Part of John's Military History Page  


 

1861

First Manassas  July 21, 1861  

Carnifix Ferry  September 10, 1861

 

1862

The Peninsula Campaign  March - May  

Kernstown  March 23, 1862   

McDowell  May 8, 1862   

New River Campaign - Giles CH, Princeton, Lewisburg   May 10 - 23, 1862    

Cross Keys and Port Republic  June 8-9, 1862     

The Seven Days  June 25 to July 1, 1862

Cedar Mountain  August 9, 1862       

Brawner Farm  August 28, 1862     

Second Manassas  August 30, 1862                         

South Mountain  September 14, 1862

Harpers Ferry     September 12-15, 1862  

Antietam  or Sharpsburg  September 17, 1862  

Perryville  October 8, 1862    

Fredericksburg  December 13, 1862  

 

1863

Chancellorsville  May 1-3, 1863   (see also Guinea Station)

Brandy Station  June 9, 1863  

Second Winchester and Stephenson's Depot  June 13-15, 1863      

Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville  June 17 to 21, 1863                                                                     

Gettysburg  July 1-3, 1863   

Vicksburg  May 19 to July 4, 1863  

Chickamauga  September 19-20, 1863   

Bristoe Station  October 14, 1863  

Droop Mountain  November 6, 1863

Chattanooga  October 27 - November 25, 1863   

 

1864

Cloyds Mountain Campaign  May 9, 1864   

New Market  May 15, 1864   

Spotsylvania  May 10 and 12th, 1864     

North Anna  May 23 to 27, 1864  

Cold Harbor Campaign  May 26 to June 3, 1864    

Petersburg Assault  June 15-18, 1864    

Hunter's Raid (Lynchburg Campaign) May 26 to June 23, 1864 

Monocacy  July 9, 1864         

Second Kernstown  July 24, 1864  

The Crater  (Petersburg)  July 30, 1864  

Third Winchester  September 19, 1864   

Fisher's Hill  September 22, 1864  

Fort Harrison  (Attack on Richmond) September 29, 1864

Saltville   October 2, 1864  

Cedar Creek  October 19, 1864      

 

1865

Fort Fisher  January 15, 1865  

Fort Stedman  (Petersburg)  March 25, 1865  

Five Forks  April 1, 1865  

Petersburg Breakthrough  April 2, 1865 

Saylors Creek  April 6th, 1865    

 


Miscellaneous

Fort Ward  

Harpers Ferry Armory and Arsenal    

 

Strategy and Tactics

Civil War Tactics in Perspective - No, tactics were not Napoleonic - Why Civil War combat was indecisive    

Quit Talkin' Smack About Bob - A Reasoned Justification for Offensive Operations and Tactics 



Editorial/Opinion

Gods and Generals: You vs. The Critics    

Battlefield Travel Advice  for the Virginia area.    
 

 

Essays by Matt Hering

Fort Donelson   

The Wilderness Campaign  

Assault at Franklin 




 




Military History Bookstore  An extensive selection of good books.

Some essentials:

The West Point Atlas of American Wars: Volume I 1689-1900  *****  Vincent Esposito makes masterly use of maps to explain the strategy behind the Civil War and other conflicts of the era.  Strategy leading up to the battles and the battles themselves are well covered - not only with maps but with excellent and concise explanations.  In addition to the Civil War, the sections on the Mexican War and Spanish-American War are excellent.  These are better maps than those on the West Point website which are simplified to fit a shorter curriculum.  Readers of this book will gain an impressive understanding of the war.


The Civil War Battlefield Guide  ****1/2  Hundreds of battles are covered with topo maps are used for the more significant battles.  Even a relatively obscure battle like Cloyds Mountain and Second Kernstown get a maps.  Importantly, smaller battles are placed into the context of the larger battles and campaigns.  Although it isn't perfect, it is an indispensable touring guide, probably the best available.

 

 

Last Chance for Victory  *****  By Scott Bowden and Bill Ward.  Although marred by typographical errors, this is one of the best military history books I've ever read.  The authors analyze Lee's generalship and convincingly argue a number of controversial assertions.  Specifically that - it was impractical and improper to send troops from Virginia to relieve Vicksburg.  That Lee did not issue discretionary orders but rather orders with discretion that allowed the subordinate to decide how best to complete the task.  That Stuart's ride around the Union army was therefore against orders, and it was originally intended as a ride THROUGH the Union army.  That Ewell's orders were also not discretionary so he too disobeyed orders in not capturing the high ground.  That delays in Longstreet's deployment were reasonable and his performance on July 2nd was superb.  That a Confederate attack on July 3rd was the proper decision, but that the attack was not properly supported, and Longstreet's performance was poor.  Bowden's Napoleonic expertise is very useful regarding staff work.  Although many authors mention the problem, Bowden vividly illustrates it by showing how Napoleon successfully used many times the number of staff officers that Civil War armies used, and he explains their functions.  The authors also explain the en echelon attack on the 2nd, and show that it succeeded in its purpose of diverting Union troops away from the rest of the Union line.  They also show that the failure to extend the attack along the whole line resulted in failure, and they explain who was responsible and why.  The opportunity on the 2nd was great as Meade's shifting of troops had completely denuded some sections of his line.  Although too much ink has obviously been spilled on this battle, you should not miss this book.     

The Bloody Crucible of Courage: Fighting Methods and Combat Experience in the Civil War  *****  by Brent Nosworthy.  Most Civil War historians devote themselves solely to this one individual war and completely lack any tactical context.  As a result, most works parrot the same tired old ideas - "Napoleonic tactics used beyond their time" and "the first modern war".  Brent Nosworthy has studied tactics of the entire gunpowder era, producing unmatched works on the18th Century and the Napoleonic era showing the complex inter-relations of combat arms and highlighting the importance of the psychology and motivation of individual soldiers.  Now, he has given the same sort of treatment to the Civil War.  He discusses the European developments in weapons and tactics in the first half of 19th Century.  He shows the underappreciated increased lethality of the new combination gun-howitzers with longer range and exploding shells.  Discussing the debate on infantry tactics, he shows not only the increased accuracy of rifled muskets - but also the negative effects of their slower muzzle velocity as well as the constants constraints of battle - fear and smoke.  He shows that some visionaries in Europe foresaw - too early - the effects of new infantry weapons, but he also shows that skeptics, particularly in Britain, did exist.  He shows that "Napoleonic tactics", when written by participants in the Civil War, actually meant tactics developed by Napoleon III, an innovator in artillery as well as in infantry tactics, including the use of a gymnastic pace to reach the enemy more quickly, as well as the development of Zouave units.  In discussing cavalry, Nosworthy shows that cavalry attacks in the 1859 Italian War had been disrupted by long range artillery fire the likes of which had not possible in Napoleon's time.  Nevertheless, he shows that cavalry could and did successfully attack infantry during the Civil War.  But by 1864, when cavalry had the training and experience to do so, there were earthworks and other factors preventing attacks on infantry.  In his chapter on grand tactics Nosworthy shows that imitation of Jomini's reactionary line-heavy formations made Civil War combat less decisive than Napoleonic combat in which columns allowed for maneuver and co-operation with cavalry.  Despite some flaws (see other reviews), overall this is the best book on Civil War tactics yet written, and will make you think of Civil War combat in a whole new way.

 




Links:

Links to Other Civil War Websites  includes other virtual battlefield websites.

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