History Podcasts

The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and the Civil War's Final Campaign, Eric Wittenberg

The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and the Civil War's Final Campaign, Eric Wittenberg

The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and the Civil War's Final Campaign, Eric Wittenberg

The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and the Civil War's Final Campaign, Eric Wittenberg

The battle of Monroe’s Crossroads was the last major cavalry battle of the American Civil War, and took place late in Sherman’s victorious march through the heart of the Confederacy. It saw the Confederate cavalry of Wade Hampton ambush the over-confident Union forces of Hugh Judson Kilpatrick (one of many Union cavalry commanders was wasn’t really up to the job). At first the Confederates had everything their own way, and forced Kilpatrick to flee from his quarters as they overran his camp, but the Confederates were unable to take full advantage of their early success, Kilpatrick rallied his men, and the battle ended as a clear Union victory.

Kilpatrick didn’t have a terribly impressive reputation as a cavalry commander, and had been caught out on more than one occasion before Monroe’s crossroads, but clearly didn’t learn from his mistakes. He failed to post proper pickets around his campsite at Monroe’s Crossroads, and as a result Wade Hampton was given a rare chance to carry out an ambush of an entire enemy command. Wittenberg traces the two men’s road to the crossroads, looks at Hampton’s plan of attack, and then takes us into the battle itself. Part of the Confederate force managed to catch the Union troops entirely unawares, with many men still in their tents, but at this stage Hampton’s own planning becomes suspect. He failed to order a proper examination of the area some of his troops were meant to advance across, and as a result a large part of his command got stuck in a swamp and was unable to play its proper part in the attack. We then move onto Kilpatrick’s impressive response - after escaping from his quarters, he managed to rally his command and lead a counterattack that eventually forced the Confederates to retreat.

Wittenberg then moves on to follow the last few days of the war, looking at the impact the battle had on the final few battles of Sherman’s campaign. There is perhaps a tendency here to over-emphasis the impact Hampton’s early success at Monroe’s Crossroads had on the campaign, which did end without another Confederate victory. I’d say the author is also someone over-impressed with the initial Confederate success in the battle, which owned far more to Kilpatrick’s carelessness than it did to Hampton’s plans, but otherwise this is a wall balanced account of a relatively obscure but interesting Civil War battle.

Chapters
1 - Hugh Judson Kilpatrick and his Federal Dragoons
2 - Wade Hampton and his Confederate Cavaliers
3 - A Sure Sign of Things to Come
4 - Groping in the Dark
5 - 'We Fell upon the Camp like a Small Avalanche'
6 - 'One of the Most Terrific Hand-to-Hand Encounters I Ever Witnessed'
7 - The Aftermath
8 - A Critical Assessment

Author: Eric Wittenberg
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 360
Publisher: Savas Beatie
Year: 2015



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This series features detailed overviews of lesser-known, though still important, Civil War battles. Brice's Crossroads is considered Nathan Bedford Forrest's greatest victory and this slim volume explains exactly how it was done.

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The impact of the Civil War on Crossroads to Civil War book was greater than any o /5. Fought 14 miles west Crossroads to Civil War book Fayetteville, North Carolina, the Battle at Monroe's Crossroads was the last large scale cavalry engagement of the Crossroads to Civil War book Civil War.

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Wade Hampton, Joe Wheeler, and the Confederate cavalry have a mission: To capture Judson Kilpatrick/5. It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads: the suffering, the enormous tragedy of the whole thing.”- Shelby Foote, from The Civil War When the illustrated edition of The Civil War was first published, The New York Time hailed it as “a treasure for the eye and mind.”.

Antietam: Crossroads of Freedom became one of those rare books. I read and enjoyed it a few years ago, but have now just re-read it as part of the "Let's Talk about it: Making Sense of the American Civil War" series I have mentioned here before.

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Book is in typical used-Good Condition. Will show signs of wear to cover and/or pages. There may be underlining, highlighting, and or writing. May not include supplemental items (like discs, access codes, dust jacket, etc).

Will be a good Reading copy. CROSSROADS TO CIVIL WAR: LEBANON By Kamal S. Salibi - Hardcover. Detailed Minutiae of [Soldier Life] in the Army of [Northern Virginia] [Full Audio Book] Richard Wayne Lykes | War & Military | Audiobook full unabridged Sherman’s. Inhe published both a scholarly book, Crossroads of Freedom: Antietamand a history of the American Civil War for children, Fields of Fury.

McPherson published This Mighty Scourge ina series of essays about the American Civil War. One essay describes the huge difficulty of negotiation when regime change is a war aim on either side of a e works: Battle Cry of Freedom (), For Cause.

The Battle of Davis's Cross Roads, also known as the Battle of Dug Gap, was fought September 10–11,in northwestern Georgia, as part of the Chickamauga Campaign of the American Civil War.

It was more of a series of maneuvers and skirmishes than an actual battle and casualties were on: Dade County, Georgia and Walker County. The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads had little impact on the war’s outcome, but it offers an excellent study of Civil War cavalry tactics.

This book vividly portrays the uncommon valor exhibited by horsemen in both blue and gray and reinforces Wittenberg’s reputation as a distinguished chronicler of Civil War cavalry engagements. Originally published in the June issue of Civil War Times.

To subscribe, click here. The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads (also known as the Battle of Fayetteville Road, and colloquially in the North as Kilpatrick's Shirttail Skedaddle) was a battle during the Carolinas Campaign of the American Civil War in Cumberland County, North Carolina (now in Hoke County), on the grounds of the present day Fort Bragg Military ing about 4, men, it pitted mounted Location: Hoke County, near Fayetteville, North Carolina.

"Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam " by James M. McPherson The great historian James McPherson presents his account of Antietam, the savage Civil War. The Confederate victory at Brices Cross Roads was a significant victory for Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest, but its long term effect on the war proved costly for the Confederates.

Brices Cross Roads is an excellent example of winning the battle, but losing the war. There is more to Brices Cross Roads than just the monument site.

Bethany Cemetery, adjacent to the National Park Service monument, predates the American Civil War. Many of the area's earliest settlers are buried here.

