Too Useful to Sacrifice
Reconsidering George B. McClellan’s Generalship in the Maryland Campaign from South Mountain to Antietam
Imprint: Savas Beatie
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 groundbreaking 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.
"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