I recently received a copy of Confederate Waterloo: The Battle of Five Forks, April 1, 1865, and the Controversy that Brought Down a General, by Michael J. McCarthy. This appears to be the latest in a series of books from Savas Beatie that take a new look at controversial figures and incidents (or rehash long-settled arguments, depending on your point of view). In this case, the author recounts the fight at Five Forks in the closing days of the war in Virginia, the relief of Army of the Potomac Fifth Corps commander Gouverneur K. Warren by U. S. Grant lieutenant Phil Sheridan, and the efforts of Warren to restore his “good name.” The literature accompanying the book states that it is a “fully researched and unbiased” account. I don’t know that there’s any way to prove that last part of that, and its accuracy will doubtless depend on whether or not the reader agrees with the author’s conclusions.
What you get:
- A foreword by Bryce Suderow
- An eight page introduction
- 103 pp covering the battle
- 150 pp on Warren’s quest for vindication
- Nine pages on “The Continuing Quest to Influence Public Memory”
- Orders of Battle
- A twelve page bibliography, including seventeen newspapers and periodicals, one unpublished dissertation and one unpublished thesis, and three manuscript collections
- Nine George Skoch maps
- Illustrations are portrait photographs, no period or modern images of the points of interest
- Footnotes at page bottom
It should be fun to read reactions to – and predictions about – the book (read or unread) on the web. Feel free to share them here, if you like.