chattanooga Besieged, 1863

Mountains Touched with Fire: Chattanooga Besieged, 1863

by Wiley Sword, Albert E. Castel
     
 

An Award-Winning Historian Dramatically Re-Creates a Turning Point of the Civil War
It was one of the most startling events of the civil war, the "hour of destiny" for the Union. Faced with the prospect of catastrophic defeat, the North's greatest generals--Ulysses Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, George Thomas, and Phil Sheridan--were commanding a battle

Overview

An Award-Winning Historian Dramatically Re-Creates a Turning Point of the Civil War
It was one of the most startling events of the civil war, the "hour of destiny" for the Union. Faced with the prospect of catastrophic defeat, the North's greatest generals--Ulysses Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, George Thomas, and Phil Sheridan--were commanding a battle fror the besieged city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Suddenly, as an aghast Grant and Thomas watched, the beleaguered federal tropps began a headlong, climactic, seemingly suicidal charge up the face of a six-hundred-foot-high mountain ridge overlooking the city, under ferocious fire from the Confederate infantry that held the ridge.
The siege of Chattanooga and its stuffing turnabout form the core of Wiley Sword's lively narrative. Dozens of previously unpublished photographs, maps, and excepts from private journals, and letters enhance this vivid account. Written with novelistic flair and a historian's authority, Mountains Touched with Fire captures every side of this crucial Civil War battle whose aftermath sealed the fate of the South.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Sword (Embrace an Angry Wind) makes a significant contribution to Civil War battle history in this account of the dramatic breaking of the Confederate siege of Chattanooga in November 1863. The Confederacy's defeat began with Gen. Braxton Bragg's conviction that his positions on Missionary Ridge were so naturally strong that they precluded direct attack. It was facilitated by vicious infighting among senior commanders of Bragg's army. But the North still had to win the battle. Initially Ulysses Grant's attack was checked on both flanks. Even William Sherman could make no headway against Pat Cleburne, whom Sword regards as the best general on either side. Then the Army of the Cumberland took matters into their own hands with a headlong frontal assault up the steep slopes of Missionary Ridge. Caught by surprise, the Confederates retreated, then broke and ran, carrying with them the last faint prospects for Southern independence.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sword (Embrace an Angry Wind) makes a significant contribution to Civil War battle history in this account of the dramatic breaking of the Confederate siege of Chattanooga in November 1863. The Confederacy's defeat began with Gen. Braxton Bragg's conviction that his positions on Missionary Ridge were so naturally strong that they precluded direct attack. It was facilitated by vicious infighting among senior commanders of Bragg's army. But the North still had to win the battle. Initially Ulysses Grant's attack was checked on both flanks. Even William Sherman could make no headway against Pat Cleburne, whom Sword regards as the best general on either side. Then the Army of the Cumberland took matters into their own hands with a headlong frontal assault up the steep slopes of Missionary Ridge. Caught by surprise, the Confederates retreated, then broke and ran, carrying with them the last faint prospects for Southern independence. (Apr.)
Library Journal
No serious analysis of the battles around and in Chattanooga would be complete without an in-depth look at the personalities that formed their outcome. The author (Embrace an Angry Wind: The Confederacy's Last Hurrah, LJ 1/92) studies the actions and decisions of generals Rosecrans and Bragg as they approached the Battle of Chickamauga, then follows up through the Siege of Chattanooga with the same type of in-depth look at most of the generals involved in the decisions before the final battle. The outcome depended more upon the determination and abilities of the individual soldier than upon the decisions of the commanding officers. Sword has written an excellent account of the actual battles and skirmishes that culminated with the loss of Chattanooga to the Union Army. He also gives us an insight into the thoughts and deeds of the individual soldier on both sides. Highly recommended for most libraries.-W. Walter Wicker, Louisiana Technological Univ., Ruston
Booknews
An account of the Union charge at Chattanooga ridge, the events leading up to it, and the aftermath that helped seal the fate of the Confederacy. The narrative combines battle action with details of the political maneuvering which involved key figures including Generals Grant, Lee, and Bragg, Jefferson Davis, and Abraham Lincoln, and draws on diaries, letters, and other unpublished material. Contains b&w photos, appendices of the Chattanooga Campaign's order of battle, and a chronology of the campaign. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Margaret Flanagan
Sword's dramatic and vividly detailed narrative chronicles one of the pivotal episodes of the Civil War. In 1863, capitalizing on military triumphs at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the Union set its sights on Chattanooga, Tennessee, a strategic Confederate stronghold considered to be the gateway to Georgia and the Deep South. Though initially victorious, the Union troops were defeated along the banks of Chickamauga Creek and retreated to Chattanooga proper. Surrounded and besieged by Confederates and prompted by a series of bizarre and ironic circumstances, miscommunications, and mishaps, the Federals launched a seemingly suicidal offensive, handing the South a stunning, unexpected defeat and effectively sealing the outcome of the Civil War. The generals, the men, and the actual fighting are each analyzed in turn in this comprehensive examination of a decisive campaign. Majestic military history.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312118594
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
03/06/1995
Pages:
430
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.48(h) x 1.39(d)

Meet the Author

Wiley Sword's previous book Embrace an Angry Wind won the Fletcher Pratt Prize for the best book of Civil War History. His book President Washington's War was nominated for the Pulitzer, Parkman, Bancroft, and Western Heritage prizes. He lives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

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