The Peninsula Campaign of 1862

The Peninsula Campaign of 1862: A Military Analysis

KEVIN DOUGHERTY
WITH J. MICHAEL MOORE
Copyright Date: 2005
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2tvdp3
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    The Peninsula Campaign of 1862
    Book Description:

    The largest offensive of the Civil War, involving army, navy, and marine forces, the Peninsula Campaign has inspired many history books. No previous work, however, analyzes Union general George B. McClellan's massive assault toward Richmond in the context of current and enduring military doctrine.The Peninsula Campaign of 1862: A Military Analysisfills this void. Background history is provided for continuity, but the heart of this book is military analysis and the astonishing extent to which the personality traits of generals often overwhelm even the best efforts of their armies.

    The Peninsula Campaign lends itself to such a study. Lessons for those studying the art of war are many. On water, the first ironclads forever changed naval warfare. At the strategic level, McClellan's inability to grasp Lincoln's grand objective becomes evident. At the operational level, Robert E. Lee's difficulty in synchronizing his attacks deepens the mystique of how he achieved so much with so little. At the tactical level, the Confederate use of terrain to trade space for time allows for a classic study in tactics.

    Moreover, the campaign is full of lessons about the personal dimension of war. McClellan's overcaution, Lee's audacity, and Jackson's personal exhaustion all provide valuable insights for today's commanders and for Civil War enthusiasts still debating this tremendous struggle. Historic photos and detailed battle maps make this study an invaluable resource for those touring the many battlegrounds from Young's Mill and Yorktown through Fair Oaks to the final throes of the Seven Days' Battles.

    Kevin Dougherty, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is professor of military science at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is the author ofThe Coastal War in North and South Carolina. J. Michael Moore, Yorktown, Virginia, is the registrar of Lee Hall Mansion.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-061-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-1)
  4. CHAPTER 1 THE STAGE IS SET
    (pp. 3-35)

    Among the many factors that shape a battle’s outcome are the individual personalities of the commanders involved and the doctrine they use to prosecute the war. One cannot appreciate the German blitzkrieg of World War II without also appreciating the German doctrine ofAuftragstaktikor the personality of Heinz Guderian. The American approach to Desert Storm is inexorably intertwined with the AirLand Battle Doctrine and personality of Norman Schwarzkopf. So it is with the Peninsula Campaign, a joint (or multiservice) campaign undertaken in an era with only the most rudimentary understanding of joint operations prosecuted by leaders who represented the...

  5. CHAPTER 2 OPENING MOVES
    (pp. 36-63)

    Shortly after replacing Winfield Scott as general in chief of the Federal army on October 31, 1861, McClellan met Colonel Rush Hawkins of the Ninth New York, who was making a report to the cabinet. Hawkins had just returned from a successful amphibious operation against Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, in which his command had cooperated with naval forces under Admiral Silas Stringham. Employing a landing party of 319 men, the Federals had suffered just one casualty while capturing 670 prisoners and thirty-five cannon. The contribution of the navy had been significant, so much in fact that one historian concludes that...

  6. CHAPTER 3 THE PLAN BEGINS TO UNRAVEL
    (pp. 64-97)

    On April 1, the day after McClellan left Alexandria, Brigadier General James Wadsworth, commander of Washington’s defenses, reported to Secretary Stanton that the force to defend the city was inadequate in size and quality. He specifically complained about having to send four thousand men to Manassas. Stanton forwarded the report to Major General Ethan Allen Hitchcock, chairman of the Army Board, and Brigadier General Lorenzo Thomas, the adjutant general, and asked them if McClellan had complied with Lincoln’s instructions regarding the safety of Washington. Hitchcock and Thomas replied that McClellan had not and stated that the capital was in fact...

  7. CHAPTER 4 THE TIDE TURNS
    (pp. 98-139)

    If McClellan epitomized caution, Robert E. Lee epitomized audacity. Audacity is one of the army’s four characteristics of offensive operations. It is “a simple plan of action, boldly executed [to] produce decisive results” (FM 3-0 7-6). When McClellan was faced with uncertainty, he became paralyzed. Audacious commanders “dispel uncertainty through action; they compensate for lack of information by seizing the initiative and pressing the fight” (FM 3-0 7-6). The effects of Lee’s audacious generalship would soon bear fruit on the Peninsula.

    Even from the beginning of McClellan’s planning for an operation on the Peninsula, events in the Shenandoah Valley had...

  8. CHAPTER 5 SO WHAT?
    (pp. 140-162)

    The great nineteenth-century military theorist Antoine-Henri de Jomini felt that there were three kinds of military history: a pure version that recounts in minute and pedantic terms all aspects of a given battle, an analytical version that uses the battle to examine general principles, and a political-military version that examines war in its broadest context through association with political, social, and economic factors (1–21). The purpose of this particular study is best captured by Jomini’s analytical version. By analyzing the relationship between events and principles and by studying the campaign as a part of a broader context of warfare...

  9. APPENDIX A CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
    (pp. 163-164)
  10. APPENDIX B TOURING THE BATTLEFIELDS TODAY
    (pp. 165-170)
  11. APPENDIX C TIPS FOR CONDUCTING A STAFF RIDE
    (pp. 171-172)
  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 173-176)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 177-183)