Your Grandpa’s Maryland Campaign – NOT!!!

18 09 2011

It would appear the worm has turned at Antietam National Battlefield. From the get-go of yesterday’s all-day hikes, it was apparent that much of the tried and true narrative of the 1862 Maryland Campaign has been scrapped by the National Park Service, at least as far as rangers Keith Snyder and Brian Baracz are concerned. There were quizzical looks on the faces of some of the 125 or so folks on the tour as no mention was made of a cowardly, traitorous, or even just plain stupid George McClellan. These were for the most part veteran tourists of the battlefield, conditioned to the old-line tales of the single greatest threat ever faced by our Union – no, not Jeff Davis, not R. E. Lee, not the Confederate armies, not the fire-eaters, not the KGC, not the Copperheads, not the slaveocracy. Those forces combined could never compare to the evil spectre of the Young Napoleon, especially in September, 1862. The debate was closed.

Or was it? To sum up the gist of the seven hour presentation, the Army of Northern Virginia, while defeated at Sharpsburg (What?) was saved from ultimate destruction by the advantages of a its more experienced soldiery (What?), favorable topography (What?), and interior lines of communication (What?). While the Union commander had a good plan (What?), he also had poor lines of communication (What?), many green troops (What?), and experienced troops in not so great condition (What?). It seemed to me that a few grizzled vets in the crowd were thinking “This is bull. That coward McClellan had 300,000 well equipped and experienced soldiers and Lee’s “battle plans”, this battlefield is flat as a board, just like the maps in Landscape Turned Red, despite what my bursting quads are telling me, and Lee won a victory here with three couriers and a one-armed orderly.” Well, there will always be folks whose minds were made up by Bruce Catton back in the 4th grade. But there were a surprising number of younger (well, not older) folks in the group whose minds are just possibly open enough to consider other lines of thought.

It appears the works of modern-day scholars like Joe Harsh, Tom Clemens and Ethan Rafuse have been making dents in the armor of the Maryland Campaign. And the good folks at the Park are contributing as well. Of course, they only work with the literature, artifacts, and battlefields of this campaign every day all day, so what do they know?

Thank you, Ranger Snyder and Ranger Baracz. It was a great day on the field, with great company including my stomping buddy Mike and fellow blogger Craig (whose thoughts on the day can be read here).

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38 responses

18 09 2011
Luke

Its like Walt said: “The real war will never get into the history books…”

18 09 2011
Brad Forbush

Harry,
Nice post.
I just read Landscape Turned Red by Stephen W. Sears. It was recommended to me by historians at Antietam as a good ‘story telling’ version of the battle. The Joe Harsh book I was told, was the ‘gold standard’ on the campaign.

I wanted a quick read so I could post my new web page about the 13th Mass at the battle. My site consists mostly of primary source material, but I sometimes have to put in some context. I found much of what you say here within the text of Sears’ book.

Specifically, McClellan’s plan was sound, but his execution was poor, he had poor reconnaissance, many of the Union troops were green, and the veterans were battered from Pope’s Va. Campaign.

I have since discovered that some are not happy with Sears book. I’m not sure what the criticisms are and would like to know. McClellan does not come out looking good as a battlefield commander, but credit is given him for boosting morale and rebuilding the army.

Not living close enough to visit the battlefield, I have to rely on these books. Not being able to walk the terrain is a big disadvantage.

I was not familiar with some of the cliches you mentioned in the above post. But my own observations pretty much co-inside with what you said you experienced in the recent tour. I find much of this corroborated in my own primary source material. Many of those killed in the regt were newly arrived recruits. But, although the 13th were tired out from Pope’s campaign, they fought well and they admired McClellan, for the most part. (those accounts written later are more critical of him). And the battle was considered a Union victory by the men, for driving Lee out of Maryland.

The regiment fought in the cornfield and east woods, between 6:20 and 7 am.

18 09 2011
Tom Clemens

For starters, Sears criticizes McClellan for ruining the “surprise” in his battle plan with Hooker’s advance, despite no evidence that it was meant to be a surprise and obviously overlooking more logical explanations. Totally unfounded.

18 09 2011
Tom Clemens

Harry did not know you were in town. Hope you had a good time.

