Read The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth by Peter Cozzens Online

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During the late summer of 1862, Confederate forces attempted a three-pronged strategic advance into the North. The outcome of this offensive--the only coordinated Confederate attempt to carry the conflict to the enemy--was disastrous. The results at Antietam and in Kentucky are well known; the third offensive, the northern Mississippi campaign, led to the devastating and lDuring the late summer of 1862, Confederate forces attempted a three-pronged strategic advance into the North. The outcome of this offensive--the only coordinated Confederate attempt to carry the conflict to the enemy--was disastrous. The results at Antietam and in Kentucky are well known; the third offensive, the northern Mississippi campaign, led to the devastating and little-studied defeats at Iuka and Corinth, defeats that would open the way for Grant's attack on Vicksburg. Peter Cozzens presents here the first book-length study of these two complex and vicious battles. Drawing on extensive primary research, he details the tactical stories of Iuka--where nearly one-third of those engaged fell--and Corinth--fought under brutally oppressive conditions--analyzing troop movements down to the regimental level. He also provides compelling portraits of Generals Grant, Rosecrans, Van Dorn, and Price, exposing the ways in which their clashing ambitions and antipathies affected the outcome of the campaign. Finally, he draws out the larger, strategic implications of the battles of Iuka and Corinth, exploring their impact on the fate of the northern Mississippi campaign, and by extension, the fate of the Confederacy.During the late summer of 1862, Confederate forces attempted a three-pronged strategic advance into the North. The outcome of this offensive--the only coordinated Confederate attempt to carry the conflict to the enemy--was disastrous. The results at Antietam and in Kentucky are well known; the third offensive, the northern Mississippi campaign, led to the devastating and little-studied defeats at Iuka and Corinth, defeats that would open the way for Grant's attack on Vicksburg. Peter Cozzens details the tactical stories of Iuka and Corinth, analyzing troop movements down to the regimental level and providing compelling portraits of Generals Grant, Rosecrans, Van Dorn, and Price. He also draws out the larger, strategic implications of the battles, exploring their impact on the fate of the northern Mississippi campaign, and by extension, the fate of the Confederacy....

Title : The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth
Author :
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ISBN : 9780807857830
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth Reviews

  • Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
    2019-06-12 14:17

    Peter Cozzens is rapidly becoming one of my favorite Civil War authors, and The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth is just one good example of why. This a well-written, fast-paced historical accounting of a campaign and two sharply fought battles in the extreme northeastern corner of Mississippi in early fall 1862. There may be other accounts of the battles of Iuka and Corinth out there in the many thousands of Civil War books that have been written, but I'm betting that this really is one of the best, if not the best. It is a relatively fast read at something over 300 pages. It contains some terrific illustrations and some truly superb maps.Corinth was important from a strategic perspective to both the Union and Confederate forces, as it was a relatively important rail junction that accessed the Mississippi valley, Tennessee, and connected with Chattanooga and Atlanta. The Union needed to control the Corinth region in order to facilitate planned movements toward Vicksburg and Chattanooga. The bottom line was that Corinth was, in a sense, a magnet that drew the opposing forces to it; and if the war was going to be effectively prosecuted in the western theater, Corinth had to figure prominently in the plan and be controlled.It was interesting to me that in reading this book I learned a lot about the early or formative periods, if you will, of Union Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William S. Rosecrans. While Grant had largely kind of stumbled into a major victory at Shiloh in April 1862, he really wasn't all that helpful or supportive of Rosecrans during the Corinth campaign described in this book. For his part, Rosecrans exhibited traits during both of the battles at Iuka and Corinth that should have had the Union high command sit up and take notice (and not in a good way). Rosecrans seemed to have not handled stress well at all during the actual fighting phase of the battles he was involved in, and would become almost bizarrely disconnected and even panic-stricken. Grant, following his experiences at Shiloh, would learn and steadily improve his performance as both a strategist and battle commander. Unfortunately, Rosecrans really didn't shake his bad habits, and later as the commander of the Army of the Cumberland he was badly beaten at the bloody Battle of Chickamauga (mid-September 1863). Also, the professional relationship between Grant and Rosecrans soured following the Battle of Corinth. After the Corinth campaign, Grant moved on and conducted the brilliant Vicksburg campaign, and largely made himself indispensable to the Union cause. Meanwhile, Rosecrans again got lucky and barely eked out a victory at the bloody Battle of Stones River (Murfreesboro) in Tennessee on January 1, 1863. By the fall of 1863, Rosecrans was out of a job, and Grant was on his way to eventually becoming the General-in-Chief of all Union forces in early 1864.Intriguingly, the same sort of questionable leadership situation was sorting itself out on the Confederate side at Corinth too. The two rebel commanders, Earl Van Dorn, and Sterling Price were largely way over their heads in trying to conduct this campaign, and it was only through utter ineptitude, particular on the part of Van Dorn and several of his subordinate division commanders that Rosecrans wasn't decisively defeated at both Iuka and Corinth. The really tragic part of this story, and Cozzens tells it well in this book, is that because of the blunders of the commanders on both sides, a lot of good and patriotic men in butternut and blue were killed or horribly maimed.Peter Cozzens has written several books about the Civil War in the western theater, and while I still think his masterpiece This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga is one of the best, this book about the battles at Iuka and Corinth is an excellent account about a somewhat forgotten, but still quite important campaign. Finally, I think by reading Cozzens' books about the Battles of Iuka, Corinth, Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga the reader can't help but begin to better understand the strategic importance of the western theater and the commanders, on both sides, that had to fight for and defend these regions. Cozzens, through his books, wants us to understand that there was much, much more to the Civil War than just the theater of operations around Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia, and that thousands upon thousands of men "gave the last full measure of devotion" on far-flung little western battlefields like those at Iuka and Corinth.

