Before Antietam

Before Antietam : The Battle for South Mountain

4.11 (34 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The dates of 16-18 September 1862 mark the bloodiest battle in the American Civil War: Antietam. This book offers a tactical exploration of the Maryland campaign and the Battles of South Mountain, describing the decisive events leading up to the battle. Chronicling Robert E. Lee's turnabout from defensive manoeuvres to full-scale Confederate invasion into Maryland, it demonstrates how this tactical change brought about a series of engagements near Sharpsburg, Maryland, that came to be known as "The Battle of South Mountain" in which the Federal and George B. McClellan, the new Northern commander, led his army of the Potomac to its first victory over Lee in an action that produced one of the war's few successful bayonet charges. Written from the perspective of the front line combatants and civilian observers, the book recounts the stage for Antietam. From September 5-15, a total of 25 skirmishes and three pitched battles were fought. The book provides graphic descriptions of the conditions surrounding these events and shows that, had Robert E. Lee not been bested at the gaps along South Mountain, there would have been no Antietam. Lee's decision to make a stand along Antietam Creek was a fateful one, since the sparring and fighting drove him into an unteneable position that became his downfall. This narrative establishes that, at this stage of the Civil War, the Federal Cavalry was better equipped and just as well trained as the Confederate cavalry.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 454 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 33.02mm | 657.71g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 9 halftones, 70 line illustrations
  • 0195107128
  • 9780195107128

About John M. Priest

About the Author: John Michael Priest is the author of Antietem: The Soldiers' Battle, and the editor in chief of From New Bern to Fredericksburg: Captain James Wren's Civil War Diary. He is a member of the Civil War Education Association in Winchester, Virginia, and is currently working on two other Civil War book projects.show more

Review quote

"The first full study of the battle."--Library Journal collections. --Library Journal"John Michael Priest has done an admirable job capturing in detail this often overlooked precursor to the battle of Antietam."--Journal of American History"Using an impressive array of primary accounts, Priest captures what it was like for both the Union and Confederate junior grade officers and their men on the march and in battle."--Journal of Southern History"Priest has reprised the meticulous research and compelling story-telling that earned acclaim for his first book, Antietam: The Soldiers Battle, in a worthy prequel."--America's Civil Warshow more

Rating details

34 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 41% (14)
4 38% (13)
3 15% (5)
2 3% (1)
1 3% (1)
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