The Civil War in the West

Victory and Defeat from the Appalachians to the Mississippi

By Earl J. Hess

416 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 39 halftones, 1 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2186-9
    Published: February 2015
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6984-0
    Published: March 2012
  • Large Print ISBN: 978-0-8078-7231-4
    Published: March 2012

Littlefield History of the Civil War Era

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The Western theater of the Civil War, rich in agricultural resources and manpower and home to a large number of slaves, stretched 600 miles north to south and 450 miles east to west from the Appalachians to the Mississippi. If the South lost the West, there would be little hope of preserving the Confederacy. Earl J. Hess's comprehensive study of how Federal forces conquered and held the West examines the geographical difficulties of conducting campaigns in a vast land, as well as the toll irregular warfare took on soldiers and civilians alike. Hess balances a thorough knowledge of the battle lines with a deep understanding of what was happening within the occupied territories.

In addition to a mastery of logistics, Union victory hinged on making use of black manpower and developing policies for controlling constant unrest while winning campaigns. Effective use of technology, superior resource management, and an aggressive confidence went hand in hand with Federal success on the battlefield. In the end, Confederates did not have the manpower, supplies, transportation potential, or leadership to counter Union initiatives in this critical arena.

About the Author

Earl J. Hess is Stewart W. McClelland Chair in history at Lincoln Memorial University and has written many books on Civil War history, including In the Trenches at Petersburg: Field Fortifications and Confederate Defeat and Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign.
For more information about Earl J. Hess, visit the Author Page.


"In one volume, Earl Hess has given readers as complete a study as can be found of this theater of battle."--New York Journal of Books

โ€œThe rich Civil War historiography of the western theater has needed a much-updated and comprehensive examination. . . . Recommended. All academic levels/libraries.โ€--Choice

โ€œEarl Hess has produced another fine study, this one long needed and much anticipated.โ€--Civil War Book Review

"Hess has done it again. He has delivered a wonderfully researched and elegantly written volume that reveals his mastery of military history west of the Appalachians. Students and scholars are sure to profit from his insightful analysis and bold assertions, making for a better understanding of this complicated conflict."--Journal of American History

"This excellent and suitably broad summary work should serve as a valuable introduction to the western war for a wide reading audience. With The Civil War in the West, it's safe to say we have in our hands the subject's new standard single volume history."--Civil War Books and Authors blog

โ€œEveryone interested in learning about the war beyond the Appalachians should start with Hess's work. It is an outstanding overview of the Civil War in the West.โ€--The Charleston Post and Courier

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