Stonewall Jackson and George S. Patton: A Survey of Leadership was written by a couple of field grade Army officers. Men with War College schooling in the disciplines of history and analysis.
It's a remarkable document. I’ll interleave some comments among the authors' words.
“Stonewall's Rule Number One (Valley and Wilderness Campaigns) - Mystify, mislead and surprise. Jackson's most brilliant and well-known use of this precept occurred when he vanished from the Valley and appeared in the First Wilderness Campaign ready, willing and able to attack McClellan.”
Calling the Richmond Campaign “First Wilderness” is annoying enough – but the hallmarks of this march were Jackson’s lateness, sloth, and failure to communicate with peers and boss. On the Union side, the hallmarks were McClellan's detection of Jackson's plans and intentions before he could reach the battlefield.
“McClellan's hubris contributed to his total disregard of the possibility that "Old Jack" could have maneuvered his troops so far so quickly. What allowed Jackson to mislead "Young Napoleon" so thoroughly?”
You reach a point in pop history where evidence no longer matters on any level. You simply appeal to the stereotypes developed within the mass literature (e.g., hubris) and these legitimate (or delegitimate) your insights. The authors of this paper have passed the point where they need to anchor their story in events.
But let's look at the record to see how far off base these comments are. I'm going to use a secondary source for the Rebel material because it's good enough for our purposes.
June 23, 1862
Rebels: Jackson arrives in Richmond ahead of his eastward-bound army to confer with Lee on a battle plan. They set the date of June 26th for an operation in which Jackson will collaborate in a combination flanking maneuver/attack on McClellan’s right wing near Richmond. (The Civil War Day by Day).
Union: McClellan telegraphs Stanton that he has a deserter from Jackson’s command and that as of June 21st, Jackson had planned to flank McClellan’s right and fall upon his rear on or about June 28th. He asks Stanton for “the most exact” info available on Jackson’s location and asks the sources of information be described as well (to help his own analysis). (OR) He then sends “two trusty negroes” immediately into Jackson’s reported line of advance. They encounter Rebel pickets at Hanover CH. McClellan concludes he has found Jackson’ s advance guard (OR, McC’s Report). That night he telegraphs Stanton that he is going to his right flank to “arrange for the defense.” (OR)
Union: McClellan telegraphs Burnside in NC, asking him to make an attack to distract the Rebels from reinforcing Jackson’s forthcoming flanking maneuver. (OR, McClellan’s Report). He telegraphs Stanton that he has more corroboration that Jackson will attack his right and rear(OR).
Union: McClellan reports to Stanton that there is now Union shooting at what is probably Jackson’s advance guard. (OR, McClellan’s Report). In notes that appear to be a letter to his wife the same day, he mentions Jackson’s impending attack (Sears, “Selected Correspondence”). Also the same day, he continues coordinating Navy movement from the York River (his right) to the James River, referencing the urgency of the situation (OR).
Rebels: Jackson fails to participate in scheduled maneuver. Fails to report whereabouts. Loses touch with commander and colleagues. "Where is Jackson?" is the CSA's lament. (The Civil War Day by Day)
Rebels: Jackson delayed (The Civil War Day by Day).
Rebels: Jackson accused of tardiness (The Civil War Day by Day).
Rebels: Jackson fails to perform his assigned duties (The Civil War Day by Day).
Yes, it is an interesting question:“What allowed Jackson to mislead ‘Young Napoleon’ so thoroughly?” Especially since it was his own command he misled, never McClellan. Our authors answer their own query: “Remember that Jackson achieved a lower class rank at West Point than did McClellan, and thus, he was compelled to achieve success by good deed, for he was without predisposition to high command due to station or class standing.”
Is this from the old Soviet Encyclopedia entry under "American Civil War"?
Another insight: “McClellan's hubris contributed to his total disregard of the possibility that "Old Jack" could have maneuvered his troops so far so quickly.”
Gentlemen, watch out for that total hubris and total disregard – they will embarrass you every time.
And now, in closing, a few “deep thoughts” from our U.S. Army history instructors:
* “… one must infer as to his personal views without the assistance of autobiographical or other sources.” (We can do history without the safety net of sources.)
* “Jackson's mystical qualities made him a demigod among his troops; he was literally worshiped by his men.” (It may be time for pop historians to move beyond "Gods and generals" to "Gods and gods.")
* “...adapt your personality to items one and two and become a true warrior.“ (Follow the list: have you never heard of self-help successes?)
* “Who would have won a battle between George Patton and Stonewall Jackson?” (You know, I never before thought to ask that of my history teachers.)
Is this is the kind of history that will help win wars?
p.s. A note on the general history of the Seven Days. I have seen several analyses of Jackson's failures from the Rebel point of view but never with reference to McClellan's deserter and other Union intelligence sources. The possibility that Jackson planned (as of the 21st) to arrive on station the 28th is extremely interesting in light of his later movements. It makes you wonder whether or not Jackson continued to move on the earlier timetable, for whatever reason.