In the sequel to the highly acclaimed Few Returned, Eugenio Corti, one of Italy’s most distinguished postwar writers, continues his poignant account of his experiences as an Italian soldier in the Second World War. In the earlier book, Corti, a twenty-one-year-old lieutenant of artillery, recounts the horrifying experience of the soldiers who were sent to Russia to fight alongside their German ally. On the River Don, the Red Army surrounded Corti and the other members of the Italian force. Of the 30,000 men in the Thirty-fifth Corps, Corti was one of only an estimated 4,000 soldiers to survive the ordeal. Mussolini’s dreams of empire were shattered, and his ill-fated Eighth Army no longer existed.
In 1943, after recurrent military defeats, the Italian government and its king, Victor Emmanuel III, forced Mussolini to resign. Italy then signed an armistice with the Allies and ended its alliance with Germany. The Germans immediately occupied northern Italy, which the Axis still held, and reinstated Mussolini in the north. Some Italians remained loyal to fascism; many others aligned themselves with the Allies, who were now advancing in southern Italy. Corti’s sympathies were with the Allies, and after a harrowing escape from the German-occupied north, he rejoined the Italian Army fighting on the side of the king. The Last Soldiers of the King is Corti’s account of the Italian Army’s experiences fighting the Germans during the remainder of the war.
In this unforgettable narrative, Corti depicts the war from the perspective of the average Italian soldier, capturing its boredom and absurdity along with brief periods of savagery, terror, and death. Painting vivid pictures of the sights, sounds, and smells of war, he shows how these men fought alongside the Allies against the Germans. They fought without hatred, driven by a sense of duty and love for their country and a desire to quickly put an end to a war that was destroying so many lives. Corti superbly relates the wandering of the remnant of Italian officers and men as they sought to reestablish themselves as Italian soldiers. The Last Soldiers of the King tells the story of a proud people forced to endure death, poverty, and the virtual destruction of their nation.
A legendary professor at Louisiana State University, T. Harry Williams not only produced such acclaimed works as Lincoln and the Radicals, Lincoln and His Generals, and a biography of Huey Long that won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, but he also mentored generations of students who became distinguished historians in their own right. In this collection, ten of those former students, along with one author greatly inspired by Williams’s example, offer incisive essays that honor both Williams and his career-long dedication to sound, imaginative scholarship and broad historical inquiry.
The opening and closing essays, fittingly enough, deal with Williams himself: a biographical sketch by Frank J. Wetta and a piece by Roger Spiller that place Williams in larger historical perspective among writers on Civil War generalship. The bulk of the book focuses on Robert E. Lee and a number of the commanders who served under him, starting with Charles Roland’s seminal article “The Generalship of Robert E. Lee,” the only one in the collection that has been previously published. Among the essays that follow Roland’s are contributions by Brian Holden Reid on the ebb and flow of Lee’s reputation, George C. Rable on Stonewall Jackson’s deep religious commitment, A. Wilson Greene on P. G. T. Beauregard’s role in the Petersburg Campaign, and William L. Richter on James Longstreet as postwar pariah.
Together these gifted historians raise a host of penetrating and original questions about how we are to understand America’s defining conflict in our own time—just as T. Harry Williams did in his. And by encompassing such varied subjects as military history, religion, and historiography, Lee and His Generals demonstrates once more what a fertile field Civil War scholarship remains.
Lawrence Lee Hewitt is professor of history emeritus at Southeastern Louisiana University. Most recently, he and Arthur W. Bergeron, now deceased, coedited three volumes of essays under the collective title Confederate Generals in the Western Theater.
Thomas E. Schott served for many years as a historian for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command. He is the author of Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia: A Biography, which won both the Society of American Historians Award and the Jefferson Davis Award.
Offering a fascinating look at an ordinary soldier's struggle to survive not only the horrors of combat but also the unrelenting hardship of camp life, Lee and Jackson's Bloody Twelfth brings together for the first time the extant correspondence of Confederate lieutenant Irby Goodwin Scott, who served in the hard-fighting Twelfth Georgia Infantry.
