Struggle for the Heartland: The Campaigns from Fort Henry to Corinth

Struggle for the Heartland: The Campaigns from Fort Henry to Corinth

Struggle for the Heartland: The Campaigns from Fort Henry to Corinth

Struggle for the Heartland: The Campaigns from Fort Henry to Corinth

Synopsis

Struggle for the Heartland tells the story surrounding the military campaign that began in early 1862 with the advance to Fort Henry and culminated in late May with the capture of Corinth, Mississippi. The first significant Northern penetration into the Confederate west, this campaign saw the military coming-of-age of Ulysses S. Grant and offered a hint as to where the Federals might win the war. For the South, it dashed any hopes of avoiding a protracted conflict. Stephen D. Engle colors in the details that bring great clarity and new life to the scene of these battles as well as to the social and political context in which they occurred.

Excerpt

In 1861 Harvard-educated Manning Ferguson Force suspended a promising legal career in Ohio to serve in the Union army. Although a native of Washington dc, his experience as a soldier began in September 1861 as a major in the Twentieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, eventually rising to the rank of brigadier general and leading a brigade in Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea. He participated in the battles of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, the sieges of Corinth and Vicksburg, and the captures of Jackson, Mississippi; Atlanta; and Savannah. in 1892 he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in the battle of Atlanta. He mustered out of the service in January 1866 and returned to his law practice.

In 1882, nearly two decades after the war, Force contracted with the prominent New York publishing company Charles Scribner’s Sons to write a volume in their Campaigns of the Civil War series. Up to that time, no extensive history of the military campaigns had been written, and it was the aim of Scribner’s to compile a dozen volumes that would become the standard history of the war. the subject of Force’s volume was the campaign from Fort Henry on the Tennessee River to Corinth, Mississippi, in early 1862. a reviewer at the time commented that his treatment was purely military and required some effort on the part of the reader to keep up with the “rapidly passing facts pointed out in such profusion.”

It is not surprising that Force conceptualized this campaign in the West around a framework of activity that began in February and ended essentially in late May. the drive from Fort Henry to Corinth was the first of the great struggles for occupation during the CivilWar. Neither is it surprising that his volume was purely a military history. At the time, it was still necessary to set the record straight as to what actually transpired . . .

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