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Book Review Of Mc Murry Richard M. "Two Great Rebel Armies: An Essay In Confederate Military History". This Was For My Civil War Military History Course.

825 words - 3 pages

Richard M. McMurry's "Two Great Rebel Armies" compared the differences between the Army of Northern Virginia with its successes and the Army of Tennessee with its failures. He states that the Army of Northern Virginia had a better command structure from trained lieutenants on up to over all army command. These soldiers flowered order but they also had the basic building blocks that made an extremely effective army. The men of the Army of Northern Virginia were of higher quality than the Army of Tennessee. This book mainly compares the physical and mental qualities of the soldiers of the Northern Virginia and Tennessee armies. The author also states that being a West Point graduates, military background and prior military experience were seen more in Lee's army as compared to the Army of Tennessee. Gentlemen of the South were more likely to join the military than their northern brothers, so according to McMurry, this made the army of Northern Virginia the more militarily effective force and thus helps explain its success relative to the Army of Tennessee. He also suggests that because the units sent to Virginia were fro the most part organized earlier than those that were made part of the Army of Tennessee, those men with the most experience, training and enthusiasm would be more likely to end up with the first-formed units and therefore would be send to the Army of Northern Virginia. So Lee's army was successful while the Army of Tennessee was not. McMurry also claims that the Army of Northern Virginia possessed a larger percentage of officers with prior military experience and education and that a regiment of the Army of Virginia was organized several months prior to the average regiment in the Army of Tennessee. So he says that the Army of Nortern Virginia was made up of better materials that the Army of Tennessee which had the best qualified and most enthusiastic volunteers. This would give the impression that McMurry sees the Army of Northern Virginia as the winner and the Army of Tennessee as the loser. So these enthusiastic volunteers would have presumably joined the first unties send to war and this would help explain who was the "winner" or a "loser". But this distinction of winner or loser did not come from battle statistics comparisons. There also seems to be little correlation of tactical battlefield performance statistics with the final declaration of...

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