Preview: Powell, “The Chickamauga Campaign: Glory or the Grave”

5 10 2015

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve at least heard about David A. Powell’s multi-volume study of the Chickamauga Campaign being published by Savas Beatie. In summary, this is what you want to do:

51mj2AQheYL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_A) Get Volume I (The Chickamauga Campaign – A Mad Irregular Battle: From the Crossing of the Tennessee River Through the Second Day, August 22 – September 19, 1863, which has been out since last year.

B) Get The Maps of Chickamauga: An Atlas of the Chickamauga Campaign, Including the Tullahoma Operations, June 22 – September 23, 1863which has been out for, like, six years so you have no excuse.

C) Read them together, stopping in the map book when Volume I ends. I read the Atlas map section first, then the corresponding detailed narrative.

D) Then get the newly released The Chickamauga Campaign – Glory or the Grave: The Breakthrough, the Union Collapse, and the Defense of Horseshoe Ridge, September 20, 1863.

E) Repeat C) above through to the end of Volume II.

F) Sit and wait for Volume III.

What is covered in Vol. II is apparent from the title. You get 708 (!) pages of narrative. Yes, just in Vol. II – Vol. I weighs in at 641 pp. Footnotes are at the bottom of each page. Plenty of maps (but you’ll still want to keep the Atlas nearby) and illustrations throughout. The OOB is in Vol. I. The bibliography will be in Vol. III. So, you see, you’ll need to buy all four books.

Are there problems? Some little, nitpicky ones that aren’t really worth mentioning and probably only bothersome to people like me who are more directionally challenged in their reading, and perhaps rely on maps a bit too much. And the weird misplaced word or punctuation that is omnipresent in publishing these days. Nothing to worry about – I think we just have to get used to that stuff.

This is the Chickamauga Campaign study. You need to read this. I’m finishing up Vol. I now (I had to take a break for some fiction – Andy Weir’s The Martian was fun, by the way – as my brain gets fried after 450 pages of anything.) I’ll be cracking Vol. II next, and I’m really looking forward to it.


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8 responses

5 10 2015
Theodore P. Savas

Thanks for the preview, Harry. I am confident you will like this one a lot. It is a real humbling pleasure to be part of this contribution to the literature. And Dave is a joy to work with, for he is always open to suggestions, and is a star when it comes to research and writing.

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5 10 2015
Lenny Pincus

Pleasure never humbles. Pleasure makes you feel like you rule the world. Powell’s campaign study gives pleasure. Dave and Ted rule the world.

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6 10 2015
Miriam Houk Cunningham

I have already started, Harry. I have a signed copy of “Maps of Chickamauga” and have used it so much in my research into a CW soldier in my family who was KIA in the battle that it is worn around the edges! I plan to purchase Dave’s “Glory to the Grave” to learn much more. I hope to have Dave sign that copy too! Those books will be a part of our family’s library for future generations to study and enjoy!

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6 10 2015
Harry Smeltzer

Yes, Miriam, those vile folks at Savas Beatie have arranged things so you must buy all four books! Good news is if you ask them real nice, they’ll send you autographed copies. Or you can contact Dave on his website: https://chickamaugablog.wordpress.com/ Maybe you can even go down to the Park for the upcoming tours…

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6 10 2015
Miriam Houk Cunningham

Thank you, Harry! I have attended the CCNMP Study Group with park historian James Ogden and Dave Powell in the past and I am seriously considering going again this coming March 2016. It was during my visit to the battlefield that Mr. Ogden took me to the spot on the field – based on his own research- where my family member most likely was when he was killed. It was a very emotional moment for me as you can imagine. David Powell signed his book for me and I have become a devoted researcher of Chickamauga and a student of the ACW ever since. I can not wait to receive “Glory or the Grave” and learn more.

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6 10 2015
Harry Smeltzer

Don’t forget A Mad Irregular Battle, Miriam.

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24 07 2016
New in Paperback | Bull Runnings

[…] Also in paperback is the first volume of Dave Powell’s Chickamauga series, “A Mad Irregular Battle: From the Crossing of the Tennessee River Through the Second Day, August 22 – September 19, 1863. You can read that preview here. […]

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24 09 2016
Preview: Powell, “The Chickamauga Campaign: Barren Victory | Bull Runnings

[…] The third and final volume of David A. Powell’s history of The Chickamauga Campaign – Barren Victory: The Retreat into Chattanooga, the Confederate Pursuit, and the Aftermath of Battle, September 21 to October 20, 1863, has been released by publisher Savas Beatie. (You can find my notes on the first two volumes here and here.) […]

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