In the First Line of Battle: The 12th Illinois Cavalry in the Civil War
By: Samuel M. Blackwell (author)Hardback
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From its first major engagement at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, to the campaigns against Confederates in the swamps of occupied Louisiana, the 12th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry fought more than twenty battles in three theaters of combat. So great was the regiment's contribution to the Union victory that a monument at Gettysburg honors the unit for its place "in the first line of battle." The campaigns of the 12th Illinois reflect the larger shape of the war. In 1862 and early 1863, the 12th Illinois defended Union supply lines against the lightning raids of J. E. B. Stuart's Confederate Cavalry in Virginia and Maryland. In 1863, it helped to turn back the tide of the Confederate advance at Gettysburg. And in 1864 1865 the unit went on the offensive and raided deep into the Southern heartland as the Union pursued a strategy of "hard war." Drawing upon firsthand accounts from letters, diaries, memoirs, and official service records, Blackwell brings the soldiers of the 12th Illinois to life. As with other militia units in the heady first months of the war, the 12th Illinois assembled quickly, and its officers had at best only rudimentary military training. They were little prepared for the rigors of leading men into war or coping with desertions and horrific casualties. "In the First Line of Battle" tells the story of how the 12th Illinois Cavalry came through the war with its colors intact. Tracking the regiment from its first muster early in 1862 through its service in Texas during Reconstruction, Blackwell shows readers the war as it was lived by men who fought across the length and breadth of the Confederacy. Tracing the path of the 12th Illinois, he sheds new light on the role of the Union cavalry in the Civil War."
Samuel M. Blackwell Jr. is visiting Assistant Professor of History at Northern Illinois University.
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- ID: 9780875802794
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