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Nationally known author Ed Bonekemper to speak at York Civil War Round Table

The York Civil War Round Table will feature Edward H. Bonekemper, III at its monthly meeting on September 16, 2009. The topic of the evening will be “Antietam: A Calamity of Mistakes by Lee and McClellan”. The talk will commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam which occurred on September 17, 1862, an engagement often described as the single bloodiest day of the Civil War. The author of books on both opposing generals, Bonekemper will examine how each officer in turn lost what could have been major opportunities for success, and will argue that in reality neither man could be considered a victor.
The meeting will be held at 7:00 PM on Wednesday evening in the auditorium of the York County Heritage Trust at 250 E. Market Street in downtown York, Pennsylvania. There is no charge for admission and the public is welcome! Parking is also free.
Edward H. Bonekemper, III is the author of four Civil War books: How Robert E. Lee Lost the Civil War, A Victor, Not a Butcher : Ulysses S. Grant’s Overlooked Military Genius, McClellan and Failure: A Study of Civil War Fear, Incompetence and Worse and Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian. He is a dynamic, controversial, and informative speaker who will both inform you and challenge you to dig deeper into the always interesting subject of the Battle of Antietam. He will be available to autograph copies of his books.
Ed Bonekemper. author of four controversial Civil War books, will discuss his views on calamitous Union and Confederate generalship leading up to and at the Battle of Antietam.
Ed’s views:
In the Maryland or Antietam Campaign,Robert E. Lee and George B. McClellan demonstrated the weaknesses that characterized their Civil War careers. Lee launched an unapproved strategic offensive that may have lost the war, placed his army in what should have been a death-trap, failed to entrench, allowed fatal counter-attacks that decimated his force, and risked his weakened army by leaving it on the battlefield for an extra day for no explicable military reason.
On the Union side, McClellan’s performance was probably even worse. He failed to aggressively pursue Lee in Maryland, allowed a large Union force to be captured by Stonewall Jackson at Harper’s Ferry, squandered his massive manpower advantage for days at Antietam, attacked in piecemeal fashion, failed to use his cavalry effectively, left a huge reserve force unused, and failed to destroy the Rebel army Lee had left so vulnerable for an extra day at Antietam.


Edward H. Bonekemper, III is an adjunct lecturer of U.S. military history at Muhlenberg College. For over 34 years he served as a Federal Government attorney, including 11 years of active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard and 17 as the senior hazardous materials transportation attorney for the U.S. Department of Transportation. He is a retired commander in the U. S. Coast Guard Reserve. He received his B.A. cum laude in American history from Muhlenberg College, his M.A. in American history from Old Dominion University, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

In the eyes of many historians, Union General George B. McClellan single-handedly did more damage to the Union war effort than any other individual-including Confederate commander Robert E. Lee. McClellan’s success in the Mexican War along with his prestigious position as president of the Eastern Division of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad had left him well positioned to enter the Union Army when hostilities began. Originally a major general in command of the Ohio Volunteers, McClellan attained the same rank in the regular Army three weeks after the beginning of the Civil War. Promoting his own ideas and career regardless of the consequences, McClellan spent his Civil War command defying his superiors and attempting to avoid battle, eventually becoming a thorn in the side of President Lincoln and the Union cause. Removed from command on November 5, 1862, McClellan’s overly cautious attitude nevertheless permeated the Army of the Potomac for years. His activities at Antietam have come under the microscope of historians for more than 140 years, and Ed Bonekemper will present his opinions and perspective on McClellan and his oft-lauded Virginia opponent during the poorly managed Battle of Antietam.