Civil War Book Acquisitions, November 2014, Part 3

The Chickamauga Campaign:A Mad Irregular Battle: From the Crossing of the Tennessee River Through the Second Day, August 22-September 19, 1863

TheChickamaugaCampaignVol1MadIrregularBattlePowellSavas2014by David A. Powell

Savas Beatie

Format: Hardcover, 696 pages Price: $37.50 ISBN: 978-1-61121-174-0 eBook: 978-1-61121-175-7 On Sale: November 2014 26 maps, 40 images

TOCWOC’s Take: Even with all of the excellent Petersburg Campaign books coming out this year, this is probably my most eagerly anticipated Civil War book of 2014.  Dave Powell knows Chickamauga like an old friend, having studied the campaign in exhaustive detail for literally decades.  He’s walked the ground probably more times than he can remember, runs a fine blog which discusses the Chickamauga campaign, and hosts a yearly tour group of the battlefield every March.  He has already written two other books focusing on the campaign for Savas Beatie: The Maps of Chickamauga and Failure in the Saddle. The second volume is due to be released early next year, and a third volume, basically a book of appendices similar to Joe Harsh’s Sounding the Shallows, will follow. Check out the trailer here:


The 2nd Maine Cavalry in the Civil War: A History and Roster

2ndMaineCavalryInTheCivilWarSmithMcFarland2014by Ned Smith

McFarland and Company, Inc.

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-7968-9 Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-1656-8 67 photos, 10 maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index 240pp. softcover (7 x 10) 2014

TOCWOC’s Take: The 2nd Maine Cavalry, unlike its brother regiment the 1st Maine Cavalry, is not well known.  It didn’t fight in the Eastern Theater in Virginia.  It didn’t even fight in the Western Theater.  It fought its Civil War battles in Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama.  In addition, the regiment wasn’t even mustered in until later in the war.  Many of its men were veterans of infantry regiments raised earlier in the war.  Author Ned Smith looks to shed some light on a regiment whose exploits have been hiding away in the dark for 150 years.  He finds some interesting things, including that the regiment contained several Native Americans and an African American, and also a Medal of Honor winner.  Fans of the less well known theaters of the war will want to give this one a look.  The 2nd Maine Cavalry fought in the Red River Campaign, the Battle of Marianna in Florida, and at Mobile, Alabama in 1865, if you’re interested in some of its specific fights.


The Battle of First Deep Bottom

FirstBattleOfDeepBottomPrice2014by James S. Price

The History Press

ISBN : 978-1-60949-541-1 Page Extent : 160 pp. Trim Size : 6 x 9 Over 35 images Published : September 2014

TOCWOC’s Take: Another of the smaller, less well known battles at the Siege of Petersburg gets its day in the sun.  The First Battle of Deep Bottom occurred in the days leading up to the much more well known Battle of the Crater in late July 1864, during Grant’s Third Offensive against Petersburg.  This little campaign within a campaign initially had great goals.  Winfield S. Hancock was to push northwest towards Richmond, clearing a path so several of Phil Sheridan’s cavalry divisions could wreck the railroad north of Richmond.  It fizzled almost from the beginning.  Hancock intentionally took the lower pontoon bridge across the James River, putting Bailey’s Creek between him and the Confederates he was supposed to attack.  Though a strengthened skirmish line took four 20 pound Parrotts from a Confederate battery, not much else was accomplished.  Over the next two days, Hancock was strangely hesitant, and Sheridan, for once, seemed content to defer to his superior.  Grant used the fizzle to his advantage, however, making it look like reinforcements were being sent to fool Lee.  Ultimately, only three Confederate infantry divisions were present at Petersburg when the Crater assault occurred on July 30, so this diversion was at least successful.  The question remains, though, “How could three aggressive generals, Grant, Hancock, and Sheridan, be in charge of such a weak offensive effort as First Deep Bottom?”

I also reviewed the e-book version of this one earlier this Fall:

Author Jimmy Price wrote in his Preface “It is my hope that this book will be the starting point for all who wish to further their understanding of this important action and the tone it would set for the confrontations between Grant and Lee for the remainder of 1864.”  His hope is fulfilled with The Battle of First Deep Bottom.  Anyone interested in learning about the “other” operation which was going on prior to the Battle of the Crater during the Third Offensive against Petersburg will want to own this book.  Those looking for a “battle book” which focuses on new operations rather than rehashing Gettysburg for the 10,000th time will find it well written and entertaining.  It may give Gettysburg buffs new insight into Hancock, one of the heroes of that famous fight.  The author and publisher are to be commended for bringing to light not one but two obscure Petersburg Campaign battles with Price’s first two books.  Buy this book and Price’s earlier effort on New Market Heights.  Both are excellent introductions to the late war fighting around Richmond and Petersburg.


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