The graves of more than 90 Confederate soldiers killed at the cross roads are also located in Bethany Cemetery. Federal soldiers were buried in Location: Near Baldwyn, Mississippi, 34°30′″N.

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James McPherson’s Crossroads of Freedom James McPherson’s book, Crossroads of Freedom is a war account of the battle in Antietam, deemed to be the most violent, bloodiest day in American history.

There are hundreds of books that talk about wars in America. From what I've skimmed over online it looks like a very thorough and detailed book covering Forrest's campaigns throughout the war.

But I do not see the Battle at Brice's Crossroads in the table of contents unless it's under another name in the contents. I cannot image this book to be this detailed to only leave out the Battle of Brice's. The Battle of Rome Cross Roads, also known as Battle of Rome Crossroads, Skirmish at Rome Crossroads, or Action at Rome Cross-Roads was part of the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil was fought in Gordon County, Georgia, a short distance west of Calhoun, Georgia, on The battle was a limited engagement between Union Army units of the Army of the Tennessee Location: Gordon County, Georgia, near.

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CROSSROADS OF FREEDOM: Antietam The Battle That Changed the Course of the Civil War James M. McPherson, Author.

Oxford Univ. $26 (p) ISBN. [Battle of Monroe's Pdf and the Civil War's Final Campaign by Eric J. Wittenberg. (El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, ). Pp.$, Hardcover, photos, 29 maps, notes, )] On Maa great cavalry battle was fought at a muddy, nondescript intersection west of Fayetteville, North Carolina.

This discussion will take place on April 26 at 8pm on Twitter #CWM This week we will read chapter 5 in Caroline Janney’s book, Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation, which focuses on the early evolution of the Lost Cause narrative.The Red River Campaign ebook was one General-in-Chief Ulysses S.

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Review: Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads and the Civil War’s Last Campaign

Eric Wittenberg solidifies his standing as our best Civil War Cavalry author continuing to produce high quality, well-researched, readable histories that are both informative and fun. Using Savas Beatie as his publisher is a “Dream Team” for enthusiasts. Maps, maps and more maps ensure that you will never be lost and will instantly understand what retaking the guns means. The list of illustrations is one and a half pages the list of maps is two and a half pages. Clearly stating that both the author and publisher understand what is nice, illustrations and what is necessary, maps. Since most of us will never get into Fort Bragg to walk the battle field, the maps substitute nicely keeping us orientated and in position.

The book is well researched, footnoted and complete within the time we are considering. The confrontation between Hampton and Kilpatrick outside the Bennett home, capture the men, their feelings and the time. It provides a logical beginning to the story, even if it occurs at the end. While presenting the reader with clear concise portraits of the major figures, the supporting cast is not ignored. The strengths and weakness of each Cavalry force is clearly described. This introduction gives us the needed background to understand the depth of feeling and desperation that contributes to the battle.

Weather and terrain conspire to hinder both sides building a waterlogged hell for man and beast. This produces a major impact on the campaign and the battle, becoming a story within the story. J.E. Johnston’s army must cross over the Cape Fear River, Hampton’s cavalry is trying to screen this movement and delay Sherman’s army. Judson Kilpatrick, commanding Sherman’s cavalry almost by default, is trying to get around Hampton while protecting Sherman’s foraging parties and supply trains.

Kilpatrick allows his cavalry to spread out, become badly separated and fails to protect the approaches to the camps. Wade Hampton and Joe Wheeler size an opportunity to attack a portion of Kilpatrick’s command. The resulting battle at close quarters, fought by veterans is a stand up fight with neither side taking a step back. Eric Wittenberg details what the commanders do right wrong and where they lose control. This results in an understandable sew-saw battle narrative as first one side and than the other attacks. Here the detailed maps are as valuable as the writing, working together the reader never gets lost. The maps and text always support us and keep the flow of battle clear.

This book places the battle within the campaign and the war, allowing us the answer the very complex question “Who won?” The last chapters cover the aftermath of the battle, what it did to and for Johnston & Sherman and give us a glimpse of the participant’s later life. An Order of battle and detailed list of causalities complete the history of the battle.

Appendix C & D, answer questions that are not technically part of the battle but relate to it. Both provide us with human-interest items and make the story personal and complete. One deals with who was the woman in Kilpatrick’s HQ and the other with “Fighting” Joe Wheeler’s rank.

Editor’s Note: Jim is a Top 500 Amazon.com reviewer.

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Community Reviews

The Battle of Monroe&aposs Crossroads is one of those engagements which every Civil War buff ought to know, mainly for its sheer lunacy and storytelling value. Wade Hampton, Joe Wheeler, and the Confederate cavalry have a mission: To capture Judson Kilpatrick. Hampton and Wheeler gather their forces to do the deed while Kilpatrick is traveling towards Monroe&aposs Crossreads in a manner rather unusual for a cavalry general. The unsuspecting Kilpatrick is resting his head in the lap of his paramour Alice The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads is one of those engagements which every Civil War buff ought to know, mainly for its sheer lunacy and storytelling value. Wade Hampton, Joe Wheeler, and the Confederate cavalry have a mission: To capture Judson Kilpatrick. Hampton and Wheeler gather their forces to do the deed while Kilpatrick is traveling towards Monroe's Crossreads in a manner rather unusual for a cavalry general. The unsuspecting Kilpatrick is resting his head in the lap of his paramour Alice, (a 'Yankee schoolteacher' Wittenberg estimates to be around age 50) with his feet dangling out the window of his carriage.

As Kilpatrick spends the night with Alice in the upstairs bedroom of the Monroe house, his staff bunking downstairs and his men dozing peacefully in the yard, the Confederate troopers silently form a ring around the house and launch a surprise attack. The Union men are driven out of the yard while Kilpatrick, hearing the commotion, wanders sleepily downstairs and out onto the front porch clad only in his shirttail to see two Confederate officers charging up to demand the location of General Kilpatrick.

