Well, a while back I posted a quick quote from Russell Bonds’ book “War Like the Thunderbolt” and sadly I must admit that I am not only a slow reader but I am still reading the book. Most of it is due to the end of the school year keeping me busy and not giving me much time to read. It may also be that I am a close reader and I like to map things out on Google Earth. One of the things that stands out in stark contrast to many current Civil War Battlefields is that the battlefields around Atlanta are now part of the sprawling city and any trace of the battlefields are now gone. Russell Bonds in “War Like the Thunderbolt” addresses this problem at the end of the book.
Battle of Atlanta Map from “War Like the Thunderbolt” by Russell Bonds
Here is a picture from Google Earth showing the same area as the map above…and as you can see urban sprawl has destroyed anything that the battlefield once was. I am really enjoying the book and will post a review of it once I get done. I really do find in interesting to see what has happened to the area now that we have reached 150 years since that event and so far this book has done a great job of giving me a sense of what happened there in 1864.
Battle of Atlanta from Google Earth
Site of Gen. McPherson’s Death 1860′s
McPherson Death Site Today via Google Earth
I have been wanting to read this book for some time and since I just finished several books that were partially read in the past I thought it would be good to start a book and read it through. I tend to have the bad habit of starting a book and then finding something else to read before that one is finished, so I end up with up with several books in the process of being read.
I have also noted that for the last year or so most of my reading has been on Sherman’s fighting in Georgia. Maybe it is due to the fact that my ancestor on my mother’s side fought with Sherman in Georgia and the Carolinas. It could also be because I believe that the Western Theater of the war was just as important as the Eastern Theater in the winning of the war.
All of this is also taking place while my U. S. Hisotry Students are working on a research paper on a soldier from the area in which I teach and most of those men were in the Western armies. However during my search of the local cemeteries I was surprised to find numerous soldiers from out East who must have migrated out West after the war and are buried here.
With that in mind what I found interesting about the first couple of pages of War Like the Thunderbolt by Russell S. Bond was a discription of those Midwestern soldiers.
“In all, Sherman’s veteran soldiers, most of them rough-edged Midwestern farmers back home, made up what one prominent military historian would call with breathless overstatement ” quite literally the most impressive and deadly body in the history of armed conflict”. Firsthand witnesses applied different and more realistic superlatives. A surgeon in Mississippi the year before, for example, had described Sherman’s army as “the noisiest crowd of profane-swearing, dram-drinking, card-playing, song-singing, reckless, impudent daredevils in the world”". (p. 6)
Yep…sounds like us Midwesterners. I am looking forward to the rest of this book.