In this first full consideration of the remarkable Union army that effectively won the Civil War, historian Steven Woodworth tells the engrossing story of its victory by drawing on letters, diaries, and newspaper accounts of the time.
The Army of the Tennessee operated in the Mississippi River Valley through the first half of the Civil War, winning major victories at the Confederate strongholds of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and Vicksburg. The army was created at Cairo, Illinois, in the summer of 1861 and took shape under the firm hand of Ulysses S. Grant, who molded it into a hard-hitting, self-reliant fighting machine. Woodworth takes us to its winter 1863 encampment in the Louisiana swamps, where the soldiers suffered disease, hardship, and thousands of deaths. And we see how the force emerged from that experience even tougher and more aggressive than before. With the decisive victory at Vicksburg, the Army of the Tennessee had taken control of the Mississippi away from the Confederates and could swing east to aid other Union troops in a grand rolling up of Rebel defenses. It did so with a confidence born of repeated success, even against numerical odds, leading one of its soldiers to remark that he and his comrades expected "nothing but victory."
The Army of the Tennessee contributed to the Union triumph at Chattanooga in the fall of 1863 and then became part of William Tecumseh Sherman's combined force in the following summer's march to Atlanta. In the complicated maneuvering of that campaign, Sherman referred to the army as his whiplash and used it whenever fast marching and arduous fightingwere especially needed. Just outside Atlanta, it absorbed the Confederacy's heaviest counterblow and experienced its hardest single day of combat. Thereafter, it continued as part of Sherman's corps in his March to the Sea and his campaign through the Carolinas.
The story of this army is one of perseverance in the face of difficulty, courage amid severe trials, resolute lessons in fighting taught by equally courageous foes, and the determination of a generation of young men to see a righteous cause all the way through to victory.
"Nothing but Victory" is an important addition to the literature of the Civil War.