Who is Your Civil War Battlefield MVP?

wayne-gretzkyOver the weekend I had the English Premier League on in the background while I was writing and taking care of some stuff around the house. Friday and Saturday nights I watched the Norfolk Admirals play the Manchester Monarchs in minor-league hockey. At the end of each game, the Premier League names a Man of the Match (or as Americans call it, Most Valuable Player/MVP). The East Coast Hockey League does something similar at the end of each game, naming the Three Stars of the Game, a list not limited to the winning team.

The term “Man of the Match”┬átriggered a memory of how this concept can be applied to staff rides on Civil War battlefields.

Years ago, I accompanied some British officers and NCOs around Chancellorsville Battlefield. At the end of the tour, the commander asked his group to debate and decide the “Man of the Match” for the battle. (If I recall correctly, Stonewall Jackson got the nod.) It was a very interesting thought experiment, and helped focus on the decisive leaders and actors in these engagements. It helps define how people can and did make a difference – as Napoleon said, “In war, one man . . . is everything.”

Next time you read about a battle or visit a battlefield, I invite you to think about who you would pick as the Three Stars or the sole Man of the Match. It will help you better understand the dynamics of the armies and the battle itself.

Top: Wayne Gretzky (seen after his 1988 trade to the Los Angeles Kings) was MVP of the Stanley Cup Finals in 1985 and 1988 for the Edmonton Oilers.

5 Responses to Who is Your Civil War Battlefield MVP?

  1. Your suggestion for battlefield visitation and adding this little mental exercise is a great idea; one I will apply in the future. I also think there are many unknowns among the common soldiers in these horrific conflicts who tilted the scales in acts lost to history. This doesn’t diminish the importance of leadership, it’s just a lot easier to review and analyze their behavior given the rich written accounts