When Vicksburg fell to Union forces under General Grant in July 1863, the balance turned against the Confederacy in the trans-Appalachian theater. The Federal success along the river opened the way for advances into central and eastern Tennessee, which culminated in the bloody battle of Chickamauga and then a struggle for Chattanooga. Chickamauga is usually counted as a Confederate victory, albeit a costly one. That battle—indeed the entire campaign—is marked by muddle and blunders occasionally relieved by strokes of brilliant generalship and high courage. The campaign ended significant Confederate presence in Tennessee and left the Union poised to advance upon Atlanta and the Confederacy on the brink of defeat in the western theater.
Steven E. Woodworth is an assistant professor of history at Texas Christian University. His books include Chickamauga: A Battlefield Guide (Nebraska 1998).
“Woodworth traces how several bloody campaigns, marked by serious blunders on both sides, helped seal the Confederacy’s fate. . . . A fine analysis of strategic and tactical operations, stressing the influence of commanders on the success, or failure, of their armies, while not losing sight of the grim experience of war for frontline troops.”—Kirkus
“Concise and easily read . . . To give a full picture of the battles here, Woodworth takes us to Hoover’s Gap and Tullahoma, McLemore’s Cove and Knoxville, and ties those important facets into one seamless story that enables the reader to grasp the full significance of the whole campaign.”—Chattanooga Free Press
“Woodworth does not shy from provocative analysis, especially when it concerns the Confederate high command.”—H-Net Reviews