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The Bloody Ground (Starbuck Chronicles #4)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,981 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Battle of Antietam, 1862

In this fourth, final, and rousing installment of Nathaniel Starbuck's Civil War adventures, Nate is given command of a punishment battalion: a motley collection of cowards, thieves, deserters, and murderers. Setting off to Join General Robert E. Lee's army, Starbuck's men reach Harper's Ferry in time to take part in Stonewall Jackson's capture of

Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 18th 2001 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 1996)
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Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Civil War ends with Sharpsburg???????????? This awesome account had a harrowing description of the West Woods/Miller's Cornfield fight. I'm still waiting (& hoping) that Mr. Cornwell will take the time to come back across the pond and do the necessary research to finish this series. Sharpe has all but run its course and this series deserves another shot. When I attended the 140th Anniversary Sharpsburg reenactment in 2002 I regaled my fellow 1st Texans with memories of this book.
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love Bernard Cornwell's Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles! The only problem with them is they stop in mid-Civil War and since one hasn't been written in more than a decade, it is unlikely there will be another.

But each of these books captures the strategy and the battle movements better than many other fiction and non-fiction accounts of the war.

Starbuck is a bit of a rogue, which makes him more likeable. And Cornwell's research and background for each battle is astounding.

This time around, Starbu
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
There are just so many good mysteries out there. The Starbuck books view the Civil War through the eyes of a transplanted New Englander fighting for the Confederacy. This is the 4th in the series. Not being a fan of the Southern point of view, I was reluctant to pick these up, but Cornwell tells such a good tale that they are very difficult to put down. Nothing deep here, just lots of fun. Starbuck in this one has been yanked from his company — he’s a major — and assigned to the Yellowlegs, a re ...more
Jun 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction, Civil War, Bernard Cornwell fans
This is the last book in the Starbuck Civil War series, even though Cornwell hints that more will be coming. This covers the events leading up to and the battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in U.S. military history.

Starbuck takes over a punishment battalion made up of alleged cowards, deserters and other motley individuals. This after proving that the previous commander was a crook. Before they are really trained the battalion is marched off to join Lee's army. They take part in Stonewall Jack
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it
The final volume of Cornwell's Civil War series is a bit stronger than the middle two but still feels like less-than-solid Sharpe stories. Taking the better known battle of Antietam is a good start as it enables Cornwell to tell a broader story of the battle with more identifiable set-pieces.

Getting there was a challenge as there's no real antagonist here. Starbuck's battles with his inept commander Washington Faulconer aren't that satisfying as Faulconer gets removed to Richmond and isn't real
THE BLOODY GROUND is the last in the Starbuck series so far, although the author insists there will be another at some point. I hope there will be: there are too many loose ends left in this one.

As with the previous entry, I've lost my original review, but I remember liking this - a lot more than the previous books. It feels like Cornwell's finally found his groove with this series, and THE BLOODY GROUND is up there with the best Sharpe books. There are vivid battle scenes, overriding realism, p
Gracie Mastic
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nothing short of brilliant

Fourth in the series if is very exciting and will not let you put it down. My grandfather got me hooked on Civil War History as a little girl and I have read a great deal of fiction and non fiction about the war. This series is top notch.
In the fall of 1862, Robert E. Lee took the initiative after a string of triumphs over the bungling Union army and launched an attack into the north, aiming to bloody the Federal army's nose in its own territory and provoke the people of the United States into pressing for peace-- for how many people would support a distant war against the south when the shells were falling in their own fields, with their own homes used as quarters for wounded soldiers? Despite a record of impressive incompetenc ...more
The Bloody Ground is the forth and at the moment last book in Bernard Cornwell’s Starbuck Chronicles. There are rumours that Cornwell will be adding to this series after a sixteen year break! I wish he would get back to Nate’s story because I love this series.

This novel picks up after Battle Flag as the Confederate army fights off the last Northern attack and finally goes on the offence and invades the North itself. The mastermind behind this plan is Robert Lee and for his plan to work he will n
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Neste 4º volume das Crónicas de Starbuck, Bernard Cornwell continua na senda de Nathaniel Starbuck, jovem nortista que combate na guerra civil americana pelo lado dos rebeldes.

E, quanto a mim, é o livro mais brutal dos quatro.

