Civil War Round Table
since 1959


November Virtual Engagement – George B. McClellan and the Seven Days Campaign – Virtual Engagement via Zoom


7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Dr. Ethan S. Rafuse is a professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command General Staff College.  He earned his BA and MA degrees in history at George Mason University, and completed his doctoral work at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

In 2018-2019, Dr. Rafuse was the Charles Boal Ewing Distinguished Professor of History at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The Seven Days Battles were a critical turning point in the Union war effort.  The failure to capture Richmond shattered Northern faith in Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s vision that a combination of a lenient policy toward Southern property and a single, decisive campaign against the Confederate capital from the Peninsula would bring a quick end to the Civil War.  In the weeks following the Seven Days Battles, Washington decisively eschewed both elements of McClellan’s strategic vision.  The U.S. Congress passed a sweeping Confiscation Act, Abraham Lincoln drafted the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, heralding an end to a policy of conciliation toward the rebels, and Lincoln saw in the course and outcome of the Peninsula Campaign compelling evidence that he had been wrong to defer to McClellan’s operational vision, which would lead him to terminate operations on the Peninsula.  This presentation will look at the Union high command during the Peninsula Campaign and Seven Days Battles and the broader contexts that shaped its performance, with particular focus on the strategic and operational vision that guided McClellan’s conduct of operations and how the course and outcome of events east of Richmond affected the Union war effort in 1862 and beyond. 

Dr. Rafuse is the author, editor, or co-editor of numerous books and monographs on Civil War and military history, including McClellan’s War:  The Failure of Moderation in the War for the UnionManassas: A Battlefield GuideStonewall Jackson: A BiographyAntietam, South Mountain and Harpers Ferry:  A Battlefield GuideRobert E. Lee and the Fall of the ConfederacyGuide to the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign (U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles); The Ongoing Civil War: New Versions and Old Stories (with Herman Hattaway), and A Single Grand Victory: The First Campaign and Battle of Manassas, as well as over 350 articles, essays, and reviews in various academic and popular history publications.

He taught Civil War and military history at the U.S. Military Academy in 2001-2003. He lives with his wife and daughter in Platte City, Missouri.


Topic: Harrisburg CWRT November 2020 Engagement

Time: Friday, November 20, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Location:  Zoom Meeting Room

Zoom Meeting ID:  836 1361 7449

Pass Code:  407853

Or dial in by phone:  +1-301-715-8592