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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book For Beginners and Hard-Core Buffs
Originally published in 1959, Stackpole's book was revised and republished in 1993 as the 2nd (and current) edition..... Having read MANY books and articles on the Maryland Campaign (including the latest from Sears and Priest) and having visited each of the battlefields several times, Stackpole's book was a wonderful addition to my collection. His compact writing style,...
Published on December 4, 1997

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars As a preliminary only..
This book is a good preliminary study into the subject matter if you haven't read Kricks or Sears accounts of the same campaign. If you have, then don't bother picking this book up. You'll be disappointed.
Published on March 20, 2011 by Johnny Ringo


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book For Beginners and Hard-Core Buffs, December 4, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: From Cedar Mountain to Antietam (Stackpole) (Paperback)
Originally published in 1959, Stackpole's book was revised and republished in 1993 as the 2nd (and current) edition..... Having read MANY books and articles on the Maryland Campaign (including the latest from Sears and Priest) and having visited each of the battlefields several times, Stackpole's book was a wonderful addition to my collection. His compact writing style, the inclusion of some rather obscure facts, and the numerous maps make reading the book a pleasure.....For the Civil War neophyte, this book is a good means of learning about the "rebellion" without being overwhelmed with minutia. For the more "advanced" reader, the book is a delightful refresher course, with bits of new information thrown in from time to time.......In covering the Maryland Campaign (Cedar Mouintain, Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam), Stackpole - out of necessity - could not go into the detail found in some more recent texts. And he does miss the mark on some facts, as known today. But on the whole, this work is extremely well-researched and well written.....I recommend it highly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good!, January 3, 2004
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This review is from: From Cedar Mountain to Antietam (Stackpole) (Paperback)
This is an excellent account of the end of the Peninsula Campaign through and including the South's first invasion of the North, Antietam. Clearly written, concise and with excellent maps, the interpretation of tactics and strategy is excellent. Given Lee's misfortunes and incredible blunders, it is almost beyond belief that McClellan would let him escape a second time. You begin to think that the South's best general was not Robert E. Lee but George B. McClellan.
In his final battle McClellan truly proves himself either inept or treasonous, you decide. Thank God Lincoln finally fired him for good. Be prepared for a little Southern bias.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lee befuddles Pope, then with his back to the Potomac, takes on Lil Mac again, November 21, 2008
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This review is from: From Cedar Mountain to Antietam (Stackpole) (Paperback)
In From Cedar Mountain to Antietam, Stackpole gives us the narrative of events from the end of the Seven Days, to Lee's retreat from Sharpsburg, two events delimited by McClellan's lack of resolve, hesitancy, treason or whatever theory you may believe. At Seven Days it's understandably disorienting to go from Joe Johnston's backpedaling to Lee's aggression north of the Chickahominy. But at Sharpsburg he knew Lee's plans, for goodness' sake, and then failed to press Lee until after the Army of Northern Virginia was reunited, for which Stackpole rightly takes Lil Mac to task.

Stackpole covers a lot of ground in under 500 pages, with the actions at Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas and Sharpsburg. Good maps are here, showing major troop movements and dispositions. There is less analysis here than Stackpole gives in his book on Gettysburg, but then there are pitifully few things in this world which receive as much analysis as Gettysburg.

