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The Civil War Papers Of George B. Mcclellan: Selected Correspondence, 1860-1865 (Quality Paperbacks Series) Paperback – March 22, 1992


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The Civil War Papers Of George B. Mcclellan: Selected Correspondence, 1860-1865 (Quality Paperbacks Series) + George B. Mcclellan: The Young Napoleon + Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam
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Product Details

  • Series: Quality Paperbacks Series
  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (March 22, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306804719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306804717
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,236,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These military dispatches and candid personal letters of Union general McClellan reveal gross overestimates of Confederate strength and contempt for President Lincoln.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

McClellan biographer ( George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon , LJ 11/1/88) Sears has collected a treasure-trove for serious Civil War scholars: 813 letters, telegrams, memos, and other documents, over half of which are here published in their entirety for the first time. Of special interest are 192 uncensored letters to his wife, which best reveal the character of this complex man. Nothing of importance concerning his military strategies and tactics or the politics, policies, and issues of the war has been omitted. Sears has edited the collection with consummate economy and skill, and his introductory essays to the book's 11 sections weave the disparate facets of McClellan's wartime experiences together. Essential for any serious Civil War collection.
- Thomas E. Schott, Office of History, Engineering Installation Div., Timber Air Force Base, Okla.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. Morris on April 14, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stephen Sears's biography of George McClellan is probably the best ever written about the Civil War general. This collection of his writings during the Civil War, collected by Sears makes a wonderful companion to that biography.
This collection of papers is facinating on so many levels. We read not only his official letters to the likes of Lincoln and Halleck but also his personal letters to his wife. It's in these personel letter that we see glimpses into the man's mind and sadly his paranoia. His letter home, especially during the pennisula campaign show a man suffering from a real psychological problem, made worse by the increasingly stressful situation he's in. As the campaign goes on you see his paranoia slowly begin to increase to the point that he feels he can trust nobody. He becomes a man who in his mind is surrounded by enemies.
One word of warning. This isn't a light read. The collection is a whopping 600+ pages. Sears is holding nothing back here. If you are new to the Civil War and McClellan I strongly suggest first reading Sears's biography of McClellan. His books on the the Pennisula campaign and Antietam I would also recommend reading. They're great books and will help you understand what was going on around McClellan as he wrote all these correspondence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joe Schenkman on April 17, 2014
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These letters offer great insight into the Civil War General who used the U.S. Army to train rather than fight. Even during major battles, McClellan wrote his wife such maudlin sentiments as, "I almost think that were I to win some small success now I could become Dictator or anything else that might please me--but nothing of that kind would please me." The real crime was that the Mud Mole repeatedly let Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia limp away after losing battles, so they could rebuild and fight another day. After requesting more horses of his Commander in Chief, Lincoln wrote McClellan, "Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the Battle of Antietam that would fatigue anything?" Robert E. Lee, a fellow engineer with Little Mac on a pick and shovel brigade under General Winfield Scott in the Mexican War, wrote, "I hate to see McClellan go. He and I had grown to understand each other so well."

Civil War journalist Adam Gurowski, an editor for Horace Greeley's New York Tribune, called McClellan a "mud mole," because McClellan compounded his delay tactics with moving (at a snail's pace) the largest army ever assembled in America. The Mud Mole dragged heavy artillery and wagon trains through the mud, bogs, and swamps of Virginia during the Civil War. Or, more accurately, after bogging down in the mud, he did not march anywhere! This made the job of the Confederate Army easier, and made the war drag on longer. It would be Ulysses S. "the Butcher" Grant, who would have to finish the very messy and muddy affair that the "McClellanites" had left him.

The letters to his wife particularly reveal the incredible egomaniac and shallow person who tragically had so many lives--and ultimately deaths--in his responsibility. A great primary source book well organized by Sears, and arranged in chronological order, with an extensive index.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Kuipers on April 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Stephen W. Sears has edited and annotated this remarkable selection of the wartime papers of Major General George W. McClellan.

As the caption says, this book offers a look into McClellan's mind and the picture that emerges is myriad.
On the one hand this was a man who possessed great charm and charisma and enormous ability as a professional soldier. But his soldierly qualities were those of the desk general, the organizer. He was the perfect man to build an army and to make it ready to fight. He created the Army of the Pototmac, and did so superbly. He should get the credit for that, more than he usually does, for it was an impressive achiement.
On the other hand, McClellan was definitely not the right man to lead the army he made into battle. His record as a general in the field is abysmally bad.

McClellan had it all when he came to washington in september 1861. He was eagerly awaited as the man who would save the Union and lead its armies to triumph over the rebel forces. He had the confidence, the friendship, the trust and goodwill of the Lincoln administration, of Congress, of the army and of the people and he lost it all.

He lost it because of his arrogance and boastfulness, his meanness and vindictiveness, his manias of persecution and paranoia, his fear of failure, his constant and overestimating of his adversary's strength, his overblown self-importance, his penchant for naming generals who were as slow and cautious as himself (Sumner, Heintzelmann, Fitz-John Porter, William Franklin).... It is all there in his own words.
His failure, as this book shows, stems from a lack of moral courage, wariness of his reputation, a paralyzing sense of responsability and a genuine reluctance of exposing his men to the possibility of death and wounds.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Foster on June 7, 2013
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As a student of the Civil War it is fascinating to understand the tactics and strategies of the leaders of both the North and the South. This book offers correspondence by General McClellan and provides a clearer understanding of how the conflict was perceived by those making life and death decisions.

This book is a wonderful reference for the period of time McClellan led the Army of the Potomac.
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