William Lee White
Savas Beatie, The Emerging Civil War Series, 2019, 192 pages, $14.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
The Battle of Franklin is one of those encounters that stands as a testament to the carnage of the Civil War. The Army of Tennessee, led by General Hood, used the opportunity he saw to crush the Federal supply lines and began a fight against a fortified Union position. In Let Us Die Like Men, William Lee White brings this narrative of the battle to The Emerging Civil War Series which has always delivered on excellent aids to the battlefield, and a greater understanding of the conflict it surrounds. And when it comes to the Battle of Franklin, I was personally intrigued to learn more.
William Lee White is a National Park Ranger at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and has edited a number of essays, articles, and books on the Western Theater. He has authored Great Things are Expected of Us: The letters of Colonel C. Irvine Walker, 10th South Carolina Infantry CSA. There’s a bit of interesting history in White’s biography that he was born on the battlefield and spent most of his life there as well.
For those of you who’ve read this book review blog for some time now know, the Western Theater is not where my strong suit is placed. Therefore, when books about the Western Theater come to me, it’s always fascinating for me to learn something new. And that is the point of this Emerging Civil War Series. Throughout the series’ history, it has presented great narratives for those unfamiliar with the field, both through the story of battle, and the actual battlefield itself. Let Us Die Like Men is no different. But it’s not just the Battle of Franklin that graces these pages. White talks about the lead-up to the fight, and the subsequent battles because of it. The Battle of Allatoona Pass is described and can be considered to be the opening movements that led to Franklin. I found the descriptions of the Battle of Franklin through the narrative and accounts to be fascinating and definitely something that can be easily accessed for anyone interested in this engagement. The waves of Confederate forces crashing against the Union line brought images of Fredericksburg to mind. The book is also accompanied by a number of appendices which bring about deeper study to those who want more. But what stands out to me here is the way White crafts the narrative.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Western Theater of the Civil War. This is another stand-out addition to this Emerging Civil War Series and I hope also to see more from William Lee White. The intricate maps, photographs, and battlefield tour is what makes this essential for those being introduced to this battle.