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At Ease: Flanking the Bookshelves

Civil War Books

We all love our books, and many of us are avid book collectors with fantastic Civil War "home libraries." Last week's survey helped guide our list of recommended military books and then we tackled finding some primary source accounts for each battle from Union and Confederate perspectives. Be sure to check out the recommendations in the new video!



Survey Results

You voted! And it's a contest between Frank O'Reilly's Fredericksburg and Gordon Rhea's series about the Overland Campaign. (Great choices.) There were a few other suggestions, including specific chapters in Bruce Catton's books.


The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock by Frank O'Reilly

Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! by George C. Rable


Chancellorsville by Stephen W. Sears

The Great Partnership: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and the Fate of the Confederacy by Christian G. Keller

Fighting Joe Hooker by Walter Hebert

The Wilderness

The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864 by Gordon C. Rhea

Hell Itself: The Battle of the Wilderness by Chris Mackowski


The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7-12, 1864 by Gordon C. Rhea

The Spotsylvania Campaign edited by Gary W. Gallagher



A Few More Union Books...

Hey, we realize that the book list above is some heavy military history... So Chris Mackowski (CVBT Board Member) and Sarah Bierle (CVBT Staff) share some of their favorite primary sources in our newest video. Just four more books you might want to check out or re-read!


A Few More Confederate Books...

Since the video focused on Union primary sources, here are a few Confederate primary sources with details about the four battles that you might want to explore: The Circle Unbroken: Civil War Letters of the Knox Family of Fredericksburg edited by The Central Rappahannock Heritage Center and The Historic Fredericksburg Foundation (Fredericksburg) I was in town yesterday & had been there for three days. You can have no idea how changed everything is in the place from what you left it. Two balls went through the roof of the house tearing off the slate.... Military Memoirs of a Confederate by E.P. Alexander (Chancellorsville) About 10 A. M., Lee, advancing with McLaws's division, met Stuart with Jackson's corps near the site of the Chancellorsville house, now only a smoking ruin, for our shells had set it on fire. It was, doubtless, a proud moment to Lee, as it was to the troops who greeted him with enthusiastic cheering. Reminiscences of the Civil War by John B. Gordon (The Wilderness) My younger brother, Augustus Gordon, captain and later lieutenant-colonel, furnished another illustration of this remarkable foresight of approaching death. Brave and lovable, a modest though brilliant young soldier, he was rapidly winning his way to distinction. A youth of scarcely twenty-one years, he was in command of the Sixth Regiment of Alabama. Before going into the fight in the Wilderness, he quietly said: "My hour has come." I joked and chided him. I told him that he must not permit such impressions to affect or take hold upon his imagination. He quickly and firmly replied: "You need not doubt me. I will be at my post. But this is our last meeting." Riding at the head of his regiment, with his sword above him, the fire of battle in his eye and words of cheer for his men on his lips, the fatal grape-shot plunged through his manly heart, and the noble youth slept his last sleep in that woeful Wilderness. Four Years in the Stonewall Brigade by John O. Casler (Spotsylvania) On the night of the 11th every preparations was made for a big battle, as both armies lay close together. The space between the two lines was thick with underbrush and little jack oaks, which stood so close that we could not see twenty steps in advance. The artillery was posted behind the works with the muzzles pointing over and the horses were all taken to the rear. The cannoneers themselves had pits dug to shield them. The ambulance corps, the bands and musicians, with the pioneers, all had pits to get into, as at time the shells would fairly rain over us. As the army had been marching, fighting, or working, night and day ever since the morning of the 4th, with but little sleep, one-third of the men were allowed to sleep at a time, on their arms. The others had to keep on the look-out for an attack.


Central Virginia Battlefields Trust's mission is to preserve, protect, and educate about Civil War hallowed ground at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania.

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