Reading the War September 1862

by James Durney on September 11, 2012 · 2 comments

Reading the War September 1862

 Tempest At Ox Hill: The Battle Of Chantilly by David A. Welker is one a very few books on this small battle.

We are lucky that it is a very good book about a very nasty little battle that saved much of Pope’s army.

 

Often lost in the rush to Antietam is the small but important battle of South Mountain.

Brian Jordan’s   Unholy Sabbath: The Battle of South Mountain in History and Memory, September 14, 1862 is a major step in fixing this problem.

This is the newest book and best book on the battle.

A sentimental favorite and for many years, the only book on this battle is John Michael Priest’s Before Antietam: The Battle for South Mountain.

 

Studies on Antietam always draw on the work of Ezra A. Carmen. A veteran of Antietam, he spent most of his life studying the battle.

Much of his work involved correspondence and talks with other veterans. It is only in the last few years that this important manuscript was available to the public.

The most detailed and authoritarian is the excellent editing by Dr. Thomas G. Clemens of the Ezra A. Carman manuscript on Antietam

The Maryland Campaign of September 1862: Volume I, South Mountain and The Maryland Campaign of September 1862: Volume II, Antietam is everything you could hope for in a history.

 

This brings us to the battle itself.  While not as well covered as Gettysburg, Antietam is not lacking in books.

Not as readable as many would like but possibly the best original work on the Antietam Campaign is Joseph L. Harsh’s  Confederate Tide Rising: Robert E. Lee and the Making of Southern Strategy, 1861-1862,

Taken at the Flood: Robert E. Lee and Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and Sounding the Shallows: A Confederate Companion for the Maryland Campaign of 1862.

 

Steven W. Sears wrote Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam published in 2003, and it still holds its value.

 

In 2008, Joseph Pierro did a one-volume edit of the Carman manuscript The Maryland Campaign of September 1862: Ezra A. Carman’s Definitive Study of the Union and Confederate Armies at Antietam.

 

No matter what book(s) you buy, the essential purchase is The Maps of Antietam: An Atlas of the Antietam (Sharpsburg) Campaign, including the Battle of South Mountain, September 2 – 20, 1862 by Bradley M. Gottfried.

This excellent book is both maps and history.  You will use it to keep track of movement, as a reference and in walking the field.

 

To Antietam Creek: The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 by David S. Hartwig is the first of two volumes on the Maryland Campaign.  This volume ends on September 16.

I have not seen the book but the description is promising.  From the description and reviews on Amazon, I am wary of Richard Slotkin’s The Long Road To Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution as a military history.

The description and reviews make me think this is more a political history than anything else.

 

The Battle of Corinth follows the battle of Iuka by only days.  Most books treat the two battles as one interlocking event.

For many years, the only book I knew of is The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth by Peter Cozzens.

First published in 1997, this book remains in print providing an excellent look at these two battles.

 

Just published is Timothy Smith’s Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation starts after Shiloh and covers the battles, large and small, around Corinth.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brett Schulte September 11, 2012 at 8:13 am

Jim,

Good summary of some of the available literature. I do want to add a few points.

First, Paul Taylor wrote He Hath Loosed the Fateful Lightning: The Battle of Ox Hill (Chantilly), September 1, 1862, which is every bit the book that David Welker’s is.

Second, you may be referring to a paperback release date of Stephen Sears’ book, but the original came out in the 1980s. I know because my own dog-eared paperback copy was purchased in the early 1990s when I was in grade school.

Third, fellow blogger John David Hoptak has a concise history of South Mountain out, published by the History Press.

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