Dick's Reviews > Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862

Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 by O. Edward Cunningham
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's review
Apr 16, 2011

really liked it
Read from April 01 to 02, 2011

Cunningham wrote this originally as a exhaustively researched doctoral thesis, on the details of a grueling battle of the American Civil War. He is profuse with information: he mentions the names of every commander down to the regimmental level, and follows the movements of those divisions, brigades, and regiments throughout the battle. He knows the highest commanders on the field - Grant, Johnston, Buell, Beauregard - and gives them credit where it is due, along with blame in its turn. The penultimate chapter bears the title "Victory?" - and the question mark is appropriately part of the chapter title. A Union Victory, one supposes, by the standard of being the one who occupies the battlefield at the end of fighting. It could have gone the other way very easily, and Grant showed wisdom in not trying to pursue his retreating foes. His army was thoroughly spent. Grant learned a valuable lesson at Shiloh. He had ben overconfident as the battle approached, and overemphasized his offensive role while neglecting the defense. He became a much more balanced general later on, in the Vicksburg and Chattanooga campaigns, and in the 1864-65 march to Richmond.

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