Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review: Sherman's March

Nevin, David. Sherman's March: Atlanta to the Sea. The Civil War. Alexandria, VA; Time-Life, Inc., 1986.

So I discovered that my Civil War history was severely lacking. I had no idea that Hood led the Confederate Army of Tennessee north while Sherman made his march. I had no idea that Sherman hand-picked the men who went on the march, and sent them north under the Union's best defensive general, George Thomas. I had no idea that when the met outside of Nashville, Thomas routed the Confederates so that the Army of Tennessee effectively ceased to exist. All the history I've read has focused exclusively on Sherman.

I also hadn't realized that when Sherman cut away from his supply lines, no one knew what had happened to him for weeks on end. For all they knew, his army had been swallowed up in the strongholds of the Confederacy. It wasn't until he broke through to Savannah that they knew what became of him.

Also, for all of our deliberate misspellings of names, we're not nearly as creative as people were back then. I mean, who names their child "States Rights Gist"? (Sure, the baseball commissioner was "Kennesaw Mountain Landis", but he was a child of the Civil War.)

And a question for counter-factual historians: what would have happened if they put General Forrest in charge of infantry? In the east, General Stuart demonstrated that he was an able infantry commander in a pinch, so why not give Forrest a try as well?

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