January 13, 2013
In spite of my loyalty to my alma mater and the role VMI officers played for the South during the war, my sympathies lie with a strong Union. My interest is in the decisions and leadership of the officers from both sides; the courage, bravery, and experiences of the soldiers; and my favorite activity is to walk the battlefields, maps in hand, to try to understand what happened and as best I can, imagine what it must have been like to have been there.
John B. Gordon - for his exploits, bravery, and toughness on the battlefield; not for his political beliefs or actions after the war. I am also fascinated by Grant and Sherman, but I don't know much about them yet. I have Grant's memoirs on the shelf waiting to be read.
I read the first volume of Lee's Lieutenants a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I expected it to be a series of biographies of individual commanders, but was pleasantly surprised that it was a chronological history of the war based not only on the decisions and decisive actions of the competent officers, but also of the inactions, deliberate delays, oversights, mistakes, insecurities, inexperience, egos, and insubordinations of the many incompetent officers who were in positions far above their capabilities. My admiration goes to Lee for his patience and tact in dealing with his subordinates. I'm looking forward to reading the remaining volumes. I am currently reading Noah Trudeau's book on Gettysburg.
I have been interested in Civil War history since my 7th grade teacher had us watch Gettysburg for middle school American History class.