Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Booknotes: Battle Above the Clouds

New Arrival:
Battle above the Clouds: Lifting the Siege of Chattanooga and the Battle of Lookout Mountain, October 16 - November 24, 1863 by David Powell (Savas Beatie, 2017).

Though obviously a much different type of book, David Powell's Battle Above the Clouds picks up where his acclaimed Chickamauga Campaign trilogy ended. It "recounts the first half of the campaign to lift the siege of Chattanooga, including the opening of the “cracker line,” the unusual night battle of Wauhatchie, and one of the most dramatic battles of the entire war: Lookout Mountain."

You get the typical ECW series arrangement of good maps and an abundance of photographs (both period and modern). The driving tour is another notable series feature, and there are two of them in this particular volume. The first is a day-long, 7-stop tour of Wheeler's Raid, which will require the user to visit three adjacent states (Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama). Sticking closer to the city, the second tour (9 stops) covers events at Brown's Ferry, the Wauhatchie Valley, and Lookout Mountain.

The appendix section has three parts. The first revisits the Cracker Line mythology and is written by Frank Varney. The second examines the two versions of artist James Walker's Battle of Lookout Mountain paintings (the 1873 canvas drew the viewer to the dashing figure of Joe Hooker while the earlier 1864 painting emphasized the daunting size of the mountain). The final appendix (replete with numerous photo examples) looks at how some of the natural features of the battlefield became popular tourist destinations, for veterans and civilians alike. The book ends with orders of battle and a suggested reading section.

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