19 09 2011
Jim Rosebrock

As a battlefield guide and volunteer at Antietam, I continually get those stereotypical attitudes and do my best to de-construct them. I am occasionally approached by people interested in becoming guides here. They almost always have read Sears account but usually have never heard of Carmen’s Maryland Campaign Volume 1 edited by Tom Clemens, Taken at the Flood by Joseph Harsh, or McClellan’s War by Ethan Rafuse. I might also add that Vince Armstrong has added some important scholarship to the discussion in Unfurl Those Colors that is also free of the McClellan bias and is a necessary read. Harry you are right. Perhaps we are turning the page on interpretation of this battle, undoubtedly the most decisive one of the Civil War. Dedicated Rangers at Antietam like Keith, Brian, John, Mannie, and others are at the front line in bringing the battle to life and informing the public. Great post!

19 09 2011
guitarmandanga

It’s the same out here in Chickamauga; everyone wants to hear about “that idiot Bragg” and his briliant cavalry commander, “that devil Forrest.” No one seems to care (other than the park staff, of course) that Bragg, for the most part, had a sad sack of subs to work with (nor, incidentally, the Davis was always a better friend to the incompetent and conniving Polk than he ever was to Bragg); nor that Bragg’s plan was probably the best one under the circumstances; nor that, all things being equal, Bragg at least TRIED, which is more than one can say about some other western Confederate generals (especially those nicknamed “Uncle Joe”). Good to hear that Antietam is reconsidering its story, rather than simply accepting what some previous, highly-gifted writers of the Centennial decided ought to be the gospel.

19 09 2011
Chris Evans

I agree about Bragg trying. He really did have a offensive mind. If his battle plans would have gone well… But darn, he’s still a hard man to like.

Chris

19 09 2011
Chris Evans

The pendulum switching is interesting. Is McClellan now going to be the hero of the early part of the American Civil War in the east and Lincoln the ‘baboon’ again?

I try to look at McClellan as equally as I can but I can never really believe that he was quite the equal of Grant when it came to a killer instinct. But I guess he really was like Joe Johnston (who I like) but with more resources.

I don’t ‘hate’ McClellan but I don’t believe he was a great battlefield General but I guess one could say that also by Sherman.

I believe what Meade did at Gettysburg was more impressive than what McClellan did at Antietam. Its good then that the AOP did not have to face 75,000 Confederates at Antietam like Meade did at Gettysburg.

Chris

20 09 2011
Tom Clemens

What exactly did Meade “do” at Gettysburg other than defend his position? And doing it successfully garnered him a “victory” while McClellan’s several attacks at Antietam only rate a “draw?” Always puzzled me. :-)

20 09 2011
Ethan S. Rafuse

Antietam and Gettysburg. Same tactical problem: How do/can you effectively coordinate attacks on exterior lines against an enemy holding a strong position given the limitations of mid-19th century communications technology? Answer: You really can’t. Meade did the same thing at Gettysburg that Lee did at Antietam. Lee had the same problem at Gettysburg that McClellan had at Antietam. At the operational level, McClellan won the Maryland Campaign; Lee lost the Gettysburg Campaign. That is what matters.

20 09 2011
Harry Smeltzer

Ethan, does that make Lee’s success at Chancellorsville more impressive, or does it make Hooker’s failure more egregious?

20 09 2011
Chris Evans

I agree that Lee at Antietam and Meade at Gettysburg are fought in a similar manner with the interior lines.

I believe that McClellan fought Antietam in no worse of a fashion than Burnside at Fredericksburg or Hooker at Chancellorsville.

27 09 2011
Ned Baldwin

Ethan, Thank you for that insightful comment. I had never thought to equate Lee at Antietam with Meade at Gettysburg; and this Lee at Gettysburg with McClellan at Antietam.

22 09 2011
John Foskett

I guess I’m still reluctant to credit a guy who had a huge numerical advantage and nonetheless managed to let his opponent reassemble his scattered forces in sufficient time after having done the equivalent of hacking into the opponent’s emails. Exterior lines, liots of rookie troops, etc. It’s always the same with McClellan. Explanations/excuses. Agree, he won the “operational” aspect, after staring at his desperate opponent for 24 hours following the bloodbath. But it always seems to come up “unfulfilling”. I will give him this much – Antietam was a better effort than he gave in the Seven Days, what with that fantasy 200,000 he was opposed by, the myth that if he had McDowell’s c. 30,000 he would have crushed the ANV (that would only have reduced his “disadvantage” to 125,000:200,000), the sojourn on the Galena while three corps commanders sorted out control, etc. Chris’s comment says much.

22 09 2011
Chris Evans

I agree with you.