What happens next? The oldest trick in the book, that's what happens. Kilpatrick points towards a fleeing Federal and says, 'He went that way.' Incredibly, the Confederates fall for this, giving Kilpatrick time enough to run off through a swamp. Directly afterwards the Confederates close in on the house, and Kilpatrick's staffers flee upstairs where Alice hides them in her bedroom. This lady of lowered virtue then goes down to confront the Confederates. She tells the searchers she has wounded men in her bedroom and that they please not be disturbed, and the Confederates politely obey, assuming she is the lady of the house. Thus Kilpatrick's staff escapes capture.

By this time a full-scale melee is bursting out all over the Monroe yard as the Union men counterattack. As Alice steps out onto the porch a chivalrous Confederate officer, still thinking she's the lady of the house, rushes up to rescue her from her peril. He escorts her to a ditch where she is sheltered from the fire, but a soldier notes that she is proof that curiosity in women is stronger than the love of life she keeps sticking her head out to see the action.

Meanwhile Kilpatrick finds some of his scattered men, locates a saddleless nag to ride, and leads them back into the fight in one of the least picturesque rallies ever, still in his shirttail. The counterattack is successful, the Monroe house recaptured, and honor is (sort of) saved. Alice goes back to New England, and Kilpatrick, who has lost literally everything except his shirt, begs Wade Hampton to return his beloved horse Spot. With an incredulous sneer, Hampton does so.

Although the reader might get somewhat lost in all the troop movements, the basic story is a good read. There really needs to be a 'populist' version of this story because not everyone will make it through to the good parts, but the book is still recommended. . more

Many of my readers are no strangers to the fine work which Eric J. Wittenberg has published throughout his career and this is yet another addition to his cavalcade of Civil War academia. Originally published in 2006, the 2015 edition makes the work available in paperback. The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads is an excellent study into the final campaign of the Civil War. The general idea is that the Civil War ended with the surrender of General Lee during the Appomattox Campaign and the writing sur Many of my readers are no strangers to the fine work which Eric J. Wittenberg has published throughout his career and this is yet another addition to his cavalcade of Civil War academia. Originally published in 2006, the 2015 edition makes the work available in paperback. The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads is an excellent study into the final campaign of the Civil War. The general idea is that the Civil War ended with the surrender of General Lee during the Appomattox Campaign and the writing surrounding Sherman accepting Johnston’s surrender has not been justly covered. Here, in this work, we get a look into the ways in which the final campaign was the last and epic conclusion the Civil War deserved.
Eric J. Wittenberg is the author of many works including The Devil’s to Pay: John Buford at Gettysburg, Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Action and Protecting the Flank at Gettysburg. He has authored many other numerous works with other co-authors including the famous Plenty of Blame to Go Around. He is the recipient of many awards and has often been chosen as the History and Military Book Club selections. Some of his awards include the 1998 Bachelder Coddington Award and the Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Writing Award. He is considered an authority on Civil War Cavalry.
The work opens with an incredible biographical sketch of Judson Kilpatrick whom we got to see in his book on South Cavalry Field at Gettysburg, but is detailed more in depth here. One of the highlights which has been seen all throughout the work of Wittenberg is the way in which he explains the political and militaristic background of the characters involved in the fighting. I found this especially well done when talking about Kilpatrick. I believe he is one of the more forgotten about commanders of the war, and here Wittenberg does him justice. The narrative of the battle is done in a well written easy to follow style aided by both photographs of the field and maps. One of the things which struck me as I read through his battle analysis was the humanistic element which he brought to the combat. When talking about the cavalry charge, it seemed as though the tension from the combatants was reaching out to me as a reader more than any other cavalry charge described in Civil War accounts. This cavalry charge is, as stated above in the introduction, the last epic conclusion the Civil War deserved. I can think of no other author who could have written such a fine narrative to describe the events here.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the final year of the Civil War. This is a battle most people do not normally hear about and because of this fine work by Wittenberg, it has been brought to light. The narrative flows quite nicely with the regular Wittenberg style we have all come to know and love. This book proves that Wittenberg really is the authority on Civil War cavalry and should be considered as such for this generation and the generation to come.


The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads, fought March 10, 1865, was one of most important but least known engagements of William T. Sherman's Carolinas Campaign. Confederate cavalry, led by Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton and Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler, launched a savage surprise attack on the sleeping camp of Maj. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, Sherman's cavalry chief. After three hours of some of the toughest cavalry fighting of the entire Civil War, Hampton broke off and withdrew. His attack, however, had stopped Kilpatrick's advance and bought another precious day for Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee to evacuate his command from Fayetteville. This, in turn, permitted Hardee to join the command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and set the stage for the climactic Battle of Bentonville nine days later.

Noted Civil War author Eric Wittenberg has written the first detailed tactical narrative of this important but long-forgotten battle, and places it in its proper context within the entire campaign. His study features 28 original maps and 50 illustrations. Finally, an author of renown has brought to vivid life this overlooked portion of the Carolinas Campaign.

Ohio Attorney Eric J. Wittenberg is a noted Civil War cavalry historian and the author of some dozen books and two dozens articles on the Civil War. His first book, "Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions," won the 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award.


Crossroads to civil war

    Subjects:
    Lebanon -- Politics and government.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

StatementKamal S. Salibi.
The Physical Object
Paginationviii, 178 p. :
Number of Pages178
ID Numbers
Open LibraryOL16419307M
ISBN 100903729199

Alexandria: Crossroads of Civil War That Started Years Ago Today. What are you reading during the stay-at-home order? If you're a Civil War buff, you'll want to read two books by local author and history expert William S. : Mary Ann Barton. Best-selling author and acclaimed Civil War expert Stephen W. Sears, hailed by The New York Times Book Review as “arguably the preeminent living historian of the war’s eastern theater,” crafts what will stand the test of time as the definitive history of the greatest battle ever fought on American soil. Drawing on years of research, Sears focuses on the big picture, capturing the entire.

The NOOK Book (eBook) of the Marching Through Culpeper: A Novel of Culpeper, Virginia, Crossroads of the Civil War by Virginia Beard Morton at Barnes & Due to COVID, orders may be delayed. Thank you for your : Virginia Beard Morton. Search the world's most comprehensive index of full-text books. My libraryMissing: Civil War.

