Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History

By Richard M. McMurry | Go to book overview

Preface

Several years ago, after completing a biography of Confederate General John Bell Hood, I began work on a history of the Atlanta Campaign of 1864--a then much-neglected military operation that had been very important in the American Civil War. After several months' work on the project, I found myself completely bogged down in what was rapidly becoming a three-hundred-page introduction to chapter one of a history of the Atlanta Campaign.

When two other starts produced similar results, I realized that it was going to be impossible to complete the study I envisioned without going into so much background material that the introductory section would constitute a separate book. Such a study would inevitably embrace far more than a simple narrative of the 1864 struggle for Atlanta. It would have to include a detailed examination of the Federal and Confederate armies in the winter of 1863-64 and of their preparations for the campaign of the following spring and summer. Such a discussion would cover in detail their organizations, their leaders, their personnel, and the overall political and strategic situation in which they found themselves in the spring and summer of 1864.

More work along these lines led to similar problems. It was simply impossible to discuss intelligently the situation in the winter of 1863-64 without going back to the events that took place in the fall of 1863. Coverage of those events, in turn, necessitated a discussion of what had happened in the preceding summer. Eventually, by following this process, I reached the spring of 1862 and was, I thought, ready to begin to write my history of the Atlanta Campaign. Again, however, it soon became obvious that I needed to go back even earlier. Many of the factors--both bad and good--that hampered or helped the two armies struggling in North Georgia in 1864 had their origins in

-ix-

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Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter One - Two Great Armies 1
  • Chapter Two - Some Basic Factors 10
  • Chapter Three - the Yankee Influence 30
  • Chapter Four - Confederate Contributions 56
  • Chapter Five - History's Role 74
  • Chapter Six - Officers and Enlisted Men 87
  • Chapter Seven - the General Officers 106
  • Chapter Eight the Commanding Generals 118
  • Chapter Nine Historians and Generals 140
  • Appendix Known Antebellum Military Experience of Confederate Generals 157
  • Notes 167
  • Bibliography 181
  • Index 189
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