'Fresh Perspective on Lee's Virtues'

By Kingseed, Cole C. | Army, June 2011 | Go to article overview

'Fresh Perspective on Lee's Virtues'


Kingseed, Cole C., Army


'Fresh Perspective on Lee's Virtues' A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee's Triumph, 1862-1863. Jeffry D. Wert. Simon & Schuster. 400 pages; black-and-zuhite photographs; maps; index; $30.

Few generals in American history have crafted a record of achievement to match that of Confederate GEN Robert E. Lee during his first 13 months in command. During that span, he won four major battles outright against superior forces and held the bloody ground at Antietam, Md., against an opponent who more than doubled the number of soldiers in Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. At the conclusion of those 13 months, Lee positioned his forces in southern Pennsylvania and was on the eve of the greatest battle of his career. How Lee succeeded and how he developed a brilliant cadre of lieutenants are the focus of Jeffry D. Wert's A Glorious Army.

Wert remains one of the more prolific authors on the Civil War. His eight previous books on the conflict include campaign, regimental and army histories, as well as biographies of Generals James Longstreet, George Armstrong Custer and J.E.B. Qeb) Stuart. His purpose in reexamining Lee's generalship on the sesquicentennial of the conflict is to offer a fresh "narrative and analysis of the fighting, with a focus on leadership and on the experiences of men on the firing lines." Wert succeeds admirably in his quest to provide a fresh perspective on Lee's virtues as the commander of the South's most prominent army. Wert's interpretation will certainly invite conflicting opinions from a number of prominent historians who have dominated the debate concerning Lee's generalship over the course of the last three decades.

At the time of his appointment to command what became the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee was 55 years old. He was the son of a Revolutionary War hero and an 1829 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During the Mexican War, Lee performed so well that General-in-Chief Winfield Scott "regarded his fellow Virginian as the finest officer in the Regular Army." Offered command of the U.S. Army being raised to suppress the rebellion in 1861, Lee resigned his commission and offered his services to his native state. His record in the Civil War prior to advancement to army command was as undistinguished as his Mexican War record had been distinguished.

After careful study of letters, diaries and memoirs of the army's veterans and of the recent scholarship of fellow historians, Wert emerges as an unabashed Lee apologist. Wert's Lee assumes command of an army ill-prepared for immediate action on June 1, 1862. Above all, Lee recognized that time was the silent enemy of the Confederacy. Without foreign intervention, a protracted war most certainly would have resulted in defeat for the South. Lee rejected the passive defense strategy advocated in Richmond and embarked upon an aggressive, high-risk strategy that produced a series of tactical victories that countered the numerous Confederate defeats in the Mississippi River valley.

Over the course of the next 13 months, Lee raised the siege of Richmond, crushed BG John Pope at Second Manassas, fought MG George McClellan to a standstill at Sharpsburg, defeated MG Ambrose Burnside at Fredericksburg and outmaneuvered MG Joseph Hooker at Chancellorsville. By any measure of success, Lee's achievements during his first year in command were unsurpassed by any army in American history.

Why, then, did Lee suffer such a catastrophic defeat at Gettysburg? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

'Fresh Perspective on Lee's Virtues'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.