During the late summer of 1862, Confederate forces attempted a three-pronged strategic advance into the North. The outcome of this offensive, the only coordinated Confederate attempt to carry the conflict to the enemy, was disastrous. The results at Antietam and in Kentucky are well known; the third offensive, the northern Mississippi campaign, led to the devastating and little-studied defeats at Iuka and Corinth, defeats that would open the way for Grant's attack on Vicksburg.
Peter Cozzens presents here the first book-length study of these two complex and vicious battles. Drawing on extensive primary research, he details the tactical stories of Iuka, where nearly one-third of those engaged fell, and Corinth, which was fought under brutally oppressive conditions, analyzing troop movements down to the regimental level.
He also provides compelling portraits of Generals Grant, Rosecrans, Van Dorn, and Price, exposing the ways in which their clashing ambitions and antipathies affected the outcome of the campaign. Finally, he draws out the larger, strategic implications of the battles of Iuka and Corinth, exploring their impact on the fate of the northern Mississippi campaign, and by extension, the fate of the Confederacy.
This book is published by University of North Carolina Press.
"The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth brings to startling life the vivious fights at these two important north Mississippi towns in September and October of 1862.... Cozzens' treatment is fast-paced and exciting as he tells with precision and flair of the personalities of the commanders and their subordinates, the small unit movements and the deadly nature of the fighting." (The Orlando Sentinel)
"An illuminating account of an 1862 Confederate campaign in northern Mississippi, whose importance may only be matched by the obscurity into which it has fallen and the grand mistakes made by its planners... An excellent case study of how army politics, miscommunication, and missed chances could decisively influence a campaign." (Kirkus Reviews)
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