I don't know what he's up to but I miss him.
Back in the day when McPherson revived the Centennial interpretation of the ACW, when Sears developed vaudeville characters to broaden sales and garner acclaim, Edward Hagerman "got" the Civil War - at least the military science part of it.
So it seemed to me while ingesting reams of pop culture on my mass transit daily reading back then.
Hagerman laid it out in a 1988 tome, The American Civil War and the Origin of Modern Warfare. I don't want to slight the neat things happening in publishing right now - I want to tell you about some of them this week - but let me indulge my nostalgia for Hagerman just now. Here's a taste:
EH: McClellan, ironically, was dismissed for inactivity ... while leading over 100,000 men in one of the most impressive strategic movements of the war.
DR: McClellan's second Richmond campaign not only has a clever underlying idea - separate the pieces of Lee's army by plugging the gaps in the Shenandoah range - it has good execution with a launch date (as Rafuse points out) keyed to the height of the Potomac waters. Once McClellan starts, Lee - lacking bridging - cannot get behind him, nor can he stop McClellan from isolating Jackson west of the mountains while the AoP bears down on Longstreet who is meandering between the mountains and Richmond. There are accounts of Longstreet, isolated, being shelled as the relief letter is delivered to McClellan - the pitch-perfect anticlimax to Richmond II. Surprising to see people as independent and capable as Jones and Hattaway rotely repeating Lincoln's strategic stuffandpuff about the arc of the chord being the road to Richmond - call that as-the-crow flies strategy. Hagerman got it right, though.
EH: McClellan was the first Union field commander of a mass army to filter this heritage of organizational theory and doctrine through the "fog" of mid-nineteenth century transition from traditional to modern warfare. He was the first to feel the friction of mass armies, industrial technology, and the restructuring of American institutional and intellectual culture complicated by political and geographical factors.
DR: GBM was uniquely qualified for this. As a student of European (especially Russian) military doctrines, as a visitor to the battlefields where European doctrines were applied, McClellan was also an outstanding pupil of military theorist D.H. Mahan; and he was a railroad innovator who developed the country's first transmodal railroad shipping system (between Chicago and New Orleans). As for political and intellectual complications, his whole family deserted the Whigs en masse during the party's radicalization.
There is (sadly) no deep organizational/doctrinal study of the Civil War; these kinds of books tend to be shallow or theoretically underdeveloped and run off the rails into applied tactics at the first opportunity. Hagerman could have done it right but his space is limited and his concerns are much broader.
EH: Yet one must also take into account the internal consistency of his military logic. [...] The failure of others in similar or more favorable circumstances tends to support McClellan's military if not his political judgement. [...] Moving with smaller armies than McClellan, Lee was unable to sustain maneuver or maintain his army in the field, or destroy an army following a tactical victory. [...] The course of early campaigning reinforced what McClellan ... had anticipated from the beginning: maneuver was an organizational monster.
DR: Moving on from Mac...
EH: Lee at least partially overcame the problem of the increased number of wagons needed to forage when he anticipated the organization for foraging that Sherman would develop ... [Lee rejected Longstreet's suggestion at Gettysburg because] the risks of maneuver led Lee to seek what he had come to reject: tactical victory by frontal assault.
If Buell refused to attack him within a very few days, Bragg had no alternative but to seek subsistence. Coming within range of the Confederate Army, Buell entrenched. He refused to rise to Bragg's bait ... His [Buell's] 110-mile march from Nashville had taken only fourteen days, a fairly impressive average of eight miles a day for so large an army foraging with such limite transportation ... Buell was learning the logistical art of extending limited field transportation through the combination of widespread foraging and rapid movement.
[Rosecrans began Tullahoma] with an extraordinary standard that may have exceeded sixty-nine or seventy wagons per 1,000 men. Rosecrans also moved 45,000 animals, the highest proportion of animals to men of any campaign in the war. [...] Rosecrans' success and the speed of his movement make a case for the virtues of careful preparation and an abnormal transportation standard ... Rosecrans' speed of movement was remarkable, considering that he had to cope with torrential rains... This rate exceeds Sherman's average of between 12 and 15 miles per day in his raid to Savannah...
The priority Grant accorded entrenching equipment in the Union supply trains reflected the increased respect for hasty entrenchment... In preparation for the 1864 campaign, Grant ordered one-half the wagons carrying entrenching tools placed at the head of the supply column of the leading division of each corps.
Good stuff. Break's over, Mr. Hagerman, get back to work.