Synopses & Reviews
During the late summer of 1862, Confederate forces attempted a three-pronged strategic advance into the North. The outcome of this offensivethe only coordinated Confederate attempt to carry the conflict to the enemywas disastrous. The results at Antietam and in Kentucky are well known; the third offensive, the northern Mississippi campaign, led to the devastating and little-studied defeats at Iuka and Corinth, defeats that would open the way for Grant's attack on Vicksburg.
Peter Cozzens here presents the first book-length study of these two complex and vicious battles. Drawing on extensive primary research, he details the tactical stories of Iukawhere nearly one-third of those engaged felland Corinthfought under brutally oppressive conditionsanalyzing troop movements down to the regimental level. He also provides compelling portraits of Generals Grant, Rosecrans, Van Dorn, and Price, exposing the ways in which their clashing ambitions and antipathies affected the outcome of the campaign. Finally, he draws out the larger, strategic implications of the battles of Iuka and Corinth, exploring their impact on the fate of the northern Mississippi campaign, and by extension, the fate of the Confederacy.
Peter Cozzens here presents the first book-length study of the battles of Iuka and Corinth. Fought under brutal conditions and resulting in extremely heavy casualties relative to the numbers engaged - at Iuka, nearly one-third of those engaged fell - Iuka and Corinth proved to be two of the most vicious battles of the war. Drawing on extensive primary research, Cozzens details the tactical aspects of each battle, analyzing troop movements down to the regimental level. In addition to a vivid and detailed battle narrative, Cozzens provides compelling portraits of the campaign's key leaders: Generals Grant, Rosecrans, Van Dorn, and Price. He exposes the consequences of their clashing ambitions and antipathies. Finally, Cozzens analyzes the larger, strategic implications of the northern Mississippi campaign, exploring the repercussions of the Confederate defeats suffered at Iuka and Corinth.
A tightly written, fast-paced, well-reasoned narrative that is solidly researched .
Journal of Southwest Georgia History The Darkest Days of the War easily qualifies as the definitive work on this campaign.
Blue & Gray The Darkest Days of the War will surely be the definitive work on these sadly overlooked but interesting and significant campaigns.
Earl J. Hess, Civil War History A perceptive, balanced survey of the battles at Iuka and Corinth in Mississippi.
The State (Columbia, SC) An excellent case study of how army politics, miscommunication, and missed chances could decisively influence a campaign.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 363-377) and index.
About the Author
Peter Cozzens, author of several acclaimed Civil War campaign studies, is an independent scholar and Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State.