The Chickamauga Campaign - A Mad Irregular Battle: From the Crossing of Tennessee River Through the Second Day, August 22 - September 19, 1863

The Chickamauga Campaign - A Mad Irregular Battle: From the Crossing of Tennessee River Through the Second Day, August 22 - September 19, 1863

by David Powell

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Chickamauga, according to soldier rumor, is a Cherokee word meaning “River of Death.” It certainly lived up to that grim sobriquet in September 1863 when the Union Army of the Cumberland and Confederate Army of Tennessee waged bloody combat along the banks of West Chickamauga Creek. Long considered a two-day affair, award-winning author David Powell embraces a fresh approach that explores Chickamauga as a three-day battle, with September 18 being key to understanding how the fighting developed the next morning. The second largest battle of the Civil War produced 35,000 casualties and one of the last, clear-cut Confederate tactical victories—a triumph that for a short time reversed a series of Rebel defeats and reinvigorated the hope for Southern independence. At issue was Chattanooga, the important “gateway to the South” and logistical springboard into Georgia.

Despite its size, importance, and fascinating cast of characters, this epic Western Theater battle has received but scant attention. Powell masterfully rectifies this oversight with The Chickamauga Campaign—A Mad Irregular Battle: From the Crossing of the Tennessee River Through the Second Day, August 22 – September 19, 1863. The first of three installments spanning the entire campaign, A Mad Irregular Battle includes the Tullahoma Campaign in June, which set the stage for Chickamauga, and continues through the second day of fighting on September 19. The second installment finishes the battle from dawn on September 20 and carries both armies through the retreat into Chattanooga and the beginning of the siege. The third and last book of the series includes appendices and essays exploring specific questions about the battle in substantially greater detail.

Powell’s magnificent study fully explores the battle from all perspectives and is based upon fifteen years of intensive study and research that has uncovered nearly 2,000 primary sources from generals to private, all stitched together to relate the remarkable story that was Chickamauga. Here, finally, readers will absorb the thoughts and deeds of hundreds of the battle’s veterans, many of whom they have never heard of or read about. In addition to archival sources, newspapers, and other firsthand accounts, Powell grounds his conclusions in years of personal study of the terrain itself and regularly leads tours of the battlefield. His prose is as clear and elegant as it is authoritative and definitive.

The Chickamauga Campaign—A Mad Irregular Battle is Powell’s magnum opus, a tour-de-force rich in analysis brimming with heretofore untold stories. It will surely be a classic must-have battle study for every serious student of the Civil War.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611211757
Publisher: Savas Beatie
Publication date: 06/19/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 672
Sales rank: 375,343
File size: 26 MB
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About the Author

David A. Powell is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, class of 1983, with a BA in history. After graduating he went to work in the family business, CBS Messenger, in the Chicago area, but David never lost his intense interest in military history, especially in the American Civil War. He has published articles in a number of magazines, more than fifteen historical simulations of various battles, and led tours to various sites. For the past decade David’s focus has been on the epic battle of Chickamauga.

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The Chickamauga Campaign - A Mad Irregular Battle: From the Crossing of Tennessee River Through the First Day, August 22 - September 19, 1863 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
DavidMarshall More than 1 year ago
David Powell writes about one of the most important military campaigns of the American Civil War. In the second bloodiest battles behind only Gettysburg, he points out that compared to many significant engagements there is a limited amount of serious scholarship. He points out that this is surprising since Chickamauga was our countries first national military park and so many soldiers fought here as well as at Chattanooga from many places in the North and South. Additionally, Powell argues that this void happened partly due to the confusion in this major fight, not being led by a notable, historically popular and most successful general, and the action taking place in the Western Theater. This well known clash boasts a most interesting cast of characters including Confederate Army of Tennessee Generals Braxton Bragg, Lendidas Polk, Nathan Bedford Forrest and Patrick R. Cleburne and the Army of the Cumberland Generals William S. Rosecrans, George H. Thomas and Philip H. Sheridan. The author explores questions regarding military leadership, strategy and tactics impacting soldiers in both armies record in this engaging narrative. After 15 years of research, this writer attempts to explore all aspects of the Chickamauga campaign in this first large narrative of three projected volumes. The writer approaches this first book from the Tullahoma campaign, which set the stage for this arena and up to the conclusion of the fighting on the evening of September 19, 1863. This comprehensive first title is well researched from thousands of published and unpublished primary sources from Powell’s files including many soldier stories told in their letters, diary and journal entries, newspaper articles and editorials, personal memoirs, and regimental histories. This important examination published by Savas Beatie is easy to read, balanced, engaging, extremely detailed and well written. There are numerous detailed maps produced by Powell and David Friedrichs throughout this work that are helpful in following the troop movements. Additionally, the illustrations are most useful in gaining a better understanding of the landscape and officers who directed these men throughout the combat during the summer of 1863. It would have been helpful to have included a bibliography in this first study instead of waiting to include in a future treatment. This book included one appendix which lists the order of Battle with Strengths and Losses as well as below page end notes and a complete index. The writer illuminates the topic and makes the story understandable to anyone interested in this important moment during the conflict between the Federals and the Confederates. Powell has included many wonderful anecdotes and intriguing facts about the common fighting man which proves useful throughout this prose in understanding the bravery, triumphs, failures, sacrifices, struggles, courage and commitment of Johnny Reb and Billy Yank. This ambitious tome will be useful to serious students as well as armchair novices and should be added to the knapsacks of Civil War buffs.
fivekids More than 1 year ago
     I really enjoyed this book. I am a Civil War buff from way back, but I have to admit that I didn't know a thing about the Battle of Chickamauga. To paraphrase the author, that was mostly due to the fact that it was a battle that did not have a general names "Lee", "Grant", or "Jackson". But be warned, this book is very detailed and meticulously researched. There are many, many names to keep track of, and, unlike a WW2 book, all of the names are Anglican names, therefore it's difficult sometimes to keep track of who is Union or Confederate, especially at the Brigade or Regimental level, which is where most of the book takes place. The narrative of the battle, the impression of which I gleaned  from my reading, was a wild, disorganized meeting engagement, is broken down into 4 hour or so segments, and further broken down almost minute by minute as the action takes place. There are many, many personal recollections inserted throughout the battle narrative which add quite A bit to the action but do not in any way detract from the author's account of what is happening. The personal accounts are seamlessly interspersed throughout. There are also capsule bios of each Army, Corps, Division, Brigade, and some Regimental commanders as they are introduced, which I found very interesting and added a personal touch to the account of the battle      If I have any criticisms they are minor. There are more than a few glaring typos which I hope will be cleaned up in future editions. The maps included are excellent but since they only provide a snapshot of what action is being described in that particular chapter, there really needs to be 3 or even 4 per chapter. But, since the author has already put out a book of maps about the battle, well, I guess he wants you to buy that one too. (Which I don't mind. Capitalism rules.)       In summation, if you can stick with this rather long book, and keep track of the names, and follow the flow of this "mad, irregular battle", you will find this book well worth your time. I am eagerly awaiting Volume Two.