The "eastern theater" of the Civil War has generally come to mean Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, at least partly because actions fought in the Carolinas, eastern Georgia, and Florida were either naval in origin or scant in number, until Sherman brought the western theater east late in the war. Civil War historians' study of the eastern theater in the past half-century has brought forth a large number of books devoted to the campaigns and major battles. Adding to this voluminous literature are the countless articles published in both scholarly journals (e.g., Civil War History, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography) and popular magazines such as Civil War Times Illustrated (begun as Civil War Times in 1959) and Blue and Gray ( 1984-). The following review will highlight the most important writing on the war in the East. For these purposes, "eastern theater" will largely mean the Virginia front, except for occasional land battles to the south that are worthy of mention.
When Civil War enthusiasts approach the study of the war in Virginia, they must sooner or later come to terms with Douglas Southall Freeman Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command ( 1942- 1944). Indeed, one may say that the modern historiography of battles and campaigns in Virginia begins with Lee's Lieutenants. Essentially the story of the Army of Northern Virginia while under Lee's command, Freeman's narrative emphasizes the successes and failures of the army's key generals and how Lee sought to find competent replacements. Half of volume 1 is devoted to the Confederate army in Virginia before Lee took command, June 1, 1862; thence it relates Jackson's Valley campaign and the Seven Days' Battles. Volume 2 carries the story from Cedar Mountain to Chancellorsville, August 1862-May 1863. Freeman's third volume covers the