"A superb piece of historical scholarship. Rafuse has crafted a book that is groundbreaking in its conception." —Joseph L. Harsh, author of Confederate Tide Rising: Robert E. Lee and the Making of Southern Strategy, 1861–1862
"Brings something new, or at least relatively unknown, to the 'McClellan debate.'... It is the first work I have read that explains McClellan's approach in a way that is both somewhat favorable and satisfactory, showing the basis of McClellan's views." —Brian K. Burton, author of Extraordinary Circumstances: The Seven Days Battles
This biography of the controversial Union general George B. McClellan examines the influences and political antecedents that shaped his behavior on the battlefield, behavior that so frustrated Lincoln and others in Washington that he was removed from his command soon after the Union loss at Antietam. Rather than take sides in the controversy, Ethan S. Rafuse finds in McClellan's politics and his desire to restore sectional harmony ample explanation for his actions. Rafuse sheds new light on the general who believed in the rule of reason and moderation, who sought a policy of conciliation with the South, and who wanted to manage the North's military resources in a way that would impose rational order on the battlefield.
the failure of moderation in the struggle for the Union
"I can do as well as anyone in both my studies and my military duties"
"A strong Democrat of the Stephen A. Douglas school"
To kill secession
"A new and strange position"
"You have no idea of the pressure brought to bear here"
"What do you think of the science of generalship?"
The Peninsula campaign
"I do not like the . . . turn that affairs are taking"
"He has acted badly"
"To meet the necessities of the moment"
"The most terrible battle"
"It is my duty to submit to the presdt's proclamation & quietly continue doing my duty"
The last campaign
Command of troops
From the critics
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