The Battle Of Peach Tree Creek – Hood’s First Sortie – 20 July 1864, by Robert D. Jenkins, Sr.
I have had this book for several days, as it came from a new publisher I am reviewing for, the Army Historical Institute, and it is only now that I have cleared the pile of books to work on this particular volume this week (it will probably be a two-day affair to read this particular book, given that it is over 400 pages in length). I was very pleased to be able to add a Civil War book to my collection, as it has been a while since I was able to add a new book about this subject to my permanent collections (I have read a few Civil War books recently from the library, though ), especially given the importance and the obscurity of this particular part of the Atlanta campaign. I love reading stories about Union victories, and this particular victory was critical in providing Sherman’s army the chance to take over Atlanta, which was important in securing Lincoln’s election in 1864.
Since I have yet to read this book at all, I cannot comment at length about its contents. That said, a look at its table of contents suggests that the book largely looks at a very detailed examination of the battle itself, as it would appear that a lot of detail would be needed to fill 400 pages of writing. I have seen plenty of maps and pictures, which should aid in comprehension. If someone wants to find out about this battle (which would, apparently, not include many people in Atlanta, who have not preserved this particular battlefield well at all). Despite heavy losses, of course, the battle went well for the Union and was key in bloodying the Confederate Army of Tennessee to the point where they were eventually unable to hold onto the city. Yet the book itself does not appear that it will spend much time on these larger repercussions of the battle, except perhaps in the last chapter and epilogue. A little bit of the story deals with the subject of the plan of Sherman’s (and Hood’s) that led to the battle occurring at all, as Hood saw that attack was necessary in order to prevent the slow strangulation of Atlanta, but his reckless attacks, even if costly to Sherman, were far more costly to himself, and ended up destroying his own army’s capacity to fight.
Although I’m not sure this book will discuss the issue at all, this battle and the behavior of Hood (which in many ways resembles the behavior of Lee, only less successfully) is the strategic dilemma that the South faced in the Civil War. Where national feeling is strong and where conventional armies are weak, it is common for the armed forces to retreat and use terrain to overwhelm opponents far from their logistical bases. This was, of course, the method of the Taliban as well as the Viet Cong. On the other hand, the South does not appear to have had enough of a national feeling to willingly surrender border regions in order to draw the Union in and defeat them. Instead, generals like Lee and Hood and Price (among others) felt it necessary to continually attack to seek to regain space that had been given up to the superior Union armies, which only wasted their limited resources of manpower, leaving them further unable to resist the combined attacks on their territory, eventually leading to defeat. Ultimately, Peach Tree Creek is part of a narrative of Southern weakness, leading to aggressiveness.
 See, for example: