Of the forty-five Civil War Battles that the National Park Service lists as “Decisive,” only about half have been preserved by the Park Service. The Federal Government’s preservation efforts have made tiny, out-of-the-way places that shouldn’t be known outside the county in which they are located into sacred names in the American psyche: Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Petersburg, Manassas, Antietam, Spotsylvania, and Shiloh.
Many of the other battles, no less important, weren’t so lucky in the allotment of federal dollars. Some of these other battlefields have been lost to time or neglect or urbanization, but just as many have been preserved by states, local governments, or preservation organizations.
These are the battlefields, along with other landmarks, that Randy Denmon explores in The Forgotten Trail to Appomattox. It is part military history, part travelogue, and part personal insight, in the spirt of Bill Bryson’s books, such as A Walk in the Woods: it is both informative and entertaining.
Randy Denmon has published four novels set in the American West, including Lords of an Empty Land, a Civil War novel that won the Western Writers of America Spur Award. He has also published a book of narrative non-fiction, Off the Grid, about his travels in Latin America in an electric car. His books have also won the Faulkner - Wisdom Award and been a finalist for the Ben Franklin Award. Randy is a Gulf War veteran, a Civil War buff, and a life-long resident of Louisiana. When not writing, Randy is a practicing Civil Engineer. He lives in Monroe, LA.