- Series: Civil War America
- Hardcover: 640 pages
- Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press (October 10, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807832006
- ISBN-13: 978-0807832004
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 34 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #723,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign (Civil War America)
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From Publishers Weekly
Cozzens (The Darkest Days of the War) is an independent scholar and a master of Civil War military history at tactical and operational levels. He deploys a large body of unfamiliar primary material in this detailed analysis of a campaign less one-sided than the accepted view that it represented Union blundering and the triumph of Confederate planning and execution signaling the emergence of one of history's great generals, Stonewall Jackson. Without debunking Jackson, Cozzens describes a commander still learning his craft. Jackson's obsession with keeping his strategic intention to himself too often left his subordinates confused. As a tactician he tended to commit his forces piecemeal. The Union generals opposing him performed reasonably well in the context of divided command, inadequate logistics and constant micromanaging by Abraham Lincoln. In particular the president's concern for Washington's safety led him to withhold troops from McClellan's Peninsular Campaign—a decision Cozzens reasonably says enhanced McClellan's natural caution. Jackson's victories revitalized a Confederacy whose morale was at its lowest after a string of Union victories. The South now had a new hero, whose personal idiosyncrasies and overt religiosity only enhanced his appeal. 13 illus., 13 maps. (Oct. 10)
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Examines, from both sides, a campaign that has been scrutinized from the Confederate side, but rarely closely examined from the Union perspective.--Appalachian Heritage
A welcome, much-needed addition to Civil War campaign studies; valuable to scholars and enthusiasts alike. Highly recommended. --Choice
An excellent, unbiased view of both sides in the early part of the war and is strongly recommended for those interested in how the soldiers and leadership conducted themselves during the 1862 Shenandoah campaign.--On Point
Utilizing his extensive collection of sources, the author paints for the reader an excellent description of the region in which the campaign took place. . . . Cozzen's book, both in its research and scope, will certainly surpass Robert G. Tanner's impressive Stonewall in the Valley as the standard work on the 1862 Valley Campaign.--The Historian
The definitive history of the Valley Campaign.--Army Magazine
Cozzens is . . . a master of Civil War military history at tactical and operational levels. He deploys a large body of unfamiliar primary material in this detailed analysis of a campaign less one-sided than the accepted view that it represented Union blundering and the triumph of Confederate planning and execution, signaling the emergence of one of history's great generals, Stonewall Jackson.--Publishers Weekly
Cozzens succeeds at recounting a version of this story which offers a more balanced, if not more complete, narrative of the campaign. . . . Cozzens' conclusions are well bolstered, his prose is clever and accessible to any public or academic audience, and common sense would dictate that Shenandoah 1862 will remain a relevant, if not definitive, look at Jackson and the Valley Campaign for years to come.--H-Net Reviews
Peter Cozzens' superb history of events in the Shenandoah Valley provides much greater depth and analysis than any study preceding it, and in the process enhances our larger understanding of the Civil War in the East. . . . Cozzens' artful narrative effectively mines both civilian and military perspectives. . . . This is a first-rate piece of research, well argued and engagingly presented. One can safely say that the history of the 1862 Shenandoah Valley campaign has been written for this generation.--Military History of the West
Able research presented in a careful, accurate, and critical manner. . . . Will become a "must-have" . . . for any serious student interested in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862.--H-Net Reviews
A fresh look at the 1862 Valley Campaign. . . . Provides a fair discussion of the command and operational issues facing both sides . . . by far the best book . . . on the 1862 Valley Campaign.--Journal of America's Military Past
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The author has obviously done a considerable amount of detailed research. The preponderance of Federal sources seems to be a common phenomenon in ACW histories. I presume this reflects what records survived at the time. The detailed accounts of the actions illustrate very well the confusion in the minds of the commanders when faced with only a partial view of the situation at the time.
The poor higher direction of the war, especially on the Northern side illustrates very well what happens when ammateur generals try to take the place of professionals. Lincoln eventually woke up to this when he appointed Grant. It is a lesson which should be taught to modern politicians.
This book deals very well with the operational and tactical aspects of the campaign. I would have liked to have seen more comment on the strategic implications. Even Jackson's defeat at Kernstown turned out to be a strategic benefit for the South and is a reminder that battlefield actions are not carried out in a vacuum but can have much wider political consequences.
The maps are adequate but I would have like to have seen a few more photos of the battlefields.
Having visited the Shenandoah, the Blue Ridge drive, Harpers Ferry, Wichester and the highway south I had little difficulty envisaging the terrain and reading the book brought back many pleasant memories.
I recommend the book to serious students of the ACW, provided theyShenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign (Civil War America) read some others for comparison.
Cozzens' works have all focused on the western theater, although his Pope biography understandably spends a great deal of time on Second Bull Run. Shenandoah 1862 is Cozzens' first work focused entirely on an eastern campaign.
Now there have been a lot of works on Stonewall Jackson's valley campaign, so why would Cozzens bother writing on it? Everything I've read on the valley has focused on Jackson and the Confederate army, with authors acting as Stonewall admirers at best, cheerleaders at worst. Cozzens takes a much more balanced approach that will be familiar to anyone who has read his other works. He presents the Union side of the campaign with a thoroughness I've not seen in any other study, and the result is the best balanced account of the 1862 campaign I've ever read.
It's clear Cozzens admires Jackson's accomplishment, but he also faults some of Jacksons moves and traits as a commander. Cozzens avoids any lost cause hagiography of Jackson. Instead of reporting what contemporaries said about Jackson after the campaign, Cozzens focuses on Confederate letters, diaries, and journals written at the time. Even Stonewall Jackson, in the midst of his most famous campaign, had his detractors in the ranks. Jackson was never a good battlefield general, and Cozzens criticizes his tactical movements convincingly.
The most impressive thing about this book is the understanding Cozzens brings to Federal movements in the valley. Jackson won his campaign through deft movement and hard fighting, but he was helped by uncoordinated Union advances and decidedly second rate Union commanders. Fremont and Shields come in for some harsh criticism for their handling of Cross Keys and Port Republic, for example. But Cozzens seems to admire the leadership of Banks and McDowell, or at least to have a good appreciation for the limits under which they operated and some sympathy for their situations.
In sum then, Cozzens gives us the best account of the campaign to date. The book is a balanced look at the commanders, armies, movements, and battles in one of the most famous campaigns in American military history.