Monday, January 23, 2017

Booknotes: The Battle of Glendale

New Arrival:
The Battle of Glendale: Robert E. Lee's Lost Opportunity
by Douglas Crenshaw (Arcadia Pub & The History Pr, 2017).

The Seven Days battle at Glendale (a.k.a. Fraser's Farm and a host of other names) on June 30, 1862 is considered by many to be one of the great missed opportunities of the Civil War. From the subtitle of his new book The Battle of Glendale, author Douglas Crenshaw, a Richmond National Battlefield Park volunteer, certainly seems to agree with this opinion. The battle has never had a book-length treatment of its own before, with arguably the best coverage up to this point being the relevant chapters from Brian Burton's excellent Seven Days campaign study Extraordinary Circumstances. Crenshaw's 2013 Fort Harrison & Chaffin's Farm book received positive reviews and was a Library of Virginia Literary award nominee, so I am definitely looking forward to this new effort. From a quick glance through it, the research looks serious and the maps appeal to my taste.


  1. Drew: I agree on Burton's chapters being the best modern treatment. The Stempel book published by McFarland a few years ago promised much and delivered very little. It will be interesting to see whether Crenshaw works in analysis of McClellan's bizarre "leadership" on the day in question, heading off to Haxall's and then to the Galena and leaving no clear directives to his subordinates despite the critical stage of his army's movement to its "change of base". If I recall correctly, the Comte de Paris left an account in which he expressed some surprise at the commanding general's actions. I'm not sure that the HP's page limitations will accommodate that and at the same time a thorough tactical discussion which also has adequate background for most readers.

    1. Hi John,
      In this one, the main text only runs 122 pages, so a number of things probably have to be left out or only glancingly addressed. When discussing June 30 to best effect, Glendale and White Oak Swamp should really be considered two parts of the same battle, and it doesn't look like there's room for that kind of expanded treatment here.


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