I really think that Grant would have attacked again on Sept. 18th and broken Lee up badly. That’s why I find Grant above and beyond almost all Generals in the Civil War. He had that killer instinct that McClellan lacked.

I think that Lee had that aggressiveness that McClellan lacked. Heck, even Bragg could be a better attacker especially before his plans usually collapsed.

22 09 2011
Jim Morgan

I’ve heard Tom Clemens, Dennis Frye, Keith Snyder and others and, because of them, have come to a better appreciation of McClellan at Antietam.

I just wish that McClellan had had a better appreciation of Burnside at Antietam. Poor old Burn was the Civil War’s version of Red Sox first baseman, Bill Buckner. They each had one horrendous day and otherwise did pretty darned well. But that day dominates everyone’s thinking about them.

I guess my biggest gripe about Little Mac is the way he tossed both Charles Stone and Ambrose Burnside to the wolves when they became iinconvenient to him.

22 09 2011
Chris Evans

Which would be considered the worse day of the war for Burnside- Antietam, Fredericksburg, or The Crater?

I like Marvel’s attempt to bring him back but the depiction of Burnside in ‘From The Jaws Of Victory’ by Charles M. Fair is still pretty hilarious if it weren’t so tragic.

23 09 2011
Jim Morgan

Fredericksburg, of course. He did exactly what he was asked to to at Antietam. It was McClellan who declared otherwise in a report written a year later and colored by his personal gripes and by the results of Fredericksburg. The Crater was more Grant’s fault than Burnside’s. He’s the one who made the last minute changes in the assault force.

22 09 2011
John Foskett

I certainly respect the analyses of the NPS folks, Ethan, Harsh, Tom and all of the others who aren’t satisfied with the standard (and maybe hackneyed) evaluation of McClellan and take a fresh, insightful look at the facts. It’s just that at the end of the day i think they bump into certain “insurmountables”. With GBM there are always explanations, extenuations, justifications, rationales, “not quite there” results, etc.You don’t really end up in that state with a Grant. And there are fewer of those elements evailable for McClellan in the Seven Days. I’ll admit it – I’m prejudiced because I’ve read too much of Little Mac’s correspondence. My Antietam favorite is the reference to fighting the battle “brilliantly” (attributed in the usual McClellan fashion to unnamed others). Whatever one can say about how McClellan used his huge numerical advantage against a cornered opponent, I think we can all agree that “brilliant” doesn’t fit.

22 09 2011
Tom Clemens

You both know McClellan had the numerical advantage. I know it too. Why I don’t criticize and speculate as you do is that McClellan believed he was outnumbered. If you can show any source that told him he outnumbered Lee then I’d agree with you. And it is not his imagination, all his intell said he was outnumbered. Show me who told him otherwise.

22 09 2011
Chris Evans

Being outnumbered has never stopped a General from being aggressive, though. Lee knew he was seriously outnumbered at Chancellorsville and he pitched right into Hooker to knock him off balance. McClellan wasn’t a General like that and I’m not trying to knock him.

I know I keep bringing up Grant but he wouldn’t have cared if he was outnumbered or not. Win or lose he would have thrown his men in and fought the battle to a decision. McClellan didn’t have the same aggressiveness and that’s okay for him. I don’t think he was a terrible General just not a great one and there’s no shame in it.

27 09 2011
Ned Baldwin

But Chris, didnt McClellan throw his men right in at Antietam? Seems to me that was part of the problem — grinding up the 1st, 12th and 2nd corps in sequence by throwing them in.

23 09 2011
John Foskett

I didn’t say that McClellan believed he was outnumbered at Antietam. I said he believed he was outnumbered on the Peninsula. That is a fact. He was given a facially ridiculous total by Pinkerton (ironically with a fairly accurate summary of the identity of units present) and accepted it blindly, starting when Johnston was in command. Hence his fixation on McDowell and his varying excuses about being abandoned by the Administration when it revoked McDowell’s assignment to the Peninsula. The ironic part is that, having bought into the “200,000″ number, the excuse-making based on the pullback of McDowell is obviously just that. Does anyone believe that McClellan would have become aggressive because his perceived “disadvantage” there went from 95,000:200,000 to 125,000:200,000? As for McClellan “believing”/”knowing” that he outnumbered Lee at Antietam, I’ll obviously defer to you, who have done far more research on the question. But some people are just looking to believe something without questioning it. That was McClellan. That’s what he did on the Peninsual. It would hardly be surprising if he did that at Antietam. He did know the ANV was scattered about the landscape. I find it impossible to believe that he was unaware of the level; of straggling throughout Maryland. He knew that It had just fought a costly battle at 2BR. He knew that he had an influx of new troops. As for how the battle was fought, did he fight it :”brilliantly”? ,

