Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign

Earl J Hess, Author
Earl J. Hess. Univ. of North Carolina, $35 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4696-0211-0
Reviewed on: 01/28/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Hess (The Civil War in the West) relates in exacting detail a grueling stop along General Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign of the Civil War. The book focuses on the Kennesaw Mountain area, beginning with a battle at Kolb’s Farm, through a harrowing day of fighting on June 27, 1864, and on to a flanking maneuver that finally convinced Sherman and General Johnston, the Rebel commander, to step back from what seemed like a two-week-long stalemate. Hess supports his assertion that the earthworks of Johnston’s Rebel forces were instrumental in slowing Sherman down, and while it couldn’t be called a victory for either side (the Union counted 3,000 “killed, wounded, and missing,” and the Confederates tallied 700 casualties), the superior works of the Rebels were impressive—even Union commanders acknowledged it. The Kennesaw engagement can be seen as a textbook example of the importance of earthworks, and Hess describes the whole scenario in enough detail that it’s easy to see why they were so vital. With plenty of maps and primary sources—including diaries, letters, and dispatches—readers will be engrossed by the personal story of these soldiers. Civil War buffs and those interested in military history will take to this gripping account. 25 illus., 21 maps, 1 table. (Apr.)
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