Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
- Jan 7, 2013
- Long Island, NY
Holding the Line on the River of Death: Union Mounted Forces at Chickamauga by Eric J. Wittenberg published by Savas Beattie (2018) Hardcover $29.95 Kindle $9.99
In a battle which included many instances on both sides of petty bickering between generals while their men were dying, Minty and Wilder, without anyone above them providing overall coordination, cooperated without hesitation with one another and managed to hold off much larger forces of Confederates while their commanders, at least at first, ignored the valuable intelligence of a rebel buildup that they sent rearward.
About half of the Civil War volumes I read each year are "battle books." I rarely review them here because, while they have value for understanding particular fights, they often are drearily written and unimaginative. Holding the Line breaks out of that mold and is engaging and insightful. It presents the two commanders and their men, the events of the specific battle, and a primer on the use of cavalry and mounted infantry in the Civil War, all within a highly readable and concise narrative. Where information or explanations would break up the narrative, Wittenberg provides mini-biographies, asides on cavalry tactics, and specifications on weaponry in well-written footnotes that deserve to be read.
This review will appear over several posts.