Michael C. Hardy
Savas Beatie, 2018, 408 pp., $34.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
For those who have read a number of my reviews over the past few years, there is nothing I love more than a book that chronicles a regiment or brigade’s actions throughout the Civil War. The intimate history which can be laid down through the stories of the sacrifice and valor of these troops is something that is quite inspiring. General Lee’s Immortals is one such book that details the history of the Branch-Lane Brigade from 1861 to 1865 while in the Army of Northern Virginia. Not only that, but this well written and well researched book about this brigade is surely going to be used as one of the great source materials for these soldiers.
Michael C. Hardy is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has written a number of works and articles in prominent Civil War publications. He was named the North Carolina Historian of the Year in 2010 and blogs regularly at Looking for North Carolina’s Civil War. He, and his family, are often seen as interpreters at many historic sites throughout western North Carolina and East Tennessee. He is recognized by many to be one of the experts on the Civil War and has authored other works on North Carolina forces during the conflict.
While I always appreciate a brigade history, there is one thing which stands out to me in this work. I am surprised that there have not been any works, primary or secondary, which chronicle this brigade. I, for one, had only heard of the Branch-Lane Brigade, but never read anything specific about them. This works corrects that gap in our Civil War Scholarship. In fact, jumping ahead just a bit, this brigade history is one of the more well designed and organized I have seen in the past year. Never once was I confused about any of the events happening throughout the book as Hardy goes into great detail about the events in front of us. Even if you were just getting into the Civil War and saw this book on the shelf, there would be enough in the narrative to move the reader throughout the events of this brigade. On top of that, I was impressed with the amount of campaigns that the Branch-Lane Brigade were a part of. When I first received this book and saw the battle flag on the cover, I saw the immense amount of names on the cover and knew that there was something special about this brigade. As I was reading, I began to have a great appreciation not only for the men of the unit, but for the research that went into this work.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the American Civil War. This brigade’s story can bring any reader throughout the conflict in the eastern theater of the war. Michael Hardy has done an amazing job of research and the narrative he gives proves his mastery of the craft. I hope that for years to come, this is the reference material when looking into the details for the Branch-Lane Brigade. Highly Recommended!