The American Civil War: A Military History
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The greatest military historian of our time gives a peerless account of America’s most bloody, wrenching, and eternally fascinating war.
In this long-awaited history, John Keegan shares his original and perceptive insights into the psychology, ideology, demographics, and economics of the American Civil War. Illuminated by Keegan’s knowledge of military history he provides a fascinating look at how command and the slow evolution of its strategic logic influenced the course of the war. Above all, The American Civil War gives an intriguing account of how the scope of the conflict combined with American geography to present a uniquely complex and challenging battle space. Irresistibly written and incisive in its analysis, this is an indispensable account of America’s greatest conflict.
northern Virginia, the Army of the Potomac was accustomed to being led to the northern bank of one of the nearby rivers to establish a defensive position within which to rest and refit after a heavy engagement. In the aftermath of the Wilderness battle, which had cost 17,500 casualties overall (Confederate losses were 7,750), the soldiers were surprised to be overtaken by Grant and his staff, riding southward in order, as quickly became apparent, to resume the offensive. His objective, ten miles
Confederacy was unavoidable. The strength of its armies was in irreversible decline; its currency had lost all value, and so isolation from the outside world was complete. Important areas of the South were no longer under Richmond’s control, and some had already been laid waste, a process which was to continue. In retrospect and in the light of its progressive material weakening, what stands out as remarkable about the Confederacy’s conduct of the war is Southern resilience. Just as the North
Jackson to Front Royal, where he won an untidy little victory over Banks, whose retreat he followed towards Harpers Ferry. These actions so alarmed Lincoln that he ordered both Frémont and McDowell to leave their current positions in the Alleghenies and outside Washington, respectively, and to march to Banks’s assistance. The orders were given on May 24 and unwittingly contributed to the success of Jackson’s campaign of diversion and distraction in the valley, since they negated any effort to
set a model to which lesser planters aspired and, below them, the prosperous farmers also. The wealth of the South was increasing during the 1850s, if only because the price of slaves was rising. The market price of cotton had doubled since 1845 and big producers earned huge profits, as much as 20 percent on their capital, and spent much of it on the luxuries of plantation life, European fashions, fine horseflesh, and French wine. Many big planters did not live on the land at all but left
overseers in charge and spent their days in state capitals or country seats, particularly at places like Charleston, South Carolina; Natchez, Mississippi; or the new Garden District of New Orleans. Southern towns, or “cities” in American parlance, were, however, all small by comparison with their Northern counterparts. New Orleans was four times larger than any other. Montgomery, Alabama, the Confederacy’s first capital, was the fastest growing but had only 36,000 people at secession, at a time