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Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market and the Opening of the Shenandoah Campaign, May 1864 Hardcover – May 10, 2010
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Mr. Knight has mined fresh material in an attempt to raise the fog of the battlefield. His use of firsthand accounts provide a fresh look at troop positions and movements. Valley Thunder is the first major study in forty years of one of the most important secondary actions of the war. It is an important addition to the library of the war in the Shenandoah Valley. --Col. Keith E. Gibson, Director, VMI Museum Operations
Valley Thunder surely takes its place now among the dozen finest and most complete accounts of any Civil War action, and it would be hard to name any account of a secondary fight of this size that has been better treated. Knight s study is a contribution not just to Virginia or Confederate literature, but a book that will serve the entire Civil War community for generations to come, and probably much longer than my thirty-six years. The only way we will get a better account is if Breckinridge and the others come to life and give it to us from their own lips. --William C. Davis, former editor of Civil War Times, Illustrated, author of The Battle of New Market (1975), and the award-winning author of Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour
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Top Customer Reviews
The May 1864 Battle of New Market is best remembered for the charge by the VMI Cadets. This charge is one of those moments that burns into our history. This book is a dual history. Primarily, it is a detailed history of operations in the Shenandoah Valley in May 1864. Secondly, it is an accurate but loving look at the VMI Cadet legend. Those holding the legend dear should not be upset with this book. The author clearly respects the cadets and is very truthful about what they did that day. An excellent introduction places the battle and the legend in the reality of history.
In the Shenandoah Valley, two small armies look for an advantage. In some ways, officers best assigned to a quiet front command both armies. Grant orders Sigel into The Valley as part of an overall attack on the Confederacy. Sigel is to sever railroad lines, prevent any reinforcement of Lee's army, and stop the flow of supplies. John D. Imboden holds the Valley with fewer than 2,000 men. John C. Breckinridge commands the Department of Southwest Virginia with about 7,000 men. Each knows they must delay any attacker until reinforced by the other.Read more ›
I recommend this book not only to those who wish to study the tactics and the flow of the battle, but also to those who wish to get the feel of being there on the ground. I agree with a previous reviewer: buy the book, read it and then take it with you when you visit the site - in particular during the annual reenactment held there. Armed with the knowledge Charlie Knight imparts, and with the experience of being on the battlefield watching history re-lived, you may just experience a bit of mental time-travel!
"Valley Thunder" deserves the advance praise it has been getting. The purposes, tactical successes, and faults of the commanding generals, Franz Sigel and John Breckinridge, are spelled out. The whereabouts and expectations of CS cavalry commander John Imboden are explored. The exploits of the VMI cadets are presented in a realistic light, and not embellished. Knight writes about the battle in clear and exciting style. In short, this IS a very good book.
More importantly, its presentation is typical of its publisher, Savas Beatie, and it is yet another example of how Savas Beatie has established itself as the most important Civil War publisher going today. Great maps, excellently reproduced vintage photos, footnotes at the bottom of each page; all make for a quality work on a battle which deserved such a treatment. Highly recommended for all Civil War readers, especially those with an interest in the actions in the Shenandoah Valley.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written and informative book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.Published 29 days ago by R. Williams
This book focuses on a rather minor battle during the Civil War--yet one more engagement in the Shenandoah Valley, this one at New Market. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Steven Peterson
Provides a very detailed and credible account of the battle. Had previously visited the site a few years ago. Read morePublished 1 month ago by C. F. Smith
Very well reasearched. Writing style was enjoyable. Not as "dry" as most military history that l have read previously. Easy to followPublished 2 months ago by Michael R. Harper
Very readable an brings out details that are not well know. Most notably that the participation and achievements of the VMI cadets in the battle was relatively minor. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Virginia Yank
BThe Battle of New Market in May 1864 is covered in detail in this book. It is clear and engagingly written with good maps; all in all, a good example of today’s Civil War battle... Read morePublished 2 months ago by WAL
Nice to read a modern book about this little-understood campaign and battle. It also sets up Gen. David Hunter's campaign nicely, showing how the Confederates blundered in not... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Joe Sokohl
I LOVE pretty much every war book I read, regardless of the conflict. I feel the author concentrated too much on the individual officers and their soldiers too much. Read morePublished 16 months ago by ltmiles33