Landscape Turned Red Essay

2823 Words Sep 17th, 2012 12 Pages
The Confederate invasion of the North in September of 1862 was an attempt by Robert E. Lee to swing the war in favor of the South. The main reason for the Confederate invasion was that the British were on the verge of recognizing the Confederacy if they could show it could hold its own, and Lee was anxious to provide a cornerstone for the Confederacy to build upon. The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest day in American history and was a major blow to the Army of Northern Virginia and the morale of the south. This is the tableau against which our story unfolds.
Stephen W. (Ward) Sears was born July 27th, 1932 in Ohio. He is a pre-eminent American historian specializing in all facets of the Civil War. He graduated from Oberlin College in
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Sears uses language that most all of us can understand, and clearly it is a very well researched work. He supports his claims in the book with a copious amount of facts and yet still keeps the course of the book moving forward. He draws on a variety of sources including diaries and letters of the participants to produce, arguably, his definitive work. Sears thesis is actually two-fold; one that McClellan missed countless opportunities to defeat Lee and two that McClellan was an incompetent commander who missed several instances to take initiative and win the battle decisively. The young Napoleon, as McClellan was known, often waited an inordinate amount of time before making a movement with his troops. For me, reading the details (with heavy emphasis to the Union story) was captivating. No recon, no communication, egotistical leadership, timidity, and procrastination all combined and helped the Union snatch defeat (or, at the very least, a draw) from the jaws of victory. This battle, like others before and after it, could have really shortened the Civil War.
On the other hand, Sears holds Lee in high esteem. Though taking unnecessary risks at times, he manages to skillfully avoid being crushed at the hands of a numerically superior opponent. According to Sears, Antietam proved a tactical victory for the Army of Northern Virginia, “It had beaten back a foe much superior in manpower and ordinance
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