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Tullahoma (Paperback)

The Forgotten Campaign that Changed the Course of the Civil War, June 23–July 4, 1863

Military > Pre-WWI > American History > American Civil War

Imprint: Savas Beatie
Pages: 408
Illustrations: 50 images, 16 maps
ISBN: 9781611217230
Published: 15th August 2024



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July 1863 was a momentous month in the Civil War. News of the Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg electrified the North and devastated the South. Sandwiched geographically between them—and lost in the heady tumult of events—was news that William S. Rosecrans’s Army of the Cumberland had driven Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee entirely out of Middle Tennessee. The brilliant campaign nearly cleared the state of Rebels and changed the calculus of the Civil War in the Western Theater. Despite its decisive significance, surprisingly few people know much about Rosecrans’s triumph. Now in paperback, Tullahoma: The Forgotten Campaign that Changed the Course of Civil War, June 23–July 4, 1863 by award-winning authors David A. Powell and Eric J. Wittenberg rectifies that oversight.

On June 23, 1863, Rosecrans, with 60,000 men, began a classic campaign of maneuver against Bragg’s 40,000. Confronted by rugged terrain and a heavily entrenched foe, Rosecrans intended to utilize strategic maneuver to defeat Bragg rather than direct assaults. He would outflank him, seize control of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad (Bragg’s supply line) at Tullahoma, force the Rebels out of their extensive earthworks, and fight the decisive battle thereafter. The complex and fascinating campaign included deceit, hard marching, fighting, and incredible luck—both good and bad. Rosecrans executed a pair of feints against Guy’s Gap and Liberty Gap to deceive the Rebels about where the main blow would fall. An ineffective Confederate response exposed one of Bragg’s flanks—and thus his entire army—to complete disaster. Torrential rains and consequential decisions in the field wreaked havoc on Rosecrans’s well-designed scheme. Bragg, however, hesitated as he teetered on the brink of losing the second most important field army in the Confederacy. The hour was late, the time was short, and his limited withdrawal left the armies poised for a climactic engagement to decide the fate of Middle Tennessee and perhaps the war.

Authors Powell and Wittenberg mined hundreds of archival and firsthand accounts to craft a splendid study of this overlooked campaign that set the stage for the fighting to follow at Chickamauga and Chattanooga, the removal of Rosecrans and Bragg from the chessboard of war, the elevation of U. S. Grant to command the Union armies, and the early stages of William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. Readers will find the original maps and extensive footnotes enhance their understanding of this dramatic event.

Tullahoma was one of the most brilliantly executed major campaigns of the war and was pivotal to Union success in 1863 and beyond. Now, after all these decades, students of the war everywhere will know precisely why.

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