George Armstrong Custer! How many books have been written about this most controversial historical figure? Mountains of them, most dealing with either his last battle or his entire career on the Great Plains as opposed to his whole life or sterling Civil War generalship which in the opinion of this writer ranks him among the likes of Jeb Stuart, Joe Wheeler, James H. Wilson and Custer's patron Phil Sheridan as one of the best of the very best horse soldiers of the blue and the gray.
First published in 1932, Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall's novel was a huge critical and commercial success that has seen no less than two film adaptations. The 1935 version starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable the most famous, and the 1962 adaptation starring Marlon Brando the most infamous due to cost overruns and the unpredictable antics of its star.
150 years ago two armies -one Union, one Confederate- squared off with each other outside the capitol of the Confederate States of America in Richmond, Virginia. This chapter in the saga of the American Civil War was known the Peninsula Campaign because operations took place on the Virginia Peninsula which stretches between Fort Monroe and Richmond bordered by the James River on its southwest side and the York River on its northeastern side; with Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay at its base.
The objective was the capture of Richmond. However, as Sears vividly narrates, it was a campaign that would fail to achieve that object due in large part to the hyper-cautious approach taken by Major General George B. McClellan, commander the fabled Army of the Potomac.