The Smoothbore Volley that Doomed the Confederacy
The Death of Stonewall Jackson and Other Chapters on the Army of Northern Virginia
No military unit in all the annals of American history exceeds in reputation Robert E. Lee’s illustrious Army of Northern Virginia. In ten chapters based on exhaustive research, esteemed Civil War scholar Robert K. Krick gives eloquent examination to aspects of this army ranging from biographical sketches and the best and worst books on the subject to Confederate troop strengths and locating soldier records. He begins with two key events: Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s mortal wounding at Chancellorsville; and Jackson’s most famous quarrel with a subordinate, which resulted in the unsuccessful court-martial of General Richard B. Garnett.
Krick continues with chapters on James Longstreet’s failure at Knoxville and the prickly relationship between Jubal A. Early and the undisciplined Valley Cavalry. His piece on Robert E. Rodes is the first complete portrait of Lee’s best division commander, whose wife methodically burned all of his letters sent home, forever preventing a full-scale biography. Krick, however, has uncovered a wide array of unpublished material on Rodes to sketch him in fresh perspective. Another essay considers the life and career of Colonel R. Welby Carter — a rogue who was cashiered by a court-martial after the Battle of Tom’s Brook — a character quite different from Rodes. Krick also examines Maxcy Gregg in the only article written on this politician-general.
The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy gleams with Krick’s usual superior research, skilled writing, and sound analysis and sheds new light on one of the most popular Civil War subjects. It is sure to become an integral part of the historiography of the Army of Northern Virginia.
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