Friday, April 9, 2021

Booknotes: Meade and Lee at Rappahannock Station

New Arrival:
Meade and Lee at Rappahannock Station: The Army of the Potomac’s First Post-Gettysburg Offensive, From Kelly’s Ford to the Rapidan, October 21 to November 20, 1863 by Jeffrey Wm. Hunt (Savas Beatie, 2021).

Though two H.E. Howard series volumes went some way toward bridging the gap in book-length coverage of the campaigns conducted in northern Virginia between the return of Lee's defeated army from Pennsylvania in July 1863 and the onset of the 1864 Overland Campaign, those books were really just decent placeholders to tide us over until more substantial works appeared. It took a while, but they finally did. In 2010, British author Adrian Tighe self-published The Bristoe Campaign: General Lee's Last Strategic Offensive with the Army of Northern Virginia October 1863, but the greatest contribution has been made by Jeffrey Hunt, who has now completed a trilogy of books addressing the period. Hunt's  Meade and Lee After Gettysburg: The Forgotten Final Stage of the Gettysburg Campaign, from Falling Waters to Culpeper Court House, July 14-31, 1863 came in 2017, and it was followed only two years later by Meade and Lee at Bristoe Station: The Problems of Command and Strategy after Gettysburg, from Brandy Station to the Buckland Races, August 1 to October 31, 1863. Publisher Savas Beatie has taken the lead on all this, and in addition to publishing Hunt's books they've also put out through their ECW label useful minor works on Mine Run and Bristoe Station for those wanting good overviews of those events without a major time investment. Now, in 2021, we have the final installment of Hunt's series in Meade and Lee at Rappahannock Station: The Army of the Potomac’s First Post-Gettysburg Offensive, From Kelly’s Ford to the Rapidan, October 21 to November 20, 1863.

Meade and Lee at Rappahannock Station begins its accounting of fall 1863 actions in Virginia a week after the October 14 Confederate defeat at Bristoe Station. It provides "a fast-paced and dynamic account of Lee’s bold strategy to hold the Rappahannock River line as the Army of the Potomac retraced its steps south. Pressured by Washington to fight but denied strategic flexibility, Meade launched a risky offensive to carry Lee’s Rappahannock defenses and bring on a decisive battle. The dramatic fighting included a stunning Federal triumph at Rappahannock Station—which destroyed two entire Confederate brigades—that gave Meade the upper hand and the initiative in his deadly duel with Lee, who retreated south to a new position behind the Rapidan River."

More from the description: The book offers "a day-by-day, and sometimes minute-by-minute, account of the Union army’s first post-Gettysburg offensive action and Lee’s efforts to repel it. In addition to politics, strategy, and tactics, Hunt’s pen ably examines the intricate command relationships, Lee’s questionable decision-making, and the courageous spirit of the fighting men."

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Review - "Cincinnati in the Civil War: The Union's Queen City" by David Mowery

[Cincinnati in the Civil War: The Union's Queen City by David L. Mowery (Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, 2021) Softcover, maps, photos, drawings, tables, appendices, notes, bibliography, index. Pages main/total:108/318. ISBN:978-1-4671-3996-0. $26.99]

Looking at what Chicago is today, one might be forgiven for thinking its status as the signature big city of the American Midwest inevitable, but there were many other urban areas vying for that honor during the mid-nineteenth century. Cincinnati, Ohio's nickname of "Queen City" of the West seems almost quaint in 2021, but during the Civil War era the city was the region's greatest metropolis. According to the 1860 census, Cincinnati (located in Hamilton County) was the seventh largest city in the U.S. and the most populous city in the trans-Appalachian West (just edging out St. Louis), and in the entire country only New York City and Philadelphia produced more manufactured goods. Thus, the city would assume a large role in both manning and equipping the Union military machine on land and water. This position as one of the war's greatest Union metropolises has been largely understated in the general literature, but David Mowery's Cincinnati in the Civil War: The Union's Queen City represents a strong attempt at changing that perception.

How immigration impacted Cincinnati society and growth is a major focus of the book. Beginning in the 1840s, waves of German and  Irish newcomers transformed the city's social and political landscape. By 1860, German Americans were a whopping 27% of the population and the Irish 12%. According to Mowery, it was mid to late 1850s changes in voting patterns, particularly among the Germans, that ultimately gave Lincoln a slight edge over Douglas among Cincinnati voters (the majority of whom traditionally voted Democratic) during the hotly contested 1860 election.

