The Bloody Crucible of Courage: Fighting Methods and Combat Experience of the Civil War
by Brent Nosworthy
Soul of Battle : From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three
Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny --
The foragers became the beau ideal of partisan troops. Their self-confidence and daring increased to a wonderful pitch, and no organized line of skirmishers could so quickly clear the head of column of the opposing cavalry of the enemy. Nothing short of an entrenched line of battle could stop them, and when they were far scattered on the flank, plying their vocation, if a body of hostile cavalry approached, a singular sight was to be seen. Here and there, from barn, from granary and smokehouse, and from the kitchen gardens of the plantations, isolated foragers would hasten by converging lines, driving before them the laden mule heaped high with vegetables, smoked bacon, fresh meat and poultry. As soon as two or three of these met, one would drive the animals, and the others, from fence corners or behind trees would begin a bold skirmish, their Springfield rifles giving them the advantage in range over the carbines of the horsemen. As they were pressed they would continue falling back and assembling, the regimental platoons falling in beside each other till their line of fire would become too hot for their opponents, and these would retire reporting that they had driven in the skirmishers upon the main column which was probably miles away. The work of foraging would then be resumed.
Battle’s theme is “Never in human conflict have such vast democratic
infantry forces appeared out of nowhere, wrought such havoc and then
dispersed among the consensual culture that fielded them.” The focus is
on Epaminondas of Thebes and his campaigns which destroyed Sparta; Sherman’s March to the Sea and march through the Carolinas in 1864-65, and Patton’s Third Army campaigns from Normandy to Czechoslovakia in 1944-45. Jumping back
and forth while discussing each leader in historical context, Hanson shows
that these seemingly different men are very similar. Click
for the rest of the review....