A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee's Triumph, 1862-1863

By Jeffry D. Wert

From the time Robert E. Lee took command of the military of Northern Virginia on June 1, 1862, till the conflict of Gettysburg 13 months later, the accomplice military compiled a checklist of army fulfillment nearly extraordinary in our nation’s historical past. the way it happened—the relative contributions of Lee, his most sensible command, opposing Union generals, and naturally the insurgent military itself—is the topic of Civil battle historian Jeffry D. Wert’s interesting and riveting new background.

In the yr following Lee’s appointment, his military received 4 significant battles or campaigns and fought Union forces to a draw on the bloody conflict of Antietam. Washington itself used to be threatened, as a succession of Union commanders didn't cease Lee’s offensive. till Gettysburg, it regarded as though Lee may possibly strength the Union to barter a peace instead of threat surrendering the capital or maybe wasting the struggle. Lee’s victories fired southern ambition and emboldened accomplice infantrymen far and wide.

Wert indicates how a similar audacity and aggression that fueled those victories proved disastrous at Gettysburg. yet, as Wert explains, Lee had little selection: outnumbered via an opponent with stronger assets, he needed to take the struggle to the enemy with the intention to win. For a 12 months his greater generalship prevailed opposed to his rivals, yet ultimately what Lee’s relied on lieutenant basic James Longstreet known as “headlong combativeness” brought on Lee to miscalculate. whilst an both combative Union general—Ulysses S. Grant—took command of northern forces in 1864, Lee was once defeated. A excellent military draws at the newest scholarship, together with letters and diaries, to supply a super research of Lee’s triumphs. It bargains clean tests of Lee; his most sensible commanders Longstreet, Jackson, and Stuart; and a clever conflict procedure that also deals classes to army commanders at the present time. A excellent military is a dramatic account of significant battles from Seven Days to Gettysburg that's as gripping because it is convincing, a must-read for somebody attracted to the Civil War.

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Forty two The army’s senior management and infantry department commanders have been composed totally of West aspect graduates. till resigning their commissions in 1861, such a lot of them were profession officials within the common military. with the exception of William H. C. Whiting, them all were with the military in Mexico, many incomes a brevet or transitority rank for extraordinary provider. numerous could aid to forge the army’s personality and be an indelible a part of its heritage, whereas others will be long past from it after one crusade. forty three If Lee have been to right the army’s administrative and self-discipline difficulties and weld it right into a weapon, he needed to depend upon his senior officials. He knew none of them good, nor they him. Lee had sat in conferences with James Longstreet, provided suggestion on operations to John Bank-head Magruder and Benjamin Huger, and via correspondence crafted with Stonewall Jackson and Richard S. Ewell the Shenandoah Valley crusade. The others—Daniel Harvey Hill, William H. C. Whiting, David R. Jones, Ambrose Powell Hill, and Lafayette McLaws—Lee knew both via studies or by means of recognition. In time, in councils, and through observations on a battlefield, Lee might assessment their strengths and weaknesses. For the current the safeguard of Richmond could take the degree of them all. forty four The army’s artillery and cavalry commanders, against this, had identified Lee seeing that their cadet years at West element. the executive of artillery, Brigadier normal William N. Pendleton, have been within the classification at the back of Lee, graduating in 1830. Pendleton left the military inside many years to turn into a instructor after which an Episcopalian minister. whilst his local Virginia seceded, he equipped a battery and commanded it firstly Manassas. Johnston appointed him to the put up for his administrative skill, no longer for his tactical regulate of cannon on a battlefield. an afternoon after Lee assumed command of the military, he saved Pendleton as leader of artillery. forty five No subordinate commander loved Lee’s own affection greater than the twenty-nine-year-old cavalryman Brigadier common Jeb Stuart. A Virginian, Stuart used to be a cadet at West element whilst Lee served as its superintendent. Stuart’s ally used to be fellow classmate Custis Lee, Lee’s oldest son, whom Stuart joined frequently for Saturday dinners on the family’s quarters. Later Captain Stuart served lower than Lee within the catch of abolitionist John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, in October 1859. He joined fellow Virginians in accomplice carrier, was once appointed lieutenant colonel of cavalry, and led his regiment with contrast at the beginning Manassas. within the fall of 1861 Johnston geared up the army’s fixed regiments right into a brigade and assigned Stuart to command. the military commander referred to as the pony soldier “a infrequent guy. ”46 This used to be the military that Robert E. Lee joined on Sunday, June 1, 1862. If Richmond have been to be stored, if the Confederacy have been to outlive, an ordeal awaited either him and them. regardless of the executive and self-discipline difficulties, the shortages of offers, ordnance, and caliber firearms, the fiber of those officials and males outlined the military.

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