I'll be heading off to Jersey in several weeks to deliver a program for the Robert E. Lee Civil War Roundtable of Central New Jersey. I will be speaking on the Maryland Campaign and, specifically, the battle of Antietam (of course). But what I intend to do is present the battle in a different light, and address all those persistent myths (i.e. McClellan had 30,000 men in reserve) that need to go away. In particular, I will spend a lot of my time discussing poor old Ambrose Burnside and the men of his 9th Corps. Burnside has received too much unwarranted criticisms for the handling of his troops and his alleged lethargy in carrying out his afternoon assault. So with that in mind, I hope to correct the record in some small way arguing that Burnside had the most difficult assignment of any of Mac's subordinates, and that he did a commendable job in carrying out his orders. I will also present the rather novel concept that McClellan was no villain, and that Lee was no saint. . .or wait, maybe I should refrain from criticizing the Confederate army commander since I will be speaking at the Robert E. Lee Civil War Roundtable.
The Robert E. Lee Roundtable of Central New Jersey is one of the largest on the East Coast, with over 200 members, and is headed by Jay Jorgensen of Gettysburg Wheatfield fame. My program is scheduled for the night of July 2, and because this is the first time I will be presenting this particular Antietam program, I am just a little bit anxious. I'll let you know how it goes.