How wars end, are more important than they way they start:
Many focus on the tactical events of the American Civil War, or the political before and after… the strategic consequences it produced. But one glaring point has been overlooked until this narrative: ‘April 1865: The Month That Saved American’ by Jay Winik. This insightful writer and former national defense and foreign policy official, looks beyond all of it, to the most important part of the mater: how wars end.
Not only was Lee’s surrender pivotal in ending our Civil War, the even greater challenge was Gen. Joe Johnston’s in North Carolina. Those two critical events were separated in time by the assassination of President Lincoln. This almost derailed the later, due to the public outcry for vengeance.
Grant has been given much credit for his surrender terms, but it was Sherman, that had much more riding on the line with Johnston’s Army after Lincoln was gone.
Frequently in world history, overwhelmed armies often resort to guerrilla, insurgent tactics to wear their advisory down. What stands out in this narrative is, how tempting it would have been for Lee and the other three Confederate armies still in the field – especially when their President Davis had ordered exactly that.
This interview with Jay Wink is on ‘Booknotes’ from CSPAN
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