The Stonewall Brigade in the Civil War
By Patrick Hook and Steve Smith
(October 2009 Civil War News)

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Illustrated, maps, tables, bibliography, index, softcover, 128 pp., 2008. Zenith Press, 400 First Ave. N., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55401, $21.99 plus shipping.

The renowned Stonewall Brigade consisted of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th, and 33rd Virginia regiments. Most of its members came from the Shenandoah Valley and several mountainous counties to the west. Their association with Thomas J. Jackson, notably at First Manassas or Bull Run, has insured their ongoing fame.

This new book by Patrick Hook and Steve Smith is an appealing, profusely illustrated summary of a brigade’s record during the conflict. The narrative lacks much detail on the Virginians’ role in battles, but the intent seems to be a concise account of the brigade. A well-versed and well-read student of the war will find little new in the book.

The authors gloss over controversial aspects of the brigade’s record. They fail to note the number of desertions and/or stragglers from the regiments during the 1862 Valley Campaign, which reduced the brigade’s ranks by more than one-half. They also do not discuss the Virginians’ refusal to advance at one point during the action on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville.

Finally, the authors overstate their achievements when they describe the Stonewall Brigade as “one of the elite units in American military history.” Nevertheless, this is an attractive book that should appeal to readers who want a concise account of this famous command.

Reviewer: Jeffry D. Wert

Jeffry D. Wert is a retired Pennsylvania high school teacher. He is the author of eight books on the Civil War, including his recent Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J.E.B. Stuart.