This traditional, narrative history explores two forests and a multitude of trees. Its coverage of the trees is authoritative and thorough. Treatment of the forests, though earnest and plausible, proves less successful.

Hess, author of twenty-seven books about the Civil War, researched this monograph extensively in archives all over the eastern United States and in the vast secondary literature, over which he exhibits a masterful command. He organizes the material topically, under such major headings as guns, transportation, logistics, personnel, administration, training, and combat. Each topic is generously contextualized with accounts of battles and campaigns, focusing on actual practice throughout the war. He grinds the evidence to fine grain, exploring batteries, combat maneuvers, carriages and limbers, maintenance, horses, projectiles, fuses, and even thumbstalls, sabots, bricoles, and prolonges.

The book discerns at least four major themes that run throughout the story. Should field artillery be dispersed or concentrated on the battlefield?...

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