The Emergence of Total War

Synopsis

Summer 1862. The Confederacy has suffered several important defeats in the Western Theater and faces a serious threat to Richmond in the East. Federal politicians and citizenry, perplexed that fighting has continued into a second year, want an end to the war. Abraham Lincoln asks his battlefield commanders to develop a winning strategy in the East, a strategy that will not spare resources, terrain, nor the well being of private citizens-a strategy that would come to be known as "total war."

The plan, implemented in 1862, proves a failure, mostly because of the man charged with carrying it out: Gen. John Pope. Pope's defeat is the story of the Second Manassas campaign. While Pope's demise gives new life to the Confederacy and emboldens Robert E. Lee to invade Maryland, Lincoln remains convinced that a strategy of total war represents the North's best chance for victory. In 1864-1865, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman will prove him right. A vivid account of how Civil War campaigns foreshadowed total war.