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Gods and Generals

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Gods and Generals Cover

ISBN13: 9780345409577
ISBN10: 0345409574
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

Gods and Generals: Antietam/Sharpsburg

After Lee's victory at Bull Run, he took his men on a march into Maryland, drawing the Union army out of Virginia. But Union commander George McClellan captured Lee's plans; for once in his life he moved quickly to pin the Confederates down in the fields around the town of Sharpsburg, by Antietam Creek.

On September 17, 1862, the two armies clashed in the bloodiest day of the entire war. McClellan launched a series of uncoordinated attacks on Lee's outnumbered army. Joshua Chamberlain served in the Union army's reserve, waiting all day to be ordered into the bloody fight.

Excerpt

They reached a small village, Porterstown, and marched through wide streets, the townspeople standing in doorways, leaning out windows, some waving, others just staring. Farther ahead, on the creek itself, was the Middle Bridge, held by the Confederate division of Daniel Harvey Hill. The rebel forces were dug in, back, away from the creek, and to their front the Federal army was spreading out, into lines of attack, were crossing the creek and preparing for the assault. The battle had begun on the far right, just after dawn, and now, as the sun began to rise up behind them, Chamberlain could hear the steady rumble, and as they moved closer, the sharp sounds of single cannon. He sat high on his horse, moving along with the same slow rhythm of the march, but now the men did not fall out, did not feel the weight of the hot September morning, but stared to the front, marching steadily, closer to the sound of the guns.

He heard the steady clatter of muskets now, still off to the right of the road, to the northwest. The battle is not in front of us, he thought. Strange that we should move this way...not up there.

In front of them, Chamberlain saw a rise, a long, wide hill, and as they began to move up, he saw guns, rows of black cannon set into shallow, round depressions before the crest of the hill. Just then they began to fire, quick bursts of gray smoke, and a sudden shocking boom that startled him and his horse. He bounced around on the road, had to grab the horse hard to calm him. From over the hill he saw Ames, riding hard, past lines of troops that were moving away now, to the right, toward the sounds of the battle.

Ames reined up his horse, and Chamberlain saw he was sweating. "Colonel, we're here, right here. Keep the men in column lines. Let's move them out into this field. Wait for further orders. We are part of the reserve."

Chamberlain turned, and Ames rode past him, into the columns of men, and gave the command to the bugler. With the signal, the men moved quickly off the road. Then Ames rode up again, toward the front of the column, slowed his horse as he reached Chamberlain, said, "Colonel, keep them tight, keep them ready. I am to survey the field to our front."

Chamberlain watched him ride away, up the long hill, turning his horse to the side behind the rows of black cannon. The guns began to fire again, a loud and thunderous volley, and the hill became a great, thick fog bank.

He stayed on his horse, saw now across the road, on the left, vast numbers of troops, lines disappearing into a distant grove of trees, and the men not moving, keeping their formations. He rode out the other way, to the right, into the grass, saw more troops farther out that way, a great field of blue, waiting. He looked to his own men, saw the companies staying in their formations, coming off the road, and he rode up to the head of one column, saw Captain Spears of Company G, a small, sharp man who had also been a teacher. He had a narrow, thick beard, sat on a horse, watched Chamberlain approach, puffed on a large round pipe.

"Well, Colonel, do you think we will get our chance?"

Chamberlain looked back to the crest of the hill, could still not see through the smoke, and another volley thundered out, shaking the ground, startling his horse again.

"Whoa, easy...We'll see, Captain. Right now we must be ready...be ready to move forward on command!" He felt a little foolish, a vague order, felt again as if he were left out, didn't know what was happening. The battle sounds had continued to the northwest, and he wondered, Are they moving away, around us? He glanced at Spears, said, "I'll be right back...just going up the crest a ways, take a look maybe."

"We're right here, Colonel."

He turned the horse, then decided to dismount instead. This wasn't a parade. He jumped down, felt his belt, his pistol, began to walk toward the thick cloud of smoke.

The guns continued to fire, every minute or so, and he wondered, How far away is the enemy? There had been no explosions, no incoming shells, none of the sounds he'd been told about, coached about, by Ames, just the deadening thunder of their own big guns....

Now, from the sounds of the battle, he saw his first troops, thick lines of blue, uneven and ragged formations, moving toward a cornfield, and then smoke, solid lines of gray, and in a few seconds the sound reached him, the chattering musket fire, and the blue lines were in pieces, men moving back, some still advancing, some not moving at all. He saw more lines now, solid blocks of blue spreading wide, advancing, and more smoke, and more sounds, and then, farther away, a glimpse through the smoke, other lines of men, some moving, some firing, quick flashes of white and yellow, and the big guns beside him firing again....