As peripécias de Nate levam-no ao comando de um batalhão denominado “pernas amarelas”, nome pejorativo que simboliza a cobardia demonstrada por esse batalhão numa batalha anterior. Para além do enorme trabalho que vai ter em educar e motivar esses homens, vai-se deparar com
This book is the fourth installment and final (?) book of the Nate Starbuck series on the Civil War in northern Virginia. The book continues as with the previous books with Nate Starbuck now a Major in the southern army. Nate was getting along well enough in the Faulkner Legion when he gets reassigned to a "punishment" battalion called the "yellow legs." They acquired this name because as one character put it, "they all pissed their pants at one time creating a new swamp." In other words, these ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous series by Bernard Cornwell.. Those of us who have had a chance to visit Antietam will never view it the same way again. This was the second Cornwell series I completed after the Arthur books and since then, although I've read them all excepting the Sharpe books, it remains my favorite. Please, Please, Please, dear Mr. Cornwell from a great fan and I know many more who lost their heart to Starbuck and the way you made those haunting fields come alive, let Starbuck ride again?

Renata de Ri
Bernard Cornwell is a prolific writer with some of his series such as this, The Starbuck Chronicles, being easily overlooked. That would be a pity because this is writing of the same quality.
We see the usual features, a story told through the point of view of an outsider, in this case Nathaniel Starbuck is a Northerner fighting for the south in the American Civil War. The plot device of a powerful enemy seeking to destroy Starbuck by assigning him to a suicide mission, the command of a dysfuncti
Lynn Pribus
Sep 22, 2013 rated it liked it
This is one in a Civil War series about Nathaniel Starbuck following action from just after 2nd Mannassas through the great Confederate victory at Harper's Ferry battles and culminating at Antietam.
It stands alone as a novel.

In a historical note at the end of the book, the author says,
"The battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg, for southerners) is the famous for being the bloodiest day in all of American's history. Close to 23,000 men died in that one day."

The book is about Lee's invasion of the nort
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it
"Starbuck will march again"

Despite those last 4 words, this is actaully (currently) the final entry in Bernard Cornwell's American Civil War Starbuck series: a series, I have to say, that never really gelled for me as much as his more famous Sharpe series, or his more recent Saxon Tales (that started with The Last Kingdom.

I've said before, and I'll probably say again, I'm not sure whether that is to do with the setting - I would be interested to hear whether these books are more popular in Amer
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This 4th and last in the Starbuck Chronicles ends with the Battle of Antietam/Sharpsberg. Nobody describes war as well as Cornwell, capturing the intensity, emotions and smells of the living and the dead. He's faithful to historical accuracy while leaving the reader hanging on every word.

Our heroes Adam and Starbuck seem, to me, to be the personification of the war, giving everything for the cause, suffering wounds again and again, growing weaker with each engagement, watching and sharing the de
Joyce Lagow
Nearly half of this, the 4th installment of Cornwell's Nathaniel Starbuck series, is taken up by the Battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg), and Cornwell's expert handling in great detail of that battle is the only thing that saves this book from a much lower rating--and that's because I am a Civil War buff. Otherwise, the writing is mediocre and the character of Starbuck just sorts of stutters and does nothing.

Antietam was and remains the bloodiest single day in US military history, with something
Alex Telander
Jan 30, 2011 rated it liked it
In the final book of Nathaniel Starbuck’s Civil War adventures, he is given command of a collection of cowards, thieves, deserters and murderers, known as a punishment battalion. Starbuck and his men team up with General Robert E. Lee’s army and join Stonewall Jackson at Harper’s Ferry, where the Union garrison is defeated. Then they move onto Sharpsburg, beside Antietam Creek, infamously remembered as the bloodiest single day of the war.