The collection begins with Scott's first letter home from Richmond, Virginia, in June 1861, and ends with his last letter to his father in February 1865. Scott miraculously completed the journey from naïve recruit to hardened veteran while seeing action in many of the Eastern Theater's most important campaigns: the Shenandoah Valley, the Peninsula, Second Manassas, and Gettysburg. His writings brim with vivid descriptions of the men's activities in camp, on the march, and in battle. Particularly revelatory are the details the letters provide about the relationship between Scott and his two African American body servants, whom he wrote about with great affection. And in addition to maps, photographs, and a roster of Scott's unit, the book also features an insightful introduction by editor Johnnie Perry Pearson, who highlights the key themes found throughout the correspondence.
By illuminating in depth how one young Confederate stood up to the physical and emotional duress of war, the book stands as a poignant tribute to the ways in which all ordinary Civil War soldiers, whether fighting for the South or the North, sacrificed, suffered, and endured.
Johnnie Perry Pearson is a retired state service officer formerly with the North Carolina Division of Veteran Affairs. He served as an infantry platoon sergeant during the Vietnam War and lives in Hickory, North Carolina.
The letters assembled in this extraordinarily rich collection were written by Robert W. Parker, an enlisted Confederate cavalryman who is thought to have been the last man killed in action in the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War. He is representative of the Confederate Everyman: a modest farmer in the antebellum years, his patriotic fervor spurred him at the beginning of the war to enlist in the Confederate Army, in which he served until his death during the last charge at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.
Parker fought in most of the major campaigns in Virginia, including the 1862 Valley Campaign, the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, the 1863 Maryland Campaign, and the 1864 Overland Campaign. In letters to his wife Rebecca back home in Bedford County, Virginia, Parker described his life as an enlisted soldier in the Second Regiment Virginia Cavalry. His letters reveal how local communities worked together to provide the necessary stuff of war to soldiers, from food and clothing to moral support. They also show the importance of correspondence and religion in sustaining Confederate morale and nationalism.
Catherine Wright provides a valuable introduction that illuminates not only these particular letters but also the many roles of correspondence during the Civil War. She points out how women-in this case, Parker's wife and his mother-made sure that men in the ranks understood that more than politics or manly honor was at stake in fighting the Yankees. Parker believed that the war was a supreme test in which God would look deep into the souls of Northerners and Southerners. His private beliefs informed his public views on how Southerners should act as citizens of a Confederate nation. People of all classes, Parker reasoned, had to give themselves to country and to God if Southern armies were to succeed on the battlefield. Parker's steadfastness was surely due in part to the words of his family, who instilled in him “just cause” to continue fighting.
Anyone with an interest in how a typical soldier experienced the Civil War will find these letters both absorbing and enlightening.
Originally published in 1909, this biography by Isabel Wallace recounts the life of her adoptive father, the little-recognized William Hervy Lamme Wallace, the highest-ranking Union officer to fall at the battle of Shiloh.
Born in 1821 in Ohio, Wallace and his family moved to Illinois in 1834, where he was educated at Rock Springs Seminary in Mount Morris. On his way to study law with Abraham Lincoln in Springfield in 1844, Wallace was persuaded by local attorney T. Lyle Dickey, a close friend of Lincoln, to join his practice in Ottawa instead. Wallace eventually married Dickey’s daughter, Martha Ann, in 1851.
