Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

McClellan’s Command

Could McClellan have pushed right through to victory?

One hesitates to give a categorical “yes.” Something unexpected could have occurred. Still, when one examines the numbers and the terrain, it seems as if the chances were 90–10 in McClellan’s favor.

For the Confederates, it was fortunate that McClellan took their “fake” numbers at face value. Before long, McClellan settled into a siege of the Confederate fortifications around Yorktown. Many persons—including foreign observers—remarked on the irony. This was the very place where George Washington and his French allies had compelled the British to surrender in 1781.


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