The Battle of Antietam will be the final showdown for this
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the 4th of 4. The year is 1862. As it stands the series should be sub-titled "The Road to Antietam" or the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with a combined tally of dead, wounded, and missing at 22,717. The author's, not surprisingly, depiction of the battle is excellent and makes the reader marvel at the incredible bravery of the soldiers. Starbuck, while brave and competent, is not a particularly sympathetic fellow. As he notes, he is soldier of the South by chance and ...more
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
**** 1/2
Great four-book fictional series about a Northerner who fights for the Confederacy. This stuff is classic Bernard Cornwell; interesting characters, meticulous research and pulse-pounding battle scenes that take you directly to the mayhem. While I already knew quite a bit about the American Civil War, reading this series makes me want to learn more. Cornwell gives readers a great sense for the brutality and futility of war thatat the same time, is fascinating. Ultimately, whether you were
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the books in this series and was very pleased to read at the end of the end of the historical note that "Starbuck will ride again". I do hope so but there has been quite a gap since Bernard Cornwell finished this book. As ever, the author's intimate knowledge of the history and clever weaving of known facts into the fictional narrative really brings the story to life. Yes there is a degree of predictability to the plot but the writing is so engrossing that one ca ...more
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ein typischer Cornwell, aber dann unterschiedlich zu den anderen Serien. Die einzelnen Hauptpersonen kämpfen an den unterschiedlichen Fronten und Seiten. Wer ist loyal zu wem, wem kann man den Rücken zuwenden, was sind die Ideale und was ist richtig? Gerade in einem Bürgerkrieg noch schwerer zu beantworten. Leider ist dieser vierte Band vorerst der letzte der Reihe. Dabei ist soviel der Krieg aber vor allem sind die Beweggründe der Figuren und deren Lebenswege noch nicht auserzählt. Hoffe, dass ...more
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
What can you say? This is another great effort by Bernard Cornwell. As soon as you figured out that the book was about the Battle of Antietam, you pretty much knew how it is going to turn out - but it remained a page turner none-the-less. I don't know how you do justice to describing the butchery that accounted for the deaths of 23,000 men in a single day, but I suspect that Mr. Cornwell has done it about as well as it can be done. The door was left wide open for a fifth book in the series and I ...more
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historic-fiction
I enjoyed this book for all the same reasons that I enjoy other Cornwell books. Fast paced and exciting, with enough historical basis to make me feel like I'm learning something. This one was even better since i had just visited Anteitam and could look forward to descriptions of places and events that i knew a little about.

The story from the point of view of a confederate soldier is challenging. I read the battles while taking the side of the confederate army and that felt a little awkward. But
Jeanne Manton
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
All 4 volumes of this series held my attention throughout. It was an entirely different perspective of time and battles from my Pennsylvania schooling. I had visited Antietam (Sharpsburg) when I was 7 years old but WWII had just ended so I was pretty confused. But I remembered the terrain and thought it was overwhelming. Mr. Cornwell's characters are painted so realistically that I KNOW these people. The battle scenes are so descriptive that as a horse lover I have to speed read these sections. ...more
Mark Kloha
Jun 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
I hated this series - the Starbuck Chronicles. Just skip this entire series and you'll be doing yourself a favor. Even Richard Sharpe's descendant, who makes an appearance throughout this series, is a poorly written character. Not one of Bernards Cornwell's better series. Go back and re-read the Richard Sharpe series or get started on Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander series. Go read Facebook updates just don't read this series.
Anthony Addis
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
A fascinating, harrowing depiction of the Battle of Antietam puts an ellipsis at the end of the four Starbuck Chronicles.

Having read all 4 books in one go, I can see the faults in the series - exposition about each character in each book, similarity to Sharp, etc, but they all have great battle scenes and good character conflicts. Reading them has taught me a bit about the early part of the American Civil War and made me want to learn more.
Arthur Hunt
Feb 19, 2015 rated it liked it
I think I made a mistake to read the whole of the series in one go. There was a lot of explaining of characters which had been previously read, for the readers reading the book as a one off.

There was very detailed battle narration which I find hard to visualise. At the end I was disappointed that thee was no conclusion to the Starbuck story. There is obviously plenty of content for another book to establish how the we finished and if Starbuck survived what happened to him.
Gwen Bartlett
We are reading this for our book club at Bookends. This month's read is anything about the Civil War. This book was about the Battle of Antietam, or the Battle of Sharpsburg as it is called in the south. It was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It brought back memories of when we visited the battleground at Vicksburg. So many crosses, so many young lives lost.
Fred Ross
Feb 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The "Starbuck" series is my favorite Bernard Cornwell series after the Sharpe books. I really don't understand the few reviewers who liked Sharpe but didn't like this. The action and adventure are pretty much the same, i.e.., exciting, well-written, and suspenseful. If you liked the Sharpe books, you'll enjoy the Starbuck chronicles as well. Highly recommended.
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother, who was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his birth mother's maiden n ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Starbuck Chronicles (4 books)
  • Rebel (The Starbuck Chronicles, #1)
  • Copperhead (The Starbuck Chronicles, #2)
  • Battle Flag (The Starbuck Chronicles, #3)

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