Too Useful to Sacrifice: Reconsidering George B. Mcclellan's Generalship in the Maryland Campaign from South Mountain to Antietam - Steven R. Stotelmyer; | Foyles Bookstore
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Too Useful to Sacrifice: Reconsidering George B. Mcclellan's Generalship in the Maryland Campaign from South Mountain to Antietam
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Too Useful to Sacrifice: Reconsidering George B. Mcclellan's Generalship in the Maryland Campaign from South Mountain to Antietam (Paperback)

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The importance of Robert E. Lee's first movement north of the Potomac River in September 1862 is difficult to overstate. After his string of successes in Virginia, a decisive Confederate victory in Maryland or Pennsylvania may well have spun the war in an entirely different direction. Why he and his Virginia army did not find success across the Potomac was due in large measure to the generalship of George B. McClellan, as Steven Stotelmyer ably demonstrates in Too Useful to Sacrifice: Reconsidering George B. McClellan's Generalship in the Maryland Campaign from South Mountain to Antietam, now available in paperback.

History has typecast McClellan as the slow and overly cautious general who allowed opportunities to slip through his grasp and Lee's battered army to escape. Stotelmyer disagrees and argues persuasively that he deserves significant credit for moving quickly, acting decisively, and defeating and turning back the South's most able general. He accomplishes this with five comprehensive chapters, each dedicated to a specific major issue of the campaign:

Fallacies Regarding the Lost Orders

Antietam: The Sequel to South Mountain

All the Injury Possible: The Day between South Mountain and Antietam

General John Pope at Antietam and the Politics behind the Myth of the Unused Reserves

Supplies and Demands: The Demise of General George B. McClellan

Was McClellan's response to the discovery of Lee's Lost Orders really as slow and inept as we have been led to believe? Although routinely dismissed as a small prelude to the main event at Antietam, was the real Confederate high tide in Maryland the fight on South Mountain? Is the criticism leveled against McClellan for not rapidly pursuing Lee's army after the victory on South Mountain warranted? Did McClellan really fail to make good use of his reserves in the bloody fighting on September 17? Finally, what is the true story behind McClellan's apparent "failure" to pursue the defeated Confederate army after Antietam that convinced President Lincoln to sack him?

In Too Useful to Sacrifice, Stotelmyer combines extensive primary research, smooth prose, and a keen appreciation for the infrastructure and capabilities of the terrain of nineteenth century Maryland. The result is one of the most eye-opening and ground-breaking essay collections in modern memory. Readers will never look at this campaign the same way again. By the time they close this book, most readers will agree Lincoln had no need to continue his search for a capable army commander because he already had one.

Steven R. Stotelmyer is a native of Hagerstown, Maryland. He first visited Antietam National Battlefield as a child and has been fascinated with it ever since. After serving in the US Navy he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Frostburg State College and a Master of Arts from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. He worked as a teacher, surveyor, and civil engineer before retiring. Stotelmyer was a founding member of the Central Maryland Heritage League in 1989 which helped preserve some of the South Mountain Battlefield. He is the author of The Bivouacs of the Dead: The Story of Those Who Died at Antietam and South Mountain (Toomey Press, 1992). Steve is a National Park Service Certified Antietam and South Mountain Tour Guide.

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