General John Bell Hood tried everything he could: Surprise attack. Flanking march. Cavalry raid into the enemy's rear lines. Simply enduring his opponent's semi-siege of the city. But nothing he tried worked. Because by the time he assumed command of Confederate forces protecting Atlanta, his predecessor Joe Johnston's chronic, characteristic strategy of gradual withdrawal had doomed the city to fall to William T. Sherman's Union troops. Joe Johnston lost Atlanta and John Bell Hood has gotten a bum rap, Stephen Davis argues in his new book, Atlanta Will Fall: Sherman, Joe Johnston, and the Yankee Heavy Battalions. The fall of the city was inevitable because Johnston pursued a strategy that was typical of his career: he fell back. Again and again. To the point where he allowed Sherman's army to within five miles of the city. Against a weaker opponent, Johnston's strategy might have succeeded. But Sherman commanded superior numbers, and he was a bold, imaginative strategist who pressed the enemy daily and used his artillery to pound their lines. Against this combination, Johnston didn't have a chance. And by the time Hood took over the Confederate command, neither did he. Atlanta Will Fall provides a lively, fast-paced overview of the entire Atlanta campaign from Dalton to Jonesboro. Davis describes the battles and analyzes the strategies. He evaluates the three generals, examining their plans of action, their tactics, and their leadership ability. In doing so, he challenges the commonly held perceptions of the two Confederate leaders and provides a new perspective on one of the most decisive battles of the Civil War. An excellent supplemental text for courses on the Civil War and American nineteenth-century history, Atlanta Will Fall will engage students with its brisk, concise examination of the fight for Atlanta.
Stephen Davis is book review editor for Blue & Gray magazine and is Medical Relations Manager for MAG Mutual Insurance Company.
Part 1 I Johnston's Retreat to Atlanta; or, A Smart and Scrappy Sherman Uses His Strength to Cow and Bludgeon an Outnumbered, Less Resolute Opponent Chapter 2 Introduction: the Sherman-Johnston Match-up in Mississsippi, July 1863, as Omen of Atlant's Fall Chapter 3 How Joe Johnston Earned His Reputation for Retreating Chapter 4 Sherman Prepares to Advance Chapter 5 Johnston Prepares to Fall Back Chapter 6 Johnston Is Turned, I Chapter 7 The Battle of Resaca (Johnston Is Turned, II) Chapter 8 To Cassville Chapter 9 To New Hope Church and Back tot he Railroad (Johnston Is Turned, Again) Chapter 10 The Mountain Lines, June 5-July 2, 1864 Chapter 11 Johnston Is Yet Again Turned, at the Chattahoochee Chapter 12 The Government concludes Johnston Has Failed: Deliberations and the Decision to Replace Him, July 10-17 Chapter 14 How Hood Learned War from Lee and Jackson in Virginia Part 14 II Hood Struggles Against the Inevitable; or, How Even a Student of the "Lee and Jackson School" Could Not Prevent the Fall of Atlanta Chapter 15 Hood's Attack Against Thomas's Army: Peachtree Creek, July 20, 1864 Chapter 16 Hood Attempts Another Chancellorsville, July 22 Chapter 17 Hood's Third Sortie Again Attempts a Flank Attack: Ezra Church, July 28 Chapter 18 Hood Keeps His Army together While Enduring Sherman's Semi-Siege Chapter 20 Hood Does What Joe Johnston Only Dreamed About: He Sends His Cavalry Off to Cut Sherman's Raili Lines, August 10 Chapter 21 Hood is Unable to Parry sherman's "Movement Round Atlanta by the South," August 25-September 1