Lost Victories: The Military Genius of Stonewall Jackson

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While studies of the Civil War generally credit Robert E. Lee with military expertise, historian Bevin Alexander argues that Stonewall Jackson was a superior strategist who could have won the war for the South: Had Lee accepted Jackson's plan for an invasion of the North, the South might have surprised and dismayed the Union forces into defeat. Using primary sources, Bevin Alexander reconstructs the battles that demonstrate Jackson's brilliance as a commander, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, and ...
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Overview

While studies of the Civil War generally credit Robert E. Lee with military expertise, historian Bevin Alexander argues that Stonewall Jackson was a superior strategist who could have won the war for the South: Had Lee accepted Jackson's plan for an invasion of the North, the South might have surprised and dismayed the Union forces into defeat. Using primary sources, Bevin Alexander reconstructs the battles that demonstrate Jackson's brilliance as a commander, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville, where he tragically met his demise. Detailed maps accompany this controversial account of a pivotal moment in American history.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Alexander ( Korea: The First War We Lost ) debuts as a Civil War historian by asserting that Stonewall Jackson, rather than Robert E. Lee, possessed the strategic insight that might have won Confederate independence. Jackson initially advocated striking at the Union's will by invading the North; when neither Lee nor Jefferson Davis accepted this concept, Jackson concentrated on plans to destroy the Union army. Here too he was repeatedly frustrated, according to Alexander, by Lee's limited strategic insight and tendency to accept pitched battles whose losses the Confederacy could not afford. Only at Chancellorsville in 1863 did Lee accede to Jackson's bold plan, which might have annihilated the Army of the Potomac had Jackson not been mortally wounded. Alexander's critique of Lee, and his belief that decisive battles were possible under Civil War conditions, are debatable. Nevertheless this revisionist analysis merits the attention of Civil War students. (Nov.)
Library Journal
A detailed analysis of the battles and correspondence of Stonewall Jackson leads Alexander to conclude that Jackson's strategic overview was superior to that of Robert E. Lee and would have led to fewer Southern casualties and to the possibility (on at least three occasions) of the total destruction of the Northern Army of the Potomac. He views Lee as a conservative, timid, and nearsighted military leader. This is not a comprehensive biography (for such see Byron Farwell's Stonewall: A Biography, LJ 9/1/92) but a ``what if'' book analyzing the strategic opinions and views of Stonewall Jackson--a smoothly written, well-researched text offering a new perspective on the Civil War's leading tactical genius. Recommended for military collections.-- Richard Nowicki, Emerson Vocational H.S., Buffalo, N.Y.
Booknews
Alexander challenges the reverence accorded Lee, arguing that Jackson was a superior strategist. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780785807223
  • Publisher: Book Sales, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 First Manassas : a new kind of war 1
2 "There stands Jackson like a stone wall" 17
3 The valley : keeping McClellan out of Richmond 40
4 The sweep of the Potomac 61
5 Carrying the war to the Susquehanna 78
6 The first two of the seven days 95
7 Frayser's farm and Malvern Hill 114
8 Jackson moves north 135
9 The sweep behind Pope 156
10 Jackson draws Pope into battle 174
11 Incomplete victory at second Manassas 193
12 A lost order changes everything 207
13 The bloodiest day 230
14 Burnside falls into his own trap 258
15 Hooker flanks Lee at Chancellorsville 286
16 "Let us pass over the river" 302
Epilogue : could Jackson have won? 328
Bibliography 337
Index 341
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