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eReview: Friendly Fire In The Civil War

by Webb Garrison Hardcover; Rutledge Hill Press; ISBN: 1558537147

Review by eHistory Team

On May 2, 1963, Stonewall Jackson was on the verge of the greatest victory of his career at Chancellorsville, Virginia. Shortly before 10 p.m. he rod through the woods to find where the Federals had set up their lines. As he returned, his own men, in the noise and confusion, opened fire, wounding Jackson several times. One of the Civil War's first heroes died eight days later.

Stonewall Jackson's death is but one example of Yankee killing Yankee or Confederate killing Confederate in the American Civil War. Here is Jackson's story and 150 other instances of friendly fire. Although public attention was drawn to friendly fire in the Vietnam and Gulf wars, cases of friendly fire date back centuries. But no war was as intense and chaotic in terms of friendly fire as the Civil War. Most instances were accidental, but there are also instances of deliberate fire upon comrades.

Friendly Fire in the Civil War strips away the romanticism of the Civil War through stories of defective ammunition, accidental shootings, blinding smoke, mistaken uniforms, inexperienced troops, unknown passwords, and deliberate firing on mixed groups by officers willing to sacrifice their own men to kill the enemy.

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Comment By: Mitchell Shelton on August 01 2007

Sounds like an interesting read, particularly the stories about "deliberate fire upon comrades" and those concerning deliberate firing upon mixed groups of soldiers.

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