Carmichael’s opening contribution confronts Lee’s supposed drive for a victory of annihilation and takes issue with claims that he was too aggressive.
The aggressive bit is debatable but I have a small collection of annihilation quotes by Lee; am most interested in how Carmichael will extricate the general from the charge of attempted annihilations.
One possibility: boasting. It is possible that his remarks about possible annihilations and regrets over failed annihilations were simply "big talk." This is worth a post here in the future. Meanwhile, check out Archer Jones' comments on annihilation fantasies among Civil War historians recapped here a few days ago.
William J. Miller’s novel analysis of Lee’s leadership during the pivotal Seven Days battles reconstructs his strategic thinking and corrects old assumptions.
I'm interested in anything William J. Miller has to say and doubly interested in anything tagged "novel analysis," given the 50-year stagnation in ACW history. Miller tends to write fascinating articles here and there; I have felt a powerful interest in him since he pre-empted my project of writing a day-by-day account of the weather during the Peninsula campaign. Somebody get a book out of this man.
Gordon C. Rhea overturns the common notion that Lee anticipated his adversaries with uncanny precision in the Overland campaign of 1864.
This is one fish in the barrel that keeps swimming no matter how many times you shoot it. Regardless of credibility problems with Lee's prescience, intuition, and mastery of psychology, the chorus of pop historians sings about these endlessly. They have been made indispensable story elements in too many narratives. The Rebellion's "master of psychology" anticipates every enemy move - except those made in his theatre against his own forces again and again. There are points in his career where the man is surprised by Pope and Butler! So fire away, Gordon. Choose a large caliber and aim for the historians.
Robert E. L. Krick takes aim at the oft-repeated criticism that Lee was not attuned to the demands of modern warfare because he failed to surround himself with enough subordinates to ensure the smooth operation of the army; in fact, Krick argues, Lee continually fine-tuned the performance of his support staff, striving to eliminate deficiencies.
I have noticed this tendency to find fault with Lee's use of staff; am very interested in Krick's counterpoints here.
Mark L. Bradley’s portrait of Lee’s relationships with Jefferson Davis and Joseph E. Johnston, offer contrasting views of the soldier as both politically assertive and reticent, respectively.
This also holds promise.
Lee politically assertive with Davis? Let's see.
Reticent with Johnston? Would that be before or after Lee contrived to obtain Johnston's command? See Cliff Dowdey and Steve Newton for the unpalatable details.
So do we have an unconventional offering under this super-conventional title? I hope so. We need such; the field needs it too.