Book Review: Calamity in Carolina: The Battles of Averasboro and Bentonville, March 1865


by Daniel T. Davis & Phillip S. Greenwalt,

El Dorado Hills, Ca.: Savas Beatie, 2015. Pp. xx, 148. Illus., maps, appends., notes, biblio., index. $12.95 paper. ISBN: 1611212456

The Final Act of the Civil War in the Carolinas

Veteran National Park Service historians Davis and Greenwalt, who have also collaborated on books about the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 and the Battle of Cold Harbor, give us a surprisingly detailed and insightful look at the last weeks of the war in the Carolinas, as the remnants of the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Joseph E. Johnston tried to block William Sherman’s march northwards from Georgia, culminating in the Battle of Bentonville and then, weeks later, the surrender of the only surviving major Confederate army.

While discussing the various actions and movements, the authors often draw from letters, diaries, and other documents produced by participants, and they offer some excellent analysis of certain critical decisions. They include numerous clear maps, a plethora of illustrations, and a good deal of supporting material, some of it by other noted specialists in the subject, including an order of battle, profiles of several generals, and an account of the history of the preservation of Bentonville battlefield.

In addition to a detained account of the campaign and the battles, the authors include a useful guide for those interested in touring the sites involved in these operations.

A volume in the Savas “Emerging Civil War” series, which has now reached some 20 books, Calamity in Carolina is an excellent introduction to the final weeks of the Civil War in the Carolinas, and will prove a useful read even for seasoned students of the war.

Note: Calamity in Carolina is also available as an eBook, 978-1-61121-224-2.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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