In keeping with the well-established format of the publisher's Civil War Series line of books, Mowery's discussion of Cincinnati's role in the war from initial mobilization through Union victory is covered in a brisk narrative of less than one-hundred pages of text. However, the bibliography is exceptional in its vastness and variety, and even readers steeped in the literature of the Civil War in the West will learn a great deal from this deeply researched introductory overview. A diverse array of wartime topics are touched upon in the volume, but particularly noteworthy is the book's coverage of southern Ohio mobilization, the establishment of training facilities in and around the Cincinnati-Covington-Newport metro area (the most prominent being Camp Dennison), the city's arming and supplying of the war effort, and Cincinnati's massive response to Confederate threats (mainly during the Kentucky invasion of 1862 and John Hunt Morgan's "Great Raid" of 1863*) that included the construction, much of it locally funded, of a formidable array of connected earthwork fortifications located on both sides of the Ohio River. There is also some focus on locally prominent Cincinnati citizens who probably would not be generally recognized by most Civil War readers, among them city mayor (and former Union colonel) Leonard A. Harris, who guided Cincinnati over two terms and is credited by the author with being a driving force behind the creation of the stop-gap "Hundred Days" regiments of 1864. In support of the text is a nice collection of original and archival maps along with an abundance of old photographs and historical illustrations.

While the scale and significance of Cincinnati's contributions to Union victory are clearly and profitably conveyed to the reader through Mowery's informative popular narrative, the massive appendix section arranged in five parts spanning 170 pages could conceivably be regarded as the star of the book. In compiling this material, Mowery has created an essential reference tool and guide for both Cincinnati Civil War history and the war's history as a whole. In Appendix A can be found a table of U.S. Navy vessels "built, refit or purchased" in Cincinnati. Information provided includes name of vessel, description, important dates (ex. of purchase, refit, completion, and commissioning), builder/refitter company identification, and deck armament. Beyond offering useful reference data for researchers, the appendix really conveys a strong sense of the city's major role in constructing and maintaining the U.S.'s Brown Water Navy that did so much to secure victory in the West.

In text, map, and tabular formats, Appendix B explores the Cincinnati fortifications begun early in the war and essentially completed by November 1863. This impressive network of defenses was never fired upon by Confederate soldiers (although some guerrillas spiked a few guns here and there when the works were scantly defended over the second half of the war), but the earthworks and siege guns were truly imposing. According to the author, Cincinnati was the most heavily fortified city in the western theater by 1863, though the finished works at Nashville might have rivaled it. Thirty forts and batteries (nine of which have still recognizable remnants) are listed in the attached table, which includes naming information, build dates, fortification design type (lunette, redan, redoubt, etc.), and GPS location. Unfortunately, data regarding what numbers and types of guns were emplaced at each site is absent.

Appendix C is a very extensive register of Civil War sites located in Hamilton County, Cincinnati itself, and the two Kentucky suburbs. Squarely astride the Ohio River slave and free state border, the area was prime ground for Underground Railroad operations, and a number of locations associated with that history are also included in the appendix. Each entry lists GPS coordinates, physical address, and accessibility information, and a brief site description and history (up to several paragraphs in length) is also attached. The number and range of military and civilian sites, among them forts, factories, homes, hospitals, churches, cemeteries, camps, barracks, skirmish locations, and more, is extensive. This part of the book will be especially useful for touring the area's extensive Civil War connections.

History and burial information associated with the 733-acre Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum are discussed in Appendix D. The second-largest private cemetery in the country, Spring Grove has three large lots of Civil War soldier graves (with additional individual resting places scattered about the grounds), altogether accommodating 5,300 soldiers and 40 generals or brevet generals. Grave information for general officers and other prominent individuals can be found in the section's burial tables along with a pretty extensive biographical register for the latter group.

The last appendix consists of unit tables identifying the many Civil War military formations with which white and black Hamilton County soldiers fought. Mowery thoughtfully singles out those companies that contained a majority of county soldiers along with regiments that contained a majority of those companies.

With a level of overall depth not intended to compete with Robert Wimberg's modern five-volume study Cincinnati and the Civil War, David Mowery's Cincinnati in the Civil War still offers readers an abundance of unique information along with an excellent overview of how Queen City citizens and industry helped propel the Union army and navy to victory. A multi-use combination of narrative history, reference book, and tour guide, this volume is a fine example of local Civil War history publishing that can also serve a wider audience.

