Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History

By Richard M. McMurry | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
The Yankee Influence

One of the more ludicrous aspects of much of the writing on the American Civil War is the intense zealousness with which some of those who seek to explain some facet of the conflict have managed to focus their attention on only one side of this or that disputed point. This tendency is well illustrated by some of the writings that have been produced in an effort to resolve the perennial conundrum of why the Army of Northern Virginia went down to defeat in the July 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. Because Gettysburg has often been regarded as the decisive battle of the war, the answer to the question of why it ended as it did has been assumed to be very important to an understanding of the outcome of the conflict.

For decades writers poured out a steady stream of books and articles in which they argued that this or that action-or failure to act--by some Rebel general had determined the outcome of the battle and, by extension, of the war. Many writers hypothesized that the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg was entirely the fault of Major General James Ewell Brown (Jeb) Stuart, commander of the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia. Stuart's fragile ego and his glowing prestige, they argue, had been badly bruised in June 1863, when he had performed less than brilliantly in the great clash of cavalry at Brandy Station. Consequently, during the Gettysburg Campaign, Stuart took advantage of discretionary orders to ride off in an effort to redeem himself by chasing glory in the form of Yankee supply wagons when he should have been scouting the area and providing General Lee with timely and accurate intelligence on the movements and strength of the Federals. Lacking such information, the Army of

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Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter One - Two Great Armies 1
  • Chapter Two - Some Basic Factors 10
  • Chapter Three - the Yankee Influence 30
  • Chapter Four - Confederate Contributions 56
  • Chapter Five - History's Role 74
  • Chapter Six - Officers and Enlisted Men 87
  • Chapter Seven - the General Officers 106
  • Chapter Eight the Commanding Generals 118
  • Chapter Nine Historians and Generals 140
  • Appendix Known Antebellum Military Experience of Confederate Generals 157
  • Notes 167
  • Bibliography 181
  • Index 189
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