I’m reading The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy by William C. Davis. The approach Davis has taken is to profile the primary players in the conflict – foibles and all. W. C. presents a fascinating portrait of Jefferson Davis which borders on being psychoanalytic. It helps to explain why Davis and his generals had such poor relationships, the exception being Lee who was a master at determining how to handle the man and won his loyalty and friendship. Three of Lee’s practices stood out. First, he kept Davis informed on a daily basis – unlike Beauregard and Johnston. Second, he asked Davis for his opinion, which stroked his ego. Third, he stayed away from the press and didn’t criticize Davis behind his back. Lee’s peers struggled with either their own self-importance or lack of ability and found outlet by back-biting in the press.
All in all a very good read largely because Mr. Davis pulls no punches. Also worth the read because of the details provided; case in point, the sinking of the “Stone Fleet” at the mouth of the harbor leading into Charleston. This strategy by the Federals to block traffic in and out of the harbor failed miserably due to the soft mud bottom into which the fleet – whose holds were filled with granite – sank.
Copyright © 2007 Rene Tyree