* - Mowery is the leading authority on the topic of the raid. See Morgan's Great Raid: The Remarkable Expedition from Kentucky to Ohio (The History Press, 2013) as well as Morgan's Raid Across Ohio: The Civil War Guidebook of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail (Ohio Hist Society, 2014). The latter, co-authored with Lora Schmidt Cahill, is a driving tour of the raid, and Cincinnati in the Civil War also includes a detailed pair of maps (perhaps borrowed from that earlier publication) tracing Morgan's route and that of his Union pursuers through Hamilton County.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Booknotes: Unlike Anything That Ever Floated

New Arrival:
Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862 by Dwight Sturtevant Hughes (Savas Beatie, 2021).

This is yet another appealing-looking example of a very familiar Civil War topic getting the ECW treatment. From the description: "From flaming, bloody decks of sinking ships, to the dim confines of the first rotating armored turret, to the smoky depths of a Rebel gundeck—with shells screaming, clanging, booming, and splashing all around—to the office of a worried president with his cabinet peering down the Potomac for a Rebel monster, this dramatic story unfolds through the accounts of men who lived it in Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862 by Dwight Sturtevant Hughes."

The book possesses the typical traits of the series, with over 140 pages of main narrative augmented by an appendix section, orders of battle, and suggested reading list. The size of the appendix collection varies by volume, and this one has three (a tour of sites related to the Monitor-Virginia battle, a general discussion of Civil War ironclads, and an introduction to the USS Monitor Center located at Newport News inside the grounds of the Mariners' Museum and Park).

Of course, there is a superabundance of maps, photos, and drawings spread out evenly over the entire length of the book. A particularly interesting graphics feature (at least to me) is the volume's set of isometric cutaways detailing select design technologies and internal workings of the Monitor.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Booknotes: No Place for Glory

New Arrival:
No Place for Glory: Major General Robert E. Rodes and the Confederate Defeat at Gettysburg by Robert J. Wynstra (Kent St UP, 2021).

By the time Robert E. Rodes led his division into the fight on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, his battlefield performances amid a steady climb up the ranks of the Army of Northern Virginia's high command had already earned him a reputation as one of General's Lee's brightest stars. However, his division's attack on the Oak Hill junction between the right of the Union First Corps and the left of the Eleventh Corps, while ultimately successful, was poorly coordinated from top to bottom and incurred crippling casualties. What happened and why is the subject of Robert Wynstra's new book No Place for Glory: Major General Robert E. Rodes and the Confederate Defeat at Gettysburg.

From the description: "Although his subordinates were guilty of significant blunders [he had some relatively green regiments and his brigade commanders were of decidedly mixed quality], Rodes shared the blame for the disjointed attack that led to the destruction of Alfred Iverson’s brigade on the first day of the battle. His lack of initiative on the following day was regarded by some in the army as much worse. Whether justified or not, they directly faulted him for not supporting Jubal Early’s division in a night attack on Cemetery Hill that nearly succeeded in decisively turning the enemy’s flank."

Wynstra's study reexamines old questions with a new inquiry using fresh sources. More from the description: "The reasons behind Rodes’s flawed performance at Gettysburg have long proven difficult to decipher with any certainty. Because his personal papers were destroyed, primary sources on his role in battle remain sparse. Other than the official reports on the battle, the record of what occurred there is mostly limited to the letters and diaries of his subordinates. In this new study, however, Robert J. Wynstra draws on sources heretofore unexamined, including rare soldiers’ letters published in local newspapers and other firsthand accounts located in small historical societies, to shed light on the reasons behind Rodes’s missteps."

Robert Wynstra is a name that Gettysburg students should already know well through his award-winning 2018 book At the Forefront of Lee's Invasion: Retribution, Plunder, and Clashing Cultures on Richard S. Ewell's Road to Gettysburg. With the Rodes book arriving close on the heels of that one, one wonders whether he has even more Second Corps topics in his future.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Review - "Radical Sacrifice: The Rise and Ruin of Fitz John Porter" by William Marvel

[Radical Sacrifice: The Rise and Ruin of Fitz John Porter by William Marvel (University of North Carolina Press, 2021). Hardcover, 7 maps, photos, notes, bibliography, index. Pages main/total:xv,364/496. ISBN:978-1-4696-6185-8. $35]

