Hearts Touched by Fire: The Best of 'Battles and Leaders of the Civil War'
[Read by Joe Barrett, Traber Burns, Robin Field, Grover Gardner, Malcolm Hillgartner, John Pruden and Sean Runnette]
Edited by Harold Holzer
Introduction by Harold Holzer
Contributions by James M. McPherson, James I. Robertson Jr., Stephen W. Sears, Craig L. Symonds and Joan Waugh
No one interested in our country's past will want to be without this collection of the most popular and influential first-person Civil War memoirs ever published.
In July 1883, just a few days after the twentieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, a group of editors at the Century Magazine engaged in a lively argument: Which Civil War battle was the bloodiest battle of them all? One claimed it was Chickamauga, another Cold Harbor. The argument inspired a brainstorm: Why not let the magazine's 125,000 readers in on the conversation by offering ''a series of papers on some of the great battles of the war, to be written by officers in command on both sides.''
The articles would be written by generals, Union and Confederate alike, who had commanded the engagements two decades earlier -- ''or, if he were not living,'' by ''the person most entitled to speak for him or in his place.'' The pieces would present both sides of each major battle and would be fair and free of politics.
Now, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the most enduring entries from the classic four-volume series Battles and Leaders of the Civil War have been edited and merged into one definitive volume. Here are the best of the immortal first-person accounts of the Civil War originally published in the pages of the Century Magazine more than a hundred years ago.
Hearts Touched by Fire offers stunning accounts of the war's great battles written by the men who planned, fought, and witnessed them, from leaders such as General Ulysses S. Grant, General George McClellan, and Confederate Captain Clement Sullivane to men of lesser rank. This collection also features new year-by-year introductions by esteemed historians, including James M. McPherson, Craig L. Symonds, and James I. Robertson, Jr., who cast wise modern eyes on the cataclysm that changed America and that would go down as the bloodiest conflict in our nation's history.
The Antietam. The number increased, and larger and larger grew the field of blue until it seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see, and from the tops of the mountains down to the edges of the stream gathered the great army of McClellan. It was an awe-inspiring spectacle as this grand force settled down in sight of the Confederates, then shattered by battles and scattered by long and tiresome marches. On the 16th Jackson came and took position with part of his command on my left. Before night.
Passing over the spurs of the hills, Crook came out on the bank of the stream above the bridge and found himself under a heavy fire. He faced the enemy and returned the fire, getting such cover for his men as he could and trying to drive off or silence his opponents. The engagement was one in which the Antietam prevented the combatants from coming to close quarters, but it was none the less vigorously continued with musketry fire. Crook reported that his hands were full, and that he could not.
His command back of the foot-hills out of sight of the enemy on the ridge. There are two streams called Chickamauga emptying into the Tennessee River east of Chattanooga: North Chickamauga, taking its rise in Tennessee, flowing south and emptying into the river some seven or eight miles east; while the South Chickamauga, which takes its rise in Georgia, flows northward, and empties into the Tennessee some three or four miles above the town. There were now 116 pontoons in the North Chickamauga.
As any one present with them was concerned. I tried to make General Meade’s position as nearly as possible what it would have been if I had been in Washington or any other place away from his command. I therefore gave all orders for the movements of the Army of the Potomac to Meade to have them executed. To avoid the necessity of having to give orders direct, I established my headquarters near his, unless there were reasons for locating them elsewhere. This sometimes happened, and I had on.
Caused much greater delay than was required on the other route, where we could take provisions from the enemy. Moreover, unless the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was torn up the enemy would have been able to move troops from the West over that road to Washington. MAP OF THE VIRGINIA CAMPAIGNS OF 1864–5. On the morning of the 3d Sigel, with a considerable force, after slight skirmishing, evacuated Martinsburg, leaving considerable stores in our hands. McCausland burned the bridge over Back.