Item description for Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 by Edward Cunningham...
The bloody and decisive two-day battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) changed the entire course of the American Civil War. The stunning Northern victory thrust Union commander Ulysses S. Grant into the national spotlight, claimed the life of Confederate commander Albert S. Johnston, and forever buried the notion that the Civil War would be a short conflict.
The conflagration at Shiloh had its roots in the strong Union advance during the winter of 1861-1862 that resulted in the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson in Tennessee. The offensive collapsed General Albert S. Johnston advanced line in Kentucky and forced him to withdraw all the way to northern Mississippi. Anxious to attack the enemy, Johnston began concentrating Southern forces at Corinth, a major railroad center just below the Tennessee border. His bold plan called for his Army of the Mississippi to march north and destroy General Grant's Army of the Tennessee before it could link up with another Union army on the way to join him.
On the morning of April 6, Johnston boasted to his subordinates, "Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee!" They nearly did so. Johnston's sweeping attack hit the unsuspecting Federal camps at Pittsburg Landing and routed the enemy from position after position as they fell back toward the Tennessee River. Johnston's sudden death in the Peach Orchard, however, coupled with stubborn Federal resistance, widespread confusion, and Grant's dogged determination to hold the field, saved the Union army from destruction. The arrival of General Don C. Buell's reinforcements that night turned the tide of battle. The next day, Grant seized the initiative and attacked the Confederates, driving them from the field. Shiloh was one of the bloodiest battles of the entire war, with nearly 24,000 men killed, wounded, and missing.
Edward Cunningham, a young Ph.D. candidate studying under the legendary T. Harry Williams at Louisiana State University, researched and wrote Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 in 1966. Although it remained unpublished, many Shiloh experts and park rangers consider it to be the best overall examination of the battle ever written. Indeed, Shiloh historiography is just now catching up with Cunningham, who was decades ahead of modern scholarship.
Western Civil War historians Gary D. Joiner and Timothy B. Smith have resurrected Cunningham's beautifully written and deeply researched manuscript from its undeserved obscurity. Fully edited and richly annotated with updated citations and observations, original maps, and a complete order of battle and table of losses, Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 will be welcomed by everyone who enjoys battle history at its finest.
Edward Cunningham, Ph.D., studied under T. Harry Williams at Louisiana State University. He was the author of The Port Hudson Campaign: 1862-1863 (LSU, 1963). Dr. Cunningham died in 1997.
Gary D. Joiner, Ph.D. is the author of One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864, winner of the 2004 Albert Castel Award and the 2005 A. M. Pate, Jr., Award, and Through the Howling Wilderness: The 1864 Red River Campaign and Union Failure in the West. He lives in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Timothy B. Smith, Ph.D., is author of Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg (winner of the 2004 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Non-fiction Award), The Untold Story of Shiloh: The Battle and the Battlefield, and This Great Battlefield of Shiloh: History, Memory, and the Establishment of a Civil War National Military Park. A former ranger at Shiloh, Tim teaches history at the University of Tennessee.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.1" Width: 6.4" Height: 1.6" Weight: 1.75 lbs.
Release Date Apr 15, 2007
Publisher Savas Beatie
ISBN 1932714278 ISBN13 9781932714272
Reviews - What do customers think about Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862?
Fantastic History, Slightly Dry May 2, 2008
According to the introduction to this wonderful book, the editors, Gary Joiner and Timothy Smith, more or less saved O. Edward Cunningham's book from forever being a dog-eared samizdat available only to the tour guides at the Shiloh battlefield. I for one am grateful that they did. This is a terrefic book that really educates the reader about what went on during the battle of Shiloh. Cunningham has covered the battlefield, before and after the battle, in such detail that it's hard to imagine finding a better, or at least more informed, work. The research that went into the book is evident on every page. Also, thanks to the editors, a second set of research is available in the form of copius footnotes. All of this combines to make one of the most informative books on a battle in the Civil War that I've read. Unfortunately, sometimes the detail can be a bit overwhelming, more in the way that it's presented than in the sheer volume. The volume of detail is what makes the book such a wonderful read. The writing is just a tad too structural in parts and doesn't flow well. Maybe if the author had lived to publish the work himself these rough spots would have been smoothed down. Either way, this is a fantastic read and will help expert or beginner alike achieve a much higher level of understanding about this pivotal Civil War battle.