In rating how well the opposing Lincoln and Davis administrations managed their respective war machines during the Civil War, historians, with sound reasoning, consistently award higher marks to the former. In some ways, however, the no-party Confederate form of government held some advantages over the U.S.'s entrenched two-party system. Although Richmond politics possessed its own measure of internal discord and states' rights opposition frequently hampered the Confederate national war effort, the level of partisan political paranoia that existed in the U.S. Congress, White House, and Cabinet when it came to assessing the loyalty and motives of the army's more conservative officers (all of which reached a feverish state during General George McClellan's tenure at the head of the Army of the Potomac) was extraordinary, and it crippled the Union high command at critical stages of the Virginia campaigns of 1862. Lacking an organized opposition party with which its own high-ranking army officers might be identified, Davis's Confederate government conducted nothing comparable to the U.S.'s partisan purging of high-ranking generals blamed for costly early-war defeats. Army of the Potomac division commander Charles Stone and Fifth Corps commander Fitz John Porter were the two most prominent examples of Union officers sanctioned through politically-fueled accusations of professional misconduct and treasonous disloyalty. Stone was imprisoned for six months after the Ball's Bluff debacle and Porter was court-martialed and dismissed from the service altogether for alleged misbehavior at Second Manassas. The demonstrably false charges made against both generals have been explored by numerous writers and historians already, but William Marvel's new book Radical Sacrifice: The Rise and Ruin of Fitz John Porter is the first full-length biography of its subject. In it readers will find the most comprehensive examination by far of Porter's life, military service, career destruction, and decades-long (and only partially successful) fight to recover rank and reputation1.

The early sections of the book, which explore at some length Porter's family military tradition, his own West Point experiences, and his meritorious conduct on numerous Mexican War battlefields (which resulted in multiple brevets up to major), well establish Porter's pre-Civil War reputation as a distinguished and conscientious officer who earned wide esteem in the antebellum army. The high regard in which he was held by his peers made him a much sought after subordinate officer when Civil War broke out.

Coverage of Porter's Civil War career over the roughly year and a half period beginning with the operations of the Shenandoah Valley column of the 1861 campaign in Virginia and ending with the Army of the Potomac's autumn advance after Antietam (during which the general served as the right-hand man of commanding officers Robert Patterson and George McClellan), is richly detailed in the book and convincingly offers a largely positive portrayal of the general's capacity in a variety of leadership and advisory roles. Opinions still vary widely over how valuable Porter's generalship was to the Union cause (and it would perhaps be not too unkind to observe that some negative portrayals have been unduly influenced by the close association with McClellan), but Marvel constructs a strong defense of Porter's Civil War record that, at least in this reviewer's opinion, doesn't exhibit any glaring interpretive missteps.

Marvel joins a bevy of recent First Manassas Campaign chroniclers in casting the oft-maligned lack of results achieved by Patterson's command in a more understanding light for their being critically hampered by communication delays, withdrawal of the army's best trained troops, and mismanagement from above by General-in-Chief Winfield Scott. Thus Marvel's picture of Porter (as Patterson's chief of staff) emerging relatively unscathed from the fiasco is in line with the best regarded current scholarship.

Porter would be given much more command responsibility during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862. In his first real action as an independent commander, on the Virginia Peninsula at the Battle of Hanover Court House2, Porter's attack on a much inferior enemy force was ultimately successful. However, through some bungling and bad luck it was harder earned than it should have been, and the general appropriately receives a mixed grade from Marvel for his handling of the battle. From Beaver Dam Creek through Gaines's Mill and finally at Malvern Hill, Porter demonstrated well the ability to manage a more than creditable defense, and no one really disputes that. You can sense the author's frustration in not being able to uncover contemporary sources (statements after the fact vary and others, including Porter's, are inconsistent) that might shed more light on (1) what exactly McClellan had planned for Porter's augmented corps positioned north of the Chickahominy on the 27th and (2) how that figured in the army commander's overall strategy during the momentous Seven Days period. It is easy to follow Marvel's reasoning that keeping Porter north of the river only made sense if his command was meant to absorb Lee's offensive blow in a manner that would then open the way for a Union offensive directly on Richmond south of the river. If Porter was primarily charged with covering the army during its change of base, that would have been better (and safer) achieved south of the river. Available evidence offers no indication that there was a concrete tactical plan for the army in place just before the Battle of Gaines's Mill. The author's suggestion, given the lack of pre-battle reinforcements and absence of an overall settled upon tactical plan, that it was possible that McClellan (and perhaps Porter as well) did not believe the Fifth Corps vulnerable to being overwhelmed in a single day (the 27th) is worthy of thoughtful consideration, but Marvel is certainly correct to further suggest that it was cutting things far too closely for McClellan to not strengthen Porter earlier in the day and more heavily in men and entrenching tools. As it was, even in its occupation of a strong position with both flanks anchored on swampy ground, Porter's entire command came quite close to destruction.