When the Civil War broke out, both Wallace and Dickey immediately volunteered for service with the Eleventh Illinois, which assembled in Springfield. Wallace was elected as the unit’s colonel; a successful lawyer, a friend of President Lincoln, a generation older than most privates, and an officer with Mexican War experience, he was entirely suited for such command. Wallace was appointed brigadier general for his performance at Fort Donelson, the first notable Union victory in the Civil War. Wallace’s troops had saved the day, although the Eleventh Illinois had lost nearly two-thirds of its men. He then moved with his troops to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, where Confederates launched a surprise attack on the forces of Major General Ulysses S. Grant at Shiloh Church on Sunday, April 6, 1862. Wallace, who held only temporary command of one of Grant’s six divisions, fought bravely but was mortally wounded as he began to withdraw his men on the afternoon of the battle. His wife, who had arrived at Pittsburg Landing by steamer on the day of the battle, was at his side when he died three days later. Grant praised Wallace in 1868 as “the equal of the best, if not the very best, of the Volunteer Generals with me at the date of his death.”
Isabel Wallace traces her father’s life from his upbringing in Ottawa through his education, his service in the Mexican War, his law practice, his courtship of and marriage to her mother, and his service in the Eleventh Illinois until his mortal injury at Shiloh. She also details his funeral and her and her mother’s life in the postwar years. Based on the copious letters and family papers of the general and his wife, the biography also provides historical information on federal politics of the period, including commentary on Lincoln’s campaign and election and on state politics, especially regarding T. Lyle Dickey, Wallace’s father-in-law and law partner, prominent Illinois politician, and associate of Lincoln. It is illustrated with fifteen black-and-white halftones.
One of nineteenth-century America’s most controversial military figures, Gideon Johnson Pillow gained notoriety early in the Civil War for turning an apparent Confederate victory at Fort Donelson into an ignominious defeat. Dismissed by contemporaries and historians alike as a political general with dangerous aspirations, his famous failures have overshadowed the tremendous energy, rare talent, and great organizational skills that also marked his career. In this exhaustive biography, Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes Jr. and Roy P. Stonesifer Jr. look beyond conventional historical interpretations to provide a full and nuanced portrait of this provocative and maligned man.
While noting his arrogance, ambition, and very public mistakes, Hughes and Stonesifer give Pillow his due as a gifted attorney, first-rate farmer, innovator, and man of considerable political influence. One of Tennessee’s wealthiest planters, Pillow promoted scientific methods to improve the soil, preached crop diversification to reduce the South’s dependence on cotton, and endorsed railroad construction as a means to develop the southern economy. He helped secure the 1844 Democratic nomination for his friend and fellow Tennessean James K. Polk and was rewarded after Polk’s victory with an appointment as brigadier general. While his role in the Mexican War earned him a reputation for recklessness and self-promotion, his organization of what would become the Army of Tennessee put him at the forefront of the Confederate war effort. After the disaster at Donelson, he spent the rest of the war directing Confederate conscription in the West and leading Rebel cavalry forces—a role of continuing service which, the authors show, has been insufficiently acknowledged.
Updated with a new foreword by noted Civil War scholar Timothy D. Johnson, The Life and Wars of Gideon J. Pillow portrays a colorful, enigmatic general who moved just outside the world of greatness he longed to enter.
Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes Jr. is the author or editor of twenty books relating to the American Civil War, including Refugitta of Richmond; Brigadier General Tyree H. Bell, C.S.A.: Forrest’s Fighting Lieutenant; and Yale’s Confederates. The late Roy P. Stonesifer Jr. was a professor of history at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
Original copies of the first, 1817, edition of this work are so rare that even the Library of Congress does not have an undamaged copy. Consequently scholars and students of Jackson have had to rely on later, incomplete or bowdlerized editions. It is therefore all the more valuable to have Owsley’s critical restoration of the original edition, complete with its useful maps.
The work is a straightforward history of Jackson’s military career, begun by John Reid, Jackson’s military aide throughout the War of 1812 and the ensuing Creek War. Reid wrote the first four chapters, and after his death John Eaton completed the work from Reid’s outline, notes, and papers. Owsley, quondam professor of history at Auburn University, has carefully restored the original edition, noted variants between this and successor editions, and included helpful apparatus, including a memoir of John Reid by Helen Reid Roberts, and indexes to the whole.
