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Ebook The Army of Robert E. Lee by Philip R.N. Katcher read! Book Title: The Army of Robert E. Lee
The author of the book: Philip R.N. Katcher
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 11.75 MB
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Loaded: 1639 times
Reader ratings: 7.8
Edition: Arms & Armour Press
Date of issue: August 1st 1994
ISBN: 1854091743
ISBN 13: 9781854091741
Language: English

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An expert encyclopedic approach to the Army of Northern Virginia. It's not an operational history, but rather a series of short chapters on organisational aspects.

The origins of the army as a buffer for Richmond gave birth to a criticism in hindsight, that his raison d'ĂȘtre as Davis' shield led Lee to neglect other theaters, not without merit. Short biographies of the man himself and his well-known lieutenants (Jackson, Longstreet, Hill, Early) accentuate their joint tactical shortcomings. Lee evolved from King of Spades into an overly aggressive tactician, whose underlings often failed to press home with the required vigour.

There's a fair amount of regulation-derived data on uniforms and equipment, in sharp contrast with the shoddy reality in the field. Mounted men in any capacity went for comfort, barefoot soldiers carried everything in a shoulder roll blanket & officers strove to make themselves inconspicuous to enemy snipers. Every weapon, every item manufactured in the South seemed to have a rough finish & substitute material. Old muskets & imported rifles were not always re-born to take the standard cartridge Rope, wood and canvas replaced leather & metal. Slouch hats outnumbered caps. Confederate belt buckles have decoloured red over the century because of their high copper content. Pillaging the fruits of Northern industry on the fields of victory was the lifeblood of Lee's logistics, with the occasional overabundance left rotting in the rain.

Each combat & support arm passes the revue in this manner, with a fait-divers thrown in. The infantry was predominant and too savvy to cling to the elbow precision of its Napoleonic drill manuals, in effect turning battle lines into skirmish lines, where veterans re-loading a mixture of ball & buckshot behind every rock knew that their buddy had their back behind the next tree. The ad hoc insertion of replacements deluded this fighting quality as much as the increasing desertion rate.

The artillery suffered bad quality shells. The cavalry, for all it's valourous hunger for the saber charge, usually reined in & settled close encounters by carbine and pistol. The Signal Corps was crafty in regularly changing its code for fear of keen-eyed Yankee spies. The good doctor used maggots to eat away dead tissue in a horrifying precedent on today's skin-nibbling fishes. Chaplains dragged their wounded flock in the ambulances together with the drummer boys and just occasionally, fought off the wolves.

A small operational judgement on Lee's Army in respectively attack and defence is passed via Chancellorsville (Lee's "greatest tactical triumph") and its spell in the trechworks of Petersburg. There is some continuity in the combined-arms approach: cavalry on the flanks, peering and blinding. Infantry on the main job. Artillery on the "Five man is a target, one man is a waste of ammo" carnage principle.

For the serious student, there's about 30% lists, lists, lists. the Order of Battle section goes down to regimental level for each major engagement, the roll of Generals down to brigade level. Even the chaplains are listed next to the artillery park and the monthly horse strength.


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On one Breath

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This book will make you shudder, infiltrate, and change your mind about this crazy world.




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