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The Hammer of Nashville

Thomas Bibliography
Author Title City Publisher Year Comment

Wills, Brian Steel

George Henry Thomas
As True as Steel
Lawrence University Press of Kansas 2012 Although often counted among the Union’s top five generals, George Henry Thomas has still not received his due. A Virginian who sided with the North in the Civil War, he was a more complicated commander than traditional views have allowed. Brian Wills now provides a new and more complete look at the life of a man known to history as “The Rock of Chickamauga,” to his troops as “Old Pap,” and to General William T. Sherman as a soldier who was “as true as steel.” -from Amazon website

Bobrick, Benson

Master of War

New York Simon & Schuster 2009 The tide may be slowly turning.  I had predicted to some Civil War friends that perhaps by the Civil War bicentennial (2061), when renewed interest in the war might tempt a "name biographer" to take up the cause of General Thomas, that the true story of the war may come out.  It may be happening 50 years sooner than I thought.

Highly recommended.  See review by publisher.  I agree with most of it.  Go to Book Review
Einolf, Christopher J. George Thomas Virginian for the Union Norman University of Oklahoma Press 2007 A very good book on George Thomas.   Highly recommended. 

Go to Book Review

See press release

McKinney, Francis F. Education in Violence, The Life of George H. Thomas and The History of The Army of the Cumberland Detroit Wayne State University Press 1961 Best biography of George Thomas. Highly recommended.  Reprint available.

The title comes from author's view that Thomas was especially open to learning the art of leading a large army.  He trained himself well in not only the combat arms like the cavalry and artillery, but in all the disciplines like logistics and topography.

Cleaves, Freeman The Rock of Chickamauga, The Life of General George H. Thomas Norman University of Oklahoma Press 1948 Very good.  Paperback reprint widely available.


Buell, Thomas B. The Warrior Generals, Combat Leadership in the Civil War New York Crown Publishers 1997 Noted naval historian leaves the sea and looks at the Civil War with fresh eyes and concludes that George Thomas was the best general of the war - North or South.  Recommended.
Castel, Albert Decision in the West, The Atlanta Campaign of 1864 Lawrence University Press of Kansas 1992 Another excellent example of a modern historian looking at the war without the undo influence of the Grant/Sherman memoirs and determining for himself that Thomas was the best general of the key participants (Sherman, Thomas, Johnston, Hood).


Coppée, Henry General Thomas New York D. Appleton and Company 1893 Fair effort but too much 'political correctness' in excusing Grant's treatment of Gen. Thomas.  Not recommended.

Out of print

Johnson, Richard W. Memoir of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas Philadelphia J. B. Lippincott 1881 Written by a former General under Thomas. First bio of Thomas ever published.  Minimum battle history.  Provides details of funeral and Thomas statue.  Not recommended.

Out of print

O’Connor, Richard Thomas: Rock of Chickamauga New York Prentice - Hall 1948 A well written balanced account of the life of Thomas that captures his human qualities better than the other biographies.  Recommended.

Out of print

Palumbo, Frank A. George Henry Thomas, The Dependable General Dayton Morningside Books 1983 No new research but it has extensive documentation from the Official Records and many photos of Thomas memorabilia/ relics from the author’s and other collections.
Piatt, Donn Memories of the Men Who Saved the Union New York and Chicago Belford, Clarke & Co 1887 Essays on five Civil War figures   who Piatt credits as key to winning the war (Thomas is the only soldier on the list).

Apparently Piatt did not think much of the generalship of U.S. Grant.  But not to worry about Grant.  He had plenty of 'boot licking' biographers in the 1880's who were quite willing to whitewash his unprofessional treatment of Thomas.

Out of print

Piatt, Donn General George H. Thomas, A Critical Biography Cincinnati Robert Clarke & Co 1893 A book with an interesting "What if Thomas had been placed in top command..." viewpoint.  Piatt is very critical of both Grant and Sherman and shows where their decisions unnecessarily cost too many Union lives.  He contrasts their approach with Thomas' approach of conserving his men using superior battle tactics rather than relying  on superior manpower and the ability to suffer attrition better than the South. Recommended.

Out of print

Thomas, Wilbur General George H. Thomas, The Indomitable Warrior New York Exposition Press 1964 Passionate advocate for George Thomas' place in American military history. Recommended.

Out of print

Van Horne, Thomas B. The Life of Major General George H. Thomas New York Charles Scribner’s Sons 1882 Van Horne tries to counter the misinformation  spread by backers of the Grant & Sherman  legend, but gets carried away and turns Thomas into a martyred saint.  It causes Van Horne to lose credibility with later historians.  He should have stopped after proving Thomas to be a great soldier.

Out of print

Van Horne, Thomas B. History of the Army of the Cumberland Cincinnati Robert Clarke & Co 1875 Written by a friend of Thomas who had access to his documents. Intentionally   understated  as requested by Thomas and thus rather dry but very definitive.  High quality reprint  of this classic work in two volumes is available from Broadfoot Publishing, Wilmington, NC.  Recommended.
Cist, Henry M. The Army of the Cumberland New York Charles Scribner's Sons 1882 Excellent short study on the Army of the Cumberland.  Part of Scribners 'Campaigns of the Civil War' series.


Out of print

Horn, Stanley F. The Decisive Battle of Nashville Baton Rouge Louisiana State University Press 1956 Although respect is given only begrudgingly to General Thomas by this 'Lost Cause' author, this book develops and supports the theory that Nashville was the decisive battle of the Civil War.
Baumgartner and Strayer Echoes of Battle - The Struggle for Chattanooga Huntington, W. VA Blue Acorn Press 1996 Unique blend of 465 photographs and hundreds of first hand accounts of the Tullahoma, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga campaigns.  A work showing outstanding research with credit provided for all sources including photographs. Extensive bibliography.  Recommended.

Varney, Frank P.

General Grant and the Rewriting of History:

How the Destruction of General William S. Rosecrans Influenced Our Understanding of the Civil War

El Dorado Hills, CA Savas Beatie 2013 The author takes General Grant to task with his analysis of the whole truth versus what's in Grant's memoirs about General William Rosecrans. Grant basically destroyed Rosecrans' reputation in history with outright falsehoods.

Grant's lies about General Thomas are promised to be in the next volume of this book.



For a good article about General Thomas in the March 2007 issue of Smithsonian Magazine go to "Catching up with Old Slowtrot"

For more bibliography go to next page: US Army Military History Institute - G. H. Thomas


See my review of new book on U.S. Grant: Grant Under Fire . Highly Recommended!

Books On the WEB:

1. Van Horne, "The History of the Army of the Cumberland":



2. Cist, "The Army of the Cumberland":


3. Piatt, "Memories of the Men Who Saved the Union"


4. Johnson, "Memoir of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas":


5. Coppée, "General Thomas":


6. Piatt, "General George H. Thomas, A critical biography


7. Van Horne, "The Life of Major General George H. Thomas"


8. Keller, "General George H. Thomas, An Address Delivered Before George H. Thomas Post No 84, G.A.R."


Civil War Book Stores :

Broadfoot Publishing Co.         http://broadfootpublishing.com/    

Blue Acorn Press                       http://www.blueacornpress.com 

Out of print books may be procured by used/rare book dealers on the internet at:


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