He turned to watch the men working the cannon, and was startled to see more men, his men, watching the battle, lying on the ground, creating a neat blue patch on the hill. He had not thought anyone else would be up here, should not have been up here; he should not be up here, but he knew they could not just wait, could not sit behind some big hill and hear it all and not see.

Chamberlain stood up, began to wave his arms, fast and high, motioning to his men, and another blast came from the guns. He braced himself, did not fall, kept waving, back, move back, wondering if they saw him or were ignoring him. He moved along the hillside, tried to yell, but the sound of the guns took his voice away, and suddenly he heard a high, distant scream, louder now, whistling toward him, dropping down on him from behind. He turned, saw nothing, but the sound pierced his ears, and the ground suddenly flew high around him, dirt spraying him, knocking him down, and he lay still, shook his head...checked, all right, but...a bad day for the ears. Then another scream, overhead, and behind the hill, down where the rest of his men sat waiting, there was another explosion, and he tried to see, but it was beyond the crest.

Suddenly, someone had him under the arms, lifting him, and he said, "No, I'm all right," and he saw the face of an officer, a man with black crust under his eyes, around his mouth and nose, glaring at him with eyes of cold steel.

"You are bloody well not all right, you damned fool! Get these men back off this hill! You're drawing fire to my guns!"

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mbtm2003, April 18, 2011 (view all comments by mbtm2003)
In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War [12 April 1861], also known as the 'War Between the States,' read Jeff Shaara's well-researched historical tome 'Gods and Generals.' This book explores all the events leading up to that fateful day which caused a long rift in our fledgling nation and pitted brother against brother, father against son. If you are a military history buff, you will gain insight into the planning and tactics employed during the Civil War that changed forever the way battles were fought. I am not particularly interested in military history, but I still enjoyed reading the character studies of the three principal commanders as they staked their claims in the annals of history, even at the cost of their familial relationships as well as their own lives. The reasons for this war are actually quite varied and the author explores every aspect of these. The effects of this war were immediate in the bloodshed caused as well as the vast property damage, but they are still felt to this vary day because of the changes in military tactics and technology of the time. Sadly, we as a country, and the world, still have much to learn from the cause and effect of wars like this even though we have traveled a great distance.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345409577
Author:
Shaara, Jeff M.
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Author:
Various
Author:
Shaara, Jeff M.
Location:
New York
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
History
Subject:
United states
Subject:
War
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Generals
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
War stories
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
civil war;fiction;historical fiction;history;american civil war;historical;military;war;novel;american history;military history;historical novel;america;19th century;military fiction;american;stonewall jackson;us history;shaara;literature
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Civil War Trilogy
Series Volume:
v. 76
Publication Date:
19970531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
528
Dimensions:
8.3 x 5.6 x 3 in 2.7269 lb

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Gods and Generals Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$1.95 In Stock
Product details 528 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345409577 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Brilliant does not even begin to describe the Shaara gift. Thank gods and generals that it was passed from father to son."
"Review" by , "Lively, fast-paced....A worthy companion to The Killer Angels....Shaara brilliantly charts the war, the exploits of the combatants and their motivations. He also concisely shows how the early parts of the campaign unfolded. His accounts of the battles of Williamsburg, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville are exciting....Though the story of the Civil War has been told many times, this is the rare version that conveys what it must have felt like."
"Review" by , "Shaara's beautifully sensitive novel delves deeply into the empathetic realm of psycho-history, where enemies do not exist — just mortal men forced to make crucial decisions and survive on the same battlefield....[He] succeeds with his historical novel through fully realized characters who were forced to decide their loyalties amid the horrors of their divided nation."
"Review" by , "The battle of Gettysburg featured a cast of characters dramatically and poignantly portrayed in Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels. This new novel by his son Jeff Shaara describes the interconnected paths that brought these men together at this crossroads of our history. Readers of The Killer Angels won't want to miss Gods and Generals."
"Synopsis" by , US
"Synopsis" by , NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS

by

MICHAEL SHAARA and JEFF SHAARA

 

THE CIVIL WAR TRILOGY

GODS AND GENERALS

THE KILLER ANGELS

THE LAST FULL MEASURE

“Brilliant does not even begin to describe the Shaara gift.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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