Lee and His Army in Confederate History

By Gary W. Gallagher

320 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 24 illus., 3 maps, notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5769-4
    Published: August 2006
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-7562-9
    Published: November 2002

Civil War America

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Was Robert E. Lee a gifted soldier whose only weaknesses lay in the depth of his loyalty to his troops, affection for his lieutenants, and dedication to the cause of the Confederacy? Or was he an ineffective leader and poor tactician whose reputation was drastically inflated by early biographers and Lost Cause apologists? These divergent characterizations represent the poles between which scholarly and popular opinion on Lee has swung over time. Now, in eight essays, Gary Gallagher offers his own refined thinking on Lee, exploring the relationship between Lee's operations and Confederate morale, the quality of his generalship, and the question of how best to handle his legacy in light of the many distortions that grew out of Lost Cause historiography.

Using a host of contemporary sources, Gallagher demonstrates the remarkable faith that soldiers and citizens maintained in Lee's leadership even after his army's fortunes had begun to erode. Gallagher also engages aspects of the Lee myth with an eye toward how admirers have insisted that their hero's faults as a general represented exaggerations of his personal virtues. Finally, Gallagher considers whether it is useful--or desirable--to separate legitimate Lost Cause arguments from the transparently false ones relating to slavery and secession.

About the Author

Gary W. Gallagher is John L. Nau III Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He has written or edited two dozen books in the field of Civil War history, including The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 and Stephen Dodson Ramseur: Lee's Gallant General (both from the University of North Carolina Press).
For more information about Gary W. Gallagher, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"This paperback reprint of one of his collections of essays provides another welcome look at Gallagher's perspectives on compelling aspects of Confederate historiography."--Military History of the West

"Gallagher demonstrates in his latest book that he is, without question, the foremost historian of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia today. . . . Gallagher has proven adept at standing established scholarship on its head and posing important new questions that are bound to revise our understanding of the American Civil War."--Journal of Military History

"Better than any other historian of the Confederacy, Gallagher understands the importance of . . . contingent turning points that eventually made it possible for superior numbers and resources to prevail. He understands as well that the Confederate story cannot be written except in counterpoint with the Union story."--New York Review of Books

"Distinguished by the compelling prose, command of relevant primary and secondary sources, and superb insights Civil War enthusiasts have come to expect from Gallagher, these essays deserve wide readership. . . . By bringing them together under a single cover Gallagher and the University of North Carolina Press have performed a valuable service for current and future students of Lee and the Lost Cause."--Civil War News

"Gallagher [is] one of the best of a new generation of Civil War scholars. . . . Gallagher's work, both in Lee and His Army and elsewhere. . . sets a high standard for the history profession."--Civil War Book Review

"This book is a distillation of years of thought and research by a skillful and respected historian. Its interpretations are thought provoking and solidly grounded in primary research. . . . Not only valuable to professional historians but accessible to the casual reader as well. This book informs and surprises, and all the while it is a pleasure to read. . . . Gallagher has reinforced his position as one of the nation's leading Civil War historians."--Florida Historical Quarterly