I was delighted to find an excerpt from David Powell’s upcoming book Failure in the Saddle in the Fall 2010 edition of CWPT‘s Hallowed Ground. Powell is one of the two or three most knowledgeable people I am aware of on the Chickamauga campaign, and I’ve really been looking forward to the release of his book. We’re inside my household’s holiday book-purchasing moratorium window, so I’ll have to wait a few more weeks, but the excerpt provided an excellent preview.
Powell’s article focuses on the fight at Reed’s Bridge near the outset of the battle. Elements of Minty’s and Wilder’s cavalry brigades held off advancing Confederate infantry at critical fords, providing important time for Union forces to react to the enemy advance. This has long been one of the most interesting parts of the battle to me, as there were several conflicting reports of just what happened in this fight by eyewitnesses after the war. There was quite a debate in the National Tribune across several issues. Some I’ve been able to locate, some I’m still looking for. A very romanticized version of the 4th U.S. Cavalry’s participation in the fight can be found in James Larson’s Sergeant Larson, 4th Cav., but the accuracy of this account has ben questioned.
If the quality of this article is indicative of the book itself, readers are in for a treat. Powell successfully weaves numerous (sometimes conflicting) firsthand accounts of a confusing series of skirmishes into a cohesive story that is as informative as it is entertaining.
The article can be found online here, and the book itself can be purchased from Savas-Beatie online here. David Powell’s excelent Chickamauga blog can be found here, and in the blog list to the left side of this page.