Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Booknotes: Engineering Victory

New Arrival:
Engineering Victory: How Technology Won the Civil War by Thomas F. Army, Jr. (Johns Hopkins Univ Pr, 2016).

I'm really looking forward to reading this book. The first section discusses antebellum science education and the means of transmitting scientific and mechanical knowledge during the period before closing with the building and management of railroads. Part two covers the early Civil War years, beginning with the necessity of employing volunteer engineers to assist an army exploding in size and need of their services. Chapters explore the important roles they played in the Twin Rivers campaign in the west, the Peninsula Campaign, and the summer and fall campaigns in Maryland, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The formation of the U.S. Military Railroad is also examined. The final section offers a series of case studies of applied engineering, with chapters for Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Red River & Petersburg, and Atlanta & the Carolinas. Army seeks to place engineering front and center as a key to Union victory, with the North's combination of prewar investment in education and a labor system rewarding mechanical innovation fostering the development of skills that would lead to a dominating military advantage.

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