Too Useful to Sacrifice
Reconsidering George B. McClellan’s Generalship in the Maryland Campaign from South Mountain to Antietam
Imprint: Savas Beatie
Although typecast as the slow and overly cautious general who allowed Lee’s battered army to escape, in fact, argues Stotelmyer, General McClellan deserves significant credit for defeating and turning back the South’s most able general. He does so through five comprehensive chapters, each dedicated to a specific major issue of the campaign:
Fallacies Regarding the Lost Orders
All the Injury Possible: The Day between South Mountain and Antietam
Antietam: The Sequel to South Mountain
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 fighting on South Mountain the real Confederate high tide in Maryland? Is the criticism leveled against McClellan for not rapidly pursuing Lee’s army after the victory on South Mountain warranted? Did McClellan fail to make good use of his reserves in the bloody fighting on September 17? Finally, what is the real story behind McClellan’s apparent “failure” to pursue the defeated Confederate army after Antietam, which triggered President Lincoln’s frustration with him and resulted in his removal?
Utilizing extensive primary documents and with a keen appreciation for the infrastructure of the nineteenth century Maryland terrain, Stotelmyer deeply explores these long-held beliefs, revealing that often the influence of political considerations dictated military decision-making, and the deliberate actions of the Lincoln Administration behind McClellan’s back resulted in bringing about many of the general’s supposed shortcomings. As readers will soon discover, Lincoln did not need to continue searching for a capable commander; he already had one.
"Stotelmyer's long-awaited book is really a collection five essays assessing McClellan's generalship...Collectively, they render a portrait of an embattled Union general." ~Civil War News
"At its best, Too Useful to Sacrifice is the sort of book that keeps historians on their toes by forcing us to reexamine long-held assumptions. A worthwhile addition to Civil War literature is one that forces historians into the archives to move the debate forward..." ~The Civil War Monitor
"An inherently fascinating and impressively informative read, 'Too Useful to Sacrifice: Reconsidering George B. McClellan's Generalship in the Maryland Campaign from South Mountain to Antietam' is an extraordinary work of original scholarship and will prove to be an enduringly valued contribution to the growing library of American Civil War literature." ~Midwest Book Review
"With its generally formidable arguments and analysis, Too Useful to Sacrifice is a strongly recommended title for Maryland Campaign readers and McClellan critics, advocates, and nonpartisan students alike."
~Civil War Books and Authors
“Thought provoking if nothing else. The author’s work indicates wide research, serious scholarship and deep study. Readers may not agree with his conclusions, but they will benefit from this new look at an old controversy.” ~The Journal of America's Military Past