We all know that the Battle of Gettysburg has been the subject of literally thousands of books. There are books about every aspect of the Battle of Gettysburg, ranging from books about Jenny Wade to microtactical histories. There are few aspects of the battle that have not been addressed, probably to the point of being ad nauseum.

There are, in fact, too many books about the Battle of Gettysburg, to the exclusion of numerous other battles that have long needed good tactical treatments. There are any number of engagements and/or campaigns that come to mind as needing a really good modern study, to-wit, in no particular order:

Petersburg (the entire campaign)
South Mountain
Bristoe Station
Five Forks
Mine Run
Atlanta (the entire campaign and all of its component parts)
Charleston (1863-1865)
Mill Springs
Morgan’s Indiana and Ohio raid of 1863 (no, I don’t consider the recent book worth owning)
Westport
Mine Creek
Pilot Knob
Jackson’s 1861 Valley campaign

Please feel free to contribute more ideas for this list; perhaps we can stimulate someone into doing something with some of these overlooked campaigns.

It would certainly be nice to see someone tackle some of these.

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Tue 05th May 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Eric
    I am with you entirely on South Mountain; that book needs to be written.
    The fighting at Crampton’s Gap has been ably covered by Tim Reese in Sealed With Their Lives, and John Priest did an account of Fox’s, but we need something more thorough about the entire battle.
    John

  2. Tue 05th May 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Will Greene is working on a three-volume study of Petersburg for UNC Press.

    Atlanta Campaign. Huh?? Isn’t there a guy named Castel who published something on that subject?

    Are you not counting as “good books” those published in H.E. Howard’s series on Bristoe Station by Henderson, Weldon Railroad by Horn, and Five Forks by Calkins and Bearss?

  3. Tue 05th May 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Eric: I am happy to see that you included the three battles from the T-M theater.Of course, a overall study of the Price Campaign of 1864 would cover all of them you mention.

    I would add Helena and Prairie Grove, Arkansas. Fortunately, Bill Shea has a new book on Prairie Grove coming out this fall from UNC.

  4. Tue 05th May 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Gettysburg sells. It’s a simple as that.

    Hey, has a major book been written on Glorietta Pass and the campaign in the far west?

  5. Robert Welch
    Tue 05th May 2009 at 9:59 pm

    I think Castel’s work on the Atlanta Campaign is a great book, but I would always like to see more scholarship on that particular campaign. What about Corinth? Cozzen’s work is good, but again, I’d like to see something else. And Jim, I agree with you that the we need more work on Price and Missouri.

  6. Tue 05th May 2009 at 10:05 pm

    If we are talking books that are ‘at least good’, I think there are several from your list that’s have already been written.

    Stephen Wise’s book about the 1863 Charleston Campaign is one of the best CW campaign books around, IMO, but I agree the ’64-’65 stuff is neglected.

    I think Lumir Buresh’s Mine Creek book and Ken Hafendorfer’s Mill Springs study both qualify as very good.

    Bryce Suderow’s Pilot Knob book is fine.

    I was wondering if Greene would be the first one to tackle a multi-volume Petersburg Campaign history. Good to hear such a project is in the works.

    Jared,
    There are a few Glorieta books, but the best one is Don Alberts’ “The Battle of Glorieta”. A decent second place choice is “The Battle of Glorieta Pass” by Edrington and Taylor.

  7. Andy Papen
    Tue 05th May 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Good list, Eric.

    I’ll second Drew’s comment about Hafendorfer’s book on Mill Spring; it is very good.

    I think that Lexington, Missouri could use a study as well; it probably wasn’t all that important outside of Missouri but definitely was important inside the state.

    I’d also like to see good tactical studies of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill; there are a couple of good overviews of Red River but those two battles deserve more than just an overview.

    Castel’s book is good, but Atlanta just begs for a good multi-volume study.

  8. Tue 05th May 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Andy,
    Michael Gillespie has published the best work on Lexington so far, and last I heard is still working on a full book length account of the battle.

