The Chessboard of War: Sherman and Hood in the Autumn Campaigns of 1864

The Chessboard of War: Sherman and Hood in the Autumn Campaigns of 1864

The Chessboard of War: Sherman and Hood in the Autumn Campaigns of 1864

The Chessboard of War: Sherman and Hood in the Autumn Campaigns of 1864

Synopsis

No aspect of Civil War history is more fascinating than the two major campaigns that took place in the western theater in late 1864. The opposing generals, William T. Sherman and John Bell Hood, took armies that had been fighting for months and headed them away from each other: Hood marched north into Tennessee, and Sherman marched south into Georgia. As Sherman himself noted, "It surely was a strange event; two hostile armies marching in opposite directions, each in the full belief that it was achieving a final and conclusive result in a great war". Hood went on to catastrophic defeat at Franklin and Nashville, while Sherman successfully moved through Georgia to the coast.

Many books deal with either Sherman's march or Hood's Tennessee campaign, but although they unfolded simultaneously and concluded the main fighting in the western theater, no recent volume analyzes the two together. In her groundbreaking study, Anne J. Bailey assesses how military events in Georgia and Tennessee intertwined and affected the political, social, and economic conditions in those areas and throughout the nation.

Excerpt

Americans remain fascinated by the Civil War. Movies, television, and video--even computer software--have augmented the ever-expanding list of books on the war. Although it stands to reason that a large portion of recent work concentrates on military aspects of the conflict, historians have expanded our scope of inquiry to include civilians, especially women; the destruction of slavery and the evolving understanding of what freedom meant to millions of former slaves; and an even greater emphasis on the experiences of the common soldier on both sides. Other studies have demonstrated the interrelationships of war, politics, and policy and how civilians' concerns back home influenced both soldiers and politicians. Although one cannot fully comprehend this central event in American history without understanding that military operations were fundamental in determining the course and outcome of the war, it is time for students of battles and campaigns to incorporate nonmilitary themes in their accounts. the most pressing challenge facing Civil War scholarship today is the integration of various perspectives and emphases into a new narrative that explains not only what happened, why, and how, but also why it mattered.

The series Great Campaigns of the Civil War offers readers concise syntheses of the major campaigns of the war, reflecting the findings of recent scholarship. the series points to new ways of viewing military campaigns by looking beyond the battlefield and the headquarters tent to the wider political and social context within which these campaigns unfolded; it also shows how campaigns and battles left their imprint on many Americans, from presidents and generals down to privates and civilians. the ends and means of waging war reflect larger political objectives and priorities as well as social values. Historians may continue to debate among themselves as to which of . . .

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