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The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth (Civil War America) Paperback – August 7, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0807857830 ISBN-10: 0807857831

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The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth (Civil War America) + The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga (Civil War Trilogy) + No Better Place to Die: The Battle of Stones River (Civil War Trilogy)
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Product Details

  • Series: Civil War America
  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (August 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807857831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807857830
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,080,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Cozzens' outstanding companion to his three books on the battles of Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga attends to the battles of Iuka and Corinth in September and October 1862, in which the Mississippi prong of the Confederacy's three-pronged autumn offensive was defeated. Although those battles and their supporting operations have not received much historical coverage, they were hard fought and bloody in proportion to the numbers of troops engaged. Cozzens' battle narratives are, as usual, superlative, and he does not slight logistics or the fact that heat and dysentery claimed nearly as many lives as bullets. He fills the book with memorable portraits of individual units, combatants, and commanders, including Union generals Grant and Rosecrans (giving neither much credit), and the stupendously inept Confederate Earl Van Dorn, who was eventually shot by an outraged husband. This is a demanding but invaluable contribution to study of the Civil War in the West. Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

An illuminating account of an 1862 Confederate campaign in northern Mississippi, whose importance may only be matched by the obscurity into which it has fallen and the grand mistakes made by its planners. Cozzens (No Better Place to Die: The Battle of Stones River, not reviewed) focuses on the contentious relationships among commanders in one corner of the western theater of operations. To protect Braxton Bragg's flank during his Kentucky invasion, Jefferson Davis combined the forces of Sterling Price, whom Davis suspected of disloyalty, and Earl Van Dorn, a vainglorious womanizer, under the leadership of the latter. Davis did not know, however, that Van Dorn had his own agenda: to seize Corinth, the junction of two key railroad systems, and then march for St. Louis. In the way stood Ulysses Grant. The blue and gray forces clashed first at Iuka on Sept. 19, which Cozzens calls a textbook example of an ``engagement gone tragically awry.'' Grant, too far removed to communicate effectively with subordinate Gen. William Rosecrans, lost the opportunity to trap Price. Then, two weeks later, Van Dorn launched an assault with few equals for ineptitude: He conducted no reconnaissance, threw troops exhausted from marching immediately into battle against a well-entrenched foe, failed to achieve surprise, and underestimated West Point classmate Rosecrans. At the resulting battle of Corinth, the Confederates attacked in 100- degree heat for two days, without food, with little water. When the smoke cleared, one-tenth of the Federals had fallen, but Confederate losses were an even more staggering one-third. The campaign gave the Union the major communications and supply center east of the Mississippi, and cleared the way for Grant's Vicksburg campaign. An excellent case study of how army politics, miscommunication, and missed chances could decisively influence a campaign. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Peter Cozzens is the author of sixteen critically acclaimed books on the American Civil War and the Indian Wars of the American West. He also is a Foreign Service Officer with the U. S. Department of State.

All of Cozzens' books have been selections of the Book of the Month Club, History Book Club, and/or the Military Book Club. Cozzens' This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga and The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga were both Main Selections of the History Book Club and were chosen by Civil War Magazine as two of the 100 greatest works ever written on the conflict.

The prestigious Easton Press included This Terrible Sound as one of thirty-five volumes in its Library of the Civil War.

The History Book Club called his five-volume Eyewitnesses to the Indian Wars "the definitive resource on the military struggle for the American West."

Cozzens also was the creator of and series editor for Stackpole Books' Frontier Classics.

In 2002 Cozzens received of the American Foreign Service Association's highest award, given annually to one Foreign Service Officer for exemplary moral courage, integrity, and creative dissent. He also received an Alumni Achievement award from his alma mater Knox College, from which he graduated summa cum laude.

