Thursday, August 03, 2006

CWL --- A Single Grand Victory

An immensely powerful idea---A Single Grand Victory--a victory that would be sufficient to convince the other side of the hopelessness of its cause and persuade its adherents to abandon their war aims.

Austerlitz, 1805, The War of the Third Coalition
Solferino, 1859, The Austro-Franco War
Sadowa, 1866, Prussia-Austrian War

These are single battles that ended a 19th century war.
In a era when leadership alone was viewed as the sole factor that could lead to a truely decisive victory, Davis, Lee, and McClellan were reading military history at West Point
Were they really looking for such a battle in 1862? 1863? 1864?

Ethan S. Rafuse examines the origins of the 'Single Grand Victory' perspective in his book on the first Manassas Campaign. The next entry will follow the development of this 19th century mind set and the constraints it put upon CW generalship as Rafuse describes the beginning of the war.

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