Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table

Education and Preservation


The Chickamauga Campaign: Glory or the Grave (vol. 2) and Barren Victory (vol. 3)

The Chickamauga Campaign was a series of battles and maneuvering from Aug. 21 to Sept. 20, 1863 in northwest Georgia, fought between the Union’s Army of the Cumberland and the Confederacy’s Army of Tennessee. The North eventually won the war, but the battle of Chickamauga was a crucial victory for the South.

The Chickamauga Campaign: Glory of the Grave
The Chickamauga Campaign: Glory of the Grave

   Author David Powell has completed the second and third volumes in what is considered the best in-depth study of the Chickamauga Campaign. These are The Chickamauga Campaign: Glory or the Grave, and The Chickamauga Campaign: Barren Victory. Powell’s magnificent study fully explores the battle from all perspectives and is based upon over fifteen years of intensive study and research that has uncovered nearly 2,000 primary sources from generals to private, all stitched together to relate the remarkable story that was Chickamauga. Using a plethora of first-hand accounts and regimental studies, many of which have never been heard of or read about, Powell takes the reader on a journey into the soldier’s lives and actions during their time in Tennessee and Georgia in 1863.

The Chickamauga Campaign: Barren Victory
The Chickamauga Campaign: Barren Victory

   In Glory or the Grave, published in 2015, the actions of September 20, 1863 are presented and discussed. The book was awarded the prestigious Richard B. Harwell Book Award for best book on a Civil War subject published in 2015. Barren Victory appeared in 2016 and provides the close of the battle and the entire campaign from September 21 to October 20, 1863, and contains additional sources for research, an extensive bibliography, and various appendices on the battle, battlefield, and the surrounding north Georgia and southeastern Tennessee areas.

Although not required reading, Mr. Powell’s previously published work, The Maps of Chickamauga, is a very helpful resource when reading the trilogy. The maps really help visualize the action(s) described in the book, especially if you’re reading about the battle for the first time or if you are tracking down the movements of a particular regiment or brigade across the hills and valleys of North Georgia.

Also, for those of you who just can’t seem to get enough information on the battles and events surrounding the Chickamauga and Chattanooga campaigns, David Powell has a blog, Chickamauga Blog (


Reviewed by Lee Hattabaugh

Battle Above the Clouds: Lifting the Siege of Chattanooga and the Battle of Lookout Mountain, October 16 – November 24, 1863

This is another travel guide in the Emerging Civil War Series provided by Savas Beatie and for members of the Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table and Civil War enthusiasts throughout the Tennessee River Valley, it close to home and follows a format similar to previous publications in the series.

David Powell provides an excellent overview of the intrigue by simply stating the personality conflicts between key leaders, both Northern and Southern, and how those rivalries may have affected the outcome of the events. He credits the Round Table’s friend and frequent speaker Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park Historian James H. Ogden III for his insight and research regarding the events surrounding Chattanooga.

For the Civil War enthusiast as well as those casually interested only because it is close to home, reading, digesting, and following the route of the events from Bridgeport, Alabama to the top of Look Out Mountain is a long day trip that will leave the traveler amazed, fully satisfied, and in awe of the challenges adversaries faced in terrain, much of which remains as it was in 1863.

The first tour is the prelude to the contested events with an adventure through the site of Wheeler’s Raid in the Sequatchie Valley beginning in Stevenson, Alabama and sites along the way, Bridgeport, Alabama, Powell’s Crossroads and Anderson’s Crossroads in Tennessee. Tour two includes Brown’s Ferry, Wauhatchie, and Lookout Mountain. There are eight maps and many photos of the leaders, monuments, and sites related to the contested area. And for those intrigued by the size and composition of military formations the author breaks down units to brigade size including their state of origin.

Not only does this particular analysis of the events provide sufficient detail for grasping the strategic and tactical implications facing the adversaries it will challenge the curious to learn more and a suggested reading list is provided.

David A. Powell met the challenge and does not disappoint any Civil War enthusiast.


Reviewed by Arley McCormick

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