• One was called "a tin can on a shingle"; the other, "a half-submerged crocodile."
    Yet, on a March day in 1862 in Hampton Roads, Virginia, after a five-hour duel, the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia (formerly the U.S.S. Merrimack) were to change the course of not only the Civil War but also naval warfare forever. Using letters, diaries, and memoirs of men who lived through the epic battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack and of those who witnessed it from afar, William C. Davis documents and analyzes this famous confrontation of the first two modern warships. The result is a full-scale history that is as exciting as a novel. Besides a thorough discussion of the designs of each ship, Davis portrays come of the men involved in the building and operation of America's first ironclads-John Ericsson, supreme egoist and engineering genius who designed the Monitor; John Brooke, designer of the Virginia; John Worden, the well-loved captain of the Monitor; Captain Franklin Buchanan of the Virginia; and a host of other men on both Union and Confederate sides whose contributions make this history as much a story of men as of ships and war.

  • On September 18, 1861, ominous sounds of battle thundering in the distance, the Kentucky legislature voted to align itself with the Union. It was a decision which tore at the heart of the state, splitting apart families and severing friendships. For the newly formed First Kentucky Brigade, it marked a four-year separation from the beloved homeland. Fiercely independent to the end, these men would fight for the cause of the South. With their first march into battle, they became outcasts from their mother state -- orphans in the raging strife of civil war.
    William C. Davis has written a gripping story of the rebel troops whose remarkable spirit and tenacity were heralded throughout the Confederacy. The First Kentucky Brigade was “baptized in fire and blood” at the Battle of Shiloh and went on to serve with great distinction at Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Chickamauga, and the fight for Atlanta. In this vivid narrative, the author captures the searing drama of each battle, as well as the unbearable drudgery of the months between. We see men of all backgrounds and ranks coming to grips with the war: some of them, renowned leaders such as John C. Breckinridge; others, young soldiers learning the horror of death for the first time. Drawing from a wealth of documents, memoirs, personal letters, and journals, Davis brings to life the fascinating history of the Civil War’s “Orphan Brigade.”

  • Two great, untested armies were readying for the first--and what many believed would be the last--major conflict between North and South. On the eve of July 21, 1861, one Northerner wrote: “The sky is perfectly clear, the moon is full and bright, and the air was still as if it were not within a few hours to be disturbed by the roar of cannon and the shouts of contending men.” So optimistic were the people in Washington that a crowd of civilians came from the city with picnic hampers to witness the crushing defeat of the upstart “rebels.” It was, says William C. Davis, “the twilight of America’s innocence,” and the following day the mood would shatter in a battle that confounded the expectations of both sides--the first Battle at Bull Run.
    William C. Davis has written a compelling and complete account of this landmark conflict. The Battle at Bull Run (or Manassas) is notable for many reasons. It was a surprise victory for the Confederacy, a humiliating defeat for the Union, and the first ominous indication that a long and bloody war was inevitable. It marked the first strategic use of railroads in history, and the first time the horrors of the battle were photographed for the folks back home. It was also a training ground for some of America’s most colorful military figures: P.G.T. Beauregard, Joe Johnston, Irvin McDowell and “Stonewall” Jackson. Drawing from a wealth of material--old letters, journals, memoirs and military records--Davis brings to life a vivid and vital chapter in American history.

  • The story of how American settlers led a rebellion in 1810 against Spanish rule and created the Republic of West Florida, which was shortly annexed by the United States just 78 days later.

  • A dual biography and a fresh approach to the always compelling subject of these two iconic leaders how they fashioned a distinctly American war, and a lasting peace, that fundamentally changed our nation

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