Wednesday, October 05, 2011

New and Noteworthy---A Civil War Veteran Artillerist Evaluates The Use and Misuse of Saint Barbara's Thunder

The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-65, John C. Tidball, Lawrence M. Kaplan, editor, Westholme Publishing, 400 pages, 30 b/w illustrations, maps, notes, index, bibliography, $30.00. Release Date:October 28, 2011.

The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–65, is a comprehensive overview and analysis of the U.S. Army’s field artillery service in the Civil War’s principal battles, written by John C. Tidball, a distinguished artilleryman of the era. The overview, which appeared in the Journal of the Military Service Institution from 1891 to 1893, and nearly impossible to find today, examines the Army of the Potomac, including the battles of Fair Oaks, Gaines’s Mill, Mechanicsville, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg; the Army of the Tennessee, including the battles of Stones River and Chickamauga, and the Army of the Ohio’s battle of Shiloh.

Tidball, a decorated Civil War veteran and superintendent of artillery instruction for the army, expertly presents the war through an artilleryman’s eyes in explaining the organization, equipping, and manning of the artillery service. His analysis highlights how the improper use of artillery, tying batteries down to relatively small infantry commands that diluted their firepower, seriously undermined the army’s effectiveness until reforms produced independent artillery commands that could properly mass artillery fire in battle.

The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion, edited by historian Lawrence M. Kaplan and presented here in one volume for the first time, includes additional material from an unpublished paper Tidball wrote in 1905 which contains further insights into the artillery service, as well as a general overview of the Petersburg campaign. A major new discovery in Civil War scholarship, The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion contains essential information that will change earlier historical interpretations of key battles and will be essential reading for all those interested in the war or contemplating writing about it.

John C. Tidball, 1825–1906, was a career army officer and Superintendent of Artillery Instruction at the Artillery School from 1874 to 1881. He served through the Civil War in most of the major campaigns in the Eastern Theater, from the first battle of Bull Run through the siege of Petersburg. He was brevetted five times for gallant and meritorious conduct on the field and ended the war as a brevet major general.

Lawrence M. Kaplan is chief historian of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. He has served as a staff historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C., and as a staff historian at the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center, Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He is the author of Homer Lea: An American Soldier of Fortune.

Text Source: Westholme Publishing

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