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Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy - Book Report/Review Example

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Out of all the literary works that have been posed on the subject of guerilla warfare in the West, one of the most prominent and significant by far is Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy, authored by Richard S. Brownlee. It is a book which describes the years between 1861 and 1865 in particular, when the United States was in great torment by civil and other war, and when massive armies were beginning to slowly maneuver and grapple for control of the Eastern seaboard…
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Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy
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Download file to see previous pages During the first year, the Union assumed control of the border states and established a naval blockade as both sides raised large armies" (29). Brownlee goes on to discuss many other momentous events during the war as well, in particular September of 1862 when Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation made the freeing of slaves in the South a war goal, and as well worked by giving what was considered as being a "higher moral cause to the war, despite opposition from Northern Copperheads who tolerated secession and slavery. Emancipation reduced the likelihood of intervention from Britain and France on behalf of the Confederacy". (69). President Jefferson Davis was one in particular mentioned in Brownlee's work, and it is noted that he proclaimed his strategy to be one of "offensive-defensive." The strategy in fact was one of defending all resources, stockpiling supplies and taking the offensive when the supply situation warranted or the opportunity was provided by the enemy. With the basic and singly known exception of a few notable offensive forays his strategy would evolve into one of passive defence, and then whether intentional or not President Davis, with his statement on strategy, acknowledged two of the eminent military theorists of the nineteenth century. There can be no doubt that Prussian General Carl Von Clausewitz or French General Antoine Jomini would not have endorsed the evolved defensive strategy of the Confederacy. They agreed that a passive defence was doomed to defeat overall.
Brownlee makes evident note of his belief that in order to employ the proper time and space strategy effectively here, there are requirements that need to be met, and one example in particular is William T. Sherman's Atlanta campaign, in which the forces were totally dependent on the Western and Atlantic railroad. As General Joseph E. Johnston's forces retreated towards Atlanta they took or used all the forage and supplies along their line of march, forcing Sherman to be even more dependent on his one railroad. No one was more aware of his precarious lines of communication than General Sherman. At the start of his campaign he had assigned no less than 20,000 troops to defend this single railroad line. On May 5, as the Army of the Tennessee prepared to move through Snake Creek Gap, Sherman stressed to McPherson, "Strike hard as it may save us what we have most reason to apprehend, a slow pursuit, in which he gains strength as we lose it." (109).
The evolution and influence of tactical warfare in the American Civil War is another topic taken very seriously into consideration in this work of Brownlee's, and he makes reference in particular to how "With many thanks to Napolean turning movements became a major part of U.S. military strategy. Napoleon introduced the turning movement which could be used to threaten enemy lines of communications and as well result in either forcing their withdrawal or at least forcing some sort of premature action by the enemy" (189). Brownlee ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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