This book is highly recommended for anyone wanting an introduction to the campaigns of Second Manassas or Sharpsburg before delving into more detailed works such as those of Hennessey on Second Manassas or Sears on Sharpsburg.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good consolidation of this period of the war..., August 20, 2002
This review is from: From Cedar Mountain to Antietam (Stackpole) (Paperback)
4 1/2 stars...This is the only book that I could find that described in detail the period from the end of the Peninsula campaign to Antietam. Stackpole describes this period in clear, concise terms (if not a little slanted to the Confederate point of view) while at the same time making it very readable. We learn all about the troop movements that the Federals made to vacate Harrison's Landing on the Peninsula, while seeing the formation of Pope's Army of Northern Virginia. The plan to consolidate these forces and re-attack Richmond is very clearly covered, but ultimately under-mined by McClellan and to a degree, Halleck as the Federal forces couldn't quite coordinate this seemingly simple troop movement. We get Lee's perspective on this and learn that he had an amazing ability to "read" his enemies' leadership and he ultimately based his troop plans, correctly, on these assumptions. The battle of Cedar Mountain starts the battle sequences for this campaign and shows this ability as Stonewall Jackson advances North to Gordonsville with the idea of crossing the Rappohannock River. The standoff at Cedar Mountain should have given the Federals the momentum that they needed to continue pursuit of the Confederates back to Gordonsville, but we learn quickly that John Pope, although much more agressive than McClellan, is far too inept to lead this large a force. What we see is Pope ordering again and again, a confusing series of movements to try to 1) outflank Lee and then (when it's discovered that Lee has information concerning this troop movement plan and plans to counter-attack) 2) to retreat back across the Rappohannock and establish an entrenchment north of the river. Stackpole, again writng squarely in the Confederate mindset, describes Lee's decision to divide his army and send Jackson on a flanking movement that ultimately ended up in the battle of second Manassas. Pope is severly criticized by Stackpole for lack of leadership and egotistical behaviour and shows how this combination hurt the Union chances at 2nd Manassas. Incredibly, McClellan re-obtains leadership of the combined Army of the Potomac (shown through lack of clear direction from Lincoln and Halleck) and even though learns of the precise invasion plans Lee had of Maryland, he moves at the deliberate pace that epitomized his tenure and misses many major opportunities to destroy the Confederates at South Mountain and finally, Antietam. Stackpole manages to interpret all this complex history into an enjoyable reading experience while still telling history as it should be told. The criticism of this book, to me, is the maps. These are topography maps that really confuse more than help the reader...although, towards the end of the book, they seemed to get better. Regardless, they are plentiful and give the reader the minimum idea of what's going on. Another critique is the brief and vague discussion of the Antietam action at the Sunken Road (Bloody Lane). Stackpole gives 2 pages to this complex action while spending much more time and length to the other sections of the battle and to me, it seemed to detract from the narrative. Finally, the Commentary section that D. Scott Hartwig provides (a re-evaluation of some of the conclusions that Stackpole had that have since come more to light with increased avaialble scholorship) is a surprisingly apt ending to the book. I really must characterize this as an important study of that period of the Civil War between the Peninsula Campaign and Antietam and recommend it highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lifelong favorite, May 16, 2011
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This review is from: From Cedar Mountain to Antietam (Stackpole) (Paperback)
I've been a Civil War buff since I reached double-digits in age, and Edward J. Stackpole's From Cedar Mountain to Antietam was always my favorite Civil War book. I must have read it a dozen times as an adolescent and teenager, sinking my teeth into Stackpole's colorful retellings of the War Between the States. Revisiting it years later, I find a book that's still very well-written and entertaining, though not without flaws.

Stackpole provides a combined depiction of the Second Bull Run and Antietam Campaigns, viewing them as two acts of the same story. John Pope's Army of Virginia, jerry-rigged together from the hodgepodge of commands defeated by Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley, is created after George McClellan's Peninsular Campaign fails. The aggressive Pope is completely outgeneralled by Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who boldly divides his army, outwits Pope and forces a battle before Pope can be reinforced, culminating in a crushing victory at Second Bull Run: Lee's most complete victory over a Union army. Seeking to retain the initiative, Lee invades Maryland, but his plans unravel when his campaign plans fall into McClellan's hands. This sets the stage for Antietam, the "bloodiest single day" in American history, where Lee tries to prevent his army's complete annihilation.

Stackpole conceives his book at a strategic level, providing a broad overview of campaigns and battles rather than a detailed ground-level view. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as such books can easily become stale and obsessed with minutae (looking at you, Stephen Sears). Stackpole instead provides a very readable general account that, while missing the "you are there" feeling of tactical depictions, gives a reader an easy understanding of the complicated battles in question. The ramifications of strategy, troop movements and the development of the battles depicted (Cedar Mountain, Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam) are all made wonderfully clear, thanks to Stackpole's crisp prose and Wilbur S. Nye's marvelous maps.

