The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War
Like no other conflict in our history, the Civil War casts a long shadow onto modern America," writes David Eicher. In his compelling new account of that war, Eicher gives us an authoritative modern single-volume battle history that spans the war from the opening engagement at Fort Sumter to Lee's surrender at Appomattox (and even beyond, to the less well-known but conclusive surrender of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith in Galveston, Texas, on June 2, 1865).
Although there are other one-volume histories of the Civil War -- most notably James M. McPherson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom, which puts the war in its political, economic, and social context -- The Longest Night is strictly a military history. It covers hundreds of engagements on land and sea, and along rivers. The Western theater, often neglected in accounts of the Civil War, and the naval actions along the coasts and major rivers are at last given their due. Such major battles as Gettysburg, Antietam, and Chancellorsville are, of course, described in detail, but Eicher also examines lesser-known actions such as Sabine Pass, Texas, and Fort Clinch, Florida. The result is a gripping popular history that will fascinate anyone just learning about the Civil War while at the same time offering more than a few surprises for longtime students of the War Between the States.
The Longest Night draws on hundreds of sources and includes numerous excerpts from letters, diaries, and reports by the soldiers who fought the war, giving readers a real sense of life -- and death -- on the battlefield. In addition to the main battle narrative, Eicher analyzes each side's evolving strategy and examines the tactics of Lee, Grant, Johnston, Sherman, and other leading figures of the war. He also discusses such militarily significant topics as prisons, railroads, shipbuilding, clandestine operations, and the expanding role of African Americans in the war.
The Longest Night is a riveting, indispensable history of the war that James McPherson in the Foreword to this book calls "the most dramatic, violent, and fateful experience in American history."
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Three Days at Gettysburg
Visiting the River of Death
The Battles for Chattanooga
Sherman Eyes the Deep South
The Red River Campaign
Grant Moves into the Wilderness
Action at Atlanta and Petersburg
Sheridan Raids the Valley
Grant Moves into Tennessee
Clash of the Ironclads
A Bloodbath at Shiloh
Jacksons Valley Campaign
The Peninsular Campaign
Confederate Triumph at Second Bull Run
The Wars Bloodiest Day
Fredericksburgs Appalling Loss
Stalemate at Stones River
The Campaign for Vicksburg
Lees Master Stroke
Shermans March to the Sea
Fall of the Last Confederate Port
Lees Army Crumbles
The End of the Civil War
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Page 51 - We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Page 317 - My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.
Page 406 - ... we cannot escape history. We, of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We — even we here — hold the power and bear the responsibility....
Page 559 - When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg, I thought you should do what you finally did — march the troops across the neck, run the batteries with the transports, and thus go below ; and I never had any faith, except a general hope that you knew better than I, that the Yazoo Pass expedition, and the like, could succeed.
Page 429 - I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the army and the government needed a dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only those generals who gain successes can set up dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship.
Page 157 - He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat : Oh ! be swift, my soul, to answer Him ! be jubilant, my feet ! Our God is marching on. In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me : As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on.
Page 365 - That, on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever, free...
Page 763 - Bring the good old bugle, boys ! we'll sing another song — Sing it with a spirit that will start the world along, Sing it as we used to sing it fifty thousand strong, While we were marching through Georgia. Chorus — " ' Hurrah ! Hurrah ! we bring the Jubilee ! Hurrah ! Hurrah ! the flag that makes you free !' So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea, While we were marching through Georgia.
Page 658 - I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years' struggle, the nation's condition is not what either party, or any man, devised or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North, as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and revere...
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Basil Wilson Duke, CSA: The Right Man in the Right Place
Limited preview - 2005