The Battle of Ezra Church and the Struggle for Atlanta

Univ. of North Carolina. May 2015. 304p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781469622415. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781469622422. HIST
Civil War scholar Hess (history, Lincoln Memorial Univ.; The Union Soldier in Battle) presents a detailed revisionist history of the Battle of Ezra Church, one of three key confrontations for control of Atlanta that prefaced Union general William Tecumseh Sherman's famous March to the Sea in 1864. This first book-length study of the battle challenges a longstanding contention, based on comparative casualty figures, that Confederate soldiers had little chance to prevail in their offensive against the lines of Union general Oliver Otis Howard. With a detailed and fascinating analytical narrative, Hess demonstrates that the real battle was staged at the tactical level. From that point of view, Gen. Stephen D. Lee's Confederates effectively challenged Howard's Northern troops. Hess, author of many other volumes on the Civil War and the Atlanta Campaign, successfully places Ezra Church in the context of the broader strategic conflict of which it was a part. Additionally, this work helps readers understand the struggle as experienced by the soldiers who fought it at close range with little weaponry other than what was in their hands.
VERDICT Based on extensive archival and library research, this work is a model of well-written Civil War history. Recommended for regional collections in the South as well as libraries with significant focus on military history, especially of the Civil War.
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