Thursday, February 8, 2018

Booknotes: Confederate Generals in the Western Theater, Vol. 4

New Arrival:
Confederate Generals in the Western Theater, Volume 4: Essays on America's Civil War edited by Lawrence Lee Hewitt & Thomas E. Schott (Univ of Tenn Press, 2018).

I love this anthology series (the brainchild of Larry Hewitt and the late Art Bergeron) along with its smaller run Trans-Mississippi cousin. Alas, all good things must come to an end and Confederate Generals in the Western Theater, Volume 4 will be the last installment. Though I did often find myself wishing the series as a whole exhibited a bit higher ratio of lesser-known to famous generals, the contributing authors nevertheless consistently managed throughout the first three volumes to find something freshly intriguing to say about even the best-documented Confederate commanders.

Volume 4 has ten chapters. The collection "includes C. David Dalton on the death of Felix Zollicoffer at the Battle of Mill Springs in Kentucky; Roger Durham on Robert E. Lee's leadership early in the war of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida; Brian S. Wills on Abraham Buford's behind-the-scenes contributions to Nathan Bedford Forrest's famous exploits; the late Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes Jr. on the achievements and failings of Gideon J. Pillow; James M. Prichard on John Hunt Morgan and his last Kentucky raid; and Keith S. Bohannon on Edward C. Walthall, a Virginia lawyer who overcame his lack of prior military experience to become one of the ablest generals in any of the war's theaters."

Other essays examine various aspects of the lives and fighting careers of generals Benjamin Hardin Helm, Bushrod Johnson, W.H.T. Walker, and Braxton Bragg. As before, "(s)ome essays offer full biographies of their subjects; others focus on a single campaign."

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