Home Confluence & Crossroads - The Civil War in the American Heartland History of the 24th New Jersey Regiment Volunteers Reference URL To link to the . Civil War hardback book "Crisis at the Crossroads - The First Day at Gettysburg" by Warren W. Hassler. This book has been in my personal library for 10+ years and is still in outstanding, Like New condition, including the dust cover (wrapped in a protective plastic jacket). A reprint of the original University of Alabama Press Rating: % positive.

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Crossroads to civil war by Kamal S. Salibi Download PDF EPUB FB2

Crossroads to Civil War: Lebanon 3rd Edition by Kamal S. Salibi (Author)Cited by: Written by Georgia Civil War Commission staff members Barry L.

Brown and Gordon R. Elwell, this full-color edition of Crossroads of Conflict is an updated and significantly expanded version of the guide released by the state of Georgia in Crossroads of Conflict is arranged geographically, separating the state into nine distinct regions.

Beginning in northeast Georgia, sites are followed west to east, /5(23). Lots of informations are given in general, without going into much details, showing that the purpose of the book mainly strives to give the reader a general look onto the start of the Lebanese civil war.

This is also probably partly due to the fact that Salibi writes finished writing this book in/5. The book is an indispensable traveler’s companion.”—Brandon H. Beck, Director, McCormick Civil War Institute, Shenandoah University " Crossroads of Conflict will no doubt be a treasured possession for those who like to visit historic sites and potentially a boon to Georgia tourism."/5(2).

This series features detailed overviews of lesser-known, though still important, Civil War battles. Brice's Crossroads is considered Nathan Bedford Forrest's greatest victory and this slim volume explains exactly how it was done. A great companion if you are going to visit the battle site/5(13).

Crossroads to Civil War by Kamal S. Salibi,Ithaca Press edition, in EnglishCited by: This series features detailed overviews of lesser-known, though still important, Civil War battles. Brice's Crossroads is considered Nathan Bedford Forrest's greatest victory and this slim volume explains exactly how it was done.

A great companion if you are going to visit the battle site /5(13). Crossroads of Conflict book. Read 2 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The impact of the Civil War on Georgia was greater than any o /5. Fought 14 miles west of Fayetteville, North Carolina, the Battle at Monroe's Crossroads was the last large scale cavalry engagement of the American Civil War.

At dawn of March 9thWade Hampton and Joe Wheeler's men attack Judson Kilpatrick's unguarded, sleeping /5(17). Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam: The Battle that Changed the Course of the Civil War explores the first years of the war leading up to the battle of Antietam and the effects it had on the nation and the world both psychologically and politically.4/5.

Confederate Flag Lanyard. $ Add to cart. Confederate Naval Jack/Battleflag Sewn Cotton – 3’x5′ Flag. $ Add to cart. Recent Products. Valor in Gray: The Recipients of the Confederate Medal of Honor. $ Add to cart.

Unreconstructed Virginia Stick Flag –. The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads is one of those engagements which every Civil War buff ought to know, mainly for its sheer lunacy and storytelling value.

Wade Hampton, Joe Wheeler, and the Confederate cavalry have a mission: To capture Judson Kilpatrick/5. It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads: the suffering, the enormous tragedy of the whole thing.”- Shelby Foote, from The Civil War When the illustrated edition of The Civil War was first published, The New York Time hailed it as “a treasure for the eye and mind.”.

Antietam: Crossroads of Freedom became one of those rare books. I read and enjoyed it a few years ago, but have now just re-read it as part of the "Let's Talk about it: Making Sense of the American Civil War" series I have mentioned here before.

A Virginia Girl in the Civil War $ Add to cart Aaron’s Rod Blossoming $ Add to cart America History for Home Schools, toWith a Focus on Our Civil War $ Add to cart Beyond Slavery: The Northern Romantic Nationalist Origins of America’s Civil War $ Add to cart Bringing Back the Black Robed Regiment – Book $ Add to cart.

Book is in typical used-Good Condition. Will show signs of wear to cover and/or pages. There may be underlining, highlighting, and or writing. May not include supplemental items (like discs, access codes, dust jacket, etc). Will be a good Reading copy. CROSSROADS TO CIVIL WAR: LEBANON By Kamal S.

Salibi - Hardcover. Detailed Minutiae of [Soldier Life] in the Army of [Northern Virginia] [Full Audio Book] Richard Wayne Lykes | War & Military | Audiobook full unabridged Sherman’s. Inhe published both a scholarly book, Crossroads of Freedom: Antietamand a history of the American Civil War for children, Fields of Fury.

McPherson published This Mighty Scourge ina series of essays about the American Civil War. One essay describes the huge difficulty of negotiation when regime change is a war aim on either side of a e works: Battle Cry of Freedom (), For Cause.

The Battle of Davis's Cross Roads, also known as the Battle of Dug Gap, was fought September 10–11,in northwestern Georgia, as part of the Chickamauga Campaign of the American Civil War.

It was more of a series of maneuvers and skirmishes than an actual battle and casualties were on: Dade County, Georgia and Walker County. The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads had little impact on the war’s outcome, but it offers an excellent study of Civil War cavalry tactics.

This book vividly portrays the uncommon valor exhibited by horsemen in both blue and gray and reinforces Wittenberg’s reputation as a distinguished chronicler of Civil War cavalry engagements. Originally published in the June issue of Civil War Times.

To subscribe, click here. The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads (also known as the Battle of Fayetteville Road, and colloquially in the North as Kilpatrick's Shirttail Skedaddle) was a battle during the Carolinas Campaign of the American Civil War in Cumberland County, North Carolina (now in Hoke County), on the grounds of the present day Fort Bragg Military ing about 4, men, it pitted mounted Location: Hoke County, near Fayetteville, North Carolina.

"Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam " by James M. McPherson The great historian James McPherson presents his account of Antietam, the savage Civil War .The Confederate victory at Brices Cross Roads was a significant victory for Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest, but its long term effect on the war proved costly for the Confederates.

Brices Cross Roads is an excellent example of winning the battle, but losing the war. There is more to Brices Cross Roads than just the monument site.


