Synopses & Reviews
A fascinating narrative-and a bold new thesis in the study of the Civil War-that suggests Robert E. Lee had a heretofore undiscovered strategy at Gettysburg that, if successful, could have crushed the Union forces and changed the outcome of the war.
The Battle of Gettysburg is the pivotal moment when the Union forces repelled perhaps America's greatest commander-the brilliant Robert E. Lee, who had already thrashed a long line of Federal opponents-just as he was poised at the back door of Washington, D.C. It is the moment in which the fortunes of Lee, Lincoln, the Confederacy, and the Union hung precariously in the balance.
Conventional wisdom has held to date, almost without exception, that on the third day of the battle, Lee made one profoundly wrong decision. But how do we reconcile Lee the high-risk warrior with Lee the general who launched "Pickett's Charge," employing only a fifth of his total forces, across an open field, up a hill, against the heart of the Union defenses? Most history books have reported that Lee just had one very bad day. But there is much more to the story, which Tom Carhart addresses for the first time.
With meticulous detail and startling clarity, Carhart revisits the historic battles Lee taught at West Point and believed were the essential lessons in the art of war-the victories of Napoleon at Austerlitz, Frederick the Great at Leuthen, and Hannibal at Cannae-and reveals what they can tell us about Lee's real strategy. What Carhart finds will thrill all students of history: Lee's plan for an electrifying rear assault by Jeb Stuart that, combined with the frontal assault, could have broken the Union forces in half. Only in the final hours of the battle was the attack reversed through the daring of an unproven young general-George Armstrong Custer.
Lost Triumph will be one of the most captivating and controversial history books of the season.
A fascinating narrative--and a bold new thesis in the study of the Civil War--suggests Robert E. Lee had a heretofore undiscovered strategy at Gettysburg that, if successful, could have crushed the Union forces and changed the outcome of the war.
This is a fresh and fascinating new look at one of the most pivotal moments in American history: the Battle of Gettysburg, when Union forces repelled the brilliant Robert E. Lee, who had already thrashed a long line of Federal opponents—just as he was poised at the back door of the nation’s capital.
Conventional wisdom holds that Lee made one profoundly wrong decision on the last day of the battle—launching “Pickett’s Charge” uphill across an open field against the heart of the Union defense. But why would he have employed only a fifth of his forces at such a crucial moment?
Now, Tom Carhart offers a bold thesis—that Lee’s heretofore unknown strategy at Gettysburg was to combine Pickett’s frontal attack with a daring rear assault by the great Jeb Stuart to break the Union Army in half. Only in the battle’s final hours was Stuart stopped by a force half the size of his own, led by a young, unproven general—George Armstrong Custer—who helped turn the tide of the war.
Destined to be controversial, Lost Triumph is a provocative reassessment of this monumental battle and a vivid, indispensable contribution to Civil War literature.
About the Author
Tom Carhart has been a lawyer and a historian for the Department of the Army in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of West Point, a decorated Vietnam veteran, and has earned a Ph.D. in American and military history from Princeton University. He is the author of four books of military history and teaches at Mary Washington College near his home in the Washington, D.C. area.
Table of Contents
List of Maps
1. In Mexico
2. Building Up to the Civil War
3. West Point and West Pointers
4. Classic Battles of History
5. Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry in the Last Napoleonic War
6. The Fighting Begins
7. Early Confederate Victories
9. Lee Moves North
10. The Gettysburg Fight Begins
11. Gettysburg, Day Two
12. Plans for Day Three
13. The Final Plan
14. The Implementation
15. Stuart Meets Custer