SUNDAY | I'm looking at this article and and wondering: "Regional effort stirring to mark the 140th anniversary of Civil War's Overland Campaign."
The writer says that "historians" call the Richmond campaign of 1864 "The Overland Campaign." I think that means "park historians." They are at it again with their marketing-driven nomenclature games.
Here in Maryland, the battles of Fox's Turner's and Crampton's Gaps have become "South Mountain" to help destination marketing and grant writing; and, inevitably, a few agreeable non-park historians have been rolled out to validate this abomination.
What makes "The Overland Campaign" noxious is that 1864 represents the first attempt after 1862 to make a main stroke against Richmond by water. Justus Scheibert, conveying the lessons of the Civil War to the Prussian general staff maintained during and after the war that Grant's 1864 campaign was nothing more than attempt to execute McClellan's 1862 strategy. He was wrongly adamant on the point "nothing more."
We must agree with the view that this was a land/sea campaign, even if we don't go as far as Scheibert did. We understand that the landing of the Army of the James is not a footnote to the campaign of 1864 and it is in no way incidental to Grant's plans. "Overland Campaign" can only be justified if it refers to the movements of the AoP, in which case the Park Service needs to broaden its view of the war,
It's an Overland Tourism Campaign. You drive your car from park to park. You eschew ferries. You avoid getting bottled up at Bermuda Hundred.
If the occasional authentic (non-park) historian wants to use "Overland Campaign," let the choice be justified. Meanwhile the Park Service must leave off determining campaign names and stick to guiding tours.