Defeating Lee: A History of the Second Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, Lawrence A. Kreiser, Jr., Indiana University Press, endnotes, bibliography, appendices, charts, illustrations. 387 pp. $34.95 [April 5, 2011]
CWL: Just received a review copy. Wow! 55 pages of notes, 31 pages of bibliography, 30 pages of appendices, 3 tables, 20 b/w illustrations, 1 map. Even the acknowledgments look good: Lawrence Kohl, George Rable, Richard Sommers, Donald Pfanz, Chris Calkins, and Ted Alexander. The Second Corps was created about 30 days before McClellan stepped off for the Peninsula Campaign. Kreiser carries the story to the end of the 19th century and the veterans' reunions. From a sample of the narrative the prose is clear and concise. Sources appear to be even between enlisted and commissioned soldiers. CWL will be starting this gem quite soon!
Indiana University Press: Fair Oaks, the Seven Days, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, Petersburg -- the list of significant battles fought by the Second Corps, Army of the Potomac, is a long and distinguished one. This absorbing history of the Second Corps follows the unit's creation and rise to prominence, the battles that earned it a reputation for hard fighting, and the legacy its veterans sought to maintain in the years after the Civil War. More than an account of battles, Defeating Lee gets to the heart of what motivated these men, why they fought so hard, and how they sustained a spirited defense of cause and country long after the guns had fallen silent.
David E. Long, author of The Jewel of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln's Re-election and the End of Slavery "Kreiser breathes new life into this most important of Union Army units.... A remarkably well-written and superbly researched account."