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Gordon C. Rhea

Författare till The Battle of the Wilderness May 5-6, 1864

11+ verk 1,459 medlemmar 16 recensioner 4 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

Gordon C. Rhea is also the author of The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7-12, 1864; To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13-25, 1864, winner of the Fletcher Pratt Literary Award; and Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26-June 3, 1864, winner of the visa mer Austin Civil War Round Table's Laney Prize. He lives in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, with his wife and two sons visa färre
Foto taget av: E. Irving Blomstrann


Verk av Gordon C. Rhea

Associerade verk

The Wilderness Campaign (1997) — Bidragsgivare — 181 exemplar, 1 recension
Letters from Lee's army (1947) — Inledning, vissa utgåvor34 exemplar, 1 recension


Allmänna fakta

Arlington, Virginia, USA



Fantastic combo of troops, tactics, and terrain. I can't believe it has taken me 20 years to discover G Rhea.
delta351 | 6 andra recensioner | Nov 26, 2017 |
Helpful clear account of a confusing battle. However the book is pro-confederacy in the sense that most Civil War history is gives too much attention to The Army of Northern Virginia and Robert E. Lee. Lee could never win the war by himself in Northern Virginia. No matter how many victories he won, the strategic situation for the South continued to deteriorate. While the South lost everywhere else, Lee's campaigns were exercises in futility. If Lee was so great, why wasn't he made Commander in Chief of all the Confererate forces, as Grant was in the North? I know this book is focused on one particular battle, the very fact that so much effort is spent dissecting every detail of the battles in Northern Virginia represents a bias towards the Lost Cause mythology.… (mer)
clarkland | 2 andra recensioner | Oct 19, 2015 |
Finally I understand this first chaotic battle of the Overland Campaign.
clarkland | 6 andra recensioner | Sep 15, 2015 |
Cold Harbor is the fourth volume of Gordon Rhea’s comprehensive study of the Civil War campaign in northern Virginia in May-June 1864. The series focuses primarily on the commanders in both armies, their tactical decisions, and their working relations with other officers, while providing plenty of detail from soldiers’ and civilians’ perspectives as well. In this volume Rhea challenges conventional views of the Battle of Cold Harbor as a needless slaughter of Union troops presided over by a cold-blooded Ulysses S. Grant.

As the subtitle suggests, Rhea uses the battle to compare Grant to his Confederate counterpart, Robert E. Lee. He argues that the conventional view of both men is mistaken, and that in fact the two generals were evenly matched and had much in common. Grant, commonly derided as a “butcher” who preferred to bludgeon his enemy with sheer numbers of troops, is presented here as a subtle tactician who matched Lee’s talent for deft maneuvers. Although repeatedly stalemated by Lee and the smaller Confederate force, Grant continually maneuvered closer to Richmond while wearing away at Confederate manpower. When Grant’s projects failed, Rhea argues, it was most often due to weaknesses within the command structure and culture of the Army of the Potomac.

As for Lee, the lionized general maintained an effective defense, but according to Rhea he does not deserve his reputation for an almost mystical ability to divine and forestall his enemy’s intentions. Lee made as many mistakes as Grant, and he guessed wrong about his adversary’s intentions, most notably in the last days of May, as the armies faced each other across the North Anna River. Lee prepared for a Union movement around his army’s left flank even while Grant was busy redeploying on the right. Rhea also dismisses the myth that Lee was planning to take the offensive against Grant at Cold Harbor, showing instead how a series of errors, rather than a deliberate tactical decision, placed the Cold Harbor crossroads at the center of events.

Finally, Rhea justifies Grant’s decision to launch assaults against fortified Confederate positions on the grounds that Grant had reason to believe the Confederate army was in worse straits than it actually was. He uses new estimates of daily casualties to point out that June 3 at Cold Harbor was not as costly to the Army of the Potomac as several other days in the campaign, mitigating charges that Grant was heedless of his losses.

The book effectively conveys a sense of many aspects of warfare in 1864, including the fact of incessant fighting and killing along the heavily entrenched front, whether or not there was a formal battle under way. Soldiers on both sides had learned to dig rifle pits and build earthworks with amazing speed: “Dig, picket, skirmish, fight, so it goes day and night,” as one Pennsylvania soldier summed it up in a letter home.

The comprehensive narrative is engagingly written and carefully preserves a sense of the contingency of events. For example, Rhea discusses how the lie of the land might have favored either army at various points in the campaign, instead of just showing how it benefited the victor, as most military historians are content to do. As one would expect, Rhea’s analysis of the two commanders has been quibbled with, but regardless of how his assessment stands up in detail, he has given readers an exemplary study of Lee and Grant, as well as of the Battle of Cold Harbor.
… (mer)
1 rösta
Muscogulus | 1 annan recension | Oct 7, 2013 |


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