A potent fighting force that changed the course of the Civil War, the Army of the Cumberland was the Norths second-most-powerful army, surpassed in size only by the Army of the Potomac. Though the Army of the Cumberland engaged the enemy across five times more territory with one-third to one-half fewer men than the Army of the Potomac, its achievements in the western theater rivaled those of the larger eastern army. The Cumberland distinguished itself courageously and against enormous odds at the Battle of Stones River and at Chickamauga and in sterling performances at Shiloh, Perryville, Missionary Ridge, Resaca, New Hope Church, and Peachtree Creek. The renowned Civil War historian Larry J. Daniel brings his analytical and descriptive skills to bear on the Cumberlanders in the first complete study of the army since 1870.
While Days of Glory draws on the lives and words of common soldiers, it focuses primarily on the commanders. Daniel explores the dynamics of discord, political in-fighting, and feeble leadership that stymied the army in achieving its full potential. He offers a fresh interpretation of General George H. Thomas as a flawed character who did not mature until late 1863 and addresses the impact of battlefield logistics and the formation of the cavalry.
The Cumberland army evolved as the war progressed, and Daniel traces its changing mission from the liberation of East Tennessee to the penetration of the Deep South. Disproportionately influenced during the first two years of the war by the Kentucky bloc, the officer corps eventually reflected the tremendous influx of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois regiments. The author shows the troops abolitionist sympathies emerging in the summer of 1862 and growing to the point that the armys support for President Lincoln played a decisive role in his reelection in 1864.
Making extensive use of thousands of letters and diaries, Daniel creates an epic portrayal of the developing Cumberland army, from untrained volunteers to hardened soldiers united in their hatred of the Confederates. It is a saga of what veterans would remember pridefully as the days of glory.