Civil War Generalship: The Art of Command

Synopsis

This study challenges both the accepted convention that the American Civil War was the first "modern war" and the myth that Civil War leaders were guided by foreign and American military thought in fighting their war. Wood's work takes an innovative approach by selecting three typical higher level commanders on each side, Union and Confederate, and then "pairing them off" in the campaigns and battles in which they actually confronted each other. While readers gain insight into the nature and character of a commander, they can, at the same time, observe how each put his art of command into practice. Civil War commanders at the operational level had to confront not only their opponents on campaign and in battle, they also had to develop--even create--their own method of command through their personal on-the-job training, while actually engaged in combat operations.