  9. Tue 05th May 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Eric,

    This is a good start to such a list. As you know Petersburg and Atlanta are my pet peeves as far as under coverage goes. It is GREAT to hear that Will Greene is going to tackle a multi-part Petersburg book. I enjoyed Breaking the Backbone of the Rebellion immensely.

  10. Andy Papen
    Tue 05th May 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Drew

    I’d heard about Gillespie; wasn’t sure if that was still in process or not. Also heard awhile back about a Price’s Raid book in the works, but I can’t remember the author right now.

  11. Tue 05th May 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Ethan,

    The Five Forks book is lacking in detail. The other two Howard books are out of print, so they’re not a lot of good.

    Eric

  12. Tue 05th May 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Andy,

    It’s Prof. Kyle Sinisi of The Citadel. But I have no idea when it will be done or out.

    Eric

  13. Tue 05th May 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Drew,

    I am no fan of anything by Hafendorfer. I wouldn’t buy anything he writes.

    Eric

  14. Tue 05th May 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Eric,
    I know..LOL

  15. Simon Mawson
    Tue 05th May 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Bond who wrote a great book about the Great Locomotive Chase is coming out with a book about Hood’s battles around Atlanta but I would love to see a Rhea-styled series about the battle of Atlanta. Also I havent seen the Howard’s books about Mine Run but would also like to see someone tackle the series of events post- gettysburg pre- Wilderness.

  16. Chris Evans
    Tue 05th May 2009 at 11:28 pm

    There have been so many books written about Gettysburg that I don’t see that it would hurt anything for more books to be written on the crucial battles of 1862-1863 in Tennessee and Georgia: Stones River, Chickamauga (one of the most fascinating battles of the war), and Chattanooga. I know Cozzens books on these subjects are awesome but it wouldn’t hurt to hit them again. I also think that another book could be written on Shiloh and bring together all of the evidence and be THE book on the battle and build on the great work of Cunningham, Sword, etc. I would also like to see more written on the Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1864 but I hear new books are coming out on New Market and the Battles of Third Winchester and Cedar Creek so that is very good news!
    Thanks,
    Chris

  17. Tue 05th May 2009 at 11:36 pm

    Here, here! on Charleston. A long and very complex campaign (it’s the longest of the war), which would make an interesting study.

    Consider also Island No. 10/New Madrid. Complex campaign combining ravine/naval ops, siege ops, a fair amount of small cavalry actions, and some for those who like that kind of stuff. Oh, and the author would have to finally explain who the heck John Pope had compromising photos of!

    Craig.

  18. Chris Evans
    Tue 05th May 2009 at 11:49 pm

    Larry Daniel’s book ‘Island No. 10: Struggle for the Mississippi Valley’ is a pretty good look at that campaign if you haven’t read it yet.
    Chris

  19. Chris Van Blargan
    Wed 06th May 2009 at 1:21 am

    Eric,

    Agree with the Atlanta Campaign, the Petersburg Campaign (in particular, events north of the James) and Price’s raid. Scott Patchen’s study of Sheridan’s Valley Campaign should fill in a big gap. A couple of other battles and campaigns I would like to see, all of which have been covered in one work or another, but could use either a definitive account or republication of hard to find accounts:

    Camden Expedition – Several books including one by Bearss (which was difficult to follow) and one by Forsyth (which was good, but could use some heavy editing). Still think it needs a definitive study.

    Steele’s Little Rock Campaign – Previous study “Division” is difficult to find at affordable price

    John Hunt Morgan’s various raids and battles.

    Knoxville Campaign – I understand there is a decent account, but it is almost impossible to find

    Seven Pines – one of the most underappreciated battles of the war with over 11,000 casualties. Sears account of the campaign hardly scratched the surface and the H.E. Howard book left me wanting more.

    Tupelo/Brices Crossroads – Bearss is the standard, but I agree with you that the battles could use another look.

