James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

Page 141

  there.” 1 No doubt Lee would have been as good as his word, but McClellan neither reënforced Porter properly, nor did he take advantage of his general’s gallant fight to advance on Richmond. The despatches between McClellan and his officers on the south side of the river during the day of the battle show that they were paralyzed, so far as an offensive movement was concerned, by vigorous demonstrations of the troops guarding the Confederate capital. Some writers have thought that while Porter was engaged with the larger Confederate force, McClellan could easily have gone into Richmond; but as Lee’s entire army was now fully equal in number to McClellan’s, it is difficult to regard such a movement as other than extremely hazardous. The reënforcement of Porter was more prudent; moreover, to take toll from the Army of Northern Virginia, was, as Lincoln perceived, quite as effective offensive work as the capture of Richmond.  90   No speculation is necessary to explain why the Confederates were successful. Their victory was due to the greater ability of Lee and Jackson. Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson, in his enthusiasm over Jackson’s Valley campaign, wrote, The brains of Lee and Jackson did more for the Confederacy than 200,000 soldiers for the Union. 2 Although this remark need not be taken literally, the germ of the truth is in it. They greatly excelled their adversary both in strategy and tactics. McClellan was never on the battle-field, not through a lack of physical courage, since, in making reconnaissances, he was cool under fire, but because he could not endure the sight of blood. “Jackson,” wrote Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson, rode “along the line of battle with as much composure as if the hail of bullets was no more than summer rain.” 3 Lee loved the fight and yearned to be in it. His own son, as well
Note 1. IV, 36. [back]
Note 2. Lieut.-Col. Henderson, I, 502. [back]
Note 3. Ibid., 539. [back]