The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and the Civil War's Final Campaign, Eric Wittenberg - History

This book provides a great rendering of an often overlooked piece of history. As Gen. Robert E. Lee was winding down his defense of Richmond and Petersburg before attempting to retreat into the Virginia countryside, there was still a lot of fighting going on in the Carolinas. By March 10, 1865, Sherman’s army had torn through South Carolina and was breathing down the neck of Fayetteville, North Carolina. It was there at Monroe’s Crossroads near the farm of Charles Monroe that the last major cavalry battle occurred. Only the most knowledgeable student of the American Civil War is familiar with this action, but more trivia buffs will have heard of it as “Kilpatrick’s Shirttail Skedaddle.”

At dawn on March 10, Confederate cavalry under Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton and Major Generals Joseph Wheeler and Matthew C. Butler struck the Yankee cavalry of Maj. Gen. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, who had neglected to properly guard and picket the woods and swamps surrounding his camp. The surprise was so complete that Kilpatrick literally ran from the house – where he had been keeping company with a young woman simply remembered by history as “Alice” – in his bed clothes where he hopped a borrowed horse and fled into the swamp. The Confederates enjoyed a rare numerical advantage and would likely have achieved a complete victory had it not been for a topographical blunder that resulted in Wheeler’s men becoming bogged down in the swamp.

As it was, the barely clad Kilpatrick was able to regain his camp and claim victory – and attempt to regain some small amount of dignity – despite having fled in his underclothes and having left “Alice” to her own devices during the raid. The most important factor of this battle, however was not the technical nor tactical nature of victory based on who held the ground at the end of the day. Although, Hampton had a strong desire to capture and embarrass his old enemy, Kilpatrick, the larger goal was to cover the movements of the Confederate infantry as they navigated the crossing of the Cape Fear River. This allowed them to find favorable ground for what was to be their grand last stand at the Battle of Bentonville.


The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and the Civil War's Final Campaign, Eric Wittenberg - History

In February of 1865, Union General Sherman and his Federal force of 60,000 men were moving from Columbia , South Carolina, north towards Charlotte , North Carolina, where Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston had assumed command of the Army of Tennessee. The only organized Confederate forces in the area were Lieutenant General William J. Hardee’s Infantry Corps of 8,000 and Lieutenant General Joseph Wheeler and Major General Matthew C. Butler’s Cavalry that were combined on March 8th under Lieutenant General Wade Hampton and totaled approximately 5,800.

Gen. Sherman chose to swing east towards Fayetteville to allow resupply from Wilmington , destroy the arsenal (now the site of the Museum of the Cape Fear ), threaten Raleigh and eventually link up with other Federal forces from the coast in Goldsboro . Gen. Sherman delayed indicating his intentions in the hope of trapping the Confederate forces on the west side of the Cape Fear River by beating them into Fayetteville and seizing the bridge. Major General Kilpatrick operated well forward and to the left of the main Federal force as if scouting the route to Charlotte, with the intention of turning east at the last possible moment.

Gen. Johnston hoped to use his cavalry to isolate a wing of Sherman ’s army and destroy it causing a delay in Sherman ’s movement, and allowing him to consolidate the Confederate forces. Thus, Lt. Gen. Wheeler and Maj. Gen.Butler were under order to attack the wing of Sherman ’s army should the opportunity present itself.

APPROACHING THE CAMP: MARCH 9, 1865

Hampered by rain and harassed by Confederate Patrols, Kilpatrick’s Division was strung out and scattered, but moving east along Morganton Road . The 1st Brigade, furthest back, had been instructed to proceed down Chicken Road in the hopes of blocking the Confederate Cavalry. Kilpatrick’s scouts entered the camp at Monroe ’s Crossroads in the morning and camped south of Nicholson Creek to await the rest of the Division. The 3rd and 4th Brigades as well as a section of artillery from the 10th Wisconsin Light Battery arrived next around 2100. Kilpatrick, his staff and a detail from the 3rd Brigade had stayed behind to direct the 2nd Brigade to follow along Morganton Road after it had closed up. Kilpatrick and his escort were also approaching the camp.

Butler’s advance guard arrived at the intersection of Yadkin and Morganton Roads. They noted that at least a mounted brigade had passed the spot very recently. As they discussed the situation, Kilpatrick’s advance guard also arrived at the intersection and was promptly captured. Kilpatrick and his escorts, following a short distance behind, narrowly made their escape through the woods to the south, skirting the Confederate units and reentering Morganton Road to the east where they proceeded on to the camp. The Union scouts had not detected the Confederate Cavalry thus leading Kilpatrick to believe that the incident at the intersection and the sporadic gunfire to the west was the result of a chance encounter with a Confederate patrol. Brevet Brigadier General Atkins and the 2nd Brigade, also moving east toward camp behind Kilpatrick came upon the rear of Butler ’s Division. They were undetected by the Confederates. Realizing the road ahead was blocked, they countermarched in order to find a way around. Soon the brigade was mired down in the swamp of Piney Bottom Creek. To the south, three divisions of Sherman ’s infantry entered Plank Road , and were also moving east.

Throughout the rainy night the Confederates scouted the Federal camp determining the exact location of each unit and their commands. Kilpatrick and his female companion, along with her mother and several other officers were quartered in the Monroe house (currently unoccupied). The Union officers were tired, wet, and confident that the war would soon end in their favor. They were not as diligent in their defense of the camp as they should have been. Guards had been set out in the direction of Fayetteville , but few to the west and none to the north where the Confederates were now approaching. Confederate Captain Shannon and his scouts succeeded in capturing the only guards to the west without a shot, leaving the entire north and west sides of the camp open to Confederate reconnaissance. The Confederate scouts were able to go right into the Union camp and lead horses away without being detected.

Hampton proposed a dawn attack led by Butler ’s Division from the north, Wheeler’s Corps from the northwest and Hume’s Division from the west across a small tributary of Nicholson Creek. Hampton further gave control of the battle to Wheeler to carry out as planned leaving himself and Brig. Gen. Dibrell in reserve.

