General Gordon Granger

The Savior of Chickamauga and the Man Behind "Juneteenth"

Robert C. Conner

Date Published :
November 2013
Publisher :
Illustration :
16pp photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781612001852
Pages : 264
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
In stock


This is the first full-length biography of the Civil War general who saved the Union army from catastrophic defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga, and went on to play major roles in the Chattanooga and Mobile campaigns. Immediately after the war, as commander of U.S. troops in Texas, his actions sparked the “Juneteenth” celebrations of slavery’s end, which continue to this day.

Granger’s first battle was at Wilson’s Creek, Missouri, and he soon thereafter rose through the ranks—cavalry, then infantry—in early 1863 vying with Forrest and Van Dorn for control of central Tennessee. The artillery platform he erected at Franklin, dubbed Fort Granger, would soon overlook the death knell of the main Confederate army in the west.

Granger’s first fame, however, came at Chickamauga, when the Rebel Army of Tennessee came within a hair’s-breadth of destroying the Union Army of the Cumberland. Without orders—even defying them—Granger marched his Reserve Corps to the scene of the hottest action, where Thomas was just barely holding on with the rump of Rosecrans’ army. Bringing fresh ammunition and hurling his men against Longstreet’s oncoming legions, Granger provided just enough breathing space to prevent that Union defeat from becoming the worst open-field battle disgrace of the war.

Granger was then given command of a full infantry corps, but just proved too odd of a fellow to promote further. At Chattanooga he got on the nerves of U.S. Grant for going off to shoot cannons instead of commanding his troops (he’d actually indulged this impulse also at Chickamauga) and Sherman had no use for him either. So he went down to join Farragut in the conquest of Mobile, Alabama, leading land operations against the Confederate forts.

This long-overdue biography sheds fascinating new light on a colorful commander who fought through the war in the West from its first major battles to its last, and even left his impact on the Reconstruction beyond.

About The Author

Robert Conner specializes in US history.


Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: "Him that holds on to the end”

1 Early Life and West Point
2 Mexico and the Frontier
3 Civil War
4 General Granger
5 Chickamauga
6 Chattanooga
7 East Tennessee
8 Mobile
9 Juneteenth
10 Postwar Service in the South and West
11 Final Tour



"brilliantly uses a solid array of primary sources to paint a good portrait of this complex man, whose military acumen was overshadowed often by his personal shortcomings...In this new book, we are introduced to a general whose self-assurance, boldness, and quick-thinking proved to be a major asset on the battlefield, but whose propensity to disregard cooperation with his peers kept him from army command when his martial performance rivaled men who rose to that position. ...It's an excellent and long overdue addition to the historiography of the Western Theater of the Civil War, as well as to the Reconstruction movement and the relations of the military with the freed slaves of the Old South and the Southwest."

- York Blog/ Civil War Round Table, January 2014

"detailed yet succinct ... thorough and concise throughout; not flamboyant - a smooth, easy, and interesting read....This book is engaging, informative, and an important resource for students of the American Civil War as well as for anyone interested in command relationships during wartime."

- Mr. Emil Posey, Tennessee Civil War Round Table , April 2014

"a splendid book about a very interesting Union General who wasn't exactly "Mr. Personality"…must have book for your Civil War library."

- Lone Star Book Review, April 2014

valuable and should appeal to Civil War Enthusiasts. His work recalls the critical role played by supporting characters, whose stories are themselves intriguing. Moreover, Calvary officer Granger grappled with such emerging concerns as responding to partisan warfare and the gathering of intelligence. Granger understood artillery's role and sought protection for black troops. His story casts much light on the civil war realities, including battles for political advantage and career advancement. Despite his exasperating nature, Granger proved relatively adept at this game, although his premature (though predictable ) death in 1876 prevented him from outlasting his opponents or penning his memoirs, Conner's biography will ensure that Granger's military career will not be forgotten "warts and all"

- The Journal of Southern History, Volume LXXX1 no 2 May 2015, May 2015

More from this publisher