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Guide to the Battles of Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg Paperback – October 1, 1996
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From the Back Cover
"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
"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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).Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book and it was like new very happy with it and fast shipping.Published 9 months ago by Charles Davis
I live in Fredericksburg and it really makes it all feel more real.Published 15 months ago by Jon J. Huntington
We love these books! If you decide that you want to do one of the Battlefields and enjoy planning your own tours, these books are the best!!!Published 18 months ago by witchy-poo
Helped immensely during a recent tour of the Chancellorsville battle site. Today there is little left to actually see and this book helped fill in the blanks and even though we... Read morePublished on June 4, 2013 by Fred B. Holbert