Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

FW: H-War Book Review: Rein on Connelly, _John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship_

Expand Messages
  • Bob Huddleston
    Because of John Schofield s importance to the Western Theater, I thought you would be interested in this review. Take care, Bob Judy and Bob Huddleston 10643
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 20 5:19 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      Because of John Schofield's importance to the Western Theater, I thought
      you would be interested in this review.

      Take care,


      Judy and Bob Huddleston
      10643 Sperry Street
      Northglenn, CO 80234-3612
      303.451.6376 Huddleston.r@...

      I am A thousand times meaner A hundred times Harder and A damed sight wors
      Looking than I Ever was so you can form some sort of an idea what sort of A
      Looking man you have now for A Husband if this kind of Buisness wont make
      men hard I should like to know what will it is Everyone for himself and dam
      the one that pulls the hind tit

      Henry Clemons of Company K, 23rd Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, to his wife
      Anna in Sauk City, Wis, January 15, 1863
      -----Original Message-----
      From: H-NET Military History Discussion List [mailto:H-WAR@...] On
      Behalf Of H-War Book Review Editor Janet G. Valentine
      Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 1:18 PM
      To: H-WAR@...
      Subject: H-War Book Review: Rein on Connelly, _John M. Schofield and the
      Politics of Generalship_

      Published by H-War@... (December 2006)

      Donald B. Connelly. _John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship_.
      Civil War America Series. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press,
      2006. xiv + 471 pp. Illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, index. $49.95
      (cloth), ISBN 0-8078-3007-0.

      Reviewed for H-War by Chris Rein, USAF, Department of History, U.S. Air
      Force Academy

      The Political Life of a Professional General

      With _John M. Schofield and the Politics of Generalship_, Donald B.
      Connelly has masterfully illuminated the life and career of a lesser known
      but vitally important figure in U.S. civil and military affairs during the
      latter half of the nineteenth century. Despite winning the Medal of Honor
      and serving as both Secretary of War and as Commanding General of the Army,
      Schofield's name often escapes mention in modern military history texts. His
      contributions to a Union victory in the Civil War and a reformed army
      command structure that affirmed civilian oversight and improved relations
      between the Chief and Secretary alone should guarantee him a place in
      history, but his ability to maneuver in the complex political arena of the
      period makes his biography a relevant and useful read. As Connelly notes,
      the "volatility of American politics made it prudent for an officer to avoid
      identification with one political party or faction" (p. 3) and Schofield
      resolved these difficulties with an exemplary combination of professionalism
      and political subordination. The various nuances of Schofield's diverse
      career are clearly captured in a meticulously researched and highly readable
      narrative that will be of interest to both scholars of the period and
      readers concerned with the history of U.S. civil-military relations.

      While the idea that war and politics are inextricably linked is certainly
      not new, Schofield's career offers ample evidence of the political dexterity
      required of Civil War-era commanders in order to survive and succeed.
      Schofield's remarkable ability to operate within an existing, if fluid,
      political system, as evidenced by his service in Missouri at the outset of
      the war, demonstrates the value of an apolitical commander in a highly
      charged political environment.
      Schofield skillfully maneuvered between competing factions of radicals and
      conservatives, and earned both the praise of his Commander-in-Chief as well
      as a field command with the Army of the Ohio. In his examination of
      Schofield's service in the Atlanta and Franklin-Nashville campaigns,
      Connelly reveals that the battlefield was not immune from politics, although
      more frequently it was politics of the army variety, and that Schofield was
      as equally skilled in this environment as he was on the battlefield.
      Throughout his career on active service, Schofield demonstrated that, for
      commanders of the day, political savvy was often just as important as
      tactical or operational expertise.

      While his field service was valuable, if not remarkable, Schofield's most
      important contributions to the military establishment came in the post-war
      period. Service as the military governor of Virginia and as Secretary of War
      in both the Johnson and Grant administrations prepared him for his
      subsequent postings as the Superintendent of the U.S.
      Military Academy, as commander of the three main departments of the army and
      then the army itself. His numerous contributions to the reforms eventually
      enshrined by Elihu Root are adequately detailed, and his proposed
      consolidation of the War and Navy Departments eighty years before the
      National Security Act of 1947 demonstrates his remarkable foresight.
      Connelly's thorough discussion of the origins of the _Posse Comitatus_ Act
      is highly relevant in today's national and internal security environment as
      are his observations on the benefits of harmonious and mutually respectful
      relations between the service's senior military officer and his civilian

      Historians of military education will find interesting Connelly's ample
      descriptions of Schofield's role as an educator and reformer.
      Schofield's untiring advocacy of critical thinking and the value of a strong
      liberal arts curriculum are still relevant, and the deans of our service
      academies would be wise to heed them. Additionally, his advocacy of and
      support for military training at civilian universities should merit his
      consideration for the title "Father of the R.O.T.C." Even today, cadets at
      service academies across the country still recite the text of Schofield's
      August 1879 address to his cadets on the relationship between leadership and
      discipline in a democratic military, and Connelly wisely includes the text
      verbatim as both a refresher and to illustrate Schofield's personal

      Connelly refutes some of the more damaging allegations leveled against
      Schofield in James L. McDonough's _Schofield: Union General in the Civil
      War and Reconstruction_ (1972), and by so doing establishes himself and his
      text as the authority on the subject. If Connelly's work has any flaws, it
      is his overly flattering portrayal of his subject.
      While Schofield's unwise (if contemporary) racial views and his heightened
      sensitivity to criticism of his exploits on the battlefield, even years
      after the fact, are given ample coverage, one wonders if the General
      suffered from any other unmentioned character flaws, given the prevalence of
      corruption during the period and Schofield's comfort and familiarity with
      prominent business leaders of the day.

      The book's primary thesis, that the political and military spheres are
      inextricably linked, but that military officers most frequently find success
      when they can clearly define the boundaries of each, is amply illustrated
      through the life of John M. Schofield. Overall, Connelly has masterfully
      filled one of the few remaining voids in biographies of Civil War generals,
      and his work is a must read for anyone interested in the development of
      American civil-military relations. Rich footnotes and high quality maps and
      illustrations further enhance a first-rate work that will grace bookshelves
      as long as the institutions Schofield devoted his life to advancing and
      preserving still exist.

      Copyright (c) 2006 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits
      the redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit,
      educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the
      author, web location, date of publication, originating list, and
      H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. For other uses
      contact the Reviews editorial staff: hbooks@mail.h-net.msu.edu.

      For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change
      your subscription settings, go to
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.