The Civil War took as many as 720,000 lives and maimed hundreds of thousands more. The fallen included outstanding leaders on both sides, from a U.S. president all the way down the ranks to beloved regimental commanders. Abraham Lincoln, Stonewall Jackson, and John Reynolds remain well-known and even legendary. Others, like Confederate cavalry commander Earl Van Dorn, remain locked in infamy. The deaths of army commanders Albert Sidney Johnston and James McPherson and regimental leader Col. Elmer Ellsworth (the first Union officer killed) left more questions than answers about unfulfilled potential and lost opportunities. Thousands more have faded into historical obscurity. Others “fell” not from death or wounds but because of their own missteps or misdeeds, their reputations ruined forever. Theirs are falls from grace.
This collection of essays by a host of writers brings together the best scholarship from Emerging Civil War’s blog, symposia, and podcast, all of which have been revised, updated, and footnoted. The collection also contains several original pieces written exclusively for Emerging Civil War’s 10th Anniversary Series. Expect new angles on familiar stories about high-profile figures. Meet leaders whose stories you might not know but whose losses were felt as deeply personal tragedies by those around them.
This collection sheds new light and insight on some of the most significant casualties of the conflict: the fallen leaders whose deaths, injuries, and disgraces changed the Civil War.
“Fallen Leaders is a good read from its introduction to its last article. One’s attention is caught immediately by the rich background information about the Civil War deaths or downfalls of the mighty and the minor. Because of the short approach of vignettes, this collection may be enjoyed for a few minutes or a few hours as one chooses. Reading it is time well spent.” ~Dr. Curt Fields, living historian, General Grant by Himself
“Beyond the engaging human-interest stories about leaders—famous and obscure—that we have learned to expect from Emerging Civil War, Fallen Leaders rewards us with a kaleidoscope of Civil War military history and insights into the nature of leadership, mythmaking, mythbusting, and collective memory.” ~John Coski, author of Capital Navy
“The Book of Common Prayer says, ‘Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live . . . he cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower.’ Many of the leaders featured in this excellent anthology were cut down—physically or politically—in the flowering of their lives. When reading each of these concise works, it is hard not to wonder how things might have been different had they survived the ordeal of our American Iliad. Huzzah to Emerging Civil War for bringing these deeply human stories to life on ground hallowed forever by, as Lincoln said, ‘what they did here.’” ~David N. Duncan, president, American Battlefield Trust