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Book Review: The Training Ground
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Author:  CSAJG1136 [ Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Book Review: The Training Ground

The subtitle is Grant, Lee, Sherman, and Davis in the Mexican War, 1846-1848

Martin Dugard is the Author, written in 2008.

This book has several layers of interesting stories. It tells of the friendship of Lee and Johnston, Longstreet and Grant, Davis and his relationship with Zac Taylor, and how Polk removed him to eliminate his credit and risk of him being a presidential rival. It details Beaugard's grand plan, Lee on horseback while sleeping during long scouting trips, Davis as a brave brigade commander, Stonewall storming the streets with his cannon (he got a little overzealous), even Bragg has upside. Of course Lew Armistead and Hancock relationship is described as well as the Dragoons. The personal insights to how this war shaped the experience and readied us for the war to follow makes it one of the most interesting books pertaining to the civil war that I have read. It describes Lee meeting Grant, while Grant is in the mud helping to get a wagon un-stuck, and how he berates him for not having his uniform in order. I was not a fan of Grant before I read this book, and it has helped change my perspective. It gives a good description of regular in irregular brigades. At Appomattox, Grant tries to get Longstreet out of the dumps by playing a game of "Liar" and Longstreet is too distraught to play. Sherman gets stuck on a ship sailing around South America and misses most of the action. McClellan is a young officer with a good reputation in the Engineers. Meade is a topographical Engineer, Ewell is in the dragoons, as was Stoneman, Doubleday/artillery, French/artillery, AP hill/artillery, Reynolds/artillery, Thomas/artillery, Burnside/artillery, McLaws/infantry, Pickett/infantry, Geary/volunteers, Early/Volunteers.

It also describes fights over girlfriends, and how that effected relationships in the future.

Hardee almost gets captured by riding in the midst of Division.
Magruder is there, a was most everyone with a degree from West point.

Manifest destiny was born, and the gold rush to California was on!

And as Grant stated, it was probably one of the most unjust wars of it's time.

The US does not get many battlefield surprises and the Mexican's are still fighting with Lancers, but the individual struggles and achievements, along with personal relationship twists make this a must read.

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