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Until Antietam

Until Antietam

The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army

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Jack C. Mason


Hardcover (Other formats: E-book)
256 pages, 6.125 x 9.25, 27 illustrations


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About the Book

While researching this book, Jack C. Mason made the kind of discovery that historians dream of. He found more than one hundred unpublished and unknown letters from Union general Israel B. Richardson to his family, written from his time as a West Point cadet until the day before his fatal wounding at the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history. Using these freshly uncovered primary sources as well as extensive research in secondary materials, Mason has written the first-ever biography of Israel Bush Richardson.

Mason traces Richardson’s growth as a soldier through his experiences and the guidance of his superiors, and then as a leader whose style reflected the actions of the former commanders he respected. Though he was a disciplinarian, Richardson took a relaxed attitude toward military rules, earning him the affection of his men. Unfortunately, his military career was cut short just as high-ranking officials began to recognize his aggressive leadership. He was mortally wounded while leading his men at Antietam and died on November 3, 1862.

Until Antietam brings to life a talented and fearless Civil War infantry leader. Richardson’s story, placed within the context of nineteenth-century warfare, exemplifies how one soldier’s life influenced his commanders, his men, and the army as a whole.

Winner of the Army Historical Foundation 2009 Distinguished Book Award


Jack C. Mason is retired both as a Department of the Army civilian and as a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve. He is a member of the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.