Robert E. Lee: The background, strategies, tactics and battlefield experiences of the greatest commanders of history
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Robert E. Lee is widely recognized as the greatest commander in U.S. History. But why? In his new book, Ron Field, a member of the DC-based Company of Military Historians, seeks to convey the character, outlook, bearing, leadership style, and military brilliance of the “Old Man.” His narrative builds to Lee’s “hour of destiny” during the Civil War where Lee outshined McClellan during the Seven Days, Pope at Second Manassas, Burnside at Fredericksburg, and Hooker at Chancellorsville. Field also explores the tragic side to Lee’s legend: the heart attack that in 1963 sidelined him at Gettysburg; the loss of Stonewall Jackson to friendly fire that weakened his Western flank; and difficulties with fellow general Longstreet that contributed to his eventual defeat. Field also provides a balanced assessment of Lee’s flaws, including his difficulty in giving clear commands to his subordinates.
Readers of Osprey will find in Robert E. Lee everything they have come to expect from an Osprey series title, including campaign maps, full-color illustrations—this time from Adam Hook, dozens of photographs and a selected bibliography.
Emancipation Proclamation. Designed to free the slaves throughout the Confederacy, it would also encourage African Americans in both the North and the South to join the ranks of the Federal army to fight for their freedom. Lee's failure to achieve a decisive victory also meant there was little likelihood of British intervention on the part of the South. However, McClellan failed to follow up his success at Antietam, and an exasperated Lincoln relieved him of command on November 9, 1862, replacing
throat." British observer Colonel Arthur Freemantle, of the Coldstream Guards, recalled that neither Lee nor Longstreet was in the habit of carrying a side arm, and that despite Lee's martial appearance, he never seemed to wear a sword slung from his belt. Seated on the fallen tree trunk are Generals James Longstreet (1) and John Bell Hood (2), while aide-de-camp Colonel Walter H. Taylor stands at the left (3). Made by Mary Custis Lee and daughters and used from June 1862 through the summer of
Rappahannock, giving Lee time to gather his forces at Fredericksburg. completely out-fought His subsequent failure at that place on December 13, for which he publicly by Lee at Chancellorsville admitted blame, led to demotion to command of the Army of the Ohio, in May of that year. a responsibility he held until December 1 2 , 1 8 6 3 . Returning east as commander (Library of Congress- of IX Corps, he fought in the overland campaign, but was again relieved of DIG-ppmsca-19395) command
depression." Heeding the advice of doctors and friends to get away from the damp Virginia winter, he took a six-week sojourn in Georgia and Florida, during which time he visited the grave of his father at Dungeness, on Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia. Although Mary Randolph Custis Lee benefiting from the Southern sun, the excessive traveling took its toll and he (1808-73) survived her returned in a physical condition Johnston described as "not greatly improved." husband by three
staff to a line officer post and commissioned as a lieutenant-colonel of the 2nd Cavalry, which was assigned to Western Texas. The 2nd Cavalry was recruited and organized at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, during the fall and winter of 1 8 5 5 - 5 6 , and marched southwest as soon as the roads were firm enough to travel. Lee left Alexandria, Virginia, to join his regiment on February 12, 1856. On arrival he was directed by his commanding officer, Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, to proceed to Camp