23 09 2011
Tom Clemens

True, Lee and Grant were more agressive at times, and one of them, eventually, successfully so. :-) As you well know, Lee has been criticized for being too aggressive. Neither were operating under the orders McClellan was in Maryland, ie. that the capital and Baltimore must be protected, and drive the enemy from Maryland. Linocln added, on Sept. 12 “destroy the enemy army, if possible.” A conservative mission for a conservative general. I argue he was more agressive in Maryland, attacking an army that his intell said outnumered him, than Gant was in most of his campaigns. I don’t think he was th greatest general in the war, but much better than the dumbed-down shorthand usually portrays him.

23 09 2011
Mannie

Harry,

Thank you for those very kind words. I get to work with some very talented people here and, I too, really appreciate the historians you cite, historians who have brought a much-welcome combination of knowledge and humility to the interpretation of this campaign. We all benefit from their work.

Mannie

24 09 2011
John Foskett

A question for Tom, since he’s obviously loioked at the issue of McClellan and Lee’s numbers at Antietam. Any thoughts on Fishel, “Secret War for the Union” at pp. 213-240? That’s the source of most of what i know about the subject and I’d be interested in your comments. (And looking forward to vol. II of Carman).

25 09 2011
Tom Clemens

Sorry, I am not ignoring you, just busy. I’ll try to look at this again soon.

28 09 2011
Tom Clemens

OK, finally had time to re-read Fishell, and was reminded why I ignored him in the first place. Yes, he provides some details about spies, deserters, and other intell folks. he asserts Pinkerton is providing info but is vague about who and how. He ignores the other sources giving McClellan strength estimates, and criticizes McClellan for not believing the people Fishell now knows were correct. Cheap shot in my view. Fishell muffs SO 191, says Mac should have known the rebs were deviating from the routes mentioned and repeats the old saw about the telegram to Lincoln at noon, Tim Reese and Moe D’oaust blew the lid off that a while back, but Fishell didn’t do his own thinking on it, copied it from Sears.. States the Lee held off Mac 1/2 a day with 1/3 of his army, and said Mac should have realized it. perhaps, but Hooker looked at Lee’s force at that time and said it was 30,000 men. Is he as timid as Mac? In short, he leans too much on the Sears bias and does not start with an objective point of view, thus he facts led him where he wanted to go. Yawn!

29 09 2011
John Foskett

Thanks. Fishel was probably doing in a more “scholarly” way what I’ve done – take established facts about McClellan’s absurd, self-fulfilling fantasies regarding what he faced on the Peninsula, his McDowell-based pretext, his idee fixe about the situation once Lee went after Porter north of the river, and his bizarre (“cowardly”) conduct at Glendale, etc., and build that in as an assumption for his analysis of Antietam. I’m still far from convinced that some of that wasn’t in play but it’s good to get the insights of somebody who can evaluate the Antietam situation objectively. Good luck with Carman II, which I’m looking forward to..

29 09 2011
Tom Clemens

You’re welcome. Strongly urge you to read Ethan Rafuse’s McClellan’s War. It is the scholarly and balanced study that is better than either Hassler’s Sword & Shield of the Union and Sears’ Young Napoleon.

5 10 2011
Jim Rosebrock

Forgive the long reply Harry. I have enjoyed the responses to your post and here offer my own point of view. I am not an academic historian but merely an avid amateur who reads everything I can find about the battle and the men who fought there. I am fortunate to volunteer at Antietam Battlefield nearly every weekend and have been a guide there for the past four years as well. I have studied the terrain and have the advantage of knowing all the rangers who make the study and interpretation their life’s work. And finally my perspective as a retired soldier gives me some additional useful perspective.

I am not an apologist for McClellan. I agree that he made mistakes. There was an arrogance and snobbery imbued into his personality that came from his blue blood Philadelphia origins. He let that get the better of him sometimes. His political instincts were not highly evolved. Unlike Lee, he failed to cultivate and maintain a good relationship with his commander in chief. He didn’t appreciate the power of the radicals in Congress. He tended to try to do too much himself. He could have learned more from General Scott but viewed him as an obstacle. He didn’t try to bring all his corps commanders into the inner circle preferring to rely on the recommendations of his “pets” Fitz Porter and William Franklin, men with similar conservative political and military perspectives. A terrible error was McClellan’s inclination to “leave Pope to get out of his scrape.” Instead of truly extending himself to help Pope, a man he detested, McClellan merely followed Halleck’s orders to the letter. This mean spirited attitude truly appalled Lincoln.

