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Mr. Mercanto

Civil War Tester
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Mr. Mercanto last won the day on March 11

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About Mr. Mercanto

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    Lieutenant
  • Birthday 07/01/1991

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  • Location
    Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    History, Historiography, The American Civil War, reenacting, politics

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  1. Hiya! Welcome to the thread and thanks for your kind words! This is a really cool question New historiography has not been much kinder to McClellan, though some scholars have moved away from the answer provided by @Andre Bolkonsky, that being that Little Mac loved his army to much to risk its harm. Military historian John Keegan (A Military History of the American Civil War) and military historian/McClellan biographer Stephen W. Sears (Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam, and To the Gates of Richmond), suggest that McClellan was so afraid to lose, that he did not risk victory. They charge that McClellan, ahving never failed anything in his life, was petrified of failure. This, by extension, plays into recent historiography concerning Ulysses S. Grant, which has at time argued that Grant's success was in part duie to his boldness, which in turn may have been caused by his many failures in life. Having failed in so many ventures, Grant understood that failure was an option, and could be recovered from. However, I think new and fascinating light has been shone on McClellan in Richard Slotkin's newest book Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution. The book dissects the political crisis facing the US government in the wake of the 2nd Mannassas, the challenges posed by the threat of a McClellan coup, and Lincoln's efforts to radically change the direction of the political and military strategy of the war. In the process, Slotkin does much to advance McClellan historiography. In essense, Slotkin argues that McClellan viewed the Radical Left Republicans to be as a great a threat, or even a greater threat, to the Union then the Reactionary Secession Right. McClellan was politically a Conservative Northern War Democratic, and believed that the Union must be preserved through a compromise that would maintain the pre-war institutions and power-structures (ie Slavery). He considered Abolitionism politically suicidal, detrimental to the country, and destructive to a restoration of the Union. McClellan could observe that the administration was taking on a more radical policy, and viewed himself as the saviour of the Republic. He felt he must influence the President towards what he considered a wiser conciliation, and bring both parties together with as little conquest as possible. In his Harrison Landing Letter, he reffered to this as fighting the war "on the highest Christian virtues" urging the President to protect property in slavery. Slotkin argues that McClellan's belief in himself manifested into a conviction that he was the only man that could save the Union; coupled with a the highly theological school of history that he and his wife subscribed to, McClellan began to view himself as the Divine Instrument of the Union. Were he to lose a battle, then he would be removed from his command, and thus the Union itself would perish. It became imperative that he be retained. No risk could be balanced against his dismissal, which would open the floodgates of Red Republican Radicalism. At Antietam, McClellan sought a limited victory, committing his troops piecemeal in order to guard against total defeat. When the Rebels withdrew, McClellan saw no need to pursue; by winning victory and ensuring his tenure as commander, he had already saved the Republic from the true enemy, Lincoln. Slotkin also briefly addresses the Young Napoleon's love of his army. He argues that while Little Mac certainly loved his army, it was ultimately because that army worshiped and adored him, serving as a constant source of validation. It was the belief that he was invaluable to re-uniting the Union and preventing Abolitionist Radicalism, rather then simple love of his men, that prevented him from taking risks on the battlefield. Personally, I find Slotkin's argument extremely convincing, and I think it does much to advance the strange historiography of that unusual General, George B. McClellan.
  2. Canton or Foote?

    It's true. The bastard got a great Sharps off of me. Still, at least I can sleep with the blinds open now...
  3. Canton or Foote?

    Honestly though, if you want an excellent and readable intro to Civil War, James M. McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era" (Harvard University Press: 1988) is the book toi read. Its the perfect place to begin Civil War studies.
  4. Canton or Foote?

