By Greg Biggs
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved
Editor’s note: Greg Briggs has authored or co-authored several books and many articles on the Civil War. He has held executive positions with several Civil War Roundtables and preservation and historical societies and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Center For the Study of the Civil War in the West at Western Kentucky University. Mr. Biggs spoke to the CCWRT at its December, 2007 meeting; this article is a follow-up to that presentation.
In my program “Napoleonic Cavalryman: Nathan Bedford Forrest” at the December meeting of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable, I stated early on that the Civil War had no decisive battles despite Civil War historians constantly writing that this or that battle was “decisive.” I also stated that most Civil War historians do not study warfare prior to the Civil War, most importantly the Napoleonic Wars, when decisive battles were fought. Lastly, I argued that the primary reason for the lack of decisive battles in the Civil War was the misuse of cavalry, particularly in the pursuit phase, which rarely existed after a typical Civil War engagement.
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