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The Chickamauga Campaign: A Mad Irregular Battle— From the Crossing of the Tennessee River Through the Second Day, August 22– September 19, 1863

 David A. Powell Savis Beatie, $37.50

The past few decades have been good for students of the great campaign that Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland and General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee waged in August and September 1863, which culminated in two brutal days of combat at Chickamauga, Ga. William Glenn Robertson, Peter Cozzens and Steven E. Woodworth have generated an impressive body of scholarship distinguished by thorough research, fine attention to detail and compelling analyses of men and events that have significantly enhanced our understanding of the complex maneuvers and tactical actions shaping the campaign’s course and outcome. In A Mad Irregular Battle, David Powell, author of the superb The Maps of Chickamauga and an award-winning study of Confederate cavalry operations during the campaign, offers the first in a planned three-volume study that promises to provide the most thorough examination yet of the troop movements and fighting at Chickamauga.

Powell skillfully chronicles the process by which the two armies maneuvered, resulting in a stalemate by nightfall on September 19, 1863. As with all works of this type, however, this book’s value will depend on the reader’s specific interest in Chickamauga. Powell does an exceptional job of sorting through the sources to provide a satisfying account of a complicated series of tactical actions, but there’s probably too much in this doorstop of a book for novice students to digest easily— or really anyone who doesn’t already have a fairly good background on the battle.

Those folks will be better served by turning to Powell’s Maps book or Woodworth’s various works before taking this on. Anyone looking for more detail will find much to enjoy in this volume, and will finish it eagerly looking forward to Powell’s upcoming treatment of the battle’s September 20 fighting and its aftermath.


Originally published in the June 2015 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.