The American Civil War was, unfortunately for the South, fought as a relatively conventional war between two sovereign nations. The result was exactly what you would expect in that the nation with the larger manufacturing base won. No amount of superiority in the quality of command can overcome the ability to deploy and supply larger numbers of better armed troops on the field of battle and by 1863 it should have been evident to both sides that full frontal assaults were ruinous although even there attrition favors the greater numbers. The question becomes, how do you effectively defeat such a foe? The South proved time and time again that they could deploy mounted raiders – even deep into enemy territory – and inflict damage where the cost benefit ratio was almost always to their advantage.
The Southern disrupting of supply lines and the psychological advantages gained by these operations might well have cost Lincoln the 1864 election and led to a peace settlement had not Sherman laid siege – and waste – to so much of Georgia [and had not the administration controlled the electoral apparatus where every serving member cast a ballot for Lincoln whether they voted or not!]. It was as though there was an amnesia about the lessons of the American revolution – and every successful revolution since – that when faced by an insurmountable object you go around it and strangle it. This is an excellent history of how the South could have very well changed the outcome of the war.
Although not fully developed in this book one of the most interesting characters is General Joseph Wheeler. A West Point graduate who remained loyal to Georgia and compiled an enviable service record with the Confederacy in the post war era he was elected to Congress seven times and recalled to federal service for the Spanish American War being second in command in Cuba and aiding in the pacification of the Philippines. When he died in 1906 he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with an obelisk marker and the front side of his monument reads;
Born September 10, 1836
West Point 1859
Confederate Cavalry 1863
United States Volunteers1898
United States Army 1900
Died January 25, 1906
Mounted raids of the Civil War Edward G. Longacre Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, c 1994 Softcover. Previously published: South Brunswick : A.S. Barnes, 1975. 348 p. : ill. ; 23 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 327-337) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG
The spectacle of the cavalry, smartly outfitted with factual detail, will thrill readers of Mounted Raids of the Civil War. In roughly chronological order, Edward G. Longacre’s book presents twelve important expeditions—Federal and Confederate — in various theatres of action. These were raids of consequence, though not all were successful.
Some of the raids were innovative, such as Colonel Abel Streight’s raid down Alabama roads astride mules. Some raiding forces demonstrated bold planning, others timid execution. Others—notably the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid on Richmond — stirred national controversies. A few exhibited moments of comedy, as did Nathan Bedford Forrest’s “naval” assault against Union steamboats in the Tennessee River. And some expeditions greatly advanced military victories — such as General Benjamin H. Grierson’s raid during the Vicksburg campaign.
Longacre’s history is peopled with colorful personalities, among them such Northern and Southern generals as J. E. B. stuart, nicknamed Beauty; Earl Van Dorn, a dashing fire-eater; William E. “Grumble” Jones; George Stoneman, who never hurried; John Hunt Morgan, brave but lax in discipline; Joseph Wheeler, capable but underused by the military; Philip H. Sheridan, intense, scrappy, and inspirational; and James Harrison Wilson, proud and eager to make the “last long ride: of the war against the crumbling Confederacy. Included in this Bison Book edition are new maps illustrating the raids described.