Review: For Cause & for Country: A Study of the Affair At Spring Hill & the Battle of Franklin

For Cause & for Country: A Study of the Affair At Spring Hill & the Battle of Franklin
by Eric A. Jacobson

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: O’More Publishing; 2nd edition (2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971744440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971744448

One of the best Civil War histories I have read!

This book is the gold standard for Spring Hill & Franklin and is an essential book for your library.  This book can answer the questions of all but the most zealous of the zealots.  The text is clear, intelligent and easy to follow.  The organization makes it easy to follow the complex action without being lost.  The maps, while few, are in the right place and complement the text.  The well-placed illustrations supplement our understanding of the story.

The author has no visible agenda.

He is not trying to savage or save someone’s reputation for what happened at Spring Hill.

He is not trying to prove Hood did or did not set out to punish his army at Franklin.

He refuses to take any side but the historical record while showing how stories and justifications cause problems later.  He is not debunking these stories but showing what factual base they do or do not have.   In doing so, he systematically builds a powerful logical story free of finger pointing.

This campaign contains maneuvering, hard marching, skirmishing and desperate battle.  The author handles each of these well.  Hood’s army crossing the Duck River forces Schofield out of Columbia, setting up the foot race toward Nashville.  This culminates in the “Spring Hill Affair”, where the smaller Union army marches past the Rebels during an all night march.  The details here help us understand the fatigue and mental strain the soldiers were under that night.  What happened is the easy part of the Spring Hill story.  Why it happened is much harder to determine.  The author writes a logical why drawing on the words of the participants.  He pulls multiple stories into a coherent structure that places responsibility not blame.

The battle of Franklin is some of the best battle narrative I have read.  This is both compelling and horrific reading.  Franklin is a desperate fight for both sides.  If the Union lines breaks, they were trapped and destroyed their best hope would be Andersonville prison.  For the Rebels, failure to break the Union line ends all hope of freeing Tennessee and their dream of a new nation.  The largest charge of the Civil War is fully captured in all its’ majestic glory.  The author’s text puts the reader in the Union line watching and gives us the feel of the Rebels watching that line draw closer.

Following the charge is a detailed account of a savage fight at close quarters.  The description of this fight captures all the savagery, horrors and heroics of combat.  The writing is a combination of first person accounts woven into very descriptive text that produces a powerful reading experience.

This book is about Spring Hill, Franklin and the people who fought there.  We get enough background and coverage of Nashville to place them in the overall war.  The last chapters cover the participant’s lives and what happened to the field.  “Preservation” efforts for one of the Confederacy’s worst defeats center on the cemetery not on the battlefield and the buildings.  These chapters complete the story giving the book an additional value not found in many other histories.

I read a lot of Civil War histories; this is one of the best Civil War histories I have read.


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