Friday, April 9, 2021

Booknotes: Meade and Lee at Rappahannock Station

New Arrival:
Meade and Lee at Rappahannock Station: The Army of the Potomac’s First Post-Gettysburg Offensive, From Kelly’s Ford to the Rapidan, October 21 to November 20, 1863 by Jeffrey Wm. Hunt (Savas Beatie, 2021).

Though two H.E. Howard series volumes went some way toward bridging the gap in book-length coverage of the campaigns conducted in northern Virginia between the return of Lee's defeated army from Pennsylvania in July 1863 and the onset of the 1864 Overland Campaign, those books were really just decent placeholders to tide us over until more substantial works appeared. It took a while, but they finally did. In 2010, British author Adrian Tighe self-published The Bristoe Campaign: General Lee's Last Strategic Offensive with the Army of Northern Virginia October 1863, but the greatest contribution has been made by Jeffrey Hunt, who has now completed a trilogy of books addressing the period. Hunt's  Meade and Lee After Gettysburg: The Forgotten Final Stage of the Gettysburg Campaign, from Falling Waters to Culpeper Court House, July 14-31, 1863 came in 2017, and it was followed only two years later by Meade and Lee at Bristoe Station: The Problems of Command and Strategy after Gettysburg, from Brandy Station to the Buckland Races, August 1 to October 31, 1863. Publisher Savas Beatie has taken the lead on all this, and in addition to publishing Hunt's books they've also put out through their ECW label useful minor works on Mine Run and Bristoe Station for those wanting good overviews of those events without a major time investment. Now, in 2021, we have the final installment of Hunt's series in Meade and Lee at Rappahannock Station: The Army of the Potomac’s First Post-Gettysburg Offensive, From Kelly’s Ford to the Rapidan, October 21 to November 20, 1863.

Meade and Lee at Rappahannock Station begins its accounting of fall 1863 actions in Virginia a week after the October 14 Confederate defeat at Bristoe Station. It provides "a fast-paced and dynamic account of Lee’s bold strategy to hold the Rappahannock River line as the Army of the Potomac retraced its steps south. Pressured by Washington to fight but denied strategic flexibility, Meade launched a risky offensive to carry Lee’s Rappahannock defenses and bring on a decisive battle. The dramatic fighting included a stunning Federal triumph at Rappahannock Station—which destroyed two entire Confederate brigades—that gave Meade the upper hand and the initiative in his deadly duel with Lee, who retreated south to a new position behind the Rapidan River."

More from the description: The book offers "a day-by-day, and sometimes minute-by-minute, account of the Union army’s first post-Gettysburg offensive action and Lee’s efforts to repel it. In addition to politics, strategy, and tactics, Hunt’s pen ably examines the intricate command relationships, Lee’s questionable decision-making, and the courageous spirit of the fighting men."

3 comments:

  1. Hi Drew

    Jeff submitted one giant manuscript many years ago, and after examining it, I convinced him to break it up into three or possibly four books. This is not the last book--there is one more coming in 2022 on the Mine Run Campaign.

    We are very pleased with how well these have sold. I had modest expectations, but the sales have been brisk, and the reviews exceedingly positive. Jeff is a pleasure to work with an a real pro at researching and writing.

    --Ted Savas

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Drew

    Jeff submitted one giant manuscript many years ago, and after examining it, I convinced him to break it up into three or possibly four books. This is not the last book--there is one more coming in 2022 on the Mine Run Campaign.

    We are very pleased with how well these have sold. I had modest expectations, but the sales have been brisk, and the reviews exceedingly positive. Jeff is a pleasure to work with an a real pro at researching and writing.

    --Ted Savas

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Drew
    Glad to see Jeff Hunt's series will finish with the Mine Run Campaign.

    The series has been very interesting.

    Don Hallstrom

    ReplyDelete

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