The analysis of major military figures holds up remarkably well. Stackpole doesn't bother hiding his opinions of Lee, Pope, McClellan and others, but he does a solid job making his argument. Like many authors, he has a strong contempt for George McClellan, whom he views as either hopelessly incompetent or criminal in his actions. It's hard for even a sympathetic reader to excuse McClellan's actions, whether dragging his feet in reinforcing Pope, his inability to take advantage of the "Lost Order" and failing to throw V and VI Corps into Antietam at crucial moments. Arguably no man was more responsible for the war's last as long as it did than McClellan, and Stackpole shows why in painful detail.

John Pope and Henry Halleck are examined in some detail, and neither comes off very well in this account. Pope is a brash braggart, a Joe Hooker without that general's administrative talents, though to be fair Pope was put in an extremely difficult position, trying to weld three separate armies together and sold out by McClellan. Even worse is Halleck, a competent administrator out of his depth coordinating the activities of two armies led by generals who hated each other; the admonition of him as a "second-rate clerk" is most apropos. The few Union generals who come off well - cavalry generals John Buford and George Bayard, untimely fatalities like Phil Kearney and Jesse Reno - are division and corps commanders with limited impact.

Stackpole lavishes heavy praise on Robert E. Lee, depicting him as a man with a shrewd, uncanny ability to judge his opponent's strengths and abilities. This seems a bit much, and Stackpole seems loathe to criticize Lee's lack of broader strategic skill, but on a tactical level his depiction of Marse Robert is spot-on. Certainly Second Bull Run was, in this reviewer's opinion, the Army of Northern Virginia's greatest victory, and just surviving at Antietam was a great accomplishment. His portraits of Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet are fairly well-rounded, presenting them as skilled generals but not without faults.

Most of the book's faults are inevitable for a fifty-two year old book. Much scholarship and original research has come to light since the book's publication, and Stackpole's depiction of some events and controversies - did McClellan have proper authority to lead the Army of the Potomac? Did Lee know about the Lost Order? - is dated. Thankfully, the 1993 edition I purchased comes with an in-depth commentary by author D. Scott Hartwig, which corrects and clarifies much of Stackpole's narrative. Again, I would quibble with Stackpole's depiction of Lee as an unfettered genius: his Antietam campaign was daring, but foolish once the Lost Order fell into Union hands. Lee's escape from Maryland took a lot of skill, but also a fair share of luck and enemy incompetence.

On the whole, though, From Cedar Mountain to Antietam remains an excellent account of two of the war's most interesting and important campaigns. It's a fine introduction for novice readers, and I'd recommend it even for seasoned Civil War buffs.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good preparatory for Antietam, October 25, 2004
This review is from: From Cedar Mountain to Antietam (Stackpole) (Paperback)
I believe this book is a good lead in to the Antietam campaign.

Starting with the breakoff from the "Seven Days" battles, this book leads you through Cedar Mountain 8/9/62 and into Second Manassas. Good general maps, not regimental detailed however.

I used this book for a preempt to the Krick work of much more detail on Cedar Mountain and the Hennessy book on Return to Bull Run, again more detailed. If you are looking for a general overview of the eastern campaign summer of 1862 prior to Antietam , this fits the bill.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars As a preliminary only.., March 20, 2011
This review is from: From Cedar Mountain to Antietam (Stackpole) (Paperback)
This book is a good preliminary study into the subject matter if you haven't read Kricks or Sears accounts of the same campaign. If you have, then don't bother picking this book up. You'll be disappointed.
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From Cedar Mountain to Antietam (Stackpole)
From Cedar Mountain to Antietam (Stackpole) by Edward J. Stackpole (Paperback - February 1, 1993)
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