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Confederate Generals in the Western Theater, volume 3

Essays on America's Civil War

Edited by Lawrence Lee Hewitt and Arthur W. Bergeron; With a Foreword by Steven E. Woodworth

Publication Year: 2010

The American Civil War was won and lost on its western battlefields, but accounts of triumphant Union generals such as Grant and Sherman leave half of the story untold. In the third volume of Confederate Generals in the Western Theater, editors Lawrence Hewitt and Arthur Bergeron bring together ten more never-before-published essays filled with new, penetrating insights into the key question of why the Rebel high command in the West could not match the performance of Robert E. Lee in the East. Showcasing the work of such gifted historians as Wiley Sword, Timothy B. Smith, Rory T. Cornish, and M. Jane Johansson, this book is a compelling addition to an ongoing, collective portrait of generals who occasionally displayed brilliance but were more often handicapped by both geography and their own shortcomings. While the vast, varied terrain of the Western Theater slowed communications and troop transfers and led to the creation of too many military departments that hampered cooperation among commands, even more damaging were the personal qualities of many of the generals. All too frequently, incompetence, egotism, and insubordination were the rule rather than the exception. Some of these men were undone by alcoholism and womanizing, others by politics and nepotism. A few outlived their usefulness; others were killed before they could demonstrate their potential. Together, they destroyed what chance the Confederacy had of winning its independence. Whether adding fresh fuel to the debate over the respective roles of Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard at Shiloh or bringing to light such lesser known figures as Joseph Finegan and Hiram Bronson Granbury, this volume, like the ones preceding it, is an exemplary contribution to Civil War scholarship.

Published by: The University of Tennessee Press

Series: The Western Theater in the Civil War

Contents [Includes Illustrations]

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pp. vii-x

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Series Editor’s Foreword

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pp. xi-xii

THE CONFEDERATE GENERALS WHO SERVED IN THE WESTERN THEATER OF THE CIVIL War are, with few exceptions, less known than their Eastern Theater counterparts. Upon their shoulders lay the burden of command and with them the survival of their young nation. Many of these commanders conducted or served in campaigns not widely reported upon in eastern newspapers. Most powerful politicians in...

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pp. xiii-xiv

THEY WERE A DIVERSE LOT, THESE TEN CONFEDERATE GENERALS. SOME WERE WEST Point–trained professionals with careers invested in the peacetime army like Pierre G. T. Beauregard. Others came from civilian careers, like Hiram Granbury, a frontier lawyer, or Joseph Finegan, another lawyer as well as a wealthy businessman. Others, like Albert Sidney Johnston and Simon Bolivar...

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pp. xv-xxii

HAVING RECENTLY CELEBRATED THE BICENTENNIAL OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S BIRTH, IT IS only natural to reflect on the individual almost universally ranked first among our presidents in surveys of historians, political scientists, and “professional observers of the presidency,” be they liberal or conservative. Their opinions are undoubtedly influenced by the fact that the vast majority of these individuals...

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Leonidas Polk and the Fate of Kentucky in 1861

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pp. 1-20

LEONIDAS POLK, THE BISHOP GENERAL, WAS ONE OF THE MORE CONTROVERSIAL FIGURES to emerge during the Civil War. He was a popular, striking commander, revered by his subordinates, quick to act, but quicker to balk at orders and slower to obey when he was in a subordinate position. The bishop general struck an imposing, even romantic figure. He was the humble, dutiful bishop who only...

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To Conquer or Perish: The Last Hours of Albert Sidney Johnston

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pp. 21-38

A SOMEWHAT SURPRISED ALBERT SIDNEY JOHNSTON STOOD AND LISTENED TO HIS second in command of the Army of the Mississippi call for a withdrawal. General P. G. T. Beauregard argued that the recent delays in marching northward from Corinth and the lack of stealth with which it was done had alerted the Union army that the Confederates lay nearby. All chance for a surprise...

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General G. T. Beauregard’s Role at the Battle of Shiloh: Hero or Villain?

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pp. 39-60

SHILOH HAS LONG BEEN REGARDED AS ONE OF THE MORE FASCINATING BATTLES OF American military history, often considered the “Pearl Harbor of the American Civil War.” Indeed, Shiloh took critical measure of perhaps the two greatest Union commanders of the war, Major General Ulysses S. Grant and Brigadier General William Tecumseh Sherman. Both were badly surprised...

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Martin Luther Smith and the Defense of the Lower Mississippi River Valley, 1861–1863

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pp. 61-86

OF ALL THE CONFEDERATE GENERALS INVOLVED IN THE DEFENSE OF THE LOWER MISsissippi Valley from 1861 to 1863, only one played a significant role at both New Orleans and Vicksburg—Martin Luther Smith. Trained and employed in the old army as an engineer officer, Smith first served the Confederacy in that capacity but eventually found himself in charge of a brigade and later a...

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Daniel Weisiger Adams: Defender of the Confederacy’s Heartland

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pp. 87-120

DURING MUCH OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, DANIEL WEISIGER ADAMS, AN ATTORney and businessman, served as a brigadier general. Although not one of the “great” names in Confederate military history, Adams developed into a capable and energetic officer. For thirteen months, from August 1862 to September 1863, he had active command of the Louisiana brigade of the Army of Tennessee.

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A Name Worth a Division: Simon Bolivar Buckner and the 1862 Kentucky Campaign

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pp. 121-150

IN AUGUST 1862, THE NEWLY PROMOTED MAJOR GENERAL SIMON BOLIVAR BUCKNER reached East Tennessee, emerging through the mountains after spending months locked away in a Union prison. Although he had been captured after surrendering Fort Donelson to his friend Ulysses S. Grant, Buckner’s solid reputation remained intact. His refusal to avoid surrender, unlike his immediate...

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William Preston’s Civil War

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pp. 151-178

HIS BIOGRAPHER CALLS WILLIAM PRESTON “KENTUCKY’S LAST CAVALIER,” AN HONorable title that could describe any number of other sons of the Bluegrass State who fought for the Lost Cause.¹ Preston, however, has as good a claim to the moniker as any other Kentuckian of similar stature. He was one of those Civil War rarities, a political general who caused no great disasters and...

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An Irish Confederate: Brigadier General Joseph Finegan of Florida

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pp. 179-220

THE IRISH SOLDIER, BOTH NORTH AND SOUTH, PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE American Civil War. Irish soldiers took part in epic battles, in turning points of the war, and in many minor and forgotten skirmishes. They served as privates, noncommissioned officers, officers, and even generals in both armies. Many, no doubt, believed in the cause of their section; many became disillusioned...

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“It Was Perfect Murder”: Stephen D. Lee at Ezra Church

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pp. 221-246

ON JULY 28, 1864, MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM T. SHERMAN HEARD THE THUNDER presaging yet another Confederate attack on his army, the third in eight days. A staff officer rode up and reported that the Confederates had attacked his one-time command, Major General Oliver O. Howard’s Army of the Tennessee. Unlike many generals, Sherman welcomed news of the attack, barking...

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Hiram Bronson Granbury: From Chattanooga to Franklin

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pp. 247-275

THE MORNING OF NOVEMBER 25, 1863, DAWNED DISMAL AND HAZY FOR THE CONfederate Army of Tennessee outside Chattanooga. Major General Patrick Cleburne’s Division held the extreme Confederate right atop Tunnel Hill, and little did the Irishman know that it was precisely at this point that Union commander Major General Ulysses S. Grant intended to break the Confederate...

Appendix: Confederate Armies in the Western Theater

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pp. 277-281


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pp. 283-302


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pp. 303-305

Index [Includes Back Cover]

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pp. 307-314

E-ISBN-13: 9781572337909
E-ISBN-10: 1572337907
Print-ISBN-13: 9781572337534
Print-ISBN-10: 1572337532

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 10 halftones, 18 maps, 1 line drawing
Publication Year: 2010

Volume Title: Confederate Generals in the Western Theater
Series Title: The Western Theater in the Civil War