To the east the Union 2nd Brigade had extracted themselves from the swamp and were moving again down Morganton Road . The Union 1st Brigade, farthest back, was just departing Bethesda Church moving toward Chicken Road .

Wheeler gave the command: “The Walk!” and the command moved out spurred on by the bugler. Wheeler shouted “The Trot!” and after a few short minutes “The Gallop!”. The full momentum of hundreds of gray horsemen in columns of regiments was now bearing down on the awakening Federals. They swept past the house and into the camp, firing pistols and slashing with sabers. The Confederate POWs were the first to realize an attack was underway and began to make their escape towards the attacking Confederates. Before they could be identified some were shot by their comrades. Many attacking Confederates were confused thinking the first line had been repulsed. The attack so surprised the Federals that they could do little more than flee south where the swamps of Nicholson Creek stopped their retreat. The Confederates completely overran the camp stopping only when the Federals seemed to be completely run off. The prospect of much loot in the camp became their primary concern. Turning back into the camp they encountered still more fleeing Federals. Confusion reigned and hand to hand combat was common.

“WHERE IS GENERAL KILPATRICK?”

During the night planning of the battle at least three Confederate officers developed plans for the capture of Kilpatrick. During the melee of the battle however, only Confederate Captain Bostick had the chance to carry out his orders. Kilpatrick had come out to the porch just before the attack, but was not yet in uniform. Captain Bostick rode up with the first wave of the attack and, not recognizing Kilpatrick, demanded “Where is General Kilpatrick?”. Kilpatrick, realizing his luck replied “There he goes on that horse!” and Bostick and his escort quickly rode off after an unfortunate officer who was making his escape down Blue’s Road. Kilpatrick ran for the cover of the woods and swamp to the south of camp, joining up with most of his units there.

CONFEDERATE RIGHT BOGS DOWN

Confederate Brig. Gen. Humes to the west had also attacked at the sound of the bugle, but was immediately repulsed by dense thicket and heavy fire from the Federal 1st Alabama Cavalry. This unit was in the southern portion of the camp, and had not received the brunt of the initial attack. Hume’s division, in their night maneuver to attack position had positioned themselves west of not one, but two of the tributaries to Nicholson Creek. He was now aware that they were attempting to attack across an impenetrable swamp. Humes ordered his attack to pull back and move north to find an easier crossing.

The Federal soldiers now floundering neck deep in the swamps south of camp broke off their flight and, encouraged by the arrival of Kilpatrick and other soldiers made their way back to the edge of the camp. As the Federal veterans began to organize their line and prepare the weapons they had instinctively grabbed in flight they were joined by Kilpatrick’s Scouts, who had camped south of Nicholson Creek and were now just arriving after hearing the gunfire.

CONFEDERATES SCRAMBLE FOR SUPPLIES

In camp, order was impossible to maintain as hundreds of hungry and ill-clothed Confederates intermingled in the confined area of the camp in a desperate attempt to collect food and supplies. Wheeler ordered some of his men to begin pulling away the guns, but this endeavor was stopped short as the rapid firing Spencer carbines of the reorganized Federal lines to the south began to take their toll on the Confederates in the camp. Unable to reorganize the scattered Confederate units in the camp, Wheeler sent for Dibrell to bring the reserve forward. As the Federals continued their advancing fire into the camp couriers soon returned to Wheeler with the news that Hampton had already brought the reserves onto the field, and they too were now scattered and useless to the Confederate commanders.


NPS

In the confusion, First Lieutenant Ebenezer Stetson, commanding the Federal artillery section, managed to reach his 3 inch Hotchiss gun and fire. Inspired, the Federals surged forward and other gunners joined him. The Confederates reacted quickly, cutting down the exposed gunners and gathering together for a counterattack. Led by Wheeler, elements of Allen’s Division again charged into the camp only to meet a withering fire from the Federal carbines. The charge was broken off, reformed and another attempt was made only to be repulsed even more decisively than the first. Upon seeing Wheeler’s charges repulsed, Butler attempted his own with elements of Young’s Brigade but was met by a barrage of canister fire. Wheeler and Hampton quickly conferred and decided that in view of the probability that Federal Infantry would soon be on the scene withdrawal would be prudent. Exhaustion, lack of ammunition and no encouragement from their commanders prevented a Union pursuit.

Kilpatrick and his men hurriedly buried the dead and moved out traveling south on Blues Rosin Road to Plank Road and then east toward Fayetteville .

The Confederate Cavalry moved slowly into Fayetteville and established camp at the arsenal, allowing the wounded to be treated at local hospitals and homes. On the morning of March 11, with Sherman ’s army closing in, the Confederates evacuated Fayetteville and crossed the Cape Fear leaving a few Cavalry to burn the bridge as the Federals approached.

The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads was over by 0900 on the morning of March 10, leaving perhaps 200 dead and a larger number of wounded and prisoners. Official reports and accounts written long after the war vary greatly in the numbers of casualties and captures.

(References listed at bottom of page.)

Recommended Reading : Battle of Monroe 's Crossroads and the Civil War's Final Campaign (Hardcover). Description: The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads, fought March 10, 1865, was one of most important but least known engagements of William T. Sherman's Carolinas Campaign. Confederate cavalry, led by Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton and Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler, launched a savage surprise attack on the sleeping camp of Maj. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, Sherman 's cavalry chief. After three hours of some of the toughest cavalry fighting of the entire Civil War, Hampton broke off and withdrew. His attack, however, had stopped Kilpatrick's advance and bought another precious day for Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee to evacuate his command from Fayetteville . This, in turn, permitted Hardee to join the command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and set the stage for the climactic Battle of Bentonville nine days later. Continued below…

Noted Civil War author Eric Wittenberg has written the first detailed tactical narrative of this important but long-forgotten battle, and places it in its proper context within the entire campaign. His study features 28 original maps and 50 illustrations. Finally, an author of renown has brought to vivid life this overlooked portion of the Carolinas Campaign. About the Author: Ohio Attorney Eric J. Wittenberg is a noted Civil War cavalry historian and the author of some dozen books and two dozens articles on the Civil War. His first book, " Gettysburg 's Forgotten Cavalry Actions," won the 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award.


