of the army of the Potomac than a history of the Peninsula
His description of the Confederate
side of the struggle is very brief and meagre.
His attention, and his pages are chiefly filled with the Federal
plans of campaign, the differences between McClellan
and the Federal
administration, the difficulties which successively appeared in the path of the Federal
army and the questions as to responsibility connected with these difficulties and the consequent failures.
He handles General McClellan
's military reputation very tenderly, he is anxious to take care of it, and he has found, as others have, that this makes exhaustive draughts on his skill and his time.
There are too a numbers of errors of statement in the book, some of which are evidently due to haste in its preparation.
In the spring of 1862, the Confederate government found itself face to face with a difficult problem in Virginia
The largest and best appointed of the Federal
armies, under their Commander-in-Chief
, lay in front of General Johnston
, evidently waiting only for good weather to assume the offensive.
This army contained over 180,000 men “present for duty,” and from 600 to 700 pieces of artillery (p. 7). Johnston
was holding it in check with less than 50,000 men (p. 26). The Federal navy had virtually undisputed control of the sea and the rivers, except the James
Some Confederate batteries had partially obstructed the Potomac
, but these could be driven away whenever the Federal Commander
chose to do it. A small Confederate force under Huger
still held Norfolk
and the Navy Yard
, where they were preparing the ram, Virginia
, to introduce a new era into naval warfare.
, with 11,000 men, watched the peninsula between the James
, and by means of his works at Yorktown
and Gloucester Point
, closed the latter river above that point.
In the West
heavy reverses had already befallen the Confederate
arms, and still greater were impending, so that nothing could be drawn from that quarter to strengthen the slender means with which the Confederacy
was to meet the prodigious military armament that was about to set forth against Richmond
, who, by his boldness, had confined the Federal
army for months to the vicinity of Washington
, realized that with the advent of spring his advanced position at Manassas
could move against him in overwhelming strength, or he could leave Washington
securely defended by a force larger than the Confederate army, and then move an army twice as numerous as Johnston
's to the Rappahannock
or the lower Chesapeake
, and thus place it between Johnston
Seeing that Fredericksburg
offered the most direct route to Richmond