Saturday, May 25, 2019

Booknotes: Call Out the Cadets

New Arrival:
Call Out the Cadets: The Battle of New Market, May 15, 1864 by Sarah Kay Bierle (Savas Beatie, 2019).

With their publication of the current standard New Market battle history Valley Thunder (2010), David Powell's book offering a broader perspective of the campaign Union Command Failure in the Shenandoah (2019), and now Sarah Kay Bierle's Call Out the Cadets, Savas Beatie has pretty much covered all the bases for a wide reading audience.

From the description: "In Call Out the Cadets, Sarah Kay Bierle traces the history of this important, yet smaller battle. While covering the military aspects of the battle, the book also follows the history of individuals whose lives or military careers were changed because of the fight. New Market shined for its accounts of youth in battle, immigrant generals, and a desperate, muddy fight. Youth and veterans, generals and privates, farmers and teachers—all were called into the conflict or its aftermath of the battle, an event that changed a community, a military institute, and the very fate of the Shenandoah Valley."

The volume has all of the narrative, tour, map, and photo features present in the ECW series of books. The bulk of the book is an overview account of the Battle of New Market, with the famous Virginia Military Institute cadet story and context being a major feature. The driving tour is integrated into the narrative and consists of 16 stops. Of the ten maps, five are detailed tactical drawings showing troop positions at each stage of the battle.

The first appendix is a collection of quoted selections from numerous eyewitness accounts of the battle, the second recognizes the indispensable early role of George R. Collins (VMI Class of 1911) in preserving the battlefield, and the third discusses how current cadets recognize and honor the Civil War legacy of their forebears.

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