Interview With Dr. Joseph L. Harsh

28 03 2015

Joe2Click here for the transcript of an interview with Dr. Harsh that appeared in a 1995 issue of Civil War magazine. Hat tip to Drew Wagenhoffer. Good stuff and, if you’re amenable, thought-provoking. If you know all there is to know, and are just looking for confirmation of same, don’t click.

When you’re done, click here for an  old old post regarding the influence of Dr. Harsh’s scholarship on interpretation at Antietam National Battlefield. Be sure to read the comments.


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29 03 2015
John Foskett

Harry: Thanks to you (and Drew) for making this accessible. Although i confess to be a long-term McClellan basher, I fully respect the work of the late Dr. Harsh, Tom Clemens, Ethan Rafuse and others who challenge/test accepted historical “truths” about Little Mac. That said, I’ve never been persuaded that their “second looks” support a radical revision of how McClellan is viewed in the big picture. Case in point: McClellan and Creative Math. One can find all sorts of rationales for the often ludicrous estimates of enemy strength stated (and perhaps believed, perhaps not) by McClellan. But there remains a strong element of fiction/delusion in those numbers. For just one example, it is now at least highly arguable that during the Seven Days Lee’s ANV outnumbered McClellan’s AoftheP, possibly by 10,000 or so (ignoring for the moment variables in how troops are counted, which units were involved, etc.) But who on earth believes that on June 25, 1862 McClellan could bring to the fight a mere 75,000? Yet there it is at p. 180 of B&L Vol. 2 in McClellan’s article on the Peninsular Campaign – “not more than 75,000 men for battle.” I don’t know how the revisionists simply dismiss such blatant fabrications in the effort to revise history’s assessment of McClellan. We all know that if a witness lies in court on one material point, his/her credibility is pretty much out the window on all.

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