||Independent Publishers Group (Chicago Review Press)
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This chronicle of the legendary Confederate Army of Northern Virginia brings vivid detail and insight to the campaigns of Maj. Gen. Jeb Stuart. By the summer of 1863, following the Southern victory at Chancellorsville, it was clear to everyone on both sides of the Civil War that the Army of Northern Virginia was the most formidable force Americans had ever put in the field. Much of that army’s success was attributable to its cavalry arm, led by Maj. Gen. J.E.B. “Jeb” Stuart. But while Stuart could literally run rings around the enemy, Union arithmetic and expertise were gradually catching up. In Year of Desperate Struggle, author Monte Akers tracks Stuart and his cavalry from Gettysburg to the Overland Campaign, concluded only when Jeb himself succumbed to a gunshot wound at the gates of Richmond. It was a year of grim casualties and ferocious fighting—in short, a year of desperate struggle with the gloves off on both sides. In this sequel to Year of Glory, historian Monte Akers provides a minute examination of Stuart’s cavalry during the controversial Gettysburg campaign, followed by nine months of sparring, during which the Union Army of the Potomac declined to undertake further thrusts against Virginia. After Stuart’s death, the Army of Northern Virginia would eventually be cornered, but while he was alive, it was often the Northerners who most needed to look to their security.