Sunday, November 1, 2009

Review: The Stonewall Brigade in the Civil War

The Stonewall Brigade in the Civil War
By Patrick Hook & Steve Smith

The First Virginia Brigade, and composed of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th and 33rd Virginia Infantry Regiments, and the Rockbridge Artillery Battery. The brigade and its commander, Thomas J. Jackson, would earn their more famous nicknames during the first large scale battle of the Civil War at the First Battle of Bull Run, when in the face of an overwhelming federal attack General Bernard Bee reportedly said, “Look yonder – there stands Jackson like a stone wall; lets go to his assistance. Rally behind the Virginians!” Historians have bickered for nearly a century and a half over the meaning of Bee’s words, but, from that day forward the First Virginia Brigade would forever be known as “The Stonewell Brigade”, and its leader as “Stonewall” Jackson.

“The Stonewall Brigade in the Civil War” is a brief history of the regiment written by Patrick Hook and Steve Smith. A comprehensive history of the Stonewall Brigade it is not, but for such a short book its authors have packed it full of information. Formed primarily of men from the Shenandoah Valley, the first section in the book covers the origin of the brigade and the many local militia units that coalesced to form it. The next section, and the bulk of the book, gives a thumbnail sketch of each of battle the Stonewall Brigade participated in, along with orders of battle for the brigade in each engagement. That is followed by a section covering the equipment and uniforms of the Stonewall Brigade and that is in turn followed by a section of short biographical sketches of the men who led the brigade. The final section is the authors’ assessment of the brigade.

Hook & Smith have filled the book with photographs, maps and illustrations; the only thing I find lacking is the absence of any type of notation. They do however include a reference, or bibliographic, section which I assume they have used as their source material, as well as a handful of internet resources. For anyone interested in The Stonewall Brigade, this book is a great place to start.

ISBN 978-0-7603-3050-0, Zenith Press, © 2008, Paperback, 128 pages, Photographs, Illustrations, Maps, References & Index. $21.99

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