Cozzens is a member of the Advisory Council of the Lincoln Prize, the nation's foremost literary award in history after the Pulitzer.

www.petercozzens.com

Customer Reviews

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Not so after reading Mr. Cozzens' great book.
Matt Hering
He paints the panorama on a regimental level through the cotton fields of Iuka to the great actions around the fortress batteries at Corinth.
Kansas Tango
Cozzens work in detail in these battles is absolutely fascinating.
Chris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Kansas Tango on April 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Peter Cozzens' book interested me for the simple fact that it deals with the very important but largely 'forgotten' battles of Iuka and Corinth in September and October of 1862. My previous reading on these battles included Battles and Leaders, reports in the Official Records, and Frost's rare History of the 10th Missouri. Cozzens brings the story together in a cogent and exciting way. He does a very good job of developing the major characters, none of whom shine on close inspection, from the pompous and self-serving Rosencrans to the libertine Van Dorn. Cozzens is at his best with descriptions of the actual battles. He paints the panorama on a regimental level through the cotton fields of Iuka to the great actions around the fortress batteries at Corinth. I am in awe at the heroism and shudder at the incompetence of leadership on both sides. My only complaint, and this is minor, is that he wrongly identifies Company E of the 24th Missouri Infantry as 'Company F.' This Company was attached to the 10th Missouri, and included my ancestor Hezekiah Lucas and my ancestoral uncle, Drury Campbell, who was killed at Corinth facing another of my relatives, Rufus Yancey Powell, with the Confederate 5th Missouri in the action near Battery Powell on October 4. I am thankful that Mr. Cozzens has written a book worthy of honoring their memory.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Charles R. Bowery Jr. on January 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Peter Cozzens does it again. In his series of books on the Civil War's western theater, Cozzens has shown a unique ability to convert detailed research into a gripping narrative. I put his books in the same category with those of Gordon C. Rhea-- destined to be the final word on their respective battles for some time to come. Cozzens's sheer attention to detail is amazing, and I love his direct and concise analysis of tactical decisions on the field. A must read.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By D. Craven on June 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Cozzens has written many fine books about the less well known Western Theater campaigns. The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth is perhaps the finest yet. It goes into great detail about 2 obscure, but ultimately important battles in the western theater. It manages to describe the battles in clear terms, set out convincing portraits of the key players and place these campaigns in context. At the same time, Cozzens avoids the pitfalls common to many Civil War books. (No, not everyone who dreams that they are going to die, dies. Its just that those dreams, when related to others, are the ones that are remembered. Cozzens doesn't treat us to the umpteenth take on this old saw).
Highly recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By tedrick@essex1.com on December 14, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Peter Cozzens spends an enormous amount of time researching his books, and the results show. The length of the bibliography is indeed impressive. In this book he has written a book that is not so much a report of a battle, as it is the telling of a story. Mr. Cozzens's narrative skills have grown. He uses much more individual information, and spends less time on the troop movements. That does not mean he inadequately reports troop movements. It means that in addition, you get sometimes gruesome details of battle, including the one that struck me most. The detail of the remains of the horses of an artillery unit all piled up together with a flume of blood flecked foam extending six feet from the nostrils of one horse. Obviously, this was not a pretty sight. Mr. Cozzens made this a much more human story than some of his past works.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Ventura on June 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In 1862, Jefferson Davis proclaimed that there were two crucial places that the Confederacy must hold if it was to survive - Richmond, VA and Corinth, MS. While Richmond is a major focal point of the American Civil War, Corinth and Iuka, Mississippi have had little if any attention, except by those who study the western and Trans-Mississippi armies of the war.

Peter Cozzens has written THE definitive work on the battles at Iuka and Corinth in the fall of 1862. The writing is full of the facts and research that are a hallmark of Mr. Cozzen's previous efforts, and the descriptions are so vibrant that one can almost smell the gunpowder and feel the earth shake to the rumble of cannons.

Not only does Mr. Cozzens provide great detail on the battles themselves along with the Battle of Davis Bridge (Hatchie River) that followed the fight at Corinth; he provides an understanding of the importance of these battles, how they fit into the scheme of things (Van Dorn / Price were defeated at Corinth during the same week that Bragg was defeated at Perryville). We see one of the few attempts at a Confederate "Grand Strategy," but like many of the Confederate operations, this one is beset by political intrigue between Van Dorn and Price with Richmond; nebulous orders, rank insubordination and a failure to follow through on opportunities earned on the battlefield. In downtown Corinth and at Batteries Robinette and Powell, some of the bloodiest fighting of the war occurred.

Winning at Corinth allowed the Federals to control the extremely valuable north-south and east-west rail roads that crossed in downtown Corinth and set the stage for Grant's victory at Vicksburg the next summer. It deprived the Confederacy of the means to ship food, men and supplies from the Mississippi to the East by rail.

Mr. Cozzen's book served as the "bible" for the planning and execution of the huge re-enactment of the Battle of Corinth staged Oct. 1-2, 2005 near Corinth, MS.
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