The maps were well done and helped illustrate the narrative very well. The photos in the appendix of the battle field today helped set to the scene a bit too.
Finally, and most importantly for me, I didn't detect any bias in the writing. Sometimes, especially in Civil War history, the authors bias, pro or anti whatever side he's pro or anti about, comes out in the writing. I find that can seriously detract from otherwise very good books. None of this was evident here, again, making this a book worth reading.
Great book that describes everything that happened at Shiloh Apr 26, 2008
This is a very good book to read about one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.The author does a very good job in his research about everything that happened those 2 days on April 1862.I especially liked to read about details regarding the soldiers, the way the fought, their strategies, the way they reacted to the chaos around them.This book should be in the shelves of all us who like to read about the Civil War.Also the book analyzes the big questions of that war. Why Beauregard didnt press his attack on the Landing? Why Halleck didnt attack Corinth when he had the chance? These questions will remain without answer but due to those situations the War was prolonged.The only thing i didnt like about the book was that the author gives you too many details that sometimes made the reading a little dry.But, otherwise, a very good book
Excellent!! Thanks for pulling this out of the stacks Mar 21, 2008
When this book was written, it was a new vision of the battle of Shiloh. The editors considered it important enough to resurrect from the Shiloh NMP archives and bring to a wider audience. The book was very easy to read and follow. The book moved quickly through the movements and battles of the first major Union campaign in the Western Theater. The centerpiece is a detailed account of the battle of Shiloh and finally, a brief account of Halleck's capture of Corinth. Footnotes on the page with the citation were appreciated and the editors did an excellent job pointing out where they had changed the original account and why. This book reevaluated the significance of many events at Shiloh. The author rejected the importance of traditional turning points; Hornet's Nest, Johnston's death, and correctly points out that battles are contingent and are the result of many events involving all the participants. No single event determines the outcome; it is the sum of all the actions like a series of dominos. The editors made excellent use of numerous good maps to allow the reader to follow the campaign and the action at Shiloh. There were 18 pages of photos of the leaders (4 per page) on both sides, some familiar and others that I had not seen before. After the Order of Battle for the armies (thank you), there is a photographic tour of the Shiloh battlefield park and a map showing the location and direction of the photo. This gave the reader an excellent sense of the terrain and action. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Western Theater.
Shiloh Battle History Personalized Feb 12, 2008
I would highly recommend this book. Being a novice at Civil War history this one opened my eyes on this little reported or storied second large battle of the War of the Rebellion. One can find many parallels on events of present day. Such as what happened to the major players (generals) after the battle. Had leaders listened to the likes of the newspaper reporters of the day (substitute NY Times for NY Herald) reporter who had an agenda (where have we seen that one?) or traitorous politicians with their own self serving agendas, the war would have turned out MUCH differently than it did! Grant and a few others would have been back benched for good along with much of the Confederate generals as well.
The personal stories even though they are a sentence long on virtually each one make the battle more personalized than any before that I have read. I really felt like I was there smelling the gun-smoke and feeling the cold rain, muddy conditions, and gut wrenching hunger for proper food on both sides!
If I had one negative comment it would be the use of Maps. The book needs better, more detailed maps in legend reference to feet-miles and naming of creeks and roads. This battlefield is MUCH smaller than I ever expected (using the internet and discussions with people who have actually been there)
Yes I recommend the book and will keep my copy as a reference for the future discussions on Shiloh.
From Left to Right....Uggggh Feb 12, 2008
I was excited to read this book, based in no small part on the many good reviews it has received. Unfortunately, it was very disappointing. I have no doubt that the scholarship is unmatched...the editors did a fine job in not being "intrusive" while correcting mistakes and updating the various footnotes with more recent scholarship...The first few chapters were actually quite enlightening and well-written: I learned a lot about the "big picture" of the war in the West and the gathering of the armies at Shiloh.
However, the rest of the book is - in a word - *unreadable*. The title of this review gives the main problem: there is so much company-level and regimental detail on each page that it becomes a chore to slog through.
In writing a battle narrative, there is a way to combine scholarship (in which Cunningham excelled) with readibility...Stephen Sears and Gordon Rhea are expert at it...unfortunately, the late Dr. Cunningham failed in this regard.
If the publisher and editors intended only to make this research material - originally a PhD dissertation - more accessible, they succeeded admirably...if they intended it to be a readable and enjoyable account of the Battle of Shiloh, we are still waiting.