Cover image for Articles of war : winners, losers, and some who were both during the Civil War
Articles of war : winners, losers, and some who were both during the Civil War
Castel, Albert, 1928-2014.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Mechanicsburg, PA : Stackpole Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
xii, 244 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E467 .C43 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The American Civil War is filled with fascinating characters. This collection of biographical essays on the "winners and losers" of the Civil War covers some of the most intriguing: Ulysses S. Grant, Sam Houston, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and William Clarke Quantrill, to name just a few. The articles represent a broad cross-section of the scholarship of noted author Albert Castel; most were written over a fifty-year period for publication in national "popular history" magazines such as American Heritage, Civil War History, and Civil War Times Illustrated.

Author Notes

Albert Castel is one of the most respected and prolific scholars in the Civil War community. He has won several prizes for his work, most notably the 1993 Lincoln Prize.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

War does more than make strange bedfellows; it also plucks men from obscurity and raises them to prominence, and it makes and breaks careers in politics, business, and the military. Castel is one of the most prolific writers among Civil War scholars. In this series of essays written over a 50-year period, he profiles some of the most intriguing figures who were shoved (some reluctantly) to the forefront by our greatest national trauma. Some, like U. S. Grant, William Sherman, and Sam Houston, will be quite familiar to laymen. Others, like Nathan Bedford Forrest and William Quantrill, are probably less familiar and certainly less understood by general readers. To all of his subjects, Castel brings a lucid prose and razor-sharp analytical skills as well as a refined sense of irony concerning the fickleness of historical forces. Some readers will find his provocative assertions difficult to swallow (e.g., he views Sherman as overrated), but this is an informative, enjoyable, and valuable assemblage, which will enrich Civil War collections. --Jay Freeman

Library Journal Review

The background, psychology, and wartime activities of Civil War commanders Ulysses S. Grant, Nathan Bedford Forrest, George McClellan, William Clarke Quantrill, and others are the subject of the 13 essays contained in this volume. Written originally for popular historical journals, these studies are not documented but are based on the solid historical scholarship of Castel, history professor, winner of the Lincoln Prize for his Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864 (Univ. Pr. of Kansas, 1992), and a respected author of other scholarly and popular studies. Dealing with the success and failure of the commanders, Castel's essays are otherwise unrelated but are quite readable, require no previous knowledge of the war or military, and are suitable for casual readers. Larger public libraries where Civil War interest is strong may wish to purchase this volume, though Thomas B. Buell's The Warrior Generals: Combat Leadership in the Civil War (Three Rivers, 1998) is a more comprehensive, documented study of the military leadership. Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Author's Notep. x
Prologue: How the War Began: Fort Sumter, 1861
Part 1 Some Winners
Chapter 1 Grant Takes Vicksburgp. 40
Chapter 2 "Don't He Look Savage!": Black Jack Loganp. 55
Chapter 3 Alpheus S. "Ol Pap" Williams: The Fighting and Writing General from Michiganp. 68
Chapter 4 Nathan Bedford Forrest: Born to Fightp. 79
Part 2 Some Losers
Chapter 5 George B. McClellan: "I Can Do It All."p. 92
Chapter 6 Earl Van Dorn: Bravery Was Not Enoughp. 105
Chapter 7 In Quest of Glory: George Stoneman's Attempt to Free the Andersonville Prisonersp. 114
Chapter 8 Theophilus H. Holmes: Pallbearer of the Confederacyp. 125
Part 3 Some Winners Who Became Losers
Chapter 9 Albert Sidney Johnston: The Greatest Might-Have-Been of the Civil Warp. 134
Chapter 10 Death Comes to the Bishop: When Luck Ran Out for Leonidas Polkp. 150
Chapter 11 Jim Lane of Kansas: "King of the Jayhawkers."p. 161
Chapter 12 William Clarke Quantrillp. 172
Part 4 Two Losers Who Became Winners
Chapter 13 Sam Houston's Last Standp. 182
Chapter 14 The Fall and Rise of William Tecumseh Shermanp. 195
Part A The Failurep. 195
Part B The Subordinatep. 206
Part C The Conquerorp. 219
Epilogue: Why the North Won and the South Lost
Indexp. 239