  • Ben Vogel
    2019-06-21 13:30

    This book meant a great deal more to me than it might to most, because my Greatx3 Grandfather was killed at the Battle of Iuka and I was able to read this book just prior to visiting the site. That said, I still think most people with an interest in the Civil War would appreciate the detailed work here. Cozzens shares well researched facts and well reasoned conjectures. Enjoyable and thorough.

  • Marcus
    2019-06-10 12:26

    What do you say about a book that you find pretty much perfect? This seems to be dilemma I am finding myself in right now, as I try to formulate some sort of coherent opinion about Peter Cozzens’ ‘The Darkest Days of the War’. The only thing that keeps popping up in my head is simply ‘This bloody thing is perfect!’.Of course I realize that this is not a very helpful review and if I’d be hard-pressed to be more precise about the reason why this book made such an impression on me, I’d say ‘balance’. The author strikes absolutely perfect balance between overall picture and detail, between dry facts and personal experience, between commander’s perspective and the horror of combat experienced by individual soldier standing in the line of battle. Military history buffs interested in American Civil War are blessed by the fact that there is a multitude of historians that are also very talented writers, but Peter Cozzens is exceptional all in his own right.There may be another reason why I cannot help but regard this book as absolutely superb. I read a lot of military history literature and most of the time I regard books in this genre simply as source of information and a learning tool. Very seldom do they manage to touch me on personal level. On this occasion however… there is something in the writing style of Cozzens that on several occasions filled me with immense sense of sorrow and sadness for the men who had to live through the horror of the events author describes. Military history writers often try to present the ‘human aspect’ of armed conflict, but in my case at least it is very seldom that their efforts manage to provoke a reaction. This book is for some unexplainable reason different and it definitely managed to leave a lasting emotional imprint on me.An exceptional book, both from literary and history perspective and I can’t recommend it highly enough for anyone interested in American Civil War.

  • Chuck
    2019-05-30 17:31

    Perhaps not for the casual Civil War reader. Marvelous research and detail of the battles in the Iuka Corinth campaign. These battles have been overshadowed by Antietam and even Perryville but were significant. In September, 1862, the Confederates were advancing everywhere east of the Mississippi. Every repulse was significant. The book also provides thorough descriptions of a few famous generals & many lesser known men. For example, General David Stanley does not receive enough recognition from historians. He was a superb battlefield leader. Others were not superb. The book describes the difference between someone like Earl Van Dorn and Mansfield Lovell. Van Dorn reminds me of George Custer in that Van Dorn was brave but reckless. Before this campaign, Van Dorn's understanding of tactics largely consisted of yelling "CHARGE!" General Lovell was unfairly blamed for the fall of New Orleans and also blamed for the loss at Corinth. By the standards of the time, Lovell was too cautious. When General Van Dorn ordered attacks at Corinth, General Sterling Price's division attacked vigorously. General Lovell's division did not attack at all. Given that the attack was ordered, should General Lovell have insisted his man make reckless attacks as well? Or was he correct in holding his men back? I have read two of Cozzens' books and plan to read more.

  • Jameson
    2019-06-12 12:33

    A great book. Cozzens does an amazing job of bringing attention to the oft forgotten battles of Iuka and Corinth. These battles, fought between small desperate rebel armies and the large yet dispersed Federal army, helped determine the course of the war not only by keeping the vital town of Corinth in Union hands but by also eliminating the only true offensive Confederate threat left in Mississippi.Cozzens brings life to the battles and creates order from the confusion. The author also pulls no punches, placing blame where it's deserved whether it be with obviously foolhardy and ignorant Van Dorn or the stunning ineptitude of the Federal generals over the course of the campaign, Grant included. This is my first review and I'm writing it 10:30 so it won't be great but just take my word, if you like the Civil War or military history in general then you will love this book.

  • Sean Chick
    2019-06-06 17:17

    Cozzens has written one of the truly masterful campaign studies, where command analysis and battlefield drama are given equal weight. War is depicted for what it is, "a brain-spattering, windpipe-slitting art" to quote Lord Byron. Iuka and Corinth are shown as swirling masses of death.Cozzens is in no one's corner. Grant is depicted as detached and duplicitous, and possibly depressed. Rosecrans is a genius but with a huge flaw: he loses his head in battle. David Stanley is difficult but a combat officer without equal in either army. Van Dorn has good ideas but not an understanding for detail. Price might be the only hero, shown as brave and truly devoted to his men, but also vain and best when acting as a subordinate. In other words, Cozzens is fair. He makes no excuses for bad behavior but also sees the good in the generals. Well, except for Lovell, who is depicted as arrogant, cautious, and willfully misinformed.All in all this is a classic of its type. Oh, and the maps are solid.

  • Reggie
    2019-06-15 16:17

    I will admit to being biased about the topic being that Corinth was the first battle my great great grandfather was in. I had spent countless hours reading reports from the officers who were in the battle to get some idea about what my ancestor went through. Then I found this book and it all came together. This is a very well written and easy to read narrative of these two battle. Besides describing the battles themselves, Mr. Cozzens does a good job explaining the events leading up to Corinth and why this battle was so important. He includes very good maps, an order of battle, and an extensive bibliography.

  • Josh Liller
    2019-06-05 14:14

    This book does a good job of filling the gap between Shiloh and Vicksburg. It does not give a particularly flattering view of Grant, Rosecrans, or Ord. Van Dorn comes off badly as well, although I don't think many people ever had a high opinion of him - then or now.The maps are good, although the book could have used a few more.

  • Del
    2019-05-29 19:20

    An interesting history of the battle for the train hub of Corinth, MS during the last half of the Civil War.Listened to the unabridged audiobook on Audible.com.