The Spotsylvania Campaign: May 7-21, 1864

The Spotsylvania Campaign: May 7-21, 1864

The Spotsylvania Campaign: May 7-21, 1864

The Spotsylvania Campaign: May 7-21, 1864

Synopsis

This text includes specially commissioned maps, orders of battle and casualty returns based on new research. There are new insights into the campaign, particularly regarding the many innovations in infantry tactics.

Excerpt

Jonathan Swift termed war "that mad game the world so loves to play." He had a point. Universally condemned, it has nevertheless been almost as universally practiced. For good or ill, war has played a significant role in the shaping of history. Indeed, there is hardly any human institution which has not in some fashion been influenced and molded by war, even as it helped shape and mold war in turn. Yet the study of war has been as remarkably neglected as its practice has been commonplace. With a few outstanding exceptions, the history of wars and of military operations has until quite recently been largely the province of the inspired patriot or the regimental polemicist. Only in our times have serious, detailed, and objective accounts come to be considered the norm in the treatment of military history and related matters.

Yet there still remains a gap in the literature, for there are two types of military history. One type is written from a very serious, hightly techinical, professional perspective and presupposes that the reader is deeply familiar with background, technology, and general situation. The other is perhaps less dry, but merely lightly reviews the events with the intention of informing and entertaining the layperson. The qualitative gap between the two is vast. Moreover, there are professionals in both the military and in academia whose credentials are limited to particular moments in the long, sad history of war, and there are interested readers who have a more than passing under-

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