    Forrest’s campaigns. I have read several accounts, but still don’t quite grasp Parker’s Crossroads, First Franklin, Paducah, Brentwood, etc. I suspect I am missing the definitive military study of his campaigns (as opposed to a biography which also covers his campaigns), but haven’t been able to track it down.

    West Virginia Campaign of 1861 – Many accounts, some very good, but most are difficult to find and expensive (e.g. Lowry’s “September Blood”) I also have not seen the definitive account tying the various campaigns together.

    Banks’ Bayou Teche Campaign (Spring 1863) – I wish that David Edmonds had done a prequel to his “Yankee Autumn in Acadiana.”

    Burnside’s North Carolina Expedition – I understand a decent account exists in Sauers “A Succession of Honorable Victories,” but very difficult to find at an affordable price.

    Wyse Fork – We have great accounts of the Wilmington Campaign, Averasboro, Bentonville and, thanks to you, Monroe’s Crossroads, but I am not aware of an account of this end of the war battle which resulted in over 2,500 casualties.

    Eric and Drew, please feel free to point out my ignorance if I am missing something worthwhile on these topics. As always, I appreciate your recommendations.

    Chris

  20. Art Bergeron
    Wed 06th May 2009 at 8:11 am

    Don Frazier is doing several volumes on the Civil War in Louisiana, which will include the first Bayou Teche Campaign (1863) and the Red River Campaign. It is too early to know how much tactical detail his books will include.

  21. Wed 06th May 2009 at 8:13 am

    Eric,

    Great choices. Here’s a couple others that I would like to see a more thorough analysis on.

    Belmont (and Grant taking command at Cairo)

    Benjamin Grierson (specifically his diversionary ride around the Confederates in Mississippi)

    Vicksburg (Michael Ballards book is great but more could certainly be written)

    First Manassas

    Second Manassas

    Mike Noirot

  22. Don Hallstrom
    Wed 06th May 2009 at 8:27 am

    Hello Eric and Contributors.

    Very informative and fun post to read. I like to hear what others know about what is upcoming. Being a bibliophile, I’m always looking to see how my book money will be spent.

    I thought I saw somewhere that Savas & Beatie were publishing a book on South Mountain.

    I agree that the Georgia campaign is in need of a multi-volume study, but Castel’s book is very good.

    I had also heard that someone is working on a new study of Antietam, but the name escapes me.

    Isn’t Gary Joiner’s, THROUGH A HOWLING WILDERNESS a study on the Red River Campaign.?

    I agree with the comments about Seven Pines? Gaines Mill is probably also in need of a study.

    Really looking forward to William Shea’s upcoming study that I know will be out and Gordon Rhea’s concluding volume in his Overland Campaign. IMO, this is the best campaign study to be done.

    The one book that I do wish would be attempted, but probably never will would be a multi-volume study similar to Lee’s Lieutenants on the main confederate army of the west. Connelly’s two volume set is very good, but an update wouldn’t hurt.

    Eric, how about doing a post on biographies that are needed.

    Regards
    Don

  23. JE
    Wed 06th May 2009 at 8:50 am

    I certainly agree with John that South Mountain needs to be covered in more detail. The South Mountain battlefields are some of my favorite places to visit and reflect on the battle…sadly, and not because it isn’t a great magazine, Blue & Gray has published some of the better information available on the battle. Try as I may, I haven’t been able to get my hands on a copy of ‘Sealed with Their Lives’….I’m not even sure if it’s still in print.
    I’d love to see a more in-depth study of Harper’s Ferry in the Maryland Campaign…I could be wrong but Dennis Frye might be working on this.
    Jackson’s 1861 Valley campaign is certainly deserving. Detzler gave a brief overview in ‘Donnybrook’ but this campaign really needs to be examined in a way that details the importance of the campaign in regards to the outcome at Bull Run a few weeks later. This might also be a good time to look at this campaign as some of the sites associated with it are rapidly disappearing as the DC bedroom communities expand west. In just the past few years the Falling Waters battlefield (1861) has been reduced to only a few acres.
    Lastly, I’d like to echo Chris in that a serious study needs to be completed on the early campaigns in (West) Virginia. Most recently Hunter Lesser completed a fine book giving an overview of the 1861 campaigns in West Virginia. Firtz Haselberger wrote ‘the’ go to book on Rich Mountain; unfortunately there are no footnotes, making it difficult to check and reference sources. Beyond these, Terry Lowrey has done some very fine micro histories on several ‘forgotten’ battles, i.e. Scary Creek, Carnifex Ferry, Droop Mountain, etc. Since these books have come out there have been numerous new sources of information that have come available and I can’t imagine how many more are still out there waiting to be discovered. Newspapers, especially….Lowrey did a fine job of including the early newspaper reports of the ‘battle’ at Scary Creek, many of which included soldiers letters and descriptions of the campaign. Hasleberger’s book is left wanting of newspaper correspondence.
    Great topic, Eric. I would be excited to see you tackle any topic from your list for an upcoming book.

