Friday, July 30, 2010

Book Review: The Bloodiest Day

Bailey, Ronald H. The Bloodiest Day: The Battle of Antietam. The Civil War. Time-Life Books; Alexandria, VA, 1984.

War is an interesting thing. People rarely go to war without a chance of winning, which means that the two sides are relatively evenly matched. I believe that is why so many battles were won or lost based on the tiniest margin. A tiny opportunity taken would have won the day, or even the war, but it's so hard to gauge. After having thrown thousands of men at a position, you have no guarantee that a few hundred more will make it all worthwhile, or whether you should consider the losses a sunk cost and move on. General Lee seems to have had a sense of just when to take that extra little gamble.

Speaking of General Lee, I wonder if, had I a time machine, I would be able to convince him that he would serve Virginia better on the Union side.



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