Army of the Heartland
The Army of Tennessee, 1861–1862
336 Pages / 6.12 x 9.25 x 0.70 in / 14 halftones
- Paperback /
- 9780807127377 /
- Published: August 2001
A companion volume to Autumn of Glory
Most of the Civil War was fought on Southern soil. The responsibility for defending the Confederacy rested with two great military forces. One of these armies defended the “heartland” of the Confederacy—a vital area which embraced the state of Tennessee and large portions of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
This is the story of that army—the first detailed study to be based upon research in manuscript collections and the first to explore the military significance of the heartland.
The Army of Tennessee faced problems and obstacles far more staggering than any encountered by the other great Confederate force. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Lee’s army was charged with the defense of an area considerably smaller in size. And while Lee’s line of defense extended only about 125 miles, the front defended by the Army of Tennessee stretched for some 400 miles.
Yet the Army of the Heartland has heretofore been given relatively slight attention by historians. With this volume Thomas Lawrence Connelly, a native Tennessean, has brought Confederate military history more nearly into balance.
Throughout the war the Army of Tennessee was plagued by ineffective leadership. There were personality conflicts between commanding generals and corps commanders and breakdowns in communications with the Confederate government at Richmond. Lacking the leadership of a Lee, the Army of Tennessee failed to attain a real esprit at the corps level. Instead, the common soldiers, sensing the quarrelsome nature of their leaders, developed at regimental and brigade levels their own peculiar brand of morale which sustained them through continuous defeats.
Connelly analyzes the influence and impact of each successive commander of the Army. His conclusions regarding Confederate command and leadership are not the conventional ones.
Thomas Connelly adds a new dimension to the study of the war in the West by supplementing Stanley Horn’s earlier work with fresh interpretations. His is a story of frustrating Confederate leadership facing a superior enemy force in an isolated region, the ‘Heartland,’ whose significance President Davis never understood. . . . Brilliantly written.
Connelly’s analysis of the geographical, economic, and psychological factors that molded Confederate strategy in the Tennessee Valley is a thoroughly original contribution, both in conception and information presented. . . . Undoubtedly the outstanding feature of the work is Connelly’s evaluation of the personalities and performances of the various commanders of the Army of Tennessee. . . . [Army of the Heartland] is, without question, one of the best military studies of the war to appear in a long time, and it establishes Connelly as the authority on his subject.
Invaluable, a book that every student of the Civil War should own and read carefully.