  24. Wed 06th May 2009 at 8:50 am

    Chris Evans,

    Savas-Beatie has new books on Third Winchester/Fisher’s Hill (by Scott Patchan) and New Market (by Charles Knight) due out next year. I’ve seen both manuscripts, and they’re both excellent.

    Eric

  25. Wed 06th May 2009 at 8:53 am

    Chris van Blargan,

    To address part of your list….

    I’m researching Brice’s Crossroads for a collaboration with my friend Dave Powell, who will do Tupelo.

    Wade Sokolosky and Mark Smith, who did an excellent study of the Battle of Averasboro, are working on Wyse’s Fork. Wade is due back from a deployment to Afghanistan this month, and I’m sure that they will get busy once he’s back. I know that they got started on the manuscript before Wade left.

    I have often considered tackling the Burnside Expedition, as I am quite fond of the Outer Banks and have visited most of those spots, but I honestly can’t imagine doing a better job of it than Rick Sauers did. Consequently, I doubt I will tackle it. Perhaps Rick could be persuaded to do a revised edition and bring it back out.

    Eric

  26. Wed 06th May 2009 at 8:58 am

    Mike Noirot,

    I simply cannot imagine a better campaign study of Second Bull Run than the one that John Hennessy did. It’s so good, in fact, that I tend to think people have simply decided that there’s no way to top it, so why try?

    If you haven’t read John’s book Return to Bull Run, you’ve been deprived.

    Now, having said that, there is room for good studies of pieces of that campaign. Scott Patchan has written a very good study of the fight for Chinn Ridge that is going to be part of Ironclad’s Discovering Civil War America Series.

    Eric

  27. Wed 06th May 2009 at 9:36 am

    Chris, I’ve read Daniel’s book, and rate it well (as with much of his work). But I just don’t think he had room in 200 pages to fully expand on the topic. I could go a bit further, but would venture off topic. :-). Time for me to post something on my blog!

    Craig.

  28. Charlie Knight
    Wed 06th May 2009 at 10:09 am

    I think an in-depth look at McDowell (the battle, not Irvin) is in order. The volume in the Howard series is a good start, but could be expanded upon.

    And I too hear that new New Market book is pretty good…

  29. Wed 06th May 2009 at 10:11 am

    Don’t be so modest, Charlie…..

  30. Charlie Knight
    Wed 06th May 2009 at 11:07 am

    Don’t everyone gang up on me for using the “G” word here, but has anyone ever written anything about Tipton’s Gettysburg Electric Ry? If not, THAT is one aspect of Gettysburg that needs to be addressed, to me at least.

  31. Chris Evans
    Wed 06th May 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks Eric for the update on the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 books. I’m really looking forward to them. I thought someone could expand on the excellent work on those battles done by William C. Davis and Jeffry Wert.
    Chris

  32. Dave Powell
    Thu 07th May 2009 at 6:45 am

    Interesting list.

    Some battles have multiple books, but still fail on certain essentials.

    Wiley Sword and Larry Daniel have both written good books on Shiloh, with Sword being considered something close to definitive.

