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Taken at the Flood: Robert E. Lee and Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 Hardcover – September 10, 1999
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This is a tour de force challenging much of the conventional wisdom, both pro- and anti-Lee. Mr. Harsh's signal contribution to understanding this campaign, and by extension to the war as a whole, is to transcend issues of personality--"Robert the Bold vs. George the Timid"--in order to focus on strategic considerations. -- The Washington Times, November 13, 1999
About the Author
Joseph L. Harsh is a professor and former chair of history at George Mason University in Virginia. He is founding president of the Northern Virginia Association of Historians.
Joseph L. Harsh is a professor and former chair of history at George Mason University. He is the author of Confederate Tide Rising: Robert E. Lee and the Making of Southern Strategy, 1861-1862 (The Kent State University Press, 1998).
Top Customer Reviews
It's as if Harsh rode aside Lee as he spoke at length of his strategy, movements, and inner most thoughts, then Harsh carefully jotted them down and sent them off to the presses. The book is quite captivating, and pleasently lacks the usual focus on trivial matter. This book is truly the meat and potatoes of the "Maryland Campaign"
We hear much more of what Lee actually said.
Interesting details emerge: Stuart was lax in scouting the Federal army, there is the on-going lack of cohesion in Confederate operations due to poor staffing protocols, Lee, finally hits the tone that he never dropped; 'I (we) were beaten by numbers that became ever larger,' certainly not by a more and more savvy set of Union commanders, by a better trained and equally well led cavalry service, by more and more intelligent strategy. Left only touched on is Lee's on-going refusal to grant any consideration to initiative or skill by Union commanders, much less any aggressive instinct of its soldiery. In this case, if Harper's Ferry is such a prize, Lee must hold the South Mountain line, then proceed.
He hopes to turn the Union right at the end of the day's fighting at Antietam? Expose the immediate and entire flank and rear of his army to a pursuit by McClellan? Its as if the other side is merely a prop that will always perform as expected.
However, the flood tide moment did indeed extend beyond September 1862, the author downplays the degree of collapse of the army of the Potomac after the Fredericksburg Campaign. Emancipation created an on-going crisis in the North. Read 'Lee's Tarnished Lieutenant' by Piston to hear Longstreet's ideas of how to proceed after 1862.
We see Lee here at the peak of his generalship that he matched at Spotsylvania, hands-on, in sight of his men, steel nerves when the army is threatened. But the haziness of thought when on the offensive, the love of the 'Hail-Mary,' essential details left to the guesses of subordinates, all shown in spades in this campaign AND Gettysburg: part tactical genius and yes, part warlord swinging his sword wildly above his head.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
by Joseph L. Harsh.
Ouch!!!! Talk about painful!!!Read more