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Those Damn Horse Soldiers: True Tales of the Civil War Cavalry Hardcover – December 12, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the enormous American Civil War canon, comparatively little has been written about the cavalry. Walsh (Whip the Rebellion, etc.) remedies the situation with this sprightly account of cavalry leaders and operations, from their beginnings in the spring of 1862 to the war's bitter end at Appomattox on April 7, 1865. Walsh's narrative emphasizes personalities—most of them Southerners—including courageous Fitzhugh Lee, son of Confederate commanding general Robert E. Lee; fiery Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan; J.E.B. Stuart, who perished at the Battle of Yellow Tavern near Richmond in May of 1864; John Hunt Morgan, who daringly led Confederate troops into Indiana and Ohio; and John Singleton Mosby, known as "the Gray Ghost" because he and his men, operating in the northern Virginia Piedmont, seemed to appear and disappear without warning. Union luminaries include the fierce, take-no-prisoners Philip H. "Little Phil" Sheridan and young, hotheaded George Armstrong Custer. Walsh offers his personality-driven, battle-tactic–heavy stories in short chapters, presented chronologically and divided into actions in the eastern and western theaters, in this smoothly written, accessible effort. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

Seasoned editor and historian Walsh gives us an excellent popular history of Civil War cavalry. Spanning from spring 1862 to spring 1865, it covers such large actions as Brandy Station and the wasting of the Shenandoah Valley, small actions of scouts and skirmishers (which occurred nearly every day of the war), and the men and horses that made both sides' mounted arms effective. Massed cavalry charges were vulnerable to rifled muskets and artillery, and dismounted action came to play a large role in the Civil War cavalry's story. That gave the advantage to the North, whose cavalry became more and more generally equipped with repeating rifles. Further, since no cavalry can sustain itself in the face of diminishing supplies of new horses and of food for the animals already in service, the fate of the Confederacy's mounted troops was sealed. A worthy shelf mate to Walsh's portraits of Lee ("Damage Them All You Can," 2002) and Grant ("Whip the Rebellion," 2005) and their armies, especially for new Civil War students. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (December 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765312700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765312709
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,409,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Wittenberg on December 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
George Walsh's _hose Damn Horse Soldiers: True Tales of the Civil War Cavalry_ was just published. The book is intended to be a one-volume study of Civil War cavalry operations. As a long-time student of Civil War cavalry operations, I had high hopes for it.

Instead, what I got was EVERYTHING that I hate most about Civil War books. The book is VERY broad brushstrokes overview, attempting to cover all Civil War cavalry operations in 480 pages. It covers the period 1862-1865, and tries to cover all theaters of the war. That, by definition, means that the book cannot provide the sort of detailed examination that I would otherwise expect out of this kind of a book. The discussion of the Battle of Brandy Station covers a total of six pages. A fourteen hour long battle that was the biggest cavalry battle ever fought on the North American continent, and it gets six pages. There is no depth and no analysis. It's just a narrative. I guess that's okay, but there is absolutely no substance to the book.

The book has no bibliography. That, in and of itself, precludes it from the list of books I would ever considering purchasing. The lack of a bibliography permits the author to hide the lack of substantive research since there's no recital of what sources were reviewed. It's a cheap and very lazy way out.

I had a chance to take a look at the end notes. They're quite spare, and what notes there are cite mainly to secondary sources. More than half of them cite to secondary sources. The rest are to readily available published primary sources such as the Official Records, the Southern Historical Society Papers and other similar sources. There were no references to any unpublished manuscript material whatsoever or to any newspaper sources.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Hurley VINE VOICE on February 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is not a deep book on Civil War Cavalry operations but basically a catalogue of famous to pretty well known cavalry operations during different phases of the Civil War. What you will find are activities by notable cavalrymen such as Forrest, Stuart, Mosby, Sheridan and Morgan along with lesser known such as Grierson, Stoneman and Wheeler. But giving the author credit, he does have the fascinating Wilson-Kautz raid that is a long raid behind the Petersburg line all the way to the Staunton River Bridge (near South Boston) while being pursued from behind by Fitz Lee. However, like most chapters dedicated to the various raids, it is typically a too short capsule. The book is a pretty good primer for someone with a novice interest in the Civil War but, for the well read, experience Civil War student, the tales of the raids are limited in depth and to a degree, too familiar, telling the basic, well known story. But for the less familiar, not a bad book to start with, particularly if you have limited knowledge of the primary subjects and are looking for short renditions. The limitation of virtually any maps does make these wide traveling raids difficult to follow.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent reading about the horse cavalry. A good look at the tactics and some of the battles that made the war
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