McClellan was a brilliant trainer, organizer, logistician, and strategic planner. As Army commander-in-chief in early 1862, his strategic concept to attack on all fronts and his understanding and inclination to employ Army-Navy joint operations (Burnside’s Carolina and Butler’s New Orleans expeditions) preceded Grant’s successful implementation of similar plans two years later. His overall concept to advance up the Peninsula was a good one that was similar to part of Grant’s own final approach to Richmond after the Overland Campaign failed to achieve decisive results.

Despite their deteriorating relationship, Lincoln decided that McClellan was the only man capable to assume command during that harrowing first week of September. His decision was over almost total opposition of his cabinet. This decision to restore McClellan was one of the most important acts of his presidency. Lincoln knew his general’s limitations but he also recognized that McClellan’s strengths were what the country needed then.

Operationally, McClellan had a different mission in Maryland than he did in front of Richmond. He learned from his experiences on the Peninsula. He had the example/specter of Second Manassas less than a week after resuming command to consider as well. I’m sure that he and Porter had some discussions about that battle in the days before Antietam. McClellan intensely felt the weight of responsibility at Antietam and frequently made reference to it in his writings.

Lincoln’s faith was not in vain. In the space of several days, McClellan restored the army’s flagging morale, He reshuffled some senior commanders, incorporated new regiments into the ranks, absorbed Reno’s Ninth Corp, the Kanawha Division, and two corps from the Army of Virginia into his command and began straightening out logistics (an action which is often overlooked in the Maryland campaign.)

McClellan had a primitive intelligence service and he erred on the side of extreme caution when evaluating and accepting the intelligence estimates of detective Pinkerton. His cavalry was still learning and was just then being concentrated into a single division under Pleasanton during the campaign. His artillery was still principally dispersed though it to was moving in the direction of more consolidation as well. Two corps (Hooker and Mansfield) were new to that level of command.

He advanced northwest from D.C. protecting both Baltimore and Washington. On September 12th, just days after being restored to command, McClellan’s right wing under Burnside entered Frederick from the east as the last elements of Lee’s cavalry abandoned the town and headed west. Lee’s operational planning and issuance of Special Order 191 to open his supply line through Harpers Ferry was based partly on the assumption that whoever commanded the pursuing Federal army would take much longer to reach western Maryland.

McClellan’s response to Special Order 191 was not a timid one. He prudently spent the afternoon of Saturday September 13th validating the authenticity of the order. But when convinced of its validity, he ordered an attack by his divided army on several fronts to relieve Harpers Ferry on one end of the line and to attack Longstreet’s “main body” on the other. Admittedly, he could have pressed Franklin forward that afternoon instead of delaying the Sixth Corps advance until the next day. Franklin took all day to arrive at Crampton’s Gap and overwhelm the Confederate defenders shortly before sundown. Franklin’s slowness on Sunday afternoon and subsequent failure to attack McLaws and relieve Harper’s Ferry on Monday afternoon was perhaps the greatest failure of the campaign

On the battlefield, McClellan was without question a careful, methodical, tactician. He believed in maintaining a large reserve and his tolerance for taking risk was much lower than many other army commanders. Whatever his exact understanding of the size of the rebel army confronting him, McClellan developed a sound offensive plan. It called for attacks first in the north at daybreak and later in the south to force Lee to commit his reserves and enable a final attack by Porter in the center. Unfortunately there was no written plan and McClellan did not meet together with all his commanders before the battle to put them all in the picture.

But the plan was working. The brutal fighting in the north indeed caused Lee’s characteristically bold reaction around 8:30 AM to commit ALL his reserves to the shattered left flank. Yet, from McClellan’s perspective at the Pry House, Lee forcefully met and repulsed every attack launched by the Federal commanders:

• Hooker’s First Corps counterattacked by Hood’s division
• Mansfield’s Twelfth Corps attack engaged by three brigades of D.H. Hill’s division.
• Sedgwick’s division flanked by McLaws and other Confederate troops in the West Woods
• French and Richardson’s divisions met by Richard Anderson’s reinforcing division in the Sunken Road, and Manning’s brigade attack on their right.

