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Army Of The Potomac: Birth Of Command, November 1860 - September 1861

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There have been many studies of the generals who commanded the Union's victorious Army of the Potomac, but none has considered the corps, division, and brigade commanders (and their all-important staff officers) through the entire war--until now. Placing their actions in the social, political, military, and economic context of the day, this original and thought-provoking b There have been many studies of the generals who commanded the Union's victorious Army of the Potomac, but none has considered the corps, division, and brigade commanders (and their all-important staff officers) through the entire war--until now. Placing their actions in the social, political, military, and economic context of the day, this original and thought-provoking book examines in meticulous detail the command and performance of the brave and controversial officers of the Union's main fighting force.This study in command, the first of a multi-volume work, is based entirely on manuscript sources, many of which have never before been examined. As a result, the narrative and conclusions about the actions of many of the Union's prominent generals differ--often significantly--from traditional historical thinking. What emerges is a much different picture of these men and how their personalities influenced their command decisions and the political atmosphere that influenced and determined their military careers. The Army of the Potomac is about the leaders as men--their successes and failures commanding the Union's largest army.


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There have been many studies of the generals who commanded the Union's victorious Army of the Potomac, but none has considered the corps, division, and brigade commanders (and their all-important staff officers) through the entire war--until now. Placing their actions in the social, political, military, and economic context of the day, this original and thought-provoking b There have been many studies of the generals who commanded the Union's victorious Army of the Potomac, but none has considered the corps, division, and brigade commanders (and their all-important staff officers) through the entire war--until now. Placing their actions in the social, political, military, and economic context of the day, this original and thought-provoking book examines in meticulous detail the command and performance of the brave and controversial officers of the Union's main fighting force.This study in command, the first of a multi-volume work, is based entirely on manuscript sources, many of which have never before been examined. As a result, the narrative and conclusions about the actions of many of the Union's prominent generals differ--often significantly--from traditional historical thinking. What emerges is a much different picture of these men and how their personalities influenced their command decisions and the political atmosphere that influenced and determined their military careers. The Army of the Potomac is about the leaders as men--their successes and failures commanding the Union's largest army.

32 review for Army Of The Potomac: Birth Of Command, November 1860 - September 1861

  1. 5 out of 5

    Steven Peterson

    Russel Beatie develops a history of the origins of the Army of the Potomac. He notes that (page xv): "This is the story of a group of men during a short but extraordinary period in their lives." He also observes that his role model is D. S. Freeman, who focused on the development and actions of the Army of Northern Virginia. This is a nice detailed work of the personalities at the beginning, the crucible of battle, the various components of the Army. There is a nice, brief Appendix on battlefiel Russel Beatie develops a history of the origins of the Army of the Potomac. He notes that (page xv): "This is the story of a group of men during a short but extraordinary period in their lives." He also observes that his role model is D. S. Freeman, who focused on the development and actions of the Army of Northern Virginia. This is a nice detailed work of the personalities at the beginning, the crucible of battle, the various components of the Army. There is a nice, brief Appendix on battlefield maneuvers. The book itself begins at the beginning, with Winfield Scott as the head of the Army. Although a southerner, he remained loyal to the Union as its army's Commander-in-Chief after the breaking out of the Civil War. There is a segment entitled "Dramatis Personae" at the outset of the book, providing brief biographical sketches of key figures in the early days of the Army of the Potomac, including such figures as Scott, Charles Stone, Robert Patterson, Fitz-John Porter to George McClellan. These sketches provide nice context for what follows. The Army begins to emerge as volunteers and regulars from throughout the North wended their way to Washington, D. C. Irvin McDowell was the first head of the Army. The book traces the organizing of the Army and its first foray into Virginia, culminating with the Union near victory but, in the end, chaotic defeat at Bull Run/Manassas. The antiquated Robert Patterson's failure to pin down Confederate General Joseph Johnston in the Shenandoah Valley was a key factor in the Union defeat. Once the Army returned to the area of Washington, D. C, after the defeat, General George McClellan entered the picture. A wonderful organizer, he would prove wanting as a field commander in battle. However, he was the person to take a mob and make it into a finely honed instrument of battle--the Army of the Potomac. The text goes on to note the conflict between McClellan and Scott, contentiousness between McClellan and Abraham Lincoln, and so on. Discussion also notes the headquarters staff as it developed, the evolution of the cavalry and artillery in the army. Finally, a chapter on the engineers completes the volume. This book is very nice in that it lays the stage for understanding how the Army of the Potomac developed in all its detail. It is not a compellingly written book, and one can almost drown in some details. Nonetheless, Beatie does a real service by providing a detailed examination of the early months of this fighting vehicle.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joel Manuel

    This book is not for the casual Civil War reader. It is 575 pages of minutiae on the establishment and first combat (Bull Run) of what would become the Army of the Potomac, until McClellan takes command in August/September 1861. Beatie's writing is very dry, but interesting. Someone with a slightly more advanced knowledge of Civil War military operations would definitely like this; I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about this subject, but I think I can only tackle one volume of Beatie's ser This book is not for the casual Civil War reader. It is 575 pages of minutiae on the establishment and first combat (Bull Run) of what would become the Army of the Potomac, until McClellan takes command in August/September 1861. Beatie's writing is very dry, but interesting. Someone with a slightly more advanced knowledge of Civil War military operations would definitely like this; I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about this subject, but I think I can only tackle one volume of Beatie's series per year. Two additional volumes have followed and I believe a fourth is due in 2012.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Blake Dalton

  4. 4 out of 5

    John Vandike

  5. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Makowski

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  7. 5 out of 5

    Vince

  8. 5 out of 5

    David J. Kahle

  9. 5 out of 5

    John

  10. 5 out of 5

    Buddy McFelea

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eric Walters

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Graham

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bob Davis

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  15. 5 out of 5

    William B

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  17. 5 out of 5

    Asails F

  18. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  20. 4 out of 5

    Edward Gingrich

  21. 4 out of 5

    John Gazzelli

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Benner

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Chmyr

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bill

  25. 4 out of 5

    'Aussie Rick'

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jan C

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael Arrasmith

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dimitri

  30. 4 out of 5

    BookDB

  31. 4 out of 5

    Scott Lee

  32. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Chandler

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