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Bloody Fifth, The
Bloody Fifth, The

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2017 TxAuthors Best Non-Fiction Military Historical Book

The 5th Texas Infantry―“The Bloody Fifth”―was one of only three Texas regiments to fight with Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. The 5th Texas established an exceptional combat record in an army known for its fighting capabilities.

The regiment took part in 38 engagements, including nearly every significant battle in the Eastern Theater, as well as the Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and Knoxville campaigns in the Western Theater, before laying down its arms forever at Appomattox. “The Bloody Fifth”, in a pair of magnificent volumes, is the first full-length study to document this fabled regimental command.

The first installment, Secession to the Suffolk Campaign, opens the regiment’s rich history from the withdrawal of the Lone Star State from the Union and the organization of ten independent east and central Texas companies, through the spring of 1863 and its complex and often-misunderstood mission around Suffolk, Virginia. The 5th’s battlefield prowess was demonstrated early in its inaugural fighting on the Virginia peninsula in early 1862, but it was at Second Manassas later that year where the regiment earned its enduring nickname by attacking and crushing the 5th New York Zouaves. Flushed with victory, the Texans pushed through the disintegrating Federal lines and outdistanced not only the remainder of the brigade but the rest of the Confederate army. The 5th Texas, boasted Gen. John Bell Hood in his official report, had “slipped the bridle.” The undying sobriquet “The Bloody Fifth” was now part of American military history.

Schmutz’s definitive study is based upon years of archival battlefield research that uncovered hundreds of primary sources, many never before used. The result is a lively account of not only the regiment’s marches and battles but also a personal look into the lives of these Texans as they struggled to survive a vicious war 2,000 miles from home. The second installment, Gettysburg to Appomattox, will complete the history.

“The Bloody Fifth”―The 5th Texas Infantry, Hood’s Texas Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia, with photos, original maps, explanatory footnotes, and important and useful appendices, is a significant contribution to the history of Texas and the American Civil War.

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