Books: Symbol of Southern Courage

THE GALLANT HOOD (383 pp.) — John P. Dyer—Bobbs-Merrill ($3.50).

By dusk on June 26, 1862, General Robert E. Lee knew that his first major attack had ended in failure. Before him on the fields near Mechanicsville, Va. lay nearly 1,500 Confederate dead and wounded. McClellan's Army of the Potomac (casualties: 256) still stood intact, a menace to Richmond.

It was much the same story next day. The Federals, who had fallen back and dug in near Gaines's Mill, cut down every Confederate attack. Lee pondered the situation, finally went in search of a tall,...

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