View single post by CleburneFan
 Posted: Wed Jan 17th, 2007 12:54 am
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Joined: Mon Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 1021

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 A book that I read this summer that I really enjoyed is called "Jefferson Davis and His Generals: The Failure of Confederate Command in the West" by Steven E Woodward. University of Kansas Press, 1990.

This book mostly deals with Confederate  generals who fought in the Western Theater, but, of course, the Union generals who fought them are described too. What I particularly like about this book is that it shows how intensely involved with battle plans and campaigns Davis was and how politics and favoritism were major determinants of who actually had command and how long they held it.

Davis, as a West Point grad and Mexican War hero, fancied himself as having great military acumen  and frequently interfered with his generals. That he did so to a greater extent in the West than in Lee's Eastern command, may have impacted the ultimate outcome of the war. Of course, opinions do vary on how effective Davis was and if his views did more harm or good or had little appreciable impact because so many other factors contributed to the outcome of campaigns and battles.

As expected, the book spends much time on PGT Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, A.S. Johnston and J.E. Johnston, John Bell Hood, Edmund Kirby Smith, Patrick Cleburne, William Hardee, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Stirling Price, Earl Van Dorn and many others.

The reader is introduced to the generals and the campaigns of the West and Trans Mississippi as they unfolded, so it is both a solid chronological history and a description of the generals who together with Jefferson Davis, played major roles in this part of the Civil War.

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