Eastern ACW Books

This is a fascinating campaign to study. Personally, I'm still trying to figure out how Hooker managed to fail with such a huge disparity in numbers. Part of Longstreet's Corps wasn't even present and Lee still trounced Hooker. You'll have to pardon me, because I have this idea of Hooker as an excellent division commander on the Peninsula and a good Corps commander at Antietam that I just can't shake. Plus he did pretty well when he went out west in 1864 at the head of the Union XI and XII Corps. My guess is that army command was one level above his head. The problem was that he was highly ambitious and wouldn't have been able to accept this fact if told about it. Enough rambling on Hooker. To the books!




John Bigelow, Jr.
This is the granddaddy of Chancellorsville Campaign studies, written in the early 1900's. I remember buying this book for about $5.00 in Sikeston, Missouri, following a trip to the Memphis Steamboat Classic in Memphis, Tennessee, a high school basketball camp and tournament in which my team participated. I thought I was getting a great deal, because the book was supposed to have 40-odd maps to accompany it. Unfortunately, I bought a 1995 reprint by Smithmark publishing which didn't have the maps. A nice little feature in the appendix has the number of guns in every battery in both armies, a great reference for the scenario designers out there. Bigelow's style is a little different than modern writers, but if you can get over that and find an edition with the maps, you'll have a fine campaign study. has such an edition, but it'll cost you $200 if you want it. 537 pp., 44 three-color folding maps



Stephen W. Sears

This is the Chancellorsville book to get. I can't say enough about Sears and his writing style. George Skoch brings you beautiful and detailed b&w maps to go along with Sears' excellent narrative. Sears used a lot of previously untapped sources, thus giving us the definitive Chancellorsville book. 588 pp., 20 maps

Chancellorsville 1863: The Souls of the Brave

Ernest B. Furgurson

I liked this book a lot. It came out a little before Sears' book on the campaign. I would suggest buying both books if you have the interest and money, because this book holds its own against an author as highly renowned as Sears. The two books aren't better or worse than each other, just slightly different with a few different conclusions. If you want more than one viewpoint on the battle, or just want to become an expert on the Campaign, this is a must-have. The maps are well-done, but rarely go below brigade level, which to me is the only disappointment in this otherwise excellent book. 405 pp., 18 maps

Chancellorsville 1863: Jackson's Lightning Strike

Carl Smith
What's that you say? ANOTHER "Osprey Campaign Series" book? Yep, and get used to it. This is another book written by Carl Smith, so the OOB contains every known regimental strength again! Mr. Smith must either be or know a scenario designer, because he sure does cater to them! And as always the maps are beautiful and excellent. Buy it! 96 pp., 8 maps

Chancellorsville: The Battle and Its Aftermath


Gary W. Gallagher (editor)

Various Authors

Another of Gallagher's Essay series. As always, the topics discussed relate to the Campaign in some way but are not necessarily military in nature. The best essay of this group has to be Robert K. Krick's "The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy", which discusses the circumstances, and Confederate regiment, which were responsible for Stonewall Jackson's wounding. 263 pp., 13 maps

Salem Church Embattled

Ralph Happel

This is another of the books I picked up on my recent trip to the Virginia battlefields. This particular book might be tough to find, but I know it's readily available at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP. The bookstore in downtown Fredericksburg will definitely have a copy. I haven't gotten around to reading it just yet, but since it is the only monograph I know of detailing the May 3 action around Salem's Church, it is a worthy addition to anyone's library. 62 pp., 3 maps