I was very happy to read this great review of my new book, A Mortal Blow to the Confederacy: The Fall of New Orleans, 1862, by Civil War Books and Authors.
Civil War Books and Authors Review of “A Mortal Blow to the Confederacy: The Fall of New Orleans, 1862”
In discussing a conflict that lasted five long years, it can be difficult to convincingly maintain that any single event from the first twelve months of the Civil War constituted a “mortal blow,” but the Union capture of New Orleans in April 1862 was by all estimates a devastating setback to the Confederacy’s bid for independence. The blockade had already effectively choked off international trade by the time Union forces launched a direct assault on the city, but the strategic, material, and morale losses that attended its fall remained considerable. By far the most populous city in the seceded states, cosmopolitan New Orleans controlled the mouth of the great Mississippi River and contained a large proportion of the American South’s irreplaceable Gulf State industry.
Even with all of this obvious significance, a definitive-level study of the fall of New Orleans still escapes us, and Mark Bielski’s A Mortal Blow to the Confederacy: The Fall of New Orleans, 1862 marks just the third book-length account of any kind. In addition to being an influential early proponent of the ‘mortal blow’ theme, Charles DuFour’s 1960 book The Night the War Was Lost was a milestone in that it was the first serious study of the topic and perhaps the work that most shaped our modern understanding of those factors most responsible for Confederate failure to adequately defend the city. That book was followed in 1995 by Chester Hearn’s The Capture of New Orleans, 1862, which was well-received overall but nevertheless did not constitute a truly major advancement toward a more definitive modern study.
Part of the prolific Emerging Civil War series of introductory-scale titles, Bielski’s new book combines popular appeal in text and presentation with sound synthesis and analysis.