on 20 February 2003
"Chickamauga," Book 7 in The Civil War Battle Series by James Reasoner, is probably the best book in the series to date, mostly because it pretty much avoids the two major complaints readers have had about the series overall. First, the soap opera elements, which tend to overshadow the battles, are reduced greatly. Yes, the Henry and Polly romance continues unabated, the wounded Will Bannon has found a nice widow lady, and even Cordelia might have found someone, but at least for once there is nothing alluding to the unnatural interest of Duncan Ebersole in his daughter. More importantly the titular battle of this volume does not just pop up in the last dozen pages. Ironically, it is actually over by that point in the book. The battle of Chickamauga is told from the perspective of Cory Bannon, who leaves Vicksburg to rejoin Nathan Bedford Forrest's calvary. I have not actually gone back and checked, but I think Reasoner devotes more chapters to this battle than any other one in this entire series which underscores another irony at work here, which is that Chickamauga is clearly the least famous battle of the seven in which the Bannon brothers have been involved to this point. This is far and away the best battle sequence in the entire battle series. With three volumes to go, I assume Reasoner will get us back to Virginia and Grant's first clashes with Lee, conclude the war in the West with Sherman's march through Georgia, and then finish up the Civil War in the Bannon's back yard. At that point, we will finally tally up the bill and see what price this family had to pay for being on the wrong side of the war.