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Since 1945, as the U.S. has engaged in near-constant “wars of choice” with limited congressional oversight, the executive and armed services have shared primary responsibility for often ill-defined objectives, strategies, and benefits. Matthew Moten shows the significance of negotiations between presidents and the generals allied with them.
Dr. Richard Sommers’ Challenges of Command in the Civil War distills six decades of studying the Civil War into two succinct, thought-provoking volumes. This first installment focuses on “Civil War Generals and Generalship.” The subsequent volume will explore “Civil War Strategy, Operations, and Organization.” Each chapter is a free-standing essay that can be appreciated in its own right without reading the entire book. Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee stand out in Volume I as Dr. Sommers analyzes their generalship throughout the Civil War. Their exercise of command in the decisive Virginia Campaign from May 1864 to April 1865 receives particular attention—especially during the great Siege of Petersburg, about which the author has long ranked as the pioneering and pre-eminent historian. Five chapters evaluating Grant and Lee are followed by five more on “Civil War Generals and Generalship.” One of those essays, “American Cincinnatus,” explores twenty citizen-soldiers who commanded mobile army corps in the Union Army and explains why such officers were selected for senior command. Antietam, Gettysburg, and Petersburg are central to three essays on Northern corps and wing commanders. Both Federals and Confederates are featured in “Founding Fathers: Renowned Revolutionary War Relatives of Significant Civil War Soldiers and Statesmen.” The ground-breaking original research underlying that chapter identifies scores of connections between the “Greatest Generations” of the 18th and 19th Centuries—far more than just the well-known link of “Light Horse Harry” Lee to his son, Robert E. Lee. From original research in Chapter 10 to new ways of looking at familiar facts in Chapters 6-9 to distilled judgments from a lifetime of study in Chapters 1-5, Challenges of Command invites readers to think—and rethink—about the generalship of Grant, Lee, and senior commanders of the Civil War. This book is an essential part of every Civil War library.
This is a study of the effectiveness of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis as Commanders in Chief during the Civil War. It begins by comparing their backgrounds prior to assuming the Presidency; then comparing their military strategies and command structures. The final area of comparison is their involvement in the first military draft in American history. Davis had extensive government and military experience, but exhibited personality traits early on that later hampered his performance as a war-time Commander in Chief. Lincoln had very little experience, but excelled at dealing with people. Lincoln tried several staff arrangements before finally appointing Grant as General in Chief. Davis changed his structure very little throughout the war. Although he appointed Lee as General in Chief in the first year, he lost his services by placing him in command of a field army. Both faced strong challenges from a powerful governor over the draft. Davis first tried to win over the governor, then appealed directly to the people. Lincoln publicly kept distant from the draft and worked behind the scenes.
In this comparative history of Union & Confederate command & strategy, Jones shows us how the Civil War was actually conducted. Looking at decision-making at the highest levels, Jones argues that President Lincoln & Davis & most of their senior generals brought to the context of the Civil War a broad grasp of established mil. strategy & its historical applications, as well as the ability to make significant strategic innovations. He emphasizes the role of maneuvers as well as the significance of battles, & demonstrates that the war was a multi-faceted blend of traditional warfare with early influences of the industrial age.
The Second United States Sharpshooters was a hodgepodge regiment, composed of companies raised in several New England states. The regiment was trained for a specific mission and armed with specially ordered breech-loading target rifles. This book covers the origin, recruitment, training, and battle record of the regiment and features 32 photographs, four battlefield maps, and a regimental roster.
Confederate General P.G.T.Beauregard once wrote that "no people ever warred for independence with more relative advantages than the Confederates." If there was any doubt as to what Beauregard sought to imply, he later to chose to spell it out: the failure of the Confederacy lay with the Confederate president Jefferson Davis. In Jefferson Davis' Generals, a team of the nation's most distinguished Civil War historians present fascinating examinations of the men who led the Confederacy through our nation's bloodiest conflict, focusing in particular on Jefferson Davis' relationships with five key generals who held independent commands: Joseph E. Johnston, Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, and John Bell Hood. Craig Symonds examines the underlying implications of a withering trust between Johnston and his friend Jefferson Davis. And was there really harmony between Davis and Robert E. Lee? A tenuous harmony at best, according to Emory Thomas. Michael Parrish explores how Beauregard and Davis worked through a deep and mutual loathing, while Steven E. Woodworth and Herman Hattaway make contrasting evaluations of the competence of Generals Braxton Bragg and John Bell Hood. Taking a different angle on Davis' ill-fated commanders, Lesley Gordon probes the private side of war through the roles of the generals' wives, and Harold Holzer investigates public perceptions of the Confederate leadership through printed images created by artists of the day. Pulitzer Prize-winner James M. McPherson's final chapter ties the individual essays together and offers a new perspective on Confederate strategy as a whole. Jefferson Davis' Generals provides stimulating new insights into one of the most vociferously debated topics in Civil War history.

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