Wade Hampton and Judson Kilpatrick

Beginning in the spring of 1863, Wade Hampton and Judson Kilpatrick tangled on many a cavalry battlefield. By 1865, Hampton was a lieutenant general—THE highest-ranking cavalry officer in the history of the Confederacy—and Kilpatrick was Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s chief of cavalry for his Carolinas Campaign. These two old adversaries clashed on many a battlefield through the course of the war, but no engagement engendered more bitter feelings than did the March 10, 1865, battle of Monroe’s Crossroads.

At Monroe’s Crossroads, Hampton, with his division and Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler’s Cavalry Corps from the Army of Tennessee, in an effort to keep Kilpatrick’s cavalry tied up long enough for Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee’s infantry to make it across the Cape Fear River at Fayetteville, North Carolina, pounced on Kilpatrick’s sleeping camp. Overconfident, Kilpatrick failed to put out sufficient cavalry pickets, so the surprise attack by Hampton and Wheeler caught the Federals completely off guard. Kilpatrick was nearly captured and had to flee into a swamp barefoot and clad only in his nightshirt. Kilpatrick eventually rallied his troops and re-captured his camp after hard dismounted fighting. When Hampton learned that infantry reinforcements of the 14 th Corps were on their way, he broke off and withdrew, his goal of keeping Kilpatrick’s cavalry tied up for an entire day accomplished. The battle of Monroe’s Crossroads became, to the federal commander’s eternal embarrassment, known as Kilpatrick’s Shirt-Tail Skedaddle, and was the subject of much good-natured ribbing.

Hardee and his infantry escaped through Fayetteville and safely made their way across the Cape Fear River there. They burned the Clarendon Bridge behind them, with Wheeler’s troopers acting as a rearguard. Sherman had to stop for several days to wait for bridging equipment to come up from Wilmington. That delay, in turn, allowed Hardee to build a solid defense in depth at Averasboro, where, with 8500 men, he held off half of Sherman’s army—about 35,000 men—for an entire day on March 16. Hardee’s command then joined Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s army at Smithfield, and fought hard at Bentonville from March 19-21.

After being defeated at Bentonville, Johnston withdrew to Raleigh in the hope of linking up with Robert E. Lee’s army near Danville, Virginia. When Lee surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, Johnston withdrew his troops to Greensboro, and then set out to make peace with Sherman, convinced that there was no justification for continuing the bloodshed. The two officers agreed to meet at James Bennett’s house, five miles from Durham Station, at noon on April 17, 1865.

The appointed hour arrived, and the two generals, with their entourages arrived. Hampton accompanied Johnston, while Kilpatrick accompanied Sherman. After some pleasantries, the two commanders adjourned to the Bennett house to conduct their negotiations for the surrender of all Confederate troops remaining in the field.

While waiting for Sherman and Johnston to complete their business, Hampton and his son, Lt. Wade Hampton, IV, lounged on a carpenter’s bench outside the Bennett house. The elder Hampton wore his best uniform, topped by a black felt hat adorned with gold braid. He carried a switch that day, instead of his huge broadsword, as if to say he could still thrash any Yankee foolish enough to cross his path.

Determined to end the fraternizing among his men, Hampton snarled, “Fall in!” When Kilpatrick approached to protest, remembered one witness, “Wade Hampton looked savage enough to eat ‘Little Kil’”, which prompted his antagonist to return “his looks most defiantly.”

“The war is over,” proclaimed Kilpatrick to his old adversary. “Let the men fraternize.”

“I do not intend to surrender,” snapped Hampton. He added that he would never fraternize with the Yankees, “but would retaliate with torch and sword” to avenge the style of war the North had waged. With a stern tone, Hampton again snarled at his troopers, “Fall in!”

“General Hampton, you compel me to remind you that you have no authority here,” shot back Kilpatrick.

“Permit me, sir, to remind you,” answered the South Carolinian, his words dripping with disdain, “that Napoleon said that any general who would permit him to be surprised is a very poor soldier, and I surprised you [at Monroe’s Crossroads].”

“Yes, but what did Napoleon say of one general who after having surprised another, allowed himself to be whipped by his opposite in his shirt and drawers?” sneered Little Kil in return. And so, the two old horse soldiers began refighting their campaigns.”

“Well, General, down yonder in Linch’s Creek, I gave you a splendid entertainment, but you were too strong for me,” Kilpatrick teased his old adversary by referring to an incident in South Carolina in February.

“When and where?” demanded Hampton.

“Oh, when I was after your wagon train and fought your cavalry and a regiment of infantry,” replied Kilpatrick.

Hampton laughed. “Beg pardon, General, allow me to introduce you to Col. Gib Wright who was in command that day with one regiment of cavalry and twenty dismounted men.”[1] With that, barbs really began to fly.

The longer this discussion lasted, the more heated and louder it became. “I have heard of your promise to pursue me to the death, General Kilpatrick,” exclaimed an angry Hampton. “I only wish to say that you will not have to pursue far.”

“Well, I’ll go where I’m sent,” retorted Kilpatrick.

“Oh? You sometimes go where you are not sent?” shot back Hampton, prompting some nearby federals to chuckle at the reference to Kilpatrick’s hasty retreat into the swamp at Monroe’s Crossroads.

“You refer to the time you surprised me near Fayetteville?” shot back Little Kil.

“Yes,” answered the South Carolinian. “A general surprised is a general disgraced.”

“That happened once. It will never happen again,” said Kilpatrick.

“This is the second time. Remember Atlee’s Station?” taunted Hampton, referring to a scrap during Kilpatrick’s aborted February 1864 raid on Richmond. “General Kilpatrick, when I look at men like you, I feel like Wellington, who said under the circumstances, I thank God for my belief in a hell.” The assembled crowd exploded in laughter, which only caused Kilpatrick’s already simmering anger to boil.

When one of Kilpatrick’s taunts finally drew Hampton’s ire, the big Confederate rose from the carpenter’s bench, loomed dangerously over his diminutive adversary, and proclaimed, “Well, you never ran me out of Headquarters in my stocking feet!” A Northern horse soldier who overheard the exchange observed that Hampton’s retort “was a home thrust and too true to be funny.”

