Chapter

A Thorn, Not a Dagger: Strategic Implications of Ambrose Burnside's North Carolina Campaign

David C. Skaggs

in Union Combined Operations in the Civil War

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780823232864
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240777 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823232864.003.0003

Series: The North's Civil War

A Thorn, Not a Dagger: Strategic Implications of Ambrose Burnside's North Carolina Campaign

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Historians have largely overlooked the strategic significance of Burnside's campaign in the North Carolina Sounds. One author who does discuss the campaign is Rowena Reed in her book Combined Operations in the Civil War. In Reed's view, Burnside's thrust into the North Carolina Sounds was part of Little Mac's “logistical strategy” to cut the supply lines to the Confederate armies in Virginia and “paralyze the South's internal lines of communication.” Reed praises George B. McClellan for his strategic vision, and especially for his plan to use the army and the navy in a combined operation designed to establish Union control of critical transportation nodes. Reed argues that, if fully developed, Burnside's operation would have inserted a strategic dagger into the heart of the Confederacy. In the end, however, the thrust fell far short of having the kind of impact McClellan envisioned, and it proved to be no more than a thorn in the Confederacy's side.

Keywords: Civil War; Union; Confederacy; George B. McClellan; Rowena Reed

Chapter.  3841 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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