This is the second installment by author John F. Schmultz on the Texas Brigade. Volume 1 addressed the brigade from Session to the Suffolk Campaign and outlined the basic tenants of a great history; the brigade origin, structure, leaders, and ample commentary from the most critical element of the Brigade – the soldiers in the ranks.
Volume 2 continues in similar fashion and includes campaign planning agreed upon by President Davis and General Robert E. Lee. Operational and tactical decisions that challenged the brigade’s success and have been debated for over 150 years. But, the critical part of any organization is the rank and file that must execute the orders of their officers. The author portrays their roll, not only in battle, but on the march, through the wants of food, water, rest and the inadequacies experiences as a result of Confederate government, Army of Northern Virginia policy and their adversaries in blue. The sentiment of the soldiers on life, religion, family, and their fellow soldiers combine to illustrate the complex dynamics of a Brigade in the formation of the Army of Northern Virginia.
For those that follow the tactics and battle drama there are ample maps illustrating the movement of the Brigade from Gettysburg to Appomattox. The authors extensive bibliography adequately captures the long standing authors and more recent illustrations of the circumstances that faced the Brigade to illustrate all its glory, its human loss, and conflicts in leadership.
“The Bloody Fifth” is one of those Regimental histories that deserves to be read, referenced, and enjoyed for many years.
Reviewed by Arley McCormick