Henry W. Slocum was the colonel of the 27th NY Volunteer Infantry in Col. Andrew Porter’s brigade of Col. David Hunter’s division of McDowell’s army at Bull Run. He was wounded while withdrawing up Matthews Hill in response to the unexpected appearance of Hampton’s Legion. Slocum recovered and went on to lead a corps in the Army of the Potomac and rose to army command under fellow Bull Run veteran William T. Sherman.
The other day I picked up a new biography of Slocum, Sherman’s Forgotten General, by one Brian C. Melton, an assistant professor of history at Liberty University. This is the only modern biography of Slocum as far as I know. You can download an older one of him here. Given his role at Bull Run I felt obligated to buy the book, though I did so not without some misgivings. The chapter on Gettysburg is subtitled McClellan at Gettysburg by Proxy. Oh boy.
The first thing I do when I see something like this is check the bibliography and notes to see who the author cites when referring to McClellan. Sadly, I found the usual suspects, or more specifically the usual suspect – unfortunately my vow of silence prevents me from typing his name. Also, while Melton’s bibliography does list Ethan Rafuse’s study of First Bull Run, A Single Grand Victory, that same author’s now or soon to be standard study of McClellan before and during the Civil War, McClellan’s War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, is nowhere to be seen. And Melton’s book is a 2007 release. Not a good sign.
But I’ll withhold judgment until I read the book – I have to be fair. I’m not sure exactly when I’ll get to it, but when I do I’ll at least talk about the Bull Run parts here. And yes, I know I still owe you the recap of the Bull Run bits of the Heintzelman book. There are quite a few things I’ve promised to write about that I just haven’t been able to get to.