Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Booknotes: Trevilian Station, June 11-12, 1864

New Arrival:
Trevilian Station, June 11-12, 1864: Wade Hampton, Philip Sheridan and the Largest All-Cavalry Battle of the Civil War by Joseph W. McKinney (McFarland, 2016).

Content summary from the publisher's description:
 "In June 1864, General Ulysses Grant ordered his cavalry commander, Philip Sheridan, to conduct a raid to destroy the Virginia Central Railroad between Charlottesville and Richmond. Sheridan fell short of his objective when he was defeated by General Wade Hampton’s cavalry in a two-day battle at Trevilian Station. The first day’s fighting saw dismounted Yankees and Rebels engaged at close range in dense forest. By day’s end, Hampton had withdrawn to the west. Advancing the next morning, Sheridan found Hampton dug in behind hastily built fortifications and launched seven dismounted assaults, each repulsed with heavy casualties. As darkness fell, the Confederates counterattacked, driving the Union forces from the field."
The maps in McKinney's volume are plentiful but crudely drawn. The bibliography lists a fairly substantial body of newspaper and manuscript sources. I believe this is only the second true full-length treatment of this raid and battle, the first being Eric Wittenberg's Glory Enough for All: Sheridan's Second Raid and the Battle of Trevilian Station. I've never seen it but there was also a short history and document collection volume by Walbrook Davis Swank (Battle of Trevilian Station: The Civil War's Greatest and Bloodiest All Cavalry Battle, with Eyewitness Memoirs) published as part of a series.

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