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The Civil War engagement at Cool Spring, July 18, 1864: The largest battle ever fought in Clarke County, Virginia Unknown Binding – January 1, 1979


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding: 71 pages
  • Publisher: P.J. Meaney (1979)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006E5ZAK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,490,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Colinda VINE VOICE on June 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a concise but well-written book of 53 pages plus appendices. It has several black and white illustrations including some helpful diagrams of the battle area.

Cool Spring is an area near Berryville, Virginia now occupied by the Holy Cross Abbey. On July 18, 1864 it was the scene of a river crossing where Confederate forces under Jubal Early held back pursuing Union forces, part of the "Snickers Gap War" which in turn was part of the struggle for control of the Shenandoah Valley.

Author Peter Meaney sets the scene by summarizing the significant events that led up to this struggle, including Early's attack on the defenses of Washington which drew Union forces away from their efforts to take Richmond and Petersburg... for the time being. Meaney then presents the actions at Snickers Gap and Cool Spring, which have otherwise been explored little in Civil War literature. He did extensive research and the maps are detailed, although he admits that the locations of fords and islands has shifted over the years so that today they do not match the eyewitness reports from 1864. The fords were crucial to the soldiers who had to cross and recross the Shenandoah, and a number of unfortunate men drowned when they tried to escape Confederate fire by heading back into the river.

There were disagreements among commanding Union officers during the battle, and the author offers some explanations in a final chapter and shows how the need for a unified command in the Shenandoah became apparent at Cool Spring, setting the stage for Grant to appoint Phil Sheridan to this position on the first of August 1864.

I found this book interesting and easy to follow. There are 14 pages of appendices including a bibliography, plus an index.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting insight on a clash of forces involving significant casualties with no clear victory or impact on the war. A good example of the Federal lack of leadership in conducting the Shenandoah Valley campaign. Very well referenced.
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