by Sean Chick
El Dorado Hills, Ca.: Savas Beatie, 2021. Pp. xvi, 170.
Illus., maps, appends., biblio. $14.95 paper. ISBN: 1611214386
An Overlooked Campaign
In Grant’s Left Hook, Sean Chick gives the reader a comprehensive, yet quite readable account of Benjamin Butler’s usually overlooked Bermuda Hundred Campaign. Its ten chapters offer looks at the main characters involved on both sides, offers insights into their decision making that shaped the battles during the campaign, with details of the individual actions, supported by eyewitness accounts from both sides, including the actual words of participants. The author’s analysis of the political, strategic, and tactical issues are clear and right on the money.
A highlight of Chick’s account is his closing chapter, in which he explores the consequences of Benjamin Butler's failure to capture either Richmond or Petersburg, giving credit, and blame, even-handedly to that general and some of his contentious subordinates. He also offers praise, and some blame, to Confederate commander Pierre G.T. Beauregard, who had to cope not only with Butler’s offensive, but with a lack of sympathy or understanding on the part of his superiors, notably President Jefferson Davis. Yet he managed not only to defeat Butler, but also send troops to support Robert E. Lee’s army during the Overland Campaign.
As with all volumes in the “Emerging Civil War” series, this has many useful maps, a good number of images, a half dozen appendices - some by other scholars - covering a variety of subjects, an order battle, and a recommended reading list.
As with the other books in the series, Grant’s Left Hook works in two ways. Not only is it instructive, but for those readers who want to tour the battlefield it includes useful directions for drivers or walkers to get to eleven notable places – forts, cross-roads, waterways, etc. – mentioned in the book, with clear directions, including GPS coordinates, and a summary account of the events that transpired at each site.
An excellent, very informative book about one of the least understood campaigns of the Civil War, Grant’s Left Hook, a volume in the excellent Savas series “Emerging Civil War”, is also quite readable, and is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the great conflict, and particularly for those who like tramping across battlefields.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Our Reviewer: David Marshall has been a high school American history teacher in the Miami-Dade School district for more than three decades. A life-long Civil War enthusiast, David is president of the Miami Civil War Round Table Book Club. In addition to numerous reviews in Civil War News and other publications, he has given presentations to Civil War Round Tables on Joshua Chamberlain, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the common soldier. His previous reviews include The Petersburg Regiment in the Civil War, Civil War Places, The Union Assaults at Vicksburg: Grant Attacks Pemberton, May 17–22, 1863, America’s Buried History: Landmines in the Civil War, The Women's Fight: The Civil War's Battles for Home Freedom, and Nation, A Republic in the Ranks, An Environmental History of the Civil War, Civil War Monuments and the Militarization of America, Arguing until Doomsday, Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War, “The Devil’s to Pay”: John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour, Spies, Scouts, and Secrets in the Gettysburg Campaign, Defending the Arteries of Rebellion, A Contest of Civilizations: Exposing the Crisis of American Exceptionalism in the Civil War Era, Unlike Anything That Ever Floated, Meade at Gettysburg, and A Mortal Blow to the Confederacy: The Fall of New Orleans.
Note: Grant’s Left Hook is also available in several e-editions.
StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium (www.nymas.org)