    Catton uses stronger research, includes references, and writes in magisterial style. Foote includes no references, falls victim to more myths, and makes significant errors when discussing the causes of the war. Foote's writing is enjoyable, but not as strong. Catton earned the respect of modern scholars, Foote's poor grasp of Reconstruction and the war's causation, as well as his propensity for losing himself in myth, has not fared so well against scholarly review. Needless to say, I would strongly recommend Catton.
  5. Bayou Forche

    I demonstrate on the far left, keeping the Rebel force tied down there with artillery, given that I cannot move artillery across the center ford. I start by attacking with my left, and once I take the forest, I attack the Rebel fortification from the forest. I thin move my best troops across the ford, and keep them as far from the fort, along the shoreline. Then, I consolidate my force, and join it in the assault on the fort. When possible, I fire at one entrenched brigade with three or more brigades at once, until it breaks. Failing this, I essay a bayonet charge with one brigade while firing with the others. The key is to attack them brigade by brigade. Converge multiple brigades on singular entrenched enemies; once they break, exploit it. Its tough, but doable. Attack carefully, charge when necessary, and never engage their whole force, attack them piece by piece.
  6. Why is Civil war so hard for beginners?

    Expanding on @Andre Bolkonsky's excellent post, often the key to victory in Linear Tactics is flanking. Always consider how you can place one or two of your brigades on the enemy's flank, whether its by luring them into an ill-conceived attack, and then counter attacking (my personal favourite) or by moving your weaker units in a direct assault against the enemy, only to flank them with your stronger units once they engage (this is called a "demonstration). Remember to look for isolated units and converge on them, knocking out one or two enemy brigades can lead to the collapse of an entire battle line. Surprising your enemy by concealing your troops behind ridges, then striking their flanks or isolated units, is highly effective to accomplish this. Conversely, you must remember to tie down the flanks of your brigades, and avoid isolation. Often an extended close formation line battle is decided when one commander makes a mistake by offering a single brigade's flank to enfilade. Don't be that commander, secure your flanks, and hold one or two elite reserve units for the moment your enemy exposes his flank. Finally, in my personal opinion the game accurately reflects the military proportions of the Civil War; that being that Infantry is the key to victory. While every Corps should have Cavalry, and must have Artillery, it is ultimately infantry which strikes the hardest blows, takes the greatest punishment, and achieves success. Artillery supports Infantry from the rear or through the occasional emergency canister, Cavalry dismounted with carbines can be used to temporarily plug gaps and harass the enemy, or to delay them, allowing your Infantry to occupy critical positions. Skirmishers, in turn, should be used to suss out enemy positions, delay enemy deployment, and to harass the enemy when they are engaged with your infantry. As you can see, in all of these cases each branch of your army must be deployed in service to your Infantry, which should be the overwhelming majority of your force. For example, I used my dismounted Cavalry at Stone Mountain to prevent Jackson from deploying his two left flank brigades on Stone Mountain, though they were eventually driven back, they presented me with the five minutes necessary to deploy two of my brigades on his flank, which attacked his brigades en echelon. Meanwhile, I advanced some of my weakest brigades to his front, threatening him with an attack if he pulled troops out of their cover to resist my flanking attack. Having threatened his front, I moved more brigades to his flank, starting with my weaker troops. As I pushed his flank, I relieved my initial flanking attack with my best troops in my Corps, and pressed the assault with new vigor. As he moved troops from his entrenchments to counter attack, my brigades at his front converted their demonstration to an attack, and thus, in attempting to counter attack, he exposed his flank. By the time my reinforcements arrived, my men already controlled the mountain. In this way, i was able to drive back Jackson's Valley Corps with the weakest Corps of my army, before my stronger units even deployed, and before Longstreet could join battle. Learning these tricks takes time, and if you are unfamiliar with the Civil War, its even harder. Play some Historical Battles on Colonel, especially Bull Run; which is an excellent learning level. Also, quit the seceshia and fight for the Union! Liberty and Freedom! I couldn't help it... ;P Hope this helps; this game is harder then most casual tactics games (nowhere near as complicated as Scourge of War though, thank God), it takes some time, but the game is truly rewarding, and you owe yourself another go at it :). All the Best, Mr. Mercanto
  7. Why is Civil war so hard for beginners?

