No Better Place to Die
The memory of the Civil War in the USA is a deep wound and symbol of pride and respect for many Americans. The Civil War is associated with many important events and battles related to famous commanders and generals. It was a key point of new American history. Although the purpose of the conflict was to launch the idea of freedom and emancipation, it faced a strong opposition of the Southern States. The USA will never forget the bloodiest battle of the war, the Stones River battle, that initiated a turning point of the conflict and brought significant success for the Union Army. Peter Cozzens investigated the battle events deeply in his impressive book with a dramatic title No Better Place to Die: The Battle of Stones River. The book depicted the bloodiest turning point of the Civil War and beginning of new era, the Battle of Stones River, as it brought significant success in the struggle for democracy and freedom.
The battle is one of the most important events in history of the United States not only because of the Union Army’s success but also because of the inspiring idea of emancipation, memorized in the hearts of all Americans. Thus, the value of December 31, 1862 was associated with the significance of the war because it was an essential and crucial moment in the confrontation. The conflict of the Confederacy and the Union resulted in the latter’s Army victory, and it was the start of the former’s losses. However, it was not the end of the war but the beginning of the end and a new era for the entire country. It would be impossible to say that the Union positions were comfortable and advantageous. A highly evaluated military plan of general Rosecrans, the commander of the Yankee, illustrated an outstanding courage, devotion, and wisdom, which deadly insulted the Southern army. The Rivers Stone was a deathblow to the Confederacy, and they lost their firm positions and states. The national Park of the Stones River Battlefield commemorated a painful page of American history, associating it with the victory of emancipation. General Braggs, the Confederacy commander, faced a well-developed attack. The officers could not maintain appropriate defense and they lost Tennessee. The most violent attack happened on January 2. It was the victory of strategy over tactical power.
Peter Cozzens presented the first, fundamental, scholarly investigation and analyzes of the Stones River Battle. The book was published first in 1990. However, the critics of the book considered it quite debatable, attaining controversial responses. It looked more like an interpretation of existing books about this issue. However, only Peter Cozzens gathered all information about the battle course and organized it in a clear sequence of events with detailed descriptions and personal ideas. Cozzens was sure that “No account has fully told the story of this important campaign.” The author applied a quite untraditional tactic as for historic investigations. His descriptions were colorful, impressive like in a fiction book, thus making the battle come alive. Moreover, the author confirmed that the details of the battle had to be investigated deeper because it was worth to study (Cozzens). The writer analyzed the battle and made many essential conclusions concerning its consequences and their reasons. Tennessee was more than just a heartland of the South but also a strategic backwater of the Confederacy. Cozzens was sure that the division of the Southern army was rather moral than physical as the general had noticed significant dissension inside the army. The author of the book made a key claim in the scholarly investigation that it was not about victory of the Union and the loss of the Confederacy but it was about how Rosecrans had come so close to the defeat and how Bragg was so close to victory (Cozzens). It was the story of fatal mistakes in American history.
The author investigated and analyzed the battle from his personal point of view, applying specific metaphors and symbolical explanations to enhance the issue. He tried to imagine himself as the generals of the Union and the Confederacy. Cozzens concluded that the Southern Army commander was too convinced in his absolute victory over the Yankee. The approach of the writer was chronological and gradual. However, he advised to consider the book as a set of segments or independent parts. Thus, Cozzens traced the chain of battle events, combining all of them into one single unit as an essential beginning of new American history. It would be impossible to neglect the memory of the Stones River battle because it was a significant point in the war and in the establishment of democracy in the USA. The author confirmed his fresh view at the bloodiest encounter of the conflict, being an expert in this question. He revealed the battle from the most unexpected side that had not been investigated thoroughly.
Thus, the Stones River battle was a turning point in American history, being a key event of the Union and the Confederacy war. The army of the South lost most important states and strategic positions. However, the army of the Union attained a desired victory because of a strong plan of attack. The insulted tension of the Yankee destroyed the Confederacy from the inside, as the battle had launched a strong idea of emancipation, freedom, and democracy. The book No Better Place to Die: The Battle of Stones River by Peter Cozzens is the most important investigation of the conflict, presented in an untraditional way.
Cozzens, Peter. No Better Place to Die: The Battle of Stones River. University of Illinois Press, 2015.