The Boy Generals

George Custer, Wesley Merritt and the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, from the Gettysburg Retreat through the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864

Adolfo Ovies

This second installment encompasses a period jammed with tumultuous events for the cavalry on and off the battlefield and a significant change of command at the top.
Date Published :
June 2023
Publisher :
Savas Beatie
Language:
English
Illustration :
35 images, 15 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781611216172
Pages : 408
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order
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$34.95

Overview
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The second installment of Al Ovies’ The Boy Generals trilogy, George Custer, Wesley Merritt and the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, from the Gettysburg Retreat through the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864, encompasses a period jammed with tumultuous events for the cavalry on and off the battlefield and a significant change of command at the top.

Once below the Potomac River, the Union troopers raced down the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains but were unable to prevent General Lee’s wounded Army of Northern Virginia from reaching Culpeper. The balance of the 1863 was a series of maneuvers, raids, and fighting that witnessed the near-destruction of the Michigan Cavalry Brigade at Buckland Mills and the indecisive and frustrating efforts of the Bristoe Station and Mine Run campaigns. Alfred Pleasonton’s controversial command of the mounted arm ended abruptly, only to be replaced by the more controversial Philip H. Sheridan, whose combustible personality intensified the animosity burning between George Custer and Wesley Merritt.

Victory and glory followed the Cavalry Corps during the early days of Overland campaign, particularly at Yellow Tavern, where Rebel cavalier Jeb Stuart was mortally wounded. The “spirited rivalry” between Custer and Merritt, in turn, took a turn for the worse. At Trevilian Station, the bitterness and rancor permeating their relationship broke into the open to include harsh official reports critical of the other’s actions. Merritt’s elevation to temporary command of the 1st Cavalry Division cemented their rancor.

Just as their relationship worsened, so too did the tenor of the war darken as the sieges of Richmond and Petersburg ground on, and Confederate partisan Col. John S. Mosby intensified guerrilla operations that disrupted Union logistics in the Shenandoah Valley. When Gen. Ulysses Grant demanded that Sheridan escalate retribution, the cavalry commander delivered his infamous edict to “eat out Virginia clear and clean as far as they go, so that crows flying over it for the balance of the season will have to carry their provender with them.” Much of the gritty task fell on the shoulders of the boy generals.

Adolfo Ovies’ well-researched and meticulously detailed account of the increasingly dysfunctional relationship between Custer and Merritt follows the same entertaining style in the first installment. The Boy Generals changes the way Civil War enthusiasts will understand and judge the actions of the Union’s bold riders.

About The Author
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Adolfo Ovies migrated to the United States from Cuba in June of 1960 and made his new home with his grandmother in Connecticut. He immersed himself in New England Yankee culture, flourished as a young historian while attending Fairfield Jesuit Prep School, and became intrigued with the American Civil War. His studies and career hop-scotched him throughout the eastern half of the United States.

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