The Peninsula Campaign of 1862: A Military Analysis

The Peninsula Campaign of 1862: A Military Analysis

by Kevin Dougherty, J. Michael Moore
     
 

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The largest offensive of the Civil War, involving army, navy, and marine forces, the Peninsula Campaign has inspired many history books. No previous work, however, analyzes Union general George B. McClellan's massive assault toward Richmond in the context of current and enduring military doctrine. The Peninsula Campaign of 1862: A Military Analysis fills

Overview

The largest offensive of the Civil War, involving army, navy, and marine forces, the Peninsula Campaign has inspired many history books. No previous work, however, analyzes Union general George B. McClellan's massive assault toward Richmond in the context of current and enduring military doctrine. The Peninsula Campaign of 1862: A Military Analysis fills this void. Background history is provided for continuity, but the heart of this book is military analysis and the astonishing extent to which the personality traits of generals often overwhelm even the best efforts of their armies.

The Peninsula Campaign lends itself to such a study. Lessons for those studying the art of war are many. On water, the first ironclads forever changed naval warfare. At the strategic level, McClellan's inability to grasp Lincoln's grand objective becomes evident. At the operational level, Robert E. Lee's difficulty in synchronizing his attacks deepens the mystique of how he achieved so much with so little. At the tactical level, the Confederate use of terrain to trade space for time allows for a classic study in tactics.

Moreover, the campaign is full of lessons about the personal dimension of war. McClellan's overcaution, Lee's audacity, and Jackson's personal exhaustion all provide valuable insights for today's commanders and for Civil War enthusiasts still debating this tremendous struggle. Historic photos and detailed battle maps make this study an invaluable resource for those touring the many battlegrounds from Young's Mill and Yorktown through Fair Oaks to the final throes of the Seven Days' Battles.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Dougherty (military science, Univ. of Southern Mississippi; The Coastal War in North and South Carolina) and Moore (registrar, Lee Hall Mansion, Virginia) have compiled a scholarly yet readable analysis of the largest and most diverse offensive of the Civil War. Refreshingly, the book opens with biographical material on the political and military leaders involved in the campaign, which personalizes history for the reader. The authors give a concise overview of the campaign in "The Stage Is Set," relying on scholarly works, historical documents, and personal accounts of soldiers from diaries and letters to present a competent, balanced review of the subject. The appendixes include a guide to studying military campaigns and a list of the battlefield sites that people may visit today, illustrating the large area covered by the Peninsula campaign. There is also a useful bibliography. Although this book seeks to set itself apart as a history undertaken in terms of military doctrine, other volumes, such as Stephen W. Sears's To the Gates of Richmond and Richard Wheeler's Sword over Richmond, as well as the works of Bruce Catton and Shelby Foote, may provide more thorough coverage of the campaign. Nevertheless, the authors have established their place in the continuing research and understanding of the Civil War. Recommended for public and academic libraries, as well as high school libraries.-David Alperstein, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604735123
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
Publication date:
06/07/2005
Pages:
194
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Dougherty, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is professor of military science at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is the author of The Coastal War in North and South Carolina.

J. Michael Moore, Yorktown, Virginia, is the registrar of Lee Hall Mansion.

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