By Jon Diamond Historians began writing about the Civil War even before it had become history. Battlefield accounts by traveling correspondents were a staple of Northern and Southern newspapers during the war, and a flood of memoirs, letters, official records, and unit histories followed in the decades after the war. Novelists, short story writers, and poets such as John W. De Forest, Ambrose Bierce, and Sidney Lanier, who had served in the war, and the brilliant 24-year-old prodigy Stephen Crane, who was not even born until six years after the Civil War ended, added their voices to the mix. In the ensuing century and a half, American libraries have filled countless shelves with books devoted to the most pivotal event in the nation’s history. Inevitably, many of those books have faded from view, while others have stood the test of time to become acknowledged classics of Civil War history. Among the latter is retired U.S. Army General Edward J. Stackpole’s 1958 study, Chancellorsville: Lee’s Greatest Battle. Published by his family-owned company, Stackpole Books, just prior to the Civil War centennial, Stackpole’s meticulous and incisive study was instantly successful, both critically and popularly. Considered by many to be Stackpole’s greatest contribution to Civil War literature, the work remains a favorite of Civil War enthusiasts and a textbook example of how to think and write about the war. Stackpole's Wars Stackpole was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in


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