Porter's closeness to McClellan3, and the latter's clear reliance on him in the field, predictably excited jealous dislike of Porter among the senior generals of the Army of the Potomac. Also, McClellan's critics in the army undoubtedly projected much of their disdain for the commander onto his "pet" subordinate. On the other hand, Porter's own frequent and open criticisms of how other general officers performed their duties, as is well illustrated in the book, also did little to foster high command brotherhood in the army. Additionally discussed in the book is Porter's private correspondence with New York World owner/editor Manton Marble, through which Porter's views and criticisms on the conduct of the war along with inside news from the front were fed to one of the harshest critics of the Lincoln administration. In view of all that, Marvel persuasively argues that indiscretion in both word and correspondence was Porter's most damning professional trait. Through incautiously sharing inflammatory opinions in written correspondence with figures like gossiping capital bureaucrat Joseph Kennedy (the Census Bureau head) and fellow general Ambrose Burnside (who carelessly passed along Porter's private sentiments), Porter harmed himself immeasurably by giving ammunition to those in the civilian and military leadership who sought to impugn his motives and loyalty. That said, Marvel's narrative does persuasively reason from the evidence that Porter's imprudent criticisms of the administration and its favorite generals (which made their way to both Lincoln at the White House and General Pope himself) had no real impact on the performance of his duties in the field. With perhaps a nod toward the paper-thin barrier between military service and political expression that existed within the officer corps of Civil War volunteer armies, Marvel frames Porter's Marble correspondence primarily as yet another exercise of personal and professional indiscretion amid dangerous political seas. From the perspective of a reader presented only with choice excerpts, it's difficult to form conclusions of one's own without examining the full text of the letters, which remain unpublished4.

It wasn't just the results of Second Manassas that had Porter's critics tied in knots either. In seeking answers to why Lee's army was not destroyed at Antietam, the story that Porter actively lobbied his commander against committing Fifth Corps reserve troops to the fight fanned the flames. Though the image of Porter sitting on massive reserves while Burnside was getting smashed on the left still persists today among those with only a casual understanding of the battle, it has been conclusively revealed by a number of modern researchers that Porter's corps was left with only around 3,000-4,000 uncommitted troops at the moment the harshest critics accused him of still hoarding up to 20,000 inert soldiers. In addition to that, Marvel points out that it wasn't Porter who denied Burnside supporting troops after the Ninth Corps was roughly handled by A.P. Hill's late-arriving Confederate division (this false allegation had the effect of further spoiling relations between the two previously friendly generals and would also impact Porter's trial and postwar campaign for reinstatement). Lastly, the author joins many others in his determination that an infamous Antietam quote attributed to Porter, the one that allegedly dissolved any remaining offensive impulses in McClellan's mind late on the 17th by proclaiming "Remember, General, I command the last reserve of the last Army of the Republic" (a absurd story so often repeated that it has become ingrained in the popular imagination), was a later fabrication weaponized for partisan purposes.

Of course, it was his alleged actions earlier at Second Manassas that got Porter arrested, court-martialed, and dismissed from the service. Few Union generals distinguished themselves at Second Manassas, and Porter wasn't one of them, but Marvel's carefully researched recounting of Porter's actions on the Union left effectively refutes all of the non-trivial charges, chief among them the accusation that he intentionally delayed his march to the battlefield, failed to act upon a late afternoon attack order from his superior (General Pope), and actually retreated his command instead of attacking. The trial conducted that winter is addressed in similarly meticulous fashion, with the author outlining a pattern of legal, moral, and ethical malfeasance that beggars description. As presented in the book, the evidence is convincing that conviction was predetermined. The military court was packed with prosecution-friendly (in some way or another) officers, and court procedures of every kind were consistently steered toward aiding prosecution and denying effective defense. Key prosecution witnesses were still considered credible after giving contradictory responses during questioning or after clearly demonstrating strategically plastic powers of recall (ex. McDowell's embarrassing testimony). Many instances of obvious conflict of interest were brushed over, and witness tampering was apparent. Some hostile witnesses who didn't even know the defendant claimed absurd abilities of being able to see into Porter's heart and mind in order to glean intentions (even treasonous ones), and these were uncritically accepted by the court. Documentary evidence was mishandled in multiple ways, including the omission of exculpatory passages from copies submitted to the court. Porter's defense team was also frequently refused permission to enter supporting documents into the record. The list goes on and on. All observers then and now agree that Lincoln possessed a sharp lawyer's mind with more than enough experience to detect the legal shenanigans present in the case summary given him by the court for review, and Marvel agrees with those that see the president's approval of the sentence as a stain on his record.