    Forgot to quote OP in this post, please read post below with quote.
  8. Oh, and thanks for shutting one of his posts down. I don't really indulge him anymore, but it was refreshing to see another voice telling him how silly his arguments are.
  9. Basically 1st Vermont barged into the forum last year to spread a bunch of Neo-Confederate nonsense using methods that were focused tested to be as pedantic as possible. I put him down...a lot; and he became a bit obssessed with me. It was weird, it was hilarious, and all of us except 1st Vermont learned a lot . Eventually @Koro just banned him, closing out the epic saga. One of the results was this thread. I wanted to create a thread where people could ask (mostly) serious questions about the war, and those of us who with the knowledge could share our answers, or ask one another follow up questions. For the most part, it was awesome :). I'm glad to see its still getting some traction, though I didn't particularly enjoy that 1st Vermont interlude.
  10. This is a solid question, though if you dig into this forum I've answered it a few times. I don't mind answering again, but it'll be the abridged version ;). Basically the question that caused secession was the extension of slavery to new Western States. The slave states feared that restriction of this extension would lead to the economic collapse of slavery (and it was indeed meant to). Pro-slavery partisans argued that the Federal government must protect the property rights of each State citizen based upon the state laws of their origins. Erego, if a slave owner brought their slaves into a new territory, not yet made a State, then the US government must protect their right to that slave (the Federal government was the government of territories until they organized into Stares). Furthermore, all new territories must be open to slavery, and by protecting slave property in them, effectively become slave states. With respect to slave property in Free States like Massachusetts; the Federal government must strictly enforce the Fugitive Slave Act over the interests of Free States harbouring run away slaves, because it was the "State Right" of slave states to demand protection of the property of their state citizens, even if it violated the laws of Free States. So in essence, slavery and "States Rights" were indissoluble; mutually inclusive and in the Confederate cause not distinguished from one another. Today's use of "State's Rights" is often vague and anti-intellectual. It is usually an attempt to obfuscate the role of slavery in the Confederate cause, and fails to stand up to scrutiny. Fortunately, the founders of the Confederacy made no secret of the cause, so researchers interested in learning about the subject can ascertain the role of slavery quite easily.
  11. While I suppose that plagiarism is the norm at the University of Secession Bias (or USB for short), we usually tend to give a warning, then a suspension or a failing grade. I think 1st Vermon-err "Hannibalbarca" deserves both.
  12. Hi Corporal Bridge. I'm sorry to be responding so late, I kind of took a break from this forum. Some excellent scholars on the Civil War, focusing on individual experiences... Drew Giplin Faust, Ried Mitchell, Chandra Manning, and Victoria Bynum are great scholars to start with. Manning and Mitchell have wonderful work on soldering and motivation of service "What this Cruel War was Over" (Manning, 2007); "Civil War Soldiers" (Mitchell, 1988). Bynum and Faust have done great work on the homefront. Bynum specializes in work that focuses on the Antebellum and Southern resistance to the Confederacy and white supremacy; "Unruly Women: The Sexual and Racial Politics of the Antebellum South" (1993) and "The Free State of Jones" (2011?). Faust has specialized in the cultural impact of the war, most notably in "This Republic of Suffering" (2008). If you want to get into the nitty gritty, Stephen Berry's edited collection of essays "Weirding the War: Stories from the Fringes of the American Civil War" (2011) is thought provoking and challenges many of our perceptions of the conflict. Sorry it took me two months to respond lol. I hope it was worth the wait .
  13. Mark Grimsly's "Hard Hand of War" would take some pretty serious issues with this interpretation. Using census records, Grimsly actually proves that Sherman directed the severity of his campaign against wealthy slave owners and public property, with non-slave owning poor let alone or attacked very little. I also need a citation for this rape statistic, since last I checked there were actually relatively low.At least, rape cases officially recorded. Rape in the Civil War has been heavily re-examined in recent historioraphy, so it is quite possible that this is incorrect, however I must ask for some evidence.
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