Anger clouded Kilpatrick’s ruddy face. The Union commander replied that Hampton had to leave faster than he came, and then “words grew hot” with “both parties expressing a desire that the issue of the war should be left between the cavalry.” Their row had by this time grown quite loud, such that Sherman and Johnston had to interrupt their discussions to separate the two cavalrymen. “These gentlemen parted with no increased love for each other,” humorously noted a newspaper correspondent who witnessed this episode. Another observer noted that once Sherman and Johnston separated their cavalry commanders, “the conference went on pleasantly enough.”

After some high drama that will have to wait for another day’s blog post, Johnston eventually surrendered all remaining Confederate armies in the field to Sherman on April 26 on the same terms as those given to Lee’s army at Appomattox. Wade Hampton, however, refused to surrender. Bitter at being blamed by Sherman for burning Columbia, South Carolina in February and by the torching of his plantation by Yankee soldiers, and devastated by having his brother and one of his sons killed in battle, Hampton had no interest in surrendering. He, in fact, refused to do so, and instead marched his command away. When he was unable to join President Jefferson Davis’ flight south, Hampton decided to disband his command rather than surrender it. He bade farewell to his men and eventually changed his mind and decided to surrender too.

In the years after the Civil War, Hampton became involved in politics. He was elected governor of South Carolina in 1876, the first Democrat to be elected to office there in the post-war era. After serving as governor, Hampton was appointed to serve two terms as U. S. Senator from South Carolina, serving from 1879-1891. In 1881, when Pres. James A. Garfield nominated Hampton’s old foe, Judson Kilpatrick, to be ambassador to Chile, the nomination required the advice and consent of the Senate. Wade Hampton placed his old adversary’s name before the Senate, and Kilpatrick was unanimously approved.

Gone, at last, was the bitterness of the Shirt Tail Skedaddle and the ugly confrontation at Bennett Place. Peace had finally come.

[1] Hampton referred to Col. Gilbert J. “Gib” Wright, the commander of the Cobb Legion Cavalry of Georgia.


The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads: The Civil War's Last Campaign (English Edition) Illustrated Edição, eBook Kindle

Typical of Eric J. Wittenberg's other books this is a remarkably fine work. Fought 14 miles west of Fayetteville, North Carolina, the Battle at Monroe's Crossroads was the last large scale cavalry engagement of the American Civil War.

At dawn of March 9th 1865, Wade Hampton and Joe Wheeler's men attack Judson Kilpatrick's unguarded, sleeping camp and completely rout the Federals. But the Confederates fail to follow up on their initial success, stopping instead to loot the Federal encampment of the captured food, weapons, horses and equipage. This gives Kilpatrick time to form a line of battle which increasingly rallies the disorganized Federal troops. With the aid of recaptured Federal guns and dismounted cavalry who are mistaken for infantry support, the Union subsequently succeeds in driving their attackers from the field.

As all battles go it was a very close thing, embarrassing to Kilpatrick, and frustrating to Hampton and Wheeler. Pitting 4,000 Confederates against 3,000 Federals, the Confederate cavalry give their infantry one additional day of time to withdraw from Fayetteville, avoiding entanglement with left wing of Sherman's Army commanded by Henry Slocum. It was one of the last battles fought by General Sherman in his march through the Carolinas, setting up the final engagement with Joe Johnston at Bentonville a few weeks later.

This is a wonderfully researched book and Eric Wittenberg is at his absolute best in describing the battle, the backgrounds of the primary participants and the meaning of this engagement in what turned out to be the final campaign for the Confederacy. Very well done.

Eric Wittenberg solidifies his standing as our best Civil War Cavalry author by continuing to produce high quality, well-researched, readable histories that are both informative and fun. Using Savas Beatie as his publisher is a "Dream Team" for enthusiasts. Maps, maps and more maps ensure that you will never be lost and will instantly understand what retaking the guns means. The list of illustrations is one and a half pages the list of maps is two and a half pages. Clearly stating that both the author and publisher understand what is nice, illustrations and what is necessary, maps. Since most of us will never get into Fort Bragg to walk the battle field, the maps substitute nicely keeping us orientated and in position.

The book is well researched, footnoted and complete within the time we are considering. The confrontation between Hampton and Kilpatrick outside the Bennett home, capture the men, their feelings and the time. It provides a logical beginning to the story, even if it occurs at the end. While presenting the reader with clear concise portraits of the major figures, the supporting cast is not ignored. The strengths and weakness of each Cavalry force is clearly described. This introduction gives us the needed background to understand the depth of feeling and desperation that contributes to the battle.

Weather and terrain conspire to hinder both sides building a waterlogged hell for man and beast. This produces a major impact on the campaign and the battle, becoming a story within the story. J.E. Johnston's army must cross over the Cape Fear River, Hampton's cavalry is trying to screen this movement and delay Sherman's army. Judson Kilpatrick, commanding Sherman's cavalry almost by default, is trying to get around Hampton while protecting Sherman's foraging parties and supply trains.

Kilpatrick allows his cavalry to spread out, become badly separated and fails to protect the approaches to the camps. Wade Hampton and Joe Wheeler size an opportunity and attack a portion of Kilpatrick's command. The resulting battle is at close quarters, fought by veterans is a stand up fight with neither side stepping back. Eric Wittenberg details what the commanders do right wrong and where they lose control. This results in an understandable sew-saw battle narrative as first one side and than the other attacks. Here the detailed maps are as valuable as the writing. Working together, the reader never gets lost always using one to support the other.

This is more than a battle book as the battle is placed within the context of the campaign and the war. This placement, allows us the answer the very complex question "Who won?" The last chapters cover the aftermath of the battle, what it did to and for Johnston & Sherman and give us a glimpse of the participant's later life. An Order of battle and detailed list of causalities complete the history of the battle.

Appendix C & D, answer a couple of questions that are not technically part of the battle but relate to it. Both provide us with Human Interests items and make the story personal and complete. One deals with who was the woman in Kilpatrick's HQ and the other with "Fighting" Joe Wheeler's rank.


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