A few reminders from Archer Jones

Archer Jones once wrote a book to deal with the nonsense emanating from the pens of Civil War historians: Civil War Command and Strategy. I recommend it highly.

Here are a few ideas to sample:
By the 19th Century, soldiers had come to take pursuit for granted and many subscribed to what was almost a myth: A destructive pursuit was the natural concomitant of victory in battle. This seems to have resulted from generalizing a few instances into the usual and proper norm, then treating the majority of cases as aberrations from the normal, and attributing the lack of pursuit to lethargic commanders, a faulty theory of military operations, or even sympathy for the enemy.

A destructive analysis of commanders who fail to pursue is now the natural concomitant to military histories of the Civil War.
Some scholars have believed that the civilians properly understood war as attacking and destroying the enemy army and viewed Union generals as obtusely failing to comprehend this obvious truth.

I would say some scholars maintain no distance whatever between themselves and certain Republican viewpoints expressed in the war.
By generalizing from Lincoln's instructions to Burnside, Hooker, and Meade to aim at Lee's army rather Richmond, they [historians] had placed him [Lincoln] on the side of the civilians rather than the soldiers.

Nor are those the only generalizations they derive from specific Lincoln decisions or comments.
But this thesis about Lincoln fails on the ground that he never gave such instruction to commanders in other theaters, and because those to the Virginia generals clearly related to his and Halleck's desire to avoid a siege, to their aim to keep Lee away from Washington and the Potomac, and to their hope to hurt him if he made a mistake.

But, sir, you speak of mere context!
Thus Lincoln sided with his soldiers against the sometimes vociferous criticism of belligerent, almost blood-thirsty civilians and supported them [generals] in acting according to what history, their war experience, and their respect for the adversary taught them was a realistic strategy.

And who have you read lately who can stomach that conclusion? Or this one:
... attempts to destroy armies in battle were as unlikely to succeed in the Civil War as in wars in the preceding centuries, something Lincoln came to know almost as well as his generals.