The Smoke at Dawn: A Novel of the Civil War (the Civil War in the West)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Jeff Shaara returns to the Civil War terrain he knows so well, with the latest novel in the series that started with A Blaze of Glory and A Chain of Thunder. In The Smoke at Dawn, the last great push of the Army of the Cumberland sets the stage for a decisive confrontation at Chattanooga that could determine the outcome of the war.
Summer, 1863. The Federal triumph at Vicksburg has secured complete control of the Mississippi River from the Confederacy, cementing the reputation of Ulysses S. Grant. Farther east, the Federal army under the command of William Rosecrans captures the crucial rail hub at Chattanooga. But Rosecrans is careless, and while pursuing the Confederates, the Federal forces are routed in north Georgia at Chickamauga Creek. Retreating in a panic back to Chattanooga, Rosecrans is pursued by the Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg. Penned up, with their supply lines severed, the Federal army seems doomed to the same kind of defeat that plagued the Confederates at Vicksburg. But a disgusted Abraham Lincoln has seen enough of General Rosecrans. Ulysses Grant is elevated to command of the entire theater of the war, and immediately replaces Rosecrans with General George Thomas. Grant gathers an enormous force, including armies commanded by Joseph Hooker and Grant’s friend, William T. Sherman. Grant’s mission is clear: Break the Confederate siege and destroy Bragg’s army. Meanwhile, Bragg wages war as much with his own subordinates as he does with the Federals, creating dissension and disharmony in the Southern ranks, erasing the Confederate army’s superiority at exactly the wrong time.
Blending evocative historical detail with searing depictions of battle, Jeff Shaara immerses readers in the world of commanders and common soldiers, civilians and statesmen. From the Union side come the voices of Generals Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and George Thomas—the vaunted “Rock of Chickamauga”—as well as the young private Fritz “Dutchie” Bauer. From the Rebel ranks come Generals Bragg, Patrick Cleburne, and James Longstreet, as well as the legendary cavalry commander, Nathan Bedford Forrest. A tale of history played out on a human scale in the grand Shaara tradition, The Smoke at Dawn vividly recreates the climactic months of the war in the West, when the fate of a divided nation truly hangs in the balance.
Praise for The Smoke at Dawn
“Civil War history fiends will be riveted.”—Parade
“A beautifully written novel . . . Shaara once again elevates history from mere rote fact to explosive and engaging drama.”—Bookreporter
“Shaara’s mastery of military tactics, his intimate grasp of history, and his ability to interweave several supporting narratives into a cohesive and digestible whole . . . will appeal to a broad range of historical- and military-fiction fans.”—Booklist
“Top-notch . . . As with the best historical war novels, knowing the ultimate outcome of the bitter fighting is not a bar to engagement.”—Publishers Weekly
From the Hardcover edition.
Chattanooga, anticipating an attack on Lookout Mountain. But Grant’s order would require Thomas to haul considerable artillery in the opposite direction, up from the stronghold at Chattanooga, a job that would fall on Brannan. The horses took them up a low rise, the brush falling away, bare rocks and scrub trees, well above the river. Thomas had followed Smith to a vantage point where the mouth of Chickamauga Creek was visible. He saw it now, feeding into the Tennessee from the far side, and
cheers went out, and Cleburne had seen it for himself, that the casualty counts among the men on the hills around him were almost nonexistent. He stayed up on the horse, chased by his staff, staying in motion all along the main part of the line facing Billy Goat Hill. The firing had slowed once more, and the last of the Yankees who could move at all were withdrawing back across the flatter ground. Straight below him, the ravine held more of the enemy than he could see, but those men had little
doctors of that demon of the deep woods, and Bauer wondered now if the tale had begun from the imaginations of the medical men, to keep anyone, patient or orderly, from slipping off on some indiscreet mission that had nothing to do with medicine. This was, after all, Natchez, and many of the troops had found that the gentility of this Southern community masked the availability of a different kind of creature, one who smelled of perfume. Bauer stopped, looked back, saw the man now, coming around
knowing that if the rebels got inside, it was over. He thought of his guard, the battalion of regulars keeping up their fight outside the protection of the timber. Barely more than two hundred men, but they were professionals, men willing to die rather than surrender. They’ll give the rebels all they have, he thought. It might not be enough. Movement caught his eye, Anthony again, still up high, shouting orders, rallying his men, and Sherman thought of the young Captain Smith, outside, knew he
knew this routine all too well. Back at Bridgeport, Grant could barely climb the horse at all, so Rawlins had ordered the aides to lift Grant up like some sack of flour, placing him on the horse as though he might require a tie-down. Grant held his complaints to himself, knew it was the only way. As they climbed farther into the hills, the mud had grown worse, the narrow roadway often impassable without dismounting. Through it all, Rawlins had been there, the men lowering Grant from the horse,