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Army History Professional Publishes on Civil War

The US Army’s historians, museum professionals, and archivists are all part of what the Army calls “Career Program 61.” A friend and colleague – the museum director at the General George Patton Museum of Leadership – recently published another book on the Civil War.  This review appeared on the Civil War News website, and it is copied here in its entirety. Congratulations on the publication, Chris!

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This Army Does Not Retreat: The Stones River and Tullahoma Campaigns

By Christopher L. Kolakowski

Illustrated, photos, notes, bibliography, 160 pp., 2011, The History Press, www.historypress.net, $17.99.

Although raised in the Old Dominion, Christopher Kolakowski is not a “Virginia-centric” Civil War historian. The author of the Perryville volume in the History Press’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Series, Kolakowski turned his attention in his latest work to two important duels between the Confederate Army of Tennessee and the Union Army of the Cumberland.

Kolakowski begins his study with a brief review of Braxton Bragg’s invasion of Kentucky in 1862 and then quickly moves to the opening events of the Stones River Campaign in Middle Tennessee. In three focused, succinct chapters, Kolakowski recounts the brutal two days of combat outside Murfreesboro.

Additional chapters deal with the relative inactivity of Bragg and William S. Rosecrans in the spring of 1863. The final chapters address the advance of the Army of the Cumberland toward the Confederate positions beyond the Highland Rim and the brilliant Federal maneuvers that eventually forced Bragg to abandon Middle Tennessee and fall back to Chattanooga.

Kolakowski deals with more than combat, however. Braxton Bragg’s contentious relationship with his subordinates and the travails of William Rosecrans, including his troubles with his superiors in Washington, receive a fair amount of attention as well.

A combination of maps produced by Blue and Gray Magazine, the West Point Atlas, and the National Park Service are used effectively, although this reviewer found some of the Stones River troop movement maps a bit hard to read.

This is an excellent, concise account of two critically important campaigns that normally do not receive a great deal of attention. Both the beginning student who is unfamiliar with the events in Tennessee in 1862 and 1863 and the knowledgeable scholar who needs a quick, easily read refresher will find this work to be of great value.

The History Press has scored another triumph with this fine addition to its 150th anniversary series.

Reviewer: Jeff Patrick

Jeff Patrick is an interpretive specialist with the National Park Service at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield in Republic, Mo. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in American history from Purdue University.

Posted in Civil War, History Outreach.

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