I’ve been watching Ken Burns’ documentary The Civil War this week. It’s fascinating.
I know very little about military theory and such things, but it amazes me how many of the Civil War battles seem to consist of one side simply sending waves of its men, marching in formation, directly at the other side’s position, where they were usually slaughtered. The Union, especially, threw away thousands of men in the early part of the war doing this. The Confederacy seemed to be smarter about this, with one huge exception.
The most well-respected commanders (Lee, Grant, Stuart, Chamberlain etc.) all seem to have gained their fame mostly by using the flanking maneuver in various ways. I wouldn’t have thought it would take military geniuses to figure that out.