ADDING VALUE TO YOUR CIVIL WAR BATTLE/CAMPAIGN HISTORY
Part IV: Put the Action in Perspective
Another way to add value to your battle/campaign history is to put the action you are writing about in perspective. You have probably been reading about battles and campaigns since you were a child. Make the most of your reading! The Civil War was neither the first war to occur nor the last, and it had aspects in common with others. Discussing the respective merits of reinforcing old units (a Confederate preference) as opposed to forming new ones (a Union tendency), I was able to draw upon Field Marshal von Manstein’s views on the subject as it played out in World War II. Commenting on the failure of the Secessionists to prevent the Federals from digging in on August 20, 1864, I could shed some light on the problem by quoting Major General von Mellinthin on the perils of allowing Soviets to dig in on the Eastern Front. Major General J.F.C. Fuller, a British military theoretician, has written several books on Grant and Lee that provide a great many thought-provoking comments. Robert E. Lee’s narrow turning maneuver at Chancellorsville reminded me of Frederick the Great’s similar movement at Leuthen. Grant’s wider enveloping movements reminded me of Napoleon’s at Ulm and Jena/Auerstadt.
Compare, liken, contrast. Put things in perspective.