Which Campaign is the Most Interesting to Sfudy?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Powell's Just-Released Chickamauga Confederate Cavalry Study


Click HERE to watch the book trailer!

About the Book

Confederate cavalry has a storied and favorable relationship with the history of the Civil War. Tales of raids and daring exploits create a whiff of lingering romance about the horse soldiers of the Lost Cause. Sometimes, however, romance obscures history.

In August 1863, William Rosecrans’ Union Army of the Cumberland embarked on a campaign of maneuver to turn Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee out of Chattanooga, one of the most important industrial and logistical centers of the Confederacy. Despite the presence of two Southern cavalry corps (nearly 14,000 horsemen) under legendary commanders Nathan Bedford Forrest and Joe Wheeler, Union troops crossed the Tennessee River unopposed and unseen, slipped through the passes cutting across the knife-ridged mountains, moved into the narrow valleys, and turned Bragg’s left flank. Threatened with the loss of the railroad that fed his army, Bragg had no choice but to retreat. He lost Chattanooga without a fight.

After two more weeks of maneuvering, skirmishing, and botched attacks Bragg struck back at Chickamauga, where he was once again surprised by the position of the Union army and the manner in which the fighting unfolded. Although the combat ended with a stunning Southern victory, Federal counterblows that November reversed all that had been so dearly purchased.

David A. Powell’s Failure in the Saddle: Nathan Bedford Forrest, Joseph Wheeler, and the Confederate Cavalry in the Chickamauga Campaign is the first in-depth attempt to determine what role the Confederate cavalry played in both the loss of Chattanooga and the staggering number of miscues that followed up to, through, and beyond Chickamauga. Powell draws upon an array of primary accounts and his intimate knowledge of the battlefield to reach several startling conclusions: Bragg’s experienced cavalry generals routinely fed him misleading information, failed to screen important passes and river crossings, allowed petty command politics to routinely influence their decision-making, and on more than one occasion disobeyed specific and repeated orders that may have changed the course of the campaign.

Richly detailed and elegantly written, Failure in the Saddle offers new perspectives on the role of the Rebel horsemen in every combat large and small waged during this long and bloody campaign and, by default, a fresh assessment of the generalship of Braxton Bragg. This judiciously reasoned account includes a guided tour of the cavalry operations, several appendices of important information, and original cartography. It is essential reading for students of the Western Theater.

Next up: the first major review . . .

Monday, December 13, 2010

Should Borders Buy Barnes & Noble?

Or as someone else wrote, it's a bit like a dead fish trying to swallow a whale. (Well, at least an ill whale.)

The book world is indeed in a state of flux.

Click here for the story.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Forthcoming Title and a Housekeeping Matter (Part 1)



So many of you have been emailing or calling and asking me about what is coming down the pike. I have been meaning for quite some time to mention a few of our forthcoming titles and discuss each at greater depth thereafter. Alas, life has intervened. For that I apologize but won't beg for forgiveness. I shall now take a brief stab at it (and hopefully follow up after the calendar wraps to 2011).

The Gettysburg Encyclopedia, by Brad Gottfried and Theodore P. Savas, editors. Yes, this is still in the works. Click here for an earlier entry that promises much the same thing you are about to read. Today, though, I really mean it. Promise.

The text is at least 95% complete (as are the maps) and simply awaiting editing. The primary holes left to fill are largely in the realm of cavalry operations. (J.D. Petruzzi, however, decided to ride with Jeb Stuart, violate the spirit of his orders, and was last reported heading for Maryland in a red Corvette with bits of  hay flying out the tailpipe and a bridle slapping the side. If you spot him--or read this blog--tell him to phone home or at least send General Lee a comforting dispatch.)

We will post a list of contributors, topics, and much more in January. It will likely be one large volume, but we might publish this in two matching volumes in a 7 x 10 oversize format on 50 or 60-lb. acid free paper, and heavy cloth with a sewn binding. The double-column text will include everything from houses and landmarks to personalities, units, engagements, civilians, terrain features, controversies, weaponry, and much more. All entries will be cross-referenced, as needed. The Gettysburg Encyclopedia will also include full page / full color maps, color photos, and of course a complete bibliography/suggested reading list.

This effort is a true (and expensive) labor of love, and we want it to stand the test of time and functionality.

Watch for a web page soon. If there is something in particular you would like to see on this web page, please send us an email and let us know.

We are leaning toward a first edition boxed set (perhaps signed and numbered with a limited print run)  available only through Savas Beatie. As always, we welcome your thoughts.

Publishing date? Almost certainly late 2011 or early 2012. Yes, we are excited too.

Housecleaning: I have stumbled across a handful of mint new copies of Lost for the Cause: The Confederate Army in 1864, by Steven Newton (Savas Publishing, 1999). This is an outstanding study. Would you like a free copy? When you place an order for ANY book we have in stock, just use LFTC as a coupon code or mention it on the phone, and we will throw one copy in at no charge. As in, no extra dollars. No extra shipping, either. But I think I only have 8 or 10 copies.