This had the effect of causing McClellan to reassess the full commitment of Porter’s corps and the cavalry in the center. Often overlooked in the “old interpretation” of the battle is the fact that Porter’s regulars were in fact advancing toward the heights of Sharpsburg when they were recalled. When A.P. Hill struck Burnside’s left flank at nearly the moment that his right was entering Sharpsburg that confirmed in McClellan’s mind that Lee was still a very dangerous enemy. It justified and rationalized his decision not to hazard an attack by the Fifth or Sixth Corps. This thinking carried on to next day in his decision to keep a strong reserve and not attack preferring to wait until the 19th. By then, Lee was gone.

I believe that the shadow of Second Manassas hung over McClellan (and Porter). They saw in every counter-stroke by Lee a smashing potentially battle-ending attack like that suffered by Porter only 18 days earlier.

Grant lost at Belmont; He had a tough time at Shiloh. It took him a long time to figure out how to capture Vicksburg. But he was far enough down the chain of command and far enough from the flagpole to recover, learn and advance. Sherman had what amounted to a nervous breakdown early in the war. Again, he was far enough away from the flagpole and the interfering Washington chain of command and had a mentor the likes of Grant to shield him and permit his recovery. Both men had time to get better. McClellan did not get the benefit of a learning curve like Grant, and Sherman. He had the entire Lincoln administration, the Congress, and the national media following his every move from fifty miles away. Again, this is not an excuse but a reality. Grant had two years of additional time to figure out how to deal more successfully with this poisoned environment.

Since I have heard a lot about Grant and Lee in this string of comments, let’s recall what they later said about McClellan.

Grant on his round the world tour from 1877-1879 said this of him: “McClellan is to me one of the mysteries of the war. As a young man he was always a mystery. He had the way of inspiring you with the idea of immense capacity, if he would only have a chance. Then he is a man of unusual accomplishments, a student, and a well-read man. I have never studied his campaigns enough to make up my mind as to his military skill, but all my impressions are in his favor. I have entire confidence in McClellan’s loyalty and patriotism. But the test that was applied to him would be terrible to any man, being made a major general at the beginning of the war. It has always seemed to me that the critics of McClellan do not consider this vast and cruel responsibility—the war, a new thing to all of us, the army new, everything to do from the outset, with a restless people and Congress. McClellan was a young man when this devolved upon him, and if he did not succeed, it was because the conditions of success were so trying. If McClellan had gone into the war as Sherman, Thomas, or Meade, had fought his way along and up, I have no reason to suppose that he would not have won as high a distinction as any of us.” From Around the World with General Grant: A Narrative of the Visit of General U.S. Grant, Ex-President of the United States, to Various Countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa, in 1877, 1878, 1879; To Which Are Added Certain Conversations with General Grant on Questions Connected with American Politics and History, by John Russell Young.

Lee’s cousin Cassius Lee recalled a conversation that he had with the general on February 15, 1870. “I asked him which of the Federal generals he considered the greatest, and he answered most emphatically “McClellan by all odds.” From Recollections and Letters by Robert E. Lee. New York: Barnes and Noble, 2004.

Victorian niceties aside, these are two heavy hitters whose perspective cant be ignored.

5 10 2011
Tom Clemens

Well said Jim! Could not agree more.

5 10 2011
Harry Smeltzer

Wow. That’s the longest comment I’ve ever seen on this or any other blog. And well done, too! Maybe you should post it to your blog?

6 10 2011
Jim Rosebrock

Harry,
I did. I have had that in my head for awhile and your observations about the NPS interpretation and the comments you got prompted me to put into words my own reflections on Little Mac. Hope to see you at Antietam soon.
Jim

17 04 2012
battlefield

battlefield…

[...]Your Grandpa’s Maryland Campaign – NOT!!! « Bull Runnings[...]…

30 06 2012
Chris Evans

I know it’s late to add a comment to the posts but there were some good military analysts of the war that could be quite critical of McClellan without being totally unfair. I think of in this context E.P. Alexander in ‘Fighting for the Confederacy’ that had some pointed things to say about McClellan and his many mistakes.

Chris

30 06 2012
Tom Clemens

Keith & Brian, two of the very best! Park rangers are scholars too, and the good ones research, read and think on their own. Here are two shining examples.

1 07 2012
Chris Evans

I like what Walter Geer said in his quite interesting book ‘Campaigns of the Civil War’ about McClellan: “Here is a man who will be argued over for generations.”

Chris

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