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Guide to the Battles of Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg Paperback – October 1, 1996

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Guide to the Battles of Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg + Guide to the Battle of Antietam + Guide to the Battle of Gettysburg: Second Edition, Revised and Expanded (U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"These guides are the most thorough, detailed, and accurate books of their kind. Indeed, they are unique. I have used them to lead guided tours of several battlefields, with great success." --James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Era of the Civil War

"These guides bridge the gap between sound military history and battlefield touring literature. They can be enjoyed without ever leaving the easy chair or they can become indispensable companions on tramps over the scenes of the greatest engagements of the Civil War." --William C. Davis, author of Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour and former editor of Civil War Times Illustrated

"I most highly recommend this important and valuable series of guidebooks." --Herman Hattaway, coauthor of How the North Won the Civil War and Why the South Lost the Civil War

From the Back Cover

"These guides are the most thorough, detailed, and accurate books of their kind. Indeed, they are unique. I have used them to lead guided tours of several battlefields, with great success."--James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Era of the Civil War

"I most highly recommend this important and valuable series of guidebooks."--Herman Hattaway, coauthor of How the North Won the Civil War and Why the South Lost the Civil War

"These guides bridge the gap between sound military history and battlefield touring literature. They can be enjoyed without ever leaving the easy chair or they can become indispensable companions on tramps over the scenes of the greatest engagements of the Civil War."--William C. Davis, author of Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour and former editor of Civil War Times Illustrated

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Product Details

  • Series: U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles
  • Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas; English Language edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700607854
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700607853
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #930,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James W. Durney TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg are about six months apart but very close in distance and in personal. These are the last two great victories the Army of Northern Virginia would enjoy. The Union army would finally get a commander structure that would stand and fight as intelligently as possible. Never again, would Lee find victory through failures of the other army commander. There are many firsts in these battles and no easy answers. This excellent book covers both battles in detail and gives us the Battle at Salem Church too. I had this book with me when touring this area and recommend it to you. I would never have found many sites without it.
The series format is directions to a point on the field, orientation, a general lesson on what happened in your view, followed by first person accounts of the action. These guides are designed using the general staff training concept of a Staff Ride. This is when a class is taken to a historic location, discuss what happened and see how the terrain influences the event. Staff Rides are designed to be intensive "on the ground" training coupled with physical observation in the hopes students will gain experience for later use.
I am not saying this to frighten you away from this guide but to tell you this is not a walk about and look at the monuments type of guide. This guide will have several pages devoted to the action at this point. It may contain a critique of the local commander's actions with possible alternates.
My experience is that reading the book prior to my visit works best. This allows me more time observing the field and less time reading the book. Of the tour options, a professional guide is usually the best but most expensive choice. The park driving tour is the best choice for a quick trip through the field to get the kids passport stamp. This book is the best choice for a serious student of the battle looking for a detailed explanation.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
These series of books are the best available resource for conducting ACW battlefield tours - assuming that your purpose in touring battlefields is to study and understand the applicable tactics, strategy and terrain and to develop an appreciation for the objectives and efforts of the participants. If you go to ACW battlefields to gawk and gossip as an everyday tourist then you do not need to study these guides. If you have an active interest in ACW history, military history in general or fascinating chapters in human history, then these guides are remarkable values, "Best Buys". Thorough but not intimidating, insightful and objective, with no deficiencies noted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James on August 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have read and participated in the AWC staff rides of the battlefields and from that light these book can be instructive at they relate to events and field conditions. They are not for the casual reader or tourist. It is essential that the reader be versed in both the theory and tactics of the time before visiting the site and that you are to read these books while standing on the actual grounds.

These books supplement case studies at the AWC in tactical and strategic thinking. Observe the battleground as a military officer would and try to put yourself in the mind of the writer. What you will be reading are the after action reports written by the officers assigned to write them, of their viewings of events on the field. Beware sometimes these reports can be self serving so take that in mind.

Reading the reports and standing on location will help to give you an incite into field situations and problems that the military officer must see, recognize and solve. One key point to remember is that of communication is not what it is today. The field of battle only existed as far as the individual officer could see. He generally knew nothing of events occuring several hundred yards away let alone a mile or so away in real time. All he knew what what was right in front of him. He never sees the big picture that today's communications can provide or seek instant clarification of orders.

With this in mind and a knowledge of the methods of Civil War fighting these books are very instructive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven A. Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 21, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Two Confederate victories are profiled here--but the battles were very different. James Longstreet, at one point, noted the value of a Fredericksburg and the hollowness of the Chancellorsville triumph by Robert E. Lee. Why? The ratio of Confederate to Union casualties at Fredericksburg was 12,652:5,309 (Page 349), a clear and resounding victory for the South. Chancellorsville? 12,299 Confederate casualties versus 15,818 Union casualties. The problem? Confederate forces lost a larger percentage of their total number than did the Union. Some would say that this was a Pyrrhic victory (Longstreet among them).

Anyhow, this is a volume in the Army War College series of guides to civil war battles. In this volume, two battles are explored--the horrific bloodletting of the Union Army at Fredericksburg and the apparently unlikely Confederate victory at Chancellorsville. The book notes that (Page x) "these battles represent a significant stage in the evolution of Civil War tactics."

One of the features of these books is a depiction of where one ought to go to get a sense of the battlefield if one visits the actual site. I visited Gettysburg, for example, earlier this year and took in the first day's action for my first time. I wish that I had had the Army War College volume with me at that time (I bought it after the fact). Another feature is the use of the Official Records to get the views/perceptions of commanders on the field of battle itself. For instance, it is fascinating to compare the responses of different officers to Hooker's failure at Chancellorsville (e.g., pages 296-297).

At Fredericksburg, take a look at Lee's evaluation of the battle after the fact (Pages 117-118).
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