New Release Books by Benjamin Franklin Cooling III

Benjamin Franklin Cooling III is the author of Counter-Thrust (2020), Jubal Early (2014), The Day Lincoln Was Almost Shot (2013) and Mr. Lincoln's Forts (2009).

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Counter-Thrust

release date: Feb 17, 2020
Counter-Thrust
During the summer of 1862, a Confederate resurgence threatened to turn the tide of the Civil War. When the Union's earlier multitheater thrust into the South proved to be a strategic overreach, the Confederacy saw its chance to reverse the loss of the Upper South through counteroffensives from the Chesapeake to the Mississippi. Benjamin Franklin Cooling tells this story in Counter-Thrust, recounting in harrowing detail Robert E. Lee's flouting of his antagonist George B. McClellan's drive to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond and describing the Confederate hero's long-dreamt-of offensive to reclaim central and northern Virginia before crossing the Potomac. Counter-Thrust also provides a window into the Union's internal conflict at building a successful military leadership team during this defining period. Cooling shows us Lincoln's administration in disarray, with relations between the president and field commander McClellan strained to the breaking point. He also shows how the fortunes of war shifted abruptly in the Union's favor, climaxing at Antietam with the bloodiest single day in American history--and in Lincoln's decision to announce a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Here in all its gritty detail and considerable depth is a critical moment in the unfolding of the Civil War and of American history.

Jubal Early

release date: Aug 26, 2014
Jubal Early
In Jubal Early: Robert E. Lee’s Bad Old Man, a new critical biography of Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Anderson Early, Civil War historian B.F. Cooling III takes a fresh look at one of the most fascinating, idiosyncratic characters in the pantheon of Confederate heroes and villains. Dubbed by Robert E. Lee as his "bad old man" because of his demeanor, Early was also Lee's chosen instrument to attack and capture Washington as well as defend the Shenandoah Valley granary in the summer and fall of 1864. Neither cornered nor snared by Union opponents, Early came closest of any Confederate general to capturing Washington, ending Lincoln's presidency, and forever changing the fate of the Civil War and American history. His failure to grapple with this moment of historical immortality and emerge victorious bespeaks as much his own foibles as the counter-efforts of the enemy, the effects of weather and the shortcomings of his army. From the pinnacle of success, Jubal Early descended to the trough of defeat within three months when opponent General Philip Sheridan resoundingly defeated him in the Valley campaign of 1864. Jubal Early famously exhibited a harder, less gallant personal as a leading Confederate practitioner of "hard" or destructive war, a tactic usually ascribed to Union generals Hunter, Sheridan, and Sherman. An extortionist of Yankee capital in northern towns in Pennsylvania and Maryland—typically in the form of tribute—Early also became forever associated with the wanton destruction of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, as well as Congressman Thaddeus Stevens private commerical ironworks, and the private dwellings of Maryland governor Augustus Bradford and then Postmaster General Montgomery Blair. How war hardened a crabbed, arthritically hobbled but brilliantly pragmatic soldier and lawyer offers one of the most fascinating puzzles of personality in Civil War history. One of the most alluring yet repellent figures of Southern Confederate history, Jubal Early would devolve from the ideal prewar constitutional unionist to the postwar personification of the unreconstructed rebel and progenitor of the “lost cause” explanation for the demise of the Confederacy's experiment in rebellion or independence. This critical study explains how one of Virginia's loyal sons came through war and peace to garner a unique position in the Confederacy's pantheon of heroes—and the Union’s cabal of military villains. Jubal Early: Robert E. Lee’s Bad Old Man will appeal to anyone interested in Civil War history and Confederate history.

The Day Lincoln Was Almost Shot

release date: May 02, 2013
The Day Lincoln Was Almost Shot
The Day Lincoln Was Almost Shot: The Fort Stevens Story recounts the story of President Abraham Lincoln’s role in the Battle of Fort Stevens in July 1864. This engagement stands apart in American history as the only time a sitting American president came under enemy fire while in office. In this new study of this overlooked moment in American history, Cooling poses a troubling question: What if Lincoln had been shot and killed during this short battle, nine months prior to his death by John Wilkes Booth’s hand in Ford's Theater? A potential pivotal moment in the Civil War, the Battle of Fort Stevens could have changed—with Lincoln's demise—the course of American history. The Day Lincoln Was Almost Shot, however, is more than a meditation on an alternate history of the United States. It is also a close study of the attempt by Confederate general Jubal Early to capture Washington, DC, to remove Lincoln and the Union government from power, and to turn the tide of the Civil War in the South's favor. The dramatic events of this attempt to capture Washington—and the president with it—unfold in stunning detail as Cooling taps fresh documentary sources and offers a new interpretation of this story of the defense of the nation’s capital. Commemorating this largely forgotten and under-appreciated chapter in the study of Lincoln and the Civil War, The Day Lincoln Was Almost Shot is a fascinating look at this potential turning point in American history.

Mr. Lincoln's Forts

release date: Oct 06, 2009
Mr. Lincoln's Forts
During the American Civil War, Washington, D.C. was the most heavily fortified city in North America. As President Abraham Lincoln's Capital, the city became the symbol of Union determination, as well as a target for Robert E. Lee's Confederates. As a Union army and navy logistical base, it contained a complex of hospitals, storehouses, equipment repair facilities, and animal corrals. These were in addition to other public buildings, small urban areas, and vast open space that constituted the capital on the Potomac. To protect Washington with all it contained and symbolized, the Army constructed a shield of fortifications: 68 enclosed earthen forts, 93 supplemental batteries, miles of military roads, and support structures for commissary, quartermaster, engineer, and civilian labor force, some of which still exist today. Thousands of troops were held back from active operations to garrison this complex. And the Commanders of the Army of the Potomac from Irvin McDowell to George Meade, and informally U.S. Grant himself, always had to keep in mind their responsibility of protecting this city, at the same time that they were moving against the Confederate forces arrayed against them. Revised in style, format, and content, the new edition of Mr. Lincoln's Forts is the premier historical reference and tour guide to the Civil War defenses of Washington, D.C.
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