Mud, Blood & Cold Steel:

The Retreat from Nashville, December 1864

By Mark Zimmerman

Zimco Publications LLC

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9858692-6-7

Price: $19.95

176 pages

Format: Paperback, 6x9, B&W

Maps: 12, inc. 6 battle maps


Orders of Battle

Photographs of Shy's Hill


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“Take that hill!” came the long-awaited command. Cannons roared, bugles blared, blueclad riflemen charged, and the rout was on. Thousands fled, with thousands in pursuit.

“It was killing work for both sides,” exclaimed young Harry Wilson, commanding general of the Federal cavalry force—mounted infantry wielding Spencer repeating rifles. “The woods everywhere were full of running soldiers,” recalled one Confederate. “Wagon trains, cannon, artillery, cavalry and infantry were all blended in inextricable confusion.” In the next ten days, over 120 miles of rugged hills, surging rivers, oceans of mud and ruts of jagged ice, the running battle raged on. Troopers on horseback slashed their way ahead, as artillery took its deadly toll. Men froze to death or simply surrendered to the harsh winter elements. More than five thousand horses perished during the journey. Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest led the Confederate rearguard, and to save the army during the retreat he was “compelled to almost sacrifice my command.” His performance in December 1864 was called by one historian “one of the most masterly exhibitions of military efficiency ever given by anyone at any time.” Unprecedented in Civil War combat, the retreat from Nashville tested the men of both sides to the limits of their endurance.

Available in both print and ebook formats!


Mud, Blood & Cold Steel: The Retreat from Nashville, December 1864

takes a fresh look, for the first time with campaign and battle maps, at the unprecedented and brutal pursuit of the Army of Tennessee by Federal troops following the decisive Battle of Nashville. The non-stop action begins at Compton’s Hill and surges 120 miles in ten days over rugged terrain and in horrendous winter conditions to the final showdown between Wilson’s blueclad troopers and Forrest’s stubborn rearguard. This thrilling tale, written by historian Mark Zimmerman, author of Guide to Civil War Nashville, is told largely in the words of the participants themselves and draws from the research and judgments of other military historians and authors. Well-organized chapters help explain the complicated flow of events as they happened. Designed not so much as a definitive scholarly reference, Mud, Blood & Cold Steel is presented for general audiences interested in provocative American history, as well as for Civil War and military enthusiasts.

Additional Resources

All the maps in the book in full color and 8.5x11 format. Note: Maps in the book are grayscale and 6x9 format.

Introduction of Mud, Blood & Cold Steel

Mud, Blood & Cold Steel Factsheet

The Book’s Table of Contents

The Orders of Battle for Both Armies

Sample Chapter: The Rearguard Reorganizes
Dec. 20th, 1864 (pages 103-109)


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