Baptism at Bull Run

Written by James P. Reger
Review by Mark F. Johnson

On April 13, 1861, Fort Sumter was in the midst of a nightmarish artillery barrage. Watching from his headquarters, Confederate General Beauregard was more concerned about the safety of his friend, Union Major Robert Anderson, commander of Fort Sumter, than he was about the certain Confederate victory. From that sad day to the Union defeat at the first Battle of Bull Run, this engrossing novel brings to life the hopes, fears, professionalism, genius, and incompetence of the soldiers, officers, and political leaders on both sides.

Fast-paced and well written, this novel grips the reader from page one and refuses to let go. The battle scenes will leave the reader’s heart pounding. The false bravado, incompetence, and stupidity of so many officers will cause even the most jaded history buff to roll his eyes in wonder and amazement that such fools were allowed to command armies, while geniuses like Stonewall Jackson were overlooked or, worse, scoffed at.

This book is highly recommended for those who enjoy detailed accounts of Civil War battles. Every facet, from Lincoln’s White House to Jeb Stuart’s cavalry to young Billy Anderson’s first taste of battle, is brought to life with astounding realism. I look forward to future novels from this author.