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In the bestselling tradition of "The Killer Angels" comes an arresting new contribution to the rich legacy of American Civil War literature from the author of "To Make Men Free: A Novel of the Battle of Antietam", hailed by the "Military Press" as "a stirring tale of blood, glory, intrigue, mutiny, deceit, jealousy, revenge, nobility, and power." Now, in "No Greater Courage", Richard Croker vividly brings to life the Battle of Fredericksburg, a ferocious campaign between two increasingly desperate sides, all realistically set in the context of the Civil War's deepening tragedy.
Midway through its second year the Civil War was no closer to resolution. Antietam had claimed 23,000 casualties on a single day in September of 1862, and by that fall it had become clear that the bloody stalemate was rapidly consuming both sides. President Lincoln grew furious with the war's slow progress and in November replaced his arrogant, insubordinate, and incredibly popular commander George McClellan with the modest and reluctant Ambrose Burnside. Pressured to deliver a significant victory in Southern territory before the winter set in, General Burnside quickly advanced the Army of the Potomac into Virginia toward the city of Fredericksburg. It was a rash gamble that hinged on the element of surprise; meanwhile, of course, Robert E. Lee's army lurked somewhere in Virginia, waiting.
Arriving on the banks of the Rappahannock River, the Union army -- the largest army in the world -- is stymied for a lack of bridges. Major Ira Spaulding and raw recruit Billy Blakesley are among those whose job itis to provide them, but mishandled orders, unbroken mules, and the winter storm of the century conspire against the hapless bridge builders, giving Lee time to amass his Confederate army on the opposite banks. The result is a terrible slaughter that will become one of the most infamous battles of the Civil War.
With a cast of characters that includes Lincoln, Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and common soldiers on both sides, all based on actual participants, Richard Croker's blazing narrative re-creates the smoke, brutality, and bloodshed that was the Battle of Fredericksburg. The result of meticulous research, "No Greater Courage" artfully combines the thrilling drama and suspense of the battlefield with the intrigue of Lincoln's Washington, offering readers a rich understanding of what the men were really fighting and dying for.
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