This is the first paperback edition of this valuable record and includes the original four large-scale foldout maps on an accompanying CD.
Lincoln and the Military
John F. Marszalek Southern Illinois University Press, 2014 Library of Congress E457.2.M364 2014 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
When Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States in 1860, he came into office with practically no experience in military strategy and tactics. Consequently, at the start of the Civil War, he depended on leading military men to teach him how to manage warfare. As the war continued and Lincoln matured as a military leader, however, he no longer relied on the advice of others and became the major military mind of the war. In this brief overview of Lincoln’s military actions and relationships during the war, John F. Marszalek traces the sixteenth president’s evolution from a nonmilitary politician into the commander in chief who won the Civil War, demonstrating why Lincoln remains America’s greatest military president.
As tensions erupted into conflict in 1861, Lincoln turned to his generals, including Winfield Scott, George B. McClellan, and Henry W. Halleck, for guidance in running the war. These men were products of the traditional philosophy of war, which taught that armies alone wage war and the way to win was to maneuver masses of forces against fractions of the enemy at the key point in the strategic area. As Marszalek shows, Lincoln listened at first, and made mistakes along the way, but he increasingly came to realize that these military men should no longer direct him. He developed a different philosophy of war, one that advocated attacks on all parts of the enemy line and war between not just armies but also societies. Warfare had changed, and now the generals had to learn from their commander in chief. It was only when Ulysses S. Grant became commanding general, Marszalek explains, that Lincoln had a leader who agreed with his approach to war. Implementation of this new philosophy, he shows, won the war for the Union forces.
Tying the necessity of emancipation to preservation of the Union, Marszalek considers the many presidential matters Lincoln had to face in order to manage the war effectively and demonstrates how Lincoln’s determination, humility, sense of humor, analytical ability, and knack for quickly learning important information proved instrumental in his military success. Based primarily on Lincoln’s own words, this succinct volume offers an easily-accessible window into a critical period in the life of Abraham Lincoln and the history of the nation.
Lincoln and the War's End
John C. Waugh Southern Illinois University Press, 2014 Library of Congress E470.W38 2014 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
On the night of his reelection on November 8, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln called on the nation to “re-unite in a common effort, to save our common country.” By April 9 of the following year, the Union had achieved this goal with the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House. In this lively volume, John C. Waugh chronicles in detail Lincoln’s role in the final five months of the war, revealing how Lincoln and Grant worked together to bring the war to an end.
Beginning with Lincoln’s reelection, Waugh highlights the key military and political events of those tumultuous months. He recounts the dramatic final military campaigns and battles of the war, including William T. Sherman’s march through Georgia to the sea; the Confederate army’s attempt to take Nashville and its loss at the battle of Franklin; and the Union victory at Fort Fisher that closed off the Confederacy’s last open port. Other events also receive attention, including Sherman’s march through the Carolinas and the burning of Columbia; Grant’s defeat of the Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Five Forks, and Lincoln’s presence at the seat of war during that campaign; the Confederate retreat from Petersburg and Richmond; and Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.
Weaving the stories together chronologically, Waugh also presents the key political events of the time, particularly Lincoln’s final annual message to Congress, passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, the Second Inaugural, Lincoln’s visit to Richmond the day after it fell, and Lincoln’s final days and speeches in Washington after the Confederate surrender. An epilogue recounts the farewell march of all the Union armies through Washington, D.C., in May 1865. Throughout, Waugh enlivens his narrative with illuminating quotes from a wide variety of Civil War participants and personalities, including New Yorker George Templeton Strong, southerner Mary Boykin Chesnut, Lincoln’s secretary John Hay, writer Noah Brooks, and many others.
“Little Hawk” was born Raymond Kaquatosh in 1924 on Wisconsin’s Menominee Reservation. The son of a medicine woman, Ray spent his Depression-era boyhood immersed in the beauty of the natural world and the traditions of his tribe and his family.
