688 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 25 illus., 8 maps, appends., notes, bibl., index
2003 Lincoln Prize, Lincoln and Soldiers Institute
2002 Jefferson Davis Award, Museum of the Confederacy
2002 Douglas Southall Freeman History Award, Military Order of the Stars and Bars
2004 Distinguished Book Award in American History, Society for Military History
During the battle of Gettysburg, as Union troops along Cemetery Ridge rebuffed Pickett's Charge, they were heard to shout, "Give them Fredericksburg!" Their cries reverberated from a clash that, although fought some six months earlier, clearly loomed large in the minds of Civil War soldiers.
Fought on December 13, 1862, the battle of Fredericksburg ended in a stunning defeat for the Union. Confederate general Robert E. Lee suffered roughly 5,000 casualties but inflicted more than twice that many losses--nearly 13,000--on his opponent, General Ambrose Burnside. As news of the Union loss traveled north, it spread a wave of public despair that extended all the way to President Lincoln. In the beleaguered Confederacy, the southern victory bolstered flagging hopes, as Lee and his men began to take on an aura of invincibility.
George Rable offers a gripping account of the battle of Fredericksburg and places the campaign within its broader political, social, and military context. Blending battlefield and home front history, he not only addresses questions of strategy and tactics but also explores material conditions in camp, the rhythms and disruptions of military life, and the enduring effects of the carnage on survivors--both civilian and military--on both sides.
"A surprisingly easy read because Rable never assumes the reader already knows about army life."
"Rable has written a new kind of battle history that melds many different types of history into one, all-inclusive narrative. Rable is one of the most versatile Civil War historians in the field today."
--Civil War History
"Skillfully done. . . . The pace of the story is fast . . . much like the battle itself. . . . One of the most interesting renditions of any battle."
--Civil War News
"A very balanced, readable, and thought-provoking account. . . . The author never loses sight of the common soldier--the evocative text is filled with first-person descriptions of life in the camp, on the march, in battle, or in field hospitals. It captures the bravery, ineptitude, and heartache of soldiers and generals alike."
--Blue & Gray Magazine
“Masterful . . . . By successfully synthesizing recent scholarship and plowing new ground as well, this book takes its place as the best volume published thus far in the Littlefield History of the Civil War Era.”
--American Historical Review
"[This book] sets a new standard for Civil War historians who write about military campaigns. George C. Rable provides not just an account of a horrific battle, but how it changed the course of the war for both sides and the men who fought in its ranks."
--Civil War Book Review
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