Monday, July 29, 2019

Booknotes: Lee's Body Guards

New Arrival:
Lee's Body Guards: The 39th Battalion Virginia Cavalry by Michael C. Hardy (Arcadia Pub and The Hist Press).

In addition to being headquarters guards for the Army of Northern Virginia, the four companies that made up the 39th Battalion Virginia Cavalry performed vital service in a staff support role. Michael Hardy's Lee's Body Guards: The 39th Virginia Cavalry tells the story of these men, who were "cavalrymen specifically recruited to serve as scouts, couriers and guides for General Robert E. Lee."

From the description: "Though their battle experiences might pale compared to those of soldiers under J.E.B. Stuart and Wade Hampton, the men of the 39th Virginia served crucial roles in the Confederate army. From the fields of Second Manassas to Appomattox Court House, they were privy to the inner workings of the Confederate high command. They were also firsthand witnesses to the army's victories and triumphs and to its tragedies and trials, from losing Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville to losing the opportunity to win the war at Gettysburg."

The book's treatment of the battalion's service history, which began in Fall 1862 and ended with the Appomattox surrender, runs roughly 90 pages of narrative. Hardy's study also includes a detailed roster (75 pages) organized alphabetically by name.

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