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Conquering the Valley: Stonewall Jackson at Port Republic Hardcover – February, 1996

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Krick (Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain) makes another significant contribution to Civil War operational history with this definitive account of the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic. Fought June 8-9, 1862, they determined the ultimate success of Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign, freeing him to move to Robert E. Lee's aid in thwarting George McClellan's advance on Richmond. These battles also solidified Jackson's reputation as a military genius, though their outcomes also reflected the incompetence of Union generals James Shields and John C. Fremont. Krick's exhaustive use of Union and Confederate primary sources, many unpublished, demonstrates as well the tactical difficulties faced by armies whose citizen-soldiers and officers were still in large part substituting courage for skill. The author's detailed attention to the human dimension of Civil War battle, including the horrors of being wounded, is facilitated by the small scale of the fighting and makes this work particularly valuable for all collections. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Few campaigns rank higher in Civil War history than Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862, when the ascetic Virginian drove the Yankees from the Shenandoah Valley, holding the South's breadbasket and forging the myth of Southern invincibility in the East. Krick (Stonewall Jackson and Cedar Mountain, LJ 7/90), author of three previous books on the war's Virginia theater, returns to the Shenandoah Valley to write the first full-dress account of the battles at Port Republic and Cross Keys, which won Jackson his fame and, Krick claims, saved the South from imminent defeat. The author cannot hide his Virginia bias in this gritty, day-by-day account of camp and field, but he brings the reader closer to the "real war" and gives voices to many common soldiers. The almost numbing detail will put off those who want their battle accounts lean, but Krick's astute judgments about generalship make for good reading. Recommended for academic libraries and Civil War collections.?Randall M. Miller, St. Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 594 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1 edition (February 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068811282X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688112820
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,215,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Hurley VINE VOICE on September 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the most documented source on Jackson at the battles of Port Republic and Cross Keyes where Jackson's army stand between two armies that are trying to trap and squeeze him, which they almost succeed in doing at the start. Like the great author of the Gettysburg series Harry W. Pfanz, Robert Krick is the ultimate researcher on the tactics of Stonewall Jackson. Like Pfanz with Gettysburg, Krick is ultimately familiar with his subject particularly because he was the Superintendent of all the battlefields around Fredericksburg (Spotsylvania, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg and the Wilderness). Krick is also the grand researcher of soldiers' letters and writings and through his research he has weeded out fact from fiction. Examples are the puffed writings of Trimble about his brigade at Cross Keyes. Krick reveals that Trimble's writings often neglected the role of other units on the field while heaping a disproportionate amount of praise on his own. Discerning historical inaccuracies is one reason why Krick's books provide an accurate portrayal of a battle or the campaign. Others that suffer from exaggeration, misperceptions and/or ego inflation are Chief of Staff Dabney and Colonel Imboden. The references to Colonel Dabney are humorous to some degree as Dabney performs well in some areas, he does try hard but in a lot of cases he is not as effective as he seems to think. Imboden's false references to interaction with Jackson make one question his famous comments that he witnessed Lee's distressed comments after Picket's Charge.
The village of Port Republic is still a small town nestled against the South and North Rivers that form the South Shenandoah with Cross Keyes across the North River to the west.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Robert K. Krick, a well known authority on the Army of Northern Virginia, has written a fine account of the culmination of the 1862 Valley Campaign at the Battle of Port Republic. Unfortunately, the maps, which are always an indispensible adjunct to military writing, are a shambles. Thanks, evidently, to an oversight by the publisher, about half of the numerous maps lack the textual labels to identify the various units. Thus, the reader is left to guess at just what the maps are depicting. A work that is otherwise as meritorious as this deserves far, far better care by the publisher than this one received.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Don Lowry on March 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This volume gives a great deal of detail about the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic, but the author relates various aspects of these battles over and over from the slightly different viewpoints of various participants, so that I just wanted to say, "Get on with it!" Another complaint is that the title and subtitle (possibly chosen by the publisher, not the author) are very misleading: Jackson did not "conquer" the valley -- he merely marched up and down it (only summarized in this book), attracting the attention of various Union forces and diverting them away from Richmond, fought these two battles, and then left the Valley, not to reappear until he captured Harper's Ferry during the Antietam campaign (not covered here at all). Nor does Jackson, personally, appear very prominently in the book's narrative. He, of course, commanded the Confederate army at these battles, but the author's focus is more on the individual soldiers, the regiments and batteries, and the brigades, not on Jackson. And, finally, there are two battles covered in the book, but only one is mentioned in the subtitle. The maps in my copy are flawed, as mentioned by another reviewer here, but corrected versions were provided, though not bound in. (I think I have a book club edition.) If you want to know as much as possible about Cross Keys and Port Republic, read this book. If you're just looking for a good read, pass it by.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brett R. Schulte on February 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the first addition to my collection focusing on the Valley Campaign, and what better author is there to choose than Robert Krick? None, when we're talking about Jackson and his Valley Army. I have now read this book and found it to be an excellent work on the twin battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic. Krick does a fine job describing the action in exciting detail. The maps are very, very well done and go down to the regimental level, always a plus in my book. Also, a note of caution is in order. Apparently some maps in the original hardcover edition were missing a lot of text labels. I don't know if this has since been fixed, but be aware of this flaw when looking at the hardcover edition.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Neal Stevens on March 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Robert Krick wrote, as far as I am aware, two books about Stonewall Jackson's campaigns. The other one is about the battle at Cedar Mountain. I have read, very much enjoyed, and learned a lot from both books. You might say that Krick's books serve as a kind of "antidote" to G.F.R. Henderson's estimable "Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War."

Henderson' thesis is that Jackson was one of the great military minds of all time. A strategic genius. A sort of demi-god. Henderson tries to make the point that Jackson won so many battles because his brilliant strategies basically pre-ordained that victory would come, despite any temporaty setbacks that may have happened along the way.

Krick does not outright dispute Henderson's thesis. What Henderson does instead is to provide a more complete picture of the man. However brilliant Jackson's strategies might have been, he still could have easily lost these battles if it were not for his ability to train his men for battle better than his enemies were trained, to select competent subordinates, to rally his men behind him at times when all seemed lost, and to remain cool and collected at times of enormous stress.

Krick has the ability that I admire most in a writer of historical narrative. He writes in such a way as to make me feel curious about what happens next, to read on enthusiastically to discover the outcome - even though I already know the outcome.

Both of Krick's books on Jackson are highly recommended.
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