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Wilson's Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It
     

Wilson's Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It

by William Garrett Piston, Richard W. Hatcher
 

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In the summer of 1861, Americans were preoccupied by the question of which states would join the secession movement and which would remain loyal to the Union. This question was most fractious in the border states of Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. In Missouri, it was largely settled at Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861, in a contest that is rightly considered the

Overview

In the summer of 1861, Americans were preoccupied by the question of which states would join the secession movement and which would remain loyal to the Union. This question was most fractious in the border states of Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. In Missouri, it was largely settled at Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861, in a contest that is rightly considered the second major battle of the Civil War.

In providing the first in-depth narrative and analysis of this important but largely overlooked battle, William Piston and Richard Hatcher combine a traditional military study of the fighting at Wilson's Creek with an innovative social analysis of the soldiers who participated and the communities that supported them. In particular, they highlight the importance of the soldiers' sense of corporate honor--the desire to uphold the reputation of their hometowns--as a powerful motivator for enlistment, a source of sustenance during the campaign, and a lens through which soldiers evaluated their performance in battle.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An excellent study of the first significant Civil War campaign west of the Appalachians.
(Choice)"

"[A] detailed tactical study of the battle. [A] fine book.
(America's Civil War)"

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807855751
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
08/30/2004
Series:
Civil War America Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
941,427
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.05(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Piston and Hatcher have authored a tour de force. Wilson's Creek establishes a standard for excellence against which future books of this character will be measured. It is much more than a superior story of a battle, the leaders, strategy and tactics, and results. The authors draw on a multitude of sources to get into the hearts and minds of the participants and their communities, providing a special dimension to help us understand why the soldiers of 1861 fought and died.--Edwin C. Bearss, Historian Emeritus, National Park Service

[The authors] unearthed a trove of original-source material to document backgrounds, ideals and motives that brought the two armies to Wilson's Creek. . . . Piston and Hatcher have provided a service to Civil War historians by focusing on a significant battle in the Trans-Mississippi Theater--a region that has received significantly less attention than the East. They are commended for detailing the tactical battle and the soldiers who fought it.--Military Review

Wilson's Creek will stand as the definitive study of a long-neglected but important battle. . . . It should be seen as a blueprint for the way all Civil War battle books ought to be written. It is military history with a social historian's heart.--Journal of American History

Piston and Hatcher have succeeded in weaving two kinds of history--the traditional military narrative and the 'new military history'--into a virtually seamless whole. Wilson's Creek is a significant contribution to our understanding not only of the military history of the war west of the [Mississippi] River but of the ideals, fears, and passions of the men who fought it. The authors' investigation into the backgrounds, motivations, and emotions of the combatants in this important but too often overlooked Civil War campaign provides new insight into the factors--most notably the social contract with their home communities and their need to uphold the corporate honor of those communities--that allowed so many young men to face death unquestioningly and even cheerfully.--Thomas W. Cutrer, author of Ben McCulloch and the Frontier Military Tradition

[The authors] have added to the allure of the Civil War not only by writing a wonderful book that gives the participants a voice, but also by considering the political and military ramifications of the battle of Wilson's Creek in the larger societal context. They deepen our understanding of the relationship between the soldiers and the communities from which they came. . . .With a fresh interpretive framework and rich with insights, this book will take its place among the great battle narratives. . . . An excellent study that deserves a wide recognition for its substantial contribution to Civil War scholarship.--American Historical Review

[This] detailed tactical study of the battle is as good as any yet produced by the new generation of military historians. . . . [A] fine book.--America's Civil War

Piston and Hatcher have successfully mined local newspapers and veterans' letters and recollections to show the drama and poignancy of men on both sides marching off to a war whose parameters they could not fully comprehend. . . . [They] have captured well the pathos of the early months of the war as it affected those who fought it.--Journal of Southern History

In this dense treatment, the authors combine details of battle with a social examination of the soldiers and communities involved.--Blue Ridge Business Journal

An excellent study of the first significant Civil War campaign west of the Appalachians. . . . The authors have been able to provide practically everything that modern scholars could ask from a campaign study.--Choice

Meet the Author

William Garrett Piston, professor of history at Southwest Missouri State University, is author of Lee's Tarnished Lieutenant: James Longstreet and His Place in Southern History.

Richard W. Hatcher III is historian at Fort Sumter National Monument.

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