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Corps Commanders in Blue

Union Major Generals in the Civil War

Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War

320 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 7 maps

ebook available

Civil War

  Hardcover / 9780807157022 / November 2014
The outcomes of campaigns in the Civil War often depended on top generals having the right corps commanders in the right place at the right time. Mutual trust and respect between generals and their corps commanders, though vital to military success, was all too rare: Corps commanders were often forced to exercise considerable discretion in the execution of orders from their generals, and bitter public arguments over commanders’ performances in battle followed hard on the heels of many major engagements. Controversies that arose during the war around the decisions of corps and army commanders—such as Daniel Sickles’s disregard of George Meade’s orders at the Battle of Gettysburg—continue to provoke vigorous debate among students of the Civil War.
Corps Commanders in Blue offers eight case studies that illuminate the critical roles the Union corps commanders played in shaping the war’s course and outcome. The contributors examine, and in many cases challenge, widespread assumptions about these men while considering the array of internal and external forces that shaped their efforts on and off the battlefield.
Providing insight into the military conduct of the Civil War, Corps Commanders in Blue fills a significant gap in the historiography of the war by offering compelling examinations of the challenges of corps command in particular campaigns, the men who exercised that command, and the array of factors that shaped their efforts, for good or for ill.

Ethan S. Rafuse is professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the author of eight books on the Civil War, including Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy and Manassas: A Battlefield Guide.

Praise for Corps Commanders in Blue

“Until recently, the corps level command in the American Civil War has been somewhat neglected in scholarly writing on the war. This anthology . . . remedies this deficiency. . . . A valuable resource and a fine addition to any Civil War library.”—Military Review

“With Corps Commanders in Blue, Ethan Rafuse’s team, a who’s who of scholars on the Union Army, tackles the problem of corps leadership both east and west, from 1862 to 1864.  The result: a potpourri of eight wide-ranging essays on the malnourished topic of corps command in all its complexities. . . . The topic of Union leadership is still in capable hands.”—Civil War Monitor

“Fine scholarship from an excellent roster of Civil War historians. . . . Anyone interested in the Federal high command during the Civil War will find this collection quite valuable.”—Civil War Book Review

“Through its eight studies of Union army corps commanders, Corps Commanders in Blue offers a fine example of state-of-the-field work in the military history of the Civil War. . . . Corps Commanders in Blue is not only a reliable account of Union Army corps commanders, but a pleasurable read, with excellent discursive notes for those who want to dig deeper into the sources. The authors know their material well, are adept at integrating biography with scholarly analysis, and are excellent prose stylists.”—Journal of Military History

Corps Commanders in Blue is a solid contribution to the military and political history of the Civil War. The chapters are engaging, detailed, and concise. Additionally, credit must be given to the contributors for looking beyond the eastern theater and offering profiles from generals other than those solely in the Army of the Potomac.”—Civil War History

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