Friday, May 6, 2016

Booknotes: The Cavalry of the Army of the Cumberland

New Arrival:
The Cavalry of the Army of the Cumberland by Dennis W. Belcher (McFarland, 2016).

From the description:
"During its two-year history, the cavalry of the Army of the Cumberland fought the Confederates in some of the most important actions of the Civil War, including Stones River, Chickamauga, the Tullahoma Campaign, the pursuit of Joseph Wheeler in October 1863 and the East Tennessee Campaign. They battled with legendary Confederate cavalry units commanded by Nathan Bedford Forrest, John Hunt Morgan, Wheeler and others. By October 1864, the cavalry grew from eight regiments to four divisions--composed of units from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and Tennessee--before participating in Sherman's Atlanta Campaign, where the Union cavalry suffered 30 percent casualties. This history of the Army of the Cumberland's cavalry units analyzes their success and failures and re-evaluates their alleged poor service during the Atlanta Campaign."
The book is a detailed chronological account of western theater cavalry operations (big and small), with maps, strength tables, and orders of battle spread throughout. The bibliography lists an impressive array of unpublished sources. Though David Evans's study of mounted operations during the Atlanta Campaign is a classic, there hasn't really been a book that assesses the Union's western cavalry this broadly since Stephen Starr's trilogy was published (I think).

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