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"No Such Army Since the Days of Julius Caesar": Sherman's Carolinas Campaign from Fayetteville to Averasboro, March 1865 Hardcover – February 1, 2017
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“Now in a completely revised and updated edition, "No Such Army Since the Days of Julius Caesar": Sherman's Carolinas Campaign from Fayetteville to Averasboro, March 1865 details an aspect of General William T. Sherman's service to the Union during the Civil War that has received minimal attention from historians. Yet the Carolinas campaign was undoubtedly a crucial blow... Expertly researched, yet accessible to readers of all backgrounds, "No Such Army Since the Days of Julius Caesar" meticulously reconstructs the entire campaign, enriched with a handful of black-and-white maps and photographs, appendices, and an index for quick and easy reference. Highly recommended, especially for public and college library Civil War collections.” (Midwest Book Review)
"Important addition to the library of material on American Civil War battles. Like the Vietnam War, the American Civil War is something I've never paid much attention to. Smith and Sokolosky are military historians with a particular interest in what happened in the Carolina States. What they bring to the table regarding Sherman and Johnston is remarkable, a revelation." (Books Monthly)
About the Author
Major (Ret) Mark A. Smith, who holds a Masters in Military Studies, is a U.S. Army veteran with 21 years of service. He served in various positions including Scout Platoon Leader, Three Company Commands, Battalion Executive Officer, Brigade and Battalion S-4, and was an Army ROTC Instructor at Virginia Tech. Smith is the co-author (with Wade Sokolosky) of “No Such Army Since the Days of Julius Caesar”: Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign from Fayetteville to Averasboro.
Colonel (Ret.) Wade Sokolosky is a graduate of East Carolina University and a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Army. Wade is the co-author (with Mark A. Smith) of “To Prepare for Sherman’s Coming”: The Battle of Wise’s Forks, March 1865, and the author of Final Roll Call: Confederate Losses during the Carolinas Campaign. http://www.civilwarnorthcarolina.com/
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Top customer reviews
The book opens with a look at both armies and the military situation at the end of 1864. The March to the Sea was over and Savannah became a Christmas gift to President Abraham Lincoln. Following communications with General Ulysses Grant, Sherman started on his movement up the coast to help end all Southern resistance and bring the fighting to an end. Uncle Billy’s men were able to destroy all resistance in South Carolina, and moved to North Carolina with the goal of reuniting with Grant and terminating Lee’s forces. In March of 1865, Southern forces prepared to stop this Sherman’s drive. Hardee was able to line up his men into three lines which successfully slowed Sherman’s juggernaut, allowing the Union forces to ultimately control the battlefield but allowed his Confederate forces to fight another day.
The authors answer many of the questions that have confused academics about the Battle of Averasboro. Besides providing a complete order of the battle, these outstanding authors provide serious students with Sherman’s preparation for the Carolinas Campaigns, and trace his advancement through South Carolina to Fayetteville. Seven valuable appendices are offered to enhance the understanding of this battle and campaign including informative essays and an enlightening letter from a Southern teenager, Janie Smith that provides intense feelings and understanding of the Southern Cause.
Mark Smith and Wade Sokolosky gives readers the infrequent, moment-to-moment glimpses of the battle as it impacted the citizen soldiers who fought it. Far from being tiresome, their description of the fight is gripping and compelling. The writers do not limit this kind of vivid description to only generals and other officers. Students are treated to a number of poignant quotes and scenes involving soldiers in the ranks throughout the text. The greatest contribution this tome offers is its detailed treatment of the Battle of Aversasboro and; as the author’s note, has been all but lost from history. This campaign and battle helped bring an end to the Confederacy and the Civil War.
Exploring a pivotal but often overlooked battle in the Civil War, The Battle of Averasboro is one of the first book-length examination of this end of the war. Well written and well researched, this tapestry offers invaluable descriptions of troop movements and battle actions, as well as important analysis of strategy and how individual battles fit into the larger context of Sherman's Carolinas Campaign. This excellent study builds on Smith’s and Sokolosky’s earlier work on The Battle of Wise’s Fork’s, providing a gripping story in 1865. The volume reflects the author's sure grasp of sources, sharp eye for biographical detail, and ability to evoke the drama and complexity of military events. Anyone interested in the March To The Sea and especially Sherman's final campaign that brought a change in both Union and Confederate national morale in 1864-1865 will read this narrative with profit. As always, these U.S. Army veterans delivers a beautifully-written and thoughtfully-analytical modern Civil War Historiography. They share their unique gift of culling gems from the historical record, bringing to the reader moving personal experiences of the soldiers on the ground. Also, both of them are masterful at lucidly explaining technical characteristics of warfare such as planning, execution of military operations, operation tempo, lessons learned, operation and fields of fire, terrain maneuvering, weaponry, and assessment. This reviewer recommends this title.
While Sherman's army outnumbered the Confederate forces available in SC, the hardened general made his job easier by keeping the Confederates uncertain as to what his objective was: Athens or Charleston. By the time it turned out to be Columbia the Confederates had no hope of collecting what units they had available to stop him, or at least slow him down. Round One goes to Sherman.
Sherman crosses into North Carolina with the intention of taking the arsenal at Fayetteville and opening communications with Union forces at Wilmington via the Cape Fear River. It would have been impractical to for the Confederates to stop Sherman at Fayetteville either, since Johnston was still collecting soldiers from the shattered Army of Tennessee and from South Carolina. The Confederates tried to delay Sherman without getting themselves drawn into a battle they couldn't win along the banks of the Cape Fear. Round Two goes to Sherman as well.
But as he begins moving north Sherman once again tries to put the Confederates in doubt as to what his objective was: the state capital at Raleigh or the railhead at Goldboro? His left wing of two corps runs into General William J. Hardee and part of the Confederate Army. Near the town of Averasboro the general who literally wrote the book on infantry tactics managed to stop the Union advance and cause Union casualties which complicated Sherman's logistics. Hardee managed to buy time for Johnston to collect his army for the biggest battle fought in North Carolina and the last big battle of the Civil War: Bentonville.
The narrative is written in a style which keeps the reader focused on the story and is illustrated throughout with photos of many of the participants of the last campaign: commanders and privates alike. It includes maps and some original artwork unique to this work. If you are interested in the Civil War I guarantee you this will fill some of the gaps in your knowledge and might change your mind about some of the things you think you know about Sherman's last march.