Thursday, July 25, 2019

Booknotes: General Emory Upton in the Civil War

New Arrival:
General Emory Upton in the Civil War: The Formative Experiences of an American Military Visionary by Robert N. Thompson (McFarland).

There's been quite a bit of attention paid to Emory Upton in the recent scholarly literature. In 2017, University of Oklahoma Press published a biography by David Fitzpatrick (Emory Upton: Misunderstood Reformer) and two volumes of Upton correspondence written between 1857 and 1881 were released by University of Tennessee Press as part of their Voices of the Civil War series. The editor of the latter project, Salvatore Cilella, also authored a well-received regimental history of "Upton's Regulars" (the 121st NY).

Unlike Fitzpatrick's book and Stephen Ambrose's 1964 biography, Robert Thompson's General Emory Upton in the Civil War: The Formative Experiences of an American Military Visionary seeks to present a detailed, focused account of Upton's Civil War career (during which he commanded units of all three branches) that also explains how those experiences drove his professional desire to reform the army.

From the description: "Considered by many to be the architect of the modern U.S. Army, Union General Emory Upton commanded troops in almost every major battle of the Civil War's Eastern Theater. Witnessing some of the war's bloodiest engagements convinced him of the need for comprehensive reform in military organization, professionalism, education, tactics and personnel policies. From the end of the war to his 1881 death by suicide, Upton led an effort to modernize U.S. military culture. While much has been written about the politics of his reform campaign, this book details his wartime experiences and how they informed his intense fervor for change."

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