Monday, May 1, 2017

Booknotes: The Cavalries at Stones River

New Arrival:
The Cavalries at Stones River: An Analytical History
by Dennis W. Belcher (McFarland, 2017).

Belcher's solid general history of the cavalry of the Army of the Cumberland [my review] was published last year, and in it he mentioned how understudied the mounted portion of the Middle Tennessee Campaign of winter 1862-63 has been. His new book The Cavalries of Stones River strikes right at the heart of this void.

From the description: "At the Battle of Stones River, General David Stanley's Union cavalry repeatedly fought General Joseph Wheeler's Confederate cavalry. The campaign saw some of the most desperately fought mounted engagements in the Civil War's Western Theater and marked the end of the Southern cavalry's dominance in Tennessee. This history describes the events leading up to the battle and the key actions, including the December 31 attack by Wheeler's cavalry, the Union counterattack, the repulse of General John Wharton by the 1st Michigan Engineers and Wheeler's daring raid on the rear of Williams Rosecrans' army. The author reassesses the actions of General John Pegram's cavalry brigade."

Part One looks at the maneuvering of Union and Confederate cavalry operations beginning with the conclusion of the 1862 Kentucky Campaign and running up through Christmas Day of that year. Part Two discusses the organization of each side's mounted arm, and provides capsule unit histories of the opposing regiments and brigades. The cavalry's role in the campaign and battle of Stones River is detailed in Part Three, which comprises around half the main narrative. The volume also includes a fine looking set of maps from George Skoch.

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