Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Booknotes: The Battle of Charleston and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign

New Arrival:
The Battle of Charleston and the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign
by Terry Lowry (35th Star Pub, 2016).

I've already mentioned this book several times on the site. It covers a nearly forgotten campaign, fought simultaneously with but completely overshadowed by the 1862 Maryland Campaign.
"The Battle of Charleston (West Virginia), fought September 13, 1862, between the Confederate forces of Gen. William Wing Loring and the Federal command of Col. Joseph Andrew Jackson Lightburn, pales in comparison to many of the more well-known and documented engagements of the American Civil War. Yet the battle and the activities comprising the 1862 Kanawha Valley Campaign, particularly Lightburn’s subsequent retreat, beginning at Fayetteville and ending at Point Pleasant, were of much more strategic importance than readily meets the eye and held special meaning for many of its participants."
The volume examines in great detail (operationally and tactically) both the Confederate offensive that briefly pushed federal forces out of the area and the Union counteroffensive that permanently reoccupied the Kanawha Valley. Key officers and units involved in the campaigns are also discussed in depth. An incredible number of rare photographs and other images made their way into the book (332 in total). The only thing that disappoints at first glance is the map set, with only single, schematic-style maps for the two major actions at Fayetteville and Charleston. Other than that, the presentation is very impressive.

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