- May 3, 2013
I recently completed Meade and Lee at Rappahannock Station: The Army of the Potomac's First Post-Gettysburg Offensive, From Kelly's Ford to the Rapidan, October 21 to November 20, 1863.
This is the third of a four book series written by Jeffrey Wm. Hunt that details the operations of the Armies of the Potomac and Northern Virginia in the aftermath of Gettysburg. The narrative starts at the end of the Bristoe Station Campaign (the subject of book two of the series) and reviews the status and plans of the two armies and their commanders at that time. Hunt then provides accounts of the AoP movement and the Confederate response culminating in detailed descriptions of the fighting at Kelly's Ford and Rappahannock Station on November 7 that resulted in the withdrawal of Lee's army across the Rapidan River in the next few days. Of particular interest to me is the virtual destruction of BG Harry Hays Louisiana brigade usually known as the Louisiana Tigers.
Hunt's style is consistent with that of his previous books. It is detailed, but easily readable. Numerous maps along with drawings and photographs are interspersed through the book. The maps showing movements are at the corps and division level while the battle maps are shown at the regimental level. The author provides analysis of the actions of the lead participants of the campaign, outlining their successes and failures as appropriate. The analysis of Meade and Sedgwick were of particular interest to me. As this portion of Civil War history is usually covered in a few paragraphs at most, I find this book to be a welcome addition to my library. I am looking forward to the final book of the series covering the Mine Run Campaign, but expect I'll be waiting for a year or two.
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