by Dennis W. Belcher
Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2020. Pp. x, 374.
Illus., maps, tables, notes, biblio., index. $45.00 paper. ISBN: 1476675996
Mounted Operations during Hood’s Tennessee Campaign
The author of General David S. Stanley, USA, The 10th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, and other works, Belcher has produced an insightful look at cavalry operations during John Bell Hood’s campaign in Tennessee in the final months of 1864. This was hitherto a rather surprisingly neglected subject, as most accounts of the campaign concentrate on the bigger picture.
Although Belcher concentrates his treatment on the movements and actions of the opposing cavalry forces, he does set these within the framework of the larger campaign, so we get adequate coverage of the activities of the other arms. He also often addresses previously overlooked aspects of the campaign.
Overall, Belcher makes a good case that the cavalry had a more important role in this campaign than in most others. He gives us looks at many of the commanders, not only the senior most, and often notes their strengths, weaknesses, good decisions and bad. There were lost of blunders, Blue and Gray; Bedford Forrest, uncomfortable subordinated to an army commander, and losing his edge, James H. Wilson, who was learning corps command in the saddle, grew impressively. There are profiles of Hood, Schofield, Thomas, and many others. One surprising thing to learn is that there were cavalrymen on both sides who continued to attempt charges against steady troops, most often with unfortunate results.
The Cavalries in the Nashville Campaign is a useful addition to the literature of the war in Tennessee
Note: The Cavalries in the Nashville Campaign is also available in several e-editions.
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