War in Kentucky: From Shiloh to Perryville

War in Kentucky: From Shiloh to Perryville

by James Lee McDonough
     
 

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A compelling new volume from the author of Shiloh—In Hell before Night and Chattanooga—A Death Grip on the Confederacy, this book explores the strategic importance of Kentucky for both sides in the Civil War and recounts the Confederacy's bold attempt to capture the Bluegrass State.  In a narrative rich with quotations from the diaries, letters, and

Overview

A compelling new volume from the author of Shiloh—In Hell before Night and Chattanooga—A Death Grip on the Confederacy, this book explores the strategic importance of Kentucky for both sides in the Civil War and recounts the Confederacy's bold attempt to capture the Bluegrass State.  In a narrative rich with quotations from the diaries, letters, and reminiscences of participants, James Lee McDonough brings to vigorous life an episode whose full significance has previously eluded students of the war.
In February of 1862, the fall of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson near the Tennessee-Kentucky border forced a Confederate retreat into northern Alabama. After the Southern forces failed that spring at Shiloh to throw back the Federal advance, the controversial General Braxton Bragg, newly promoted by Jefferson Davis, launched a countermovement that would sweep eastward to Chattanooga and then northwest through Middle Tennessee. Capturing Kentucky became the ultimate goal, which, if achieved, would lend the war a different complexion indeed.
Giving equal attention to the strategies of both sides, McDonough describes the ill-fated Union effort to capture Chattanooga with an advance through Alabama, the Confederate march across Tennessee, and the subsequent two-pronged invasion of Kentucky.  He vividly recounts the fighting at Richmond, Munfordville, and Perryville, where the Confederate dream of controlling Kentucky finally ended.
The first book-length study of this key campaign in the Western Theater, War in Kentucky not only demonstrates the extent of its importance but supports the case that 1862 should be considered the decisive year of the war.
The author: James Lee McDonough, a native of Tennessee, is professor of history at Auburn University. Among his other books are Stones River—Bloody Winter in Tennessee and Five Tragic Hours: The Battle of Franklin, which he co-wrote with Thomas L. Connelly.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
According to McDonough (Chattanooga: A Death Grip on the Confederacy, Univ. of Tennessee Pr., 1984), the South's failure to bring Kentucky into the Confederacy gave the Union access to Kentucky's important railways and waterways, thus providing the Yankees with a back door to the South. He examines Union General Buell, Confederate General Bragg, and their subordinates, detailing strengths and weaknesses on both sides. He leads the reader to wonder whether the Civil War was as much a conflict of egos and eccentricities as it was of tactics and strategy. McDonough writes an interesting account, especially when he crawls inside the heads of the major figures. Several maps are included, but more would have been welcome. Nevertheless, Civil War scholars, buffs, and informed lay readers will find this book a valuable addition to the literature. For academic libraries and public libraries with Civil War collections.-Grant A. Fredericksen, Illinois Prairie Dist. P.L., Metamora
Booknews
McDonough (Auburn U.) draws on diaries, letters, and reminiscences to explore the strategic importance of Kentucky for both sides in the Civil War and recount the Confederacy's attempt to capture the state. He supports the case that 1862 should be considered the decisive year of the war. Includes b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Roland Green
By mid 1862, Union gains in the Mississippi Valley and in Tennessee and Kentucky had brought the Confederacy to a point of strategic crisis. This valuable addition to the growing literature on the Civil War in the West tells how the Union then failed to press home its advantage while the Confederacy failed to force Kentucky into the Confederacy. The climax of these events was the little-known Battle of Perryville, in which a greatly inferior Southern force under Braxton Bragg managed a draw against Don Carlos Buell's Union army but also effectively terminated the Confederate invasion of Kentucky. McDonough has researched thoroughly and written clearly, making this book informative and accessible to a wide range of Civil War students.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780870498473
Publisher:
University of Tennessee Press
Publication date:
10/01/1994
Pages:
386
Product dimensions:
6.35(w) x 9.31(h) x 1.21(d)

Meet the Author

James Lee McDonough, a native of Tennessee, is professor of history at Auburn University. Among his other books are Stones River—Bloody Winter in Tennessee and Five Tragic Hours: The Battle of Franklin, which he co-wrote with Thomas L. Connelly.

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