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Six Armies in Tennessee: The Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns (Great Campaigns of the Civil War) Hardcover – April 1, 1998


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From Kirkus Reviews

A narrative history of crucial Civil War operations in the West after Grant's great victories at Vicksburg and Fort Donaldson in July 1863. Woodworth (History/Texas Christian Univ.) traces how several bloody campaigns, marked by serious blunders on both sides, helped seal the Confederacy's fate. The Union Army of the Cumberland, under the command of General William S. Rosecrans, a neurotic, slow-moving perfectionist, were under orders to seize Chattanooga, a city important both because it served as a Confederate rail center (and the area around it was a breadbasket for Confederate forces) and because it guarded the path to Atlanta and the deep South. Opposing Rosecrans was Braxton Bragg, in charge of the Army of Tennessee. Bragg was particularly unpopular, and his command was frequently hamstrung by dissension. The opposing armies, maneuvering in an immense mountainous and forested area, were intermittently crippled by a lack of intelligence and by the difficulty of moving large numbers of troops over inhospitable terrain. Woodworth offers some convincing portraits of Rosecrans, Bragg, and their officers, and catches with great clarity the nature of the deadly chess game the armies were engaged in. Rosecrans's errors led to a Union defeat at Chickamauga, costly for both sides, after which both armies were reinforced. General Longstreet joined Bragg, bringing elements of the Army of Northern Virginia, and deepening the professional jealousy that kept threatening to dissipate Confederate successes. Union forces were bolstered by the arrival of the armies of Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan, all talented, aggressive fighters. Pressured by Lincoln, the Union forces finally captured Chattanooga, inflicting another humiliating setback on the Confederates and opening up the path for Sherman's march to Atlanta and the sea. A fine analysis of strategic and tactical operations, stressing the influence of commanders on the success, or failure, of their armies, while not losing sight of the grim experience of war for frontline troops. (4 photos, 6 maps, 5 engravings, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

“Woodworth traces how several bloody campaigns, marked by serious blunders on both sides, helped seal the Confederacy’s fate. . . . A fine analysis of strategic and tactical operations, stressing the influence of commanders on the success, or failure, of their armies, while not losing sight of the grim experience of war for frontline troops.”—Kirkus
(Kirkus )

“Concise and easily read . . . To give a full picture of the battles here, Woodworth takes us to Hoover’s Gap and Tullahoma, McLemore’s Cove and Knoxville, and ties those important facets into one seamless story that enables the reader to grasp the full significance of the whole campaign.”—Chattanooga Free Press
(Chattanooga Free Press )

“Woodworth does not shy from provocative analysis, especially when it concerns the Confederate high command.”—H-Net Reviews
(H-Net Reviews ) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Great Campaigns of the Civil War
  • Hardcover: 262 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803247788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803247789
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,639,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven E. Woodworth is a professor of history at Texas Christian University, and an acknowledged expert on the Civil War. He has written a number of well-received books on the topic, including Nothing But Victory. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas.

Customer Reviews

It is an easy read, full of interesting vignettes, and very well written.
J. Lauffenburger
Those looking for more detail can read other battle books (Cozzens) but this one does not get into the weeds.
Historian
First there are not enough maps to help the reader understand this complicated battle.
Marty R

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Lauffenburger on February 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've previously read many books on various aspects of the Chickamauga battle and campaign, and events surrounding them; and there are many excellent books that dive into great detail, such Cozzens' "This Terrible Sound". However, I have to say that "Six Armies in Tennessee" is the best overview of the whole campaign that I have read. It is an easy read, full of interesting vignettes, and very well written.

I was surprised that the author is pretty sympathetic to Bragg, and very negative towards Longstreet. I'll have to go back and re-read my various other books on Bragg and Longstreet and see if I need to reconsider my opinions of those two confederate generals...
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Romeo on October 3, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I stumbled upon this title by accident, when I was looking for Civil War books about Tennessee. I am very happy that I did. The book was an easy read, but not so easy that I flew through it without learning anything.
One of the best things about the book was Woodworth's writting style. He wrote it in such away that I felt I was there, living these events with the generals and the soldiers from both sides. Having hiked the regions that the events took place in helped too, but even if you have not the descriptions are very strong. He never writes over your head like he expects you to be a Civil War historian, nor does he dumb it down to a fifth grade level.
The transitions from the North's side to the South's side of the conflict was brilliantly done. Nothing was left out in going from one side to the other. If events were taking place at the same time Woodworth let you know. When he talked of the battles they were well layed out as to who was doing what,where and when.
The thing that I learned most from this book was the internal bickering in the South's upper chain of command. No one was doing what they were suppose to do when they were suppose to do it. It would seem to me,after reading this book, if the generals under Bragg's command would have done as they were told the outcome would have been totally different and maybe even the outcome of the Civil war itself.
If you are from Chattanooga or Knoxville, I highly recommend reading this book. If you just like reading Civil War histories this is a must.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By William H. Billings on August 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
The author's depictions of the principal characters of the Southern armies at Chickamauga seem to be penned by someone who believes there is merit in the post-Civil War mythology of the "Lost Cause". This bias cannot be ignored in Woodworth's diverse treatments of Generals Braxton Bragg and James Longstreet. Woodworth would have his readers to believe Bragg's ineffectiveness was due to a cabal of subordinates who were in a constant state of either panic, fear or mutiny or a combination thereof, and that Longstreet was vain, petty, conniving and unworthy of his reputation as a superb General. Closer examination of Bragg's performance prior to Chickamauga reveals a lack of success that cannot be solely attributed to his subordinates, but can help explain how and why his subordinates - and the troops they commanded - lost confidence in their commanding officer. Of particular offense is Woodworth's treatment of General James Longstreet. The author provides excruciating detail about the areas between Ringgold, GA and Chickamauga, and the propensity to become lost or disoriented in the maze of mountains, but attributes Longstreet's anger at not being met at Catoosa to vanity. More likely are the facts that Longstreet was not familiar with the area, did not have maps of the area (Bragg would later provide a crudely drawn map, and did not know the positions of the opposing armies or Bragg's HQ. Longstreet's near capture by Federal troops along the way could have been avoided, and a more timely positioning of Longstreets troops could have been facilitated had some member of Bragg's staff been deployed as an escort.Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Halliday on March 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
Woodworth is a first-rate writer with an impressive command of the material. The campaign is complicated one and he deals with it well, although not in the detail that Peter Cozzens offers in his landmark books. I have two quibbles: There is no map with the Chickamauga chapter, a battle of mind-bending complexity. Also, Woodworth deals very lightly with Gen. John B. Turchin, surely one of the war's most colorful characters
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By hbdawg on August 15, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When a Civil War historian names his son Nathan you would expect a one sided biased account. However, Woodworth is surprisingly even handed in his treatment of the six armies that fought over Chattanooga. He is at his best in describing the backbiting in the southern leadership and the incompetence of Longstreet. This is a thin book. Perhaps too thin for those who would like a little more detail. We still await an indepth look at the Tennesseans who fought for the north.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Old Warhorse on May 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
What a waste of real talent by an assistant professor of history. Great writing style. Very readable. BUT, lacks objectivity which is so important when writing about historical figures. His take on Gen. Longstreet is ancient, stale, and is almost comical in view of the reams of information now available which are not tainted by LOST CAUSE rhetoric. This is inexcusable for someone who professes to teach history. It shows a superficiality and lackadaisical attitude towards the subject and a willingness to sacrifice accuracy to the almighty dollar. I guess bashing Longstreet still sells . . . in spite of the facts.
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