Okay, it's not a scholarly thread, because whether or not I'd like to be, I'm not a scholar. I have, however, been reading a book called "Great Battles of the Civil War," by the editors of The Civil War Times, and I highly recommend it. It's great at giving an overview of these conflicts, mostly from the military side, but not neglecting the political or making the material dry.
I'll have more commentary as I progress through the book (I'm only at Second Manassas now), but what strikes me so far is how much winning a war seems to be a matter of screwing up the least. Brilliant stratagems have a way of disintegrating in reality-- mistakes last forever. The battle of Shiloh, for example, seems to be just one blown chance after another, both sides alternating... and not just errors that can be pointed out in hindsight, but largish groundbreaking mistakes that could have been seen at the time.
In my view, one of the clearest things we can learn from these battles, and the war as a whole, is the value of simple endurance, the ability to put one's head down and push through... a quality best embodied by Grant, but seen in Sherman and Stonewall and (to an extent) Lee, as well.
Thoughts? Comments? Other book recommendations? Random Civil War minutiae? It's not a very focused subject I've left you with, but it's wide open...
As an aside, if anybody knows what the frell was going on with McClellan, I will pay one million dollars for a coherent psychoanalysis... erm, or at least, I'll say "thanks" if you can point me to such.
Edited by Cait, 21 September 2012 - 03:23 PM.