Southwestern Historical Quarterly
This volume, the seventh in the series, "Military Campaigns of the Civil War,"
examines various aspects of George B. McClellan's ill-fated effort in the Peninsu-
lar Campaign of 1862. A stable of competent historians of the war interpret what
the editor describes as the campaign that exerted immense influence on the
war's course if for no other reason than "Lee's accession to command probably
lengthened the conflict by more than two years" (p. xi).
All the essays, produced as chapters and not necessarily chronological, are
thought provoking. Professor Gallagher leads off by offering his view that the
campaign was the "watershed" of the war inasmuch as it contrasted Lee's rising
sun with McClellan's eclipse. Furthermore, the campaign shocked the North to
the realization of a very long war, a prospect heretofore not well understood. If
the campaign stung the North, it also encouraged the South, for many South-
erners were dismayed by what Gallagher calls the "Confederate failures at the
margins" (p. 6) by which he means losses at Glorieta, Henry, Donelson, Shiloh,
Nashville, Missouri, Pea Ridge, Roanoke Island, New Bern, and Fort Macon. Per-
haps even more distressing to Southern hopes was the loss of the CSS Vzrginia,
more commonly known as the ironclad Merrmac.
Northern hopes for an early end to war by the execution of this massive cam-
paign were dashed. Both the New York Herald and the New York Tribune predicted
the collapse of the Confederacy within a month and a half. Where there was de-
spair in the North, there was the release from panic in the South not only be-
cause the Union drive was halted but also because the South found a new hero
around whom the hope for success could be built. Lee's ascent in public opin-
ion rested on his handling of the battles of the Seven Days that spared Rich-
mond from the victorious tread of Northern usurpers, thus somewhat
compensating for the death of Albert S. Johnston, the wounding of Joseph E.
Johnston, and the fall from grace of P. G. T. Beauregard.
The remaining essays offer provocative themes. One will not find a rehabilita-
tion of McClellan, but careful appraisals of his failure as a commander are of-
fered. There is a solid examination of Stonewall Jackson's controversial
weaknesses as a commander in the struggle to save Richmond. The work contin-
ues with a good reassessment of John B. Magruder and a review not only of
Union but also Confederate artillery at Malvern Hill. New insights also are pre-
sented on Hood's Texas Brigade at Gaines's Mill.
In sum, the entire book is a solid and entertaining collection of Civil War his-
tory and a welcome addition to the ongoing literature of that war.
Southwest Texas State University James W. Pohl
Lee and Hzs Army zn Confederate History. By Gary W. Gallagher. (Chapel Hill: Uni-
versity of North Carolina Press, 2001. Pp. ix+295. Preface, acknowledgments,
essay credits, index. ISBN o-8078-2631-6. $29.95, cloth.)
Gary Gallagher presents worthwhile analysis of "the ways in which Confeder-
ates in uniform and behind the lines reacted to [Robert E.] Lee's famous cam-
paigns" (p. x). Students of the Civil War will be familiar with some parts of this
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed December 27, 2014.