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The Journal of Southern History
"The Chickamauga Campaign is the second volume in the Southern Illinois University Press series Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland. Once again editor Steven E. Woodworth has assembled an impressive collection of essays meant to enhance and challenge our knowledge of an important campaign in the western theater. As more Civil War scholars embrace the West as the place where the war was decided, such studies will become more relevant and more prevalent.
The volume's first essay, by Ethan S. Rafuse, examines two of General William S. Rosecrans's corps commanders, Generals Alexander M. McCook and Thomas L. Crittenden. Rafuse provides a sympathetic look at their performance from the campaign of maneuver around Tullahoma, Tennessee, to the bloody clash at Chickamauga Creek, in northern Georgia. Woodworth follows with a chapter on the Confederate debacle at McLemore's Cove that seeks to uncover what caused General Thomas C. Hindman's spectacular failure. In the same vein, Alexander Mendoza analyzes not only Confederate general Daniel Harvey Hill's downfall at McLemore's Cove but also his lackluster performance throughout the Chickamauga campaign. The following two pieces, written by Lee White and John R. Lundberg on Alexander P. Stewart and Patrick Cleburne, respectively, dissect the performance of two storied Confederate divisions and their commanders at crucial points in the battle. Next, two essays delve into the controversial personalities of Confederate general James Longstreet and Union general James S. Negley. William G. Robertson provides a detailed and critical analysis of Longstreet's role in the campaign, giving "Old Pete" little credit for the Confederate assault that shattered the Union line on the final day of fighting. David Powell is equally critical of Negley, asserting that the Union general deserved the harsh censure he received for his disastrous performance during the battle. In the book's final chapter Timothy B. Smith explores the development of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and the influence of Henry Van Ness Boynton, a journalist and veteran of the battle, on how Chickamauga and other Civil War battlefields would be commemorated.
This book is an excellent companion piece for readers already familiar with such detailed studies as Peter Cozzens's This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga (Urbana, 1992) and Woodworth's Six Armies in Tennessee: The Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns (Lincoln, Neb., 1998). Indeed, The Chickamauga Campaign is not designed for the novice: it is neither an introduction to the subject nor a detailed examination of the Chickamauga campaign. The essays do not encompass a comprehensive view of the battle, instead focusing on neglected aspects of the campaign and broadening the knowledge of those who are already familiar with the campaign's key people and events.
The volumes in the Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland series provide fresh insights and perspectives on the vast amount of scholarly information already accumulated. This anthology's well-written, well-conceptualized, and well-argued essays offer more than a mere detailed account of a battle or campaign. Instead, these able authors debate and explore the importance and implications of decisions, events, and actions. Clearly, the scholarship on the American Civil War is neither stagnant nor exhausted. The current generation of Civil War researchers still has much to say about our nation's greatest calamity. With this series Woodworth has achieved his goals of shedding more light on the western campaigns and sparking new scholarship on the western theater." --JOHN D. FOWLER
— John D. Fowler