Year of Desperate Struggle

Jeb Stuart and His Cavalry, from Gettysburg to Yellow Tavern, 1863-1864

Monte Akers

By the summer of 1863, following Chancellorsville, it was clear to everyone on both sides of the Civil War that the Army of Northern Virginia was the most formidable force Americans had ever put in the field. It could only be "tied” in battle, if against great odds, but would more usually vanquish its opponents. A huge measure of that army's succes
Date Published :
February 2015
Publisher :
Casemate
Language:
English
Illustration :
16pp illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Hardback
ISBN : 9781612002828
Pages : 312
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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+
In stock
$32.95

Overview
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By the summer of 1863, following Chancellorsville, it was clear to everyone on both sides of the Civil War that the Army of Northern Virginia was the most formidable force Americans had ever put in the field. It could only be “tied” in battle, if against great odds, but would more usually vanquish its opponents. A huge measure of that army’s success was attributable to its cavalry arm, under Major General J.E.B. Stuart, which had literally “run rings” around its enemies.

But Northern arithmetic and expertise were gradually catching up. In this work, the sequel to his acclaimed Year of Glory, author Monte Akers tracks Stuart and his cavalry through the following year of the war, from Gettysburg to the Overland Campaign, concluding only when Jeb himself succumbs to a gunshot while fending off a force three times his size at the very gates of Richmond. Gettysburg put paid to the aura of unstoppable victory surrounding the Army of Northern Virginia. But when Grant and Sheridan came east they found that Lee, Stuart, Longstreet, and the rest still refused to be defeated. It was a year of grim casualties and ferocious fighting—in short, a year of “desperate struggle” with the gloves off on both sides.

This work picks up where Year of Glory left off, with a minute examination of Stuart’s cavalry during the controversial Gettysburg campaign, followed by the nine months of sparring during which the Army of Potomac declined to undertake further major thrusts against Virginia. But then the Union’s western chieftains arrived and the war became one huge “funeral procession,” as Grant and Sheridan found that their prior victories had by no means prepared them for meeting the Army of Northern Virginia.

In this work Akers provides a fascinating, close-in view of the Confederacy’s cavalry arm during this crucial period of the war. After Stuart’s death the Army of Northern Virginia would eventually be cornered, but while he was alive it was often the Northerners who most needed to look to their security.

About The Author
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Monte Akers is the author of several books, including The Accidental Historian: Tales of Trash and Treasure (2010); Flames After Midnight: Murder, Vengeance and the Desolation of a Texas Community (1999); and Tales for the Tellings: Six Short Stories of the American Civil War. He followed up the highly-praised Year of Glory with Year of Desperate Struggle: Jeb Stuart and His Cavalry, from Gettysburg to Yellow Tavern, 1863-1864 (Casemate 2015). An attorney as well as historian, a collector of Civil War artifacts, song lyricist (since age nine), and an admirer of Jeb Stuart, he currently lives near Austin, Texas.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Prologue

1. Out of the Frying Pan and Into Hell
Morning, June 24, 1863

2. The Wayward Road to Gettysburg
June 24 to July 1, 1863

3. East Cavalry Field and the Retreat to Virginia
July 2–14, 1863

4. Return to the Bower
July 15–August 26, 1863

5. Season of Sparring
August 27–October 9, 1863

6. The Bristoe Campaign and the Buckland Races
October 9–22, 1863

7. Camp Wigwam and the mine Run Campaign
October 23–November 30, 1863

8. The Hard Winter of 1863–64
December 1, 1863 to February 21, 1864

9. The Dahlgren Affair and the Federal Army Coils
February 22 to April 30, 1864

10. Grant Launches total War, from the Wilderness to Yellow Tavern
May 1–11, 1864

11. And God’s Will Was Done
May 11–13, 1864

12. The World Without Jeb Stuart
After May 13, 1864

Bibliography
Index

REVIEWS
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"This is a very well written balanced look at the last year of Stuart’s life. The handling of Gettysburg is excellent! The author balances the conflicting stories in presenting a factual honest account. This is done a second time in the handling of the Dahlgren Affair...Each campaign is covered with proper space given the important actions...This is a good-looking book with a good hand-feel that makes “print” books so enjoyable"

- James Durney, Author

a superb retelling of the final year of Stuart's short and controversial life... provides some new insight into Stuart's life, with special attention given to the period after Gettysburg until his death...high quality maps also complement the text...recommended for those wanting a new view of "The Last Cavalier".

- Blue and Gray, Vol XXX11, #3

"...detailed storytelling...a lively and entertaining read...offers some interesting angles on the most controversial topics related to Stuart."

- Journal of Southern History

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