Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.85 shipping
Guide to the Battle of Antietam (1996-09-01) Paperback – January 1, 1884
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The norm with this series is to begin with a bit of context about the battle. Then, reports of key officers--both Blue and Gray--are presented, to provide a sense of events from the eyes of the participants themselves. Finally, a chapter that explores larger issues, in this case the logistics of battle. To complete the volume, there is the always helpful "Order of Battle" (in which the units and their commanding officers for each army are listed) and the grisly listing of casualties for both sides.
The book covers the entire campaign, by the way, not just Antietam itself. That means that we get first hand reports from South Mountain, Crampton's Gap, Harper's Ferry, Bolivar Heights, and, finally, Antietam. One problem with using official reports, of course, is that those who took part may well not take accountability for any errors that they made in command. Nonetheless, their own views as to what happened is useful in itself.
Since I was born in the Midwest, I always pay attention to troops from that region in battle. In this campaign, once again, the "Iron Brigade" catches my attention. Indeed, its performance at South Mountain, in helping the Union forces to clear the pass, led to General McClellan making a comment that produced the label "Iron Brigade." Pages 42-44 provide Gen. John Gibbons' comments (he commanded the brigade) and those of Col. Solomon Meredith, commander of the 19th Indiana regiment in the Brigade.
And on it goes, with the bloodletting at Antietam, as the two armies bled one another down. Most sanguinary. Both sides saw near successes and then near misses, as each side pounded away at the other. At the end of the day, as Burnside, unlikeliest of possible heroes, was hit hard by A. P. Hill's late arriving Confederate "Light Division." With that, both sides withdrew to lick their wounds. Shortly thereafter. Robert E. Lee began the withdrawal of the Confederate forces.
The final substantive chapter deal effectively with issues of logistics.
All in all, a fine work on a desperate struggle. If you find that battlefield reports are helpful, you will probably enjoy this work.
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.
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.