Throughout 2023 the “Publication of Note” portion of the Picket Post newsletter will include some of the director’s favorite collections of essays relevant to the Civil War era in the Shenandoah Valley.
Arguably, no historian looms larger over Civil War-era history during the past half century than Gary Gallagher. While Gallagher has produced much important scholarship throughout his distinguished career, the series of anthologies he edited for University of North Carolina Press are among the most influential. In this volume, Gallagher and a team of nine historians tackle a variety of issues related to operations in Shenandoah Valley in 1864.
Half of the essays in the volume explore personalities associated with the 1864 Shenandoah Campaign — Philip Sheridan, Jubal Early, Ulysses S. Grant, Horatio Wright, Charles Russell Lowell, and members of the Patton family. Other essays explore particular moments in the campaign. Keith Bohannon analyzes the circumstances of the “fatal halt” at Cedar Creek, William Miller explores the Battle of Tom’s Brook, and Robert E.L. Krick examines the Battle of Fisher’s Hill. Other essays investigate the campaign’s impact on politics, civilians and soldiers.
Like all successful collections of essays, this anthology is meant to both inform and inspire future scholarship. Sometimes, as the distance between the publication of a book and the present increases, a book falls into obscurity. This is one anthology that should remain at the forefront for anyone interested in operations in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864.