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Rally Once Again: Battle Tactics of the American Civil War [Hardcover]

Paddy Griffith
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: The Crowood Press Ltd; UNKNOWN edition (8 Jun 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0946284482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0946284481
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,395,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Rally Once Again: Battle Tactics of the American Civil War

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wargamer's book? 14 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Read this book many years ago (first published in 1987) the author was a known wargamer. I think this affects how I approached the book. It's not very academic and is an easy read. It doesn't resolve the issues it set's out to and I can see how it could upset out American cousins. However it does challenge and make you think. I think it's worth the time spent reading it especially if your a gamer. It will not give you a history of the war but will set you off wanting to find out more.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE must have book for all students of the ACW 22 Aug 2010
By Dr Dave
Quite simply THE book to have on the ACW.

Dr Griffith painstakingly dismantles all of the preconceptions about the ACW using thorough research and contemporary accounts. He explains the nature of warfare on the American continent in the 1860s and shows that it was NOT the first "modern" war - but perhaps the last Napoleonic war?

Chapters include command and control, drill, the infantry firefight, cavalry and artillery plus others. All in all a superb work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More Lies and Nonsense From Paddy Griffith 6 April 2004
By Stephen M. St Onge - Published on
Paddy Griffith likes to write books in which he claims his research shows that what everyone thought about a given war was wrong. Only he has found the truth, that the Civil War was really the 'last Napoleonic War.' Unfortunately, the evidence shows precisely the opposite.
Griffith gets the simplest things wrong. Example: on page 147, G. has a table of "Ranges of musketry fire." Do the math yourself, and you find that he can't divide or even add correctly. The tables of p 76 and 77 are even worse.
Griffith distorts his sources. On page 146, he claims "British experts" figured that 200 yards was "the battle range of the Brown Bess smoothbore musket." Turn to the footnotes, and you find a reference to p. 32 of Hew Strachan's FROM WATERLOO TO BALACLAVA. I have the page before me as I type. Nowhere on p. 32 is anyone mentioned as being an expert, nor is it even implied that anyone in the British Army was an expert in the performance of the Brown Bess. Quite the contrary.
What Strachan actually says is that the ability to hit a target with the Brown Bess "dwindled" as the range increased from 100 to 200 yards; that "most manuals" (written by unknown people of unknown knowledge) set the "maximum effective range" of the smoothbore as 200 yards; that "It was only just as the Brown Bess was nearing the end of its long life in the British army that any definite idea of the weapon's performance was secured"; that knowledge of "the range and power of the musket" was "very limited" as late as 1846; that at ranges over 116-126 yards, a considerable number of musket balls hit the dirt before reaching the target; and finally that the British concluded "as a General Rule musketry should not be opened at a distance exceeding 150, and certainly not exceeding 200 yards, as at and beyond that distance it would be a mere wast of ammunition to do so."
Griffith ignores evidence he doesn't like. Strachan's book goes on to say on p. 47 that the rifled musket resulted in "whole regiments 'melting' before British fire" at Inkerman; that penetration was much greater than with the musket (very significant when people fought in closely packed groups); that "At 150 yards the Minie was twice as accurate as the smoothbore musket," and "Furthermore this superiority of practice was not confined to a few marksmen."
Another: in ATTACK AND DIE: CIVIL WAR TACTICS AND THE SOUTHERN HERITAGE, Grady McWhiney & Perry D. Jamieson points out that in the War With Mexico of 1846-47, the U.S. Army fought with Napoleonic war tactics and weapons, and almost every Civil War general on both sides participated. The tactics used worked, even though they were carried out by amateurs. When they were attempted in the Civil War, they didn't work. Griffith blames the failure of Napoleonic tactics in the Civil War on the troops being amateurs and the generals not knowing how to fight.
Griffith misunderstands what's in front of him. G. mentions Jack Coggins's books ARMS AND EQUIPMENT OF THE CIVIL WAR, and calls your attention to an illustration on page 38-39 of Coggins, showing that in order to hit a target at 300 yards range, the bullet traveled 43 inches above line of sight at 150 yards. Griffith fails to realize that if the shooter is standing or kneeling, the bullet will be so high in the air it won't hit people at most ranges, but if the shooter fires from ground level (prone, or from a trench), it will NEVER get too high. Therefore, the effectiveness of rifle fire increased as entrenchments became more common.
Griffith just makes up bullsh*t. E.g., by mid 1863, soldiers were reluctant to attack entrenchments frontally. G. believes they were 'dispirited,' a bunch of 'old lags' who'd lost their nerve. This nonsense is an insult to the brave men on both sides in the last two years of the war. During this period, the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia both took about 45% casualties in only 40 days, while in Tennessee and Georgia Hood's Army was destroyed in combat when repeatedly attacking Sherman's troops.
Enough. The bottom line is that this book is so unreliable in every detail, you can't trust a single sentence written by Griffith. The only things of value are the direct quotations and the bibliography. Don't buy it.
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