    And yet, they both essentially follow the narrative of the first Park Historian, and pay scant attention to what was probably one of the most critical decisions of the entire battle – Sherman and McClernand’s counter-attack out of Jones Field at about noon on the first day. That became the focus of the entire afternoon’s battle, far more so than the Hornet’s nest.

    So Shiloh is definitely in that list.

    As for Chickamauga, I have hopes…

    Dave Powell

  33. Thu 07th May 2009 at 9:11 am

    Eric,

    I have read John Hennessy’s book on Second Manassas. I agree with you. It is superb. I should have probably clarified my post to state the Second Manassas Campaign. Specifically, I think a book on Cedar Mountain would be nice.

    Mike

  34. Chris Evans
    Thu 07th May 2009 at 10:46 am

    If you have not read it yet Robert K. Krick’s book ‘Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain’ is pretty detailed and good. But it is told mostly from the Confederate point of view so much more could be written from the Union point of view. A new book on Cedar Mountain could be similar to what Peter Cozzens did in his new book on the Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1862.
    Chris

  35. Mike Maude
    Thu 07th May 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Hood’s 1864 Tennessee campaign deserves another look–Sword’s book is pretty good (not the maps though) but really just whetted my appetite for a true tactical study.

  36. Chris Evans
    Thu 07th May 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Eric Jacobson’s book has a detailed account of Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin. I wish it had more maps but the tactical detail of the campaign is superb. He uses an excellent amount of primary sources.
    Chris

  37. Mike Maude
    Thu 07th May 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Chris–
    Thank you for the tip–just ordered it.
    mjm

  38. Todd Berkoff
    Sat 09th May 2009 at 5:31 am

    Mr. Noirot —

    The Hennessy book to which Mr. Wittenberg is referring covers nearly the entire campaign of Second Manassas– not just the battle on 28-30 August, and as previously noted, Robert Krick’s book on Cedar Mountain fills in the gaps.

    I realize the two Deep Bottom campaigns are part of the larger Petersburg/Richmond Campaign of 1864, but I’m still waiting for Bryce Suderow’s work on Deep Bottom, following his excellent articles on the subject published ealier this decade in N&S. Also, I think the opening battles of the Petersburg campaign, 15-25 June 1864, deserve special treatment, especially the action on 22 June when the entire US 2nd Corps was routed from the field, the first time that happened to that brave unit. I know Gordon Rhea has a book coming out on the march to Petersburg, but I am not clear when he will end the book. – Todd

  39. Chris Evans
    Sat 09th May 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I believe that Rhea’s book will end with the assaults on Petersburg from June 15-18.
    Chris

  40. Sun 10th May 2009 at 3:22 am

    A command study of Cold Harbor from the Union side would be interesting to see. From what I’ve read, Grant/Meade had a semi-mutiny on their hands from division and regimental commanders over the issue of another assault on the Confederate lines, and I’ve not been able to find out much more than that. Also, it would be nice to see a stand alone piece on Malvern Hill.

  41. Todd Berkoff
    Mon 11th May 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Duke —

    You should check out Gordon Rhea’s book on Cold Harbor, which covers the first half of the campaign, 26 May to June 3, 1864. I never read any accounts of a near mutiny during the campaign and actually Rhea’s account uncovered new material that indicates the Union assault on 3 June was not as bloody as Civil War myth leads one to believe. The really bloody attacks that nearly broke the Army of the Potomac came during the opening assaults on Petersburg, culminating in the Battles of Reams Station (25 August) that broke the US 2nd Corps for good and Weldon Railroad (19-21 August) that broke the 5th Corps. – Todd

  42. Wed 13th May 2009 at 1:38 am

    I’ll get on that, Todd, and thank you for the tip.
    I saw reference to the discontent with the Union leaders in Trudeau’s “Bloody Roads South”, which I thought was a pretty good book on the subject. I’ve also seen comments on this somewhere else, but the source escapes me right now.
    Duke

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