A detailed account of the pivotal decision made by a young army commander to march to Decatur, and the consequential combat that ensued.
In October of 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood set out through Alabama on what would be the final campaign of the Army of Tennessee. One event in particular, overlooked and misunderstood for generations, portended what was to follow and is the subject of Noel Carpenter’s Detour to Disaster: General John Bell Hood’s “Slight Demonstration” at Decatur and the Unravelling of the Tennessee Campaign.
In this fascinating and meticulously detailed and documented account—the first book-length study of the weighty decision to march to Decatur and the combat that followed there—Carpenter investigates the circumstances surrounding these matters and how they overwhelmed the controversial young army commander and potentially doomed his daring invasion. Detour to Disaster is required reading for everyone interested in the Western Theater, and especially the doomed Tennessee Campaign.
As a boy growing up in Decatur in the 1920s, author Noel Carpenter played on the sites described in this book. After graduating from the University of Alabama and earning a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carpenter spent 30 years as a command pilot and Air Force officer. Later in life he combined a lifelong interest in Civil War history with his military experience and examined the episode that had unfolded in his hometown more than a century earlier. He spent 12 years researching and writing his account.
“Thanks to Noel Carpenter, Civil War scholarship now has a meticulously researched and efficiently presented chronicle of the crucial events that have been heretofore overshadowed by the bookends of the Atlanta and Tennessee campaigns. This new printing by Savas Beatie of Detour to Disaster will gain a wider audience than the first privately printed edition.”
~Stephen M. Hood, author of John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General (2013) and editor of The Lost Papers of Confederate General John Bell Hood (2016)
“This is a great book that shows off the truth of the expression "for the want of a nail". It also should be required reading for anyone trying to sift fact from fiction during Hood's days in army command.”
~A Wargamers Needful Things
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