Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The YOU-gee Factor
Gen. Benjamin Huger, C.S.A. (Library of Congress)
One of the objections to profitably gaming the 1862 Peninsular Campaign is a perceived leadership gap or disparity or however you might characterize it between the Confederates (Lee and the rest of the First Team, CSA) and the top-down incompetence of the woeful Army of the Potomac (McClellan and his comically-inept supporting cast). That’s the meme, and like most such constructions, it attains a life of its own, since it satisfies the requirements of those who like an easy answer, and tends to close off not only further inquiry or discussion but also serious analysis. I’m going to look into this a bit more in a future post, but as I proceed with my own research, I have to say, I haven’t actually detected an instance where the meme is “at work.” In short, there’s a lot of good gaming to be found in the various battles and engagements of the campaign.
Which brings us to Gen. Benjamin Huger, the putative Confederate commander at the Battle of Oak Grove (June 25, 1862), the first of the Seven Days’ Battles. Before going further, I thought I’d provide a brief primer on the pronunciation of this amiable gentleman’s name:
Huger – HU • gee, u • GEE
To avoid instigating any feuds, we figure we'd better call this one a draw. It seems that everyone has a different idea about which pronunciation is "correct" in which area of the state. We think you're doing good if you just drop the "r" from the end ... with one exception. Huger Street in Chesterfield County is actually pronounced HUE • gur!
(from: South Carolina’s Information Highway, http://www.sciway.net/ccr/sc-pronunciations.html)
My own understanding, born of some long-forgotten reading, is incorporated in the label of this post.
Now Huger, “history tells us,” was the Confederate commander at Oak Grove. His opponents were Gen. Samuel Heintzelman and McClellan himself. I’ll address the question of Huger’s actual presence at the battle in a future post, but for now, I ask: Looking at these three, which side had superior leadership? Does the meme apply?