Marvel's account of Porter's struggles over the ensuing decades to find employment to support his family while simultaneously pursuing an expensive lobbying effort to have his case reexamined and overturned is richly detailed. The book's in-depth coverage of Porter's persistent quest being constantly blocked through presidential and congressional indifference or outright hostility (to the point of politicians like ex-Union general John Logan unabashedly repeating long discredited charges for immediate political advantage) serves as a strong testament to the endurance of the war's partisan rancor. Porter did have some Radical Republican supporters, but the lofty idea put forth that admitting past wrong and rectifying that wrong by doing justice to Porter in the present would be seen in a way that could only elevate Republican stature in the eyes of the public gathered very little support within the party. Even after the Schofield military commission created in 1878 to reexamine Porter's case rejected the 1863 verdict on all points, Republican newspapers and politicians continued to echo the old accusations against Porter for the rest of his life. Official redress was meager, with retirement at the rank of colonel and no back pay being the only concessions that could pass legislative resistance.

Even though Fitz John Porter's close association with George McClellan has likely inspired a certain degree of indifference among Civil War students toward his fate, it remains quite surprising that it's taken so long for a book like this to be published. Writers often find the rise, fall, and redemption arc to be an appealing biography structure, and Porter's life had that in spades along with abundant high-level military and political drama. Exploring the flaws of human nature has always been popular as well, and the Porter story reveals a great many moments when a number of the most respected Union heroes of the war (among them Abraham Lincoln, Edwin Stanton, John Logan, Jacob Cox, and James Garfield) were not at their best. At any rate, whatever one thinks of Fitz John Porter's value to the Union Army, any open-minded reading of William Marvel's primary source-based biography should erase all doubt regarding the baselessness of the trial that ended Porter's career and the motives behind it. Radical Sacrifice is highly recommended reading.

1 - It is difficult to come up with any candidate for the best biographical treatment of Porter before the appearance of this study from William Marvel. The existing literature seems to be more interested in the trial than in Porter's life and military career. Marvel notes that avocational historian Otto Eisenschiml, who authored The Celebrated Case of Fitz John Porter: An American Dreyfus Affair (1950), is considered Porter's chief defender of the last century, but he also wryly observes that the author's penchant for advancing crackpot theories did little to help Porter's reputation. More recently among published book-length studies, Donald Jermann's Fitz-John Porter, Scapegoat of Second Manassas: The Rise, Fall and Rise of the General Accused of Disobedience (2008) weighs the cases for and against Porter's conviction, and prior to that Curt Anders authored a lengthy book titled Injustice on Trial (2002) that examined the proceedings of both the original trial and the Schofield commission.
2 - For the best account of this relatively small Civil War clash see Michael C. Hardy's Battle of Hanover Court House: Turning Point of the Peninsula Campaign, May 27, 1862 (McFarland, 2006). Though the battles of Beaver Dam Creek, Gaines's Mill, and Malvern Hill still lack standalone study, the best single work covering those engagements and Porter's role in them remains Brian Burton's 2001 book Extraordinary Circumstances: The Seven Days Battles.
3 - McClellan and Porter are often presented in the Civil War literature as joined at the hip, but Marvel's vigorous defense of Porter's record in no way extends to McClellan, whose actions the author interprets in much the traditional fashion. On the matter of another key figure in the book, the Stanton of Radical Sacrifice is every bit the same unscrupulous schemer he was portrayed as throughout much of Marvel's biography Lincoln's Autocrat (2015). For an alternate interpretation of the secretary's character, one should consult Walter Stahr's Stanton (2017).
4 - A quick search through the Library of Congress's digital archive comes up empty, suggesting that the collection of Marble papers housed there (and containing the Porter letters) probably has not been digitized yet.