Monday, June 04, 2018

Reading about the ANV Cavalry


Since taking on the 39th Battalion Virginia Cavalry project, I decided that I needed to immerse myself in the history of the cavalry in the Army of Northern Virginia. So for the past seven or eight weeks, all I have read has been tied to that fabled group of cavaliers. My exposure in the past has been limited to Burke Davis's JEB Stuart: The Last Cavalier, which I read when I was young, Fighting for General Lee: Confederate General Rufus Barringer and the North Carolina Cavalry Brigade, Thomas' Wade Hampton's Iron Scouts, and whatever I picked up while reading Freeman's Lee's Lieutenants, Glatthaar's General Lee's Army, or the numerous books on various battles fought in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Looking through the bibliography of Longacre's Lee's Cavalrymen: A History of the Mounted Forces of the Army of Northern Virginia, it is quite clear that there are quite a few accounts written by the cavalrymen themselves. Those accounts are always the most important. I enjoy hearing from the soldiers themselves. Blackford's Letters from Lee's Army is a fantastic account from a member of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry. About half way through the war, Blackford transferred to staff duties under Longstreet, so his accounts on cavalry operations are limited (But an interesting book none the less).

On my too-read list are Myers' The Comanches: A History of White's Battalion, Virginia Cavalry; McDonald's A History of the Laurel Brigade; Keen-Mewborn's 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry; French's Phantoms of the South Fork: Captain McNeill and His Rangers; Trout's with Pen and Saber: The Letters and Diaries of JEB Stuart's Staff Officers; and maybe Werts' Cavalryman of the Lost Cause. As you can see, there is a mixture of old and new titles in this list. I'm sure I'll probably add a title or two before it is all over. 

So, what are some of your favorite books on the mounted arm in the Army of Northern Virginia?

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