9780786711475 / 0786711477

The Bloody Crucible of Courage: Fighting Methods and Combat Experience of the Civil War


Publisher:Basic Books



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About the book:

Some historians argue that the Civil War, with its use of rifled muskets and artillery, was the first great "modern" war; others argue that it was a sideshow of amateur generals and citizen soldiers whose tactics yielded few innovations or lasting lessons. Acclaimed military historian Brent Nosworthy takes on this great controversy and, for the first time in any book, covers the methods of Civil War warfare in their entirety. This work presents the most thorough study of Civil War military practices ever written. With diagrams, photos, and maps throughout, Nosworthy weaves together the story of newly emerging weapons, the resulting changes in military doctrine, and the combatants' experiences as these innovations were applied to the battlefield. Detailing the four-year evolution of warfare from General Irvin McDowell's first tentative efforts to Lee's and Grant's final exertions at Petersburg, the author examines tactical variation due to regional differences and the distinctive circumstances of each campaign: the methods used in the eastern theater versus those in the west; the confused fighting in the wilderness; the "trench" warfare at Vicksburg; and the techniques used in other famous battles, like Gettysburg and Antietam.

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