After his father’s death, eight-year-old Ray was sent to an Indian boarding school in Keshena. There he experienced isolation and despair, but also comfort and kindness. Upon his return home, Ray remained a lonely boy in a full house until he met and befriended a lone timber wolf. The unusual bond they formed would last through both their lifetimes. As Ray grew into a young man, he left the reservation more frequently. Yet whenever he returned—from school and work, from service in the Marines, and finally from postwar Wausau with his future wife—the wolf waited.
In this rare first-person narrative of a Menominee Indian’s coming of age, Raymond Kaquatosh shares a story that is wise and irreverent, often funny, and in the end, deeply moving.
Winner of the 1998 Best Book on the Revolution published in 1998 by the Board of Governors of the American Revolution Round Table | Named 1999 Honor Book by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
On the morning of November 20, 1776, General Charles Cornwallis overran patriot positions at Fort Lee, on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. The attack threw George Washington's army into turmoil. Thus began an American retreat across the state, which ended only after the battered rebels crossed the Delaware river at Trenton on December 7. It was a three-week campaign that marked the most dramatic and desperate period of the War for Independence. In The Long Retreat, Arthur Lefkowitz has written the first book-length study of this critical campaign. He adds compelling new detail to the narrative, and offers the most comprehensive account in the literature of the American retreat to the Delaware and of the British pursuit. What emerges is a history misconceptions about the movements of the armies, the intentions of their leaders, and the choices available to rebel commanders and their British counterparts. Lefkowitz presents a patriot military pounded into desperate straights by the forces of the Crown, but in the end more resilient and wily than most previous scholarship has allowed. If brought low over November and December of 1776, Washington's battalions were still a force to reckon with as they pulled away from the advancing British. Despite serious losses in material and personnel, Washington managed to keep his units operational; and even while making mistakes, he sought to consolidate patriot regiments and longed for a chance to counterattack. The Christmas night riposte at Trenton, a dramatic reversal of fortune in any case, stemmed from measures the rebel Commander-in-Chief had initiated even as he completed his retrogade across New Jersey. How all of this came about emerges and crisp narrative of The Long Retreat. It is the definitive book on a crucial chapter in the history of American Arms.
Loss and Redemption at St Vith closes a gap in the record of the Battle of the Bulge by recounting the exploits of the 7th Armored Division in a way that no other study has. Most accounts of the Battle of the Bulge give short-shrift to the interval during which the German forward progress stopped and the American counterattack began. This narrative centers on the 7th Armored Division for the entire length of the campaign, in so doing reconsidering the story of the whole battle through the lens of a single division and accounting for the reconstitution of the Division while in combat.
The Loss of Java explains in detail the air, sea and land battles between the Allied and Japanese armed forces during the battle for Java that followed the evacuation of southern Sumatra in February 1942. Little has been written about the allied air campaign, or about why Dutch forces fought just one major land battle with the Japanese, the Battle of the Tjiater Pass, in the later stages of the struggle.
P.C. Boer considers whether the assessment of Major General Van Oyen that deploying the Allied air forces might prevent Japanese invasion of Java was realistic, and whether reliance on air power limited the capacity of land and naval forces to repel Japan's advances. The generally accepted idea is that the Allies were ineffective in their fight against the Japanese invaders but in fact the Japanese suffered serious losses. Boer's study shows that Dutch strategy grew out of a carefully-devised plan of defense, and that the battle for Java comprised not one (the Battle of the Java Sea) but four major engagements. However, Japanese commanders at various levels consciously took steps that exposed their forces to great risk but succeeded in putting the Allies under great pressure. In the end the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL) and the allied forces capitulated on 8 March 1942.
This book is a translation of Het Verlies Van Java: Een kwestie van Air Power. De eindstrijd om Nederlands-Indie van de geallieerde lucht-, zee- en landstrijdkrschten in de periode van 18 februari t/m 7 maart 1942 (Amsterdam: Bataafsche Leeuw BV for the Koninklijke Militaire Academie, 2006).