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BOOK REVIEWS Cannoneers in Gray: The Field Artillery of the Army of Tennessee, 1861-1865. By Larry J. Daniel. (University, Ala.: University of Alabama Press, 1984. Pp. xii, 234. $19.95.) Born in May 1861 as the Artillery Corps of the Provisional Army of Tennessee , the Army of Tennessee's field artillery had a torturous history, which is "particularly instructive because, in many respects, that branch served as a microcosm of problems that transcended the entire army" (xi). Daniel, who currently serves as minister of St. Marks United Methodist Church in Memphis, demonstrates the truth of this assertion as he traces the gray artillery's role in the western theater. Like the army as a whole, the "long arm" suffered from inadequate logistical support. Perhaps the key word in its history was "shortages": of guns, caissons, and ammunition; of horses, mules, and forage; of halters, harnesses, and horseshoes; of qualified artillerymen; of everything, in sum, that the artillery needed to become an effective fighting force. Equally bad, the ordnance, accoutrements and the animals that the artillery received were frequently inferior. Faulty construction sometimes made Confederate cannons more dangerous to the users than the enemy, poor quality leather goods rapidly disintegrated, and horses were often unserviceable because of overuse and undernourishment. These crippling logistical deficiencies meant that the Army of Tennessee's artillery could never match, much less surpass, the powerful Union batteries that repeatedly shattered Confederate attacks. Efficient organization and use of Confederate artillery might have compensated for its logistical inferiority. But, asserts Daniel, most of the Army of Tennessee's commanders did not comprehend the artillery's proper role, as evidenced by the adoption of a brigade-battery structure and the artillery's misuse in battle. The brigade-battery scheme, which treated the artillery as merely an extension of the infantry by assigning individual batteries to specific brigades, had several defects. It created ambiguous lines of command between artillery and infantry officers, often giving the latter control over a branch of the army that they did not understand , and made it difficult to mass batteries to achieve concentrated firepower. Since Civil War artillery was most effective as a defensive weapon, army commanders made the faulty organization worse by deploying the artillery on the tactical offensive. Only Joseph E. Johnston seemed to grasp the artillery's true function. He grouped the batteries 366CIVIL WAR HISTORY into battalions, and the battalions into "regiments," and tried to centralize command at the corps level. And, of course, his defensive tactics were well-suited for artillery. Daniel strengthens his arguments about the questionable judgment of tfie army's other commanders by drawing comparisons between the western "long arm" and the Army of Northern Virginia's artillery. True, Lee's army had governmental priority in terms of ordnance, but more importantly, Lee employed his artillery more wisely. Although Daniel recounts the artillery's participation in the major battles in the western theater, he never buries his broad themes under a mountain of detail. Thus, for example, he relegated to an appendix an outline of all the Confederate artillery batteries at Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Dalton, Atlanta, and Nashville. And he did not become bogged down in technical data, offering no explanation of the difference between, say, spherical case shot and shells. Such technical information is unimportant for Daniel's purposes, and is available elsewhere, particularly in Warren Ripley's Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War. If the artillery was, as one officer asserted, "the neglected branch" of the Army of Tennessee, it has also been neglected by Civil War historians. Based on extensive research in the Official Records, the Confederate Veteran, and unpublished reports, diaries, and correspondence in numerous repositories, this book is an excellent addition to the handful of existing artillery studies, such as Jennings C. Wise's The Long Arm of Lee, L. Van Loan Naisawald's Grape and Cannister, and John W. Rowell's Yankee Artilleryman. Peter Maslowski University of Nebraska-Lincoln Richmond After the War, 1865-1890. By Michael B. Chesson. (Richmond : Virginia State Library, 1981. Pp. xxii, 255. $20.00 cloth; $12.50 paper.) Richmond has finally been discovered by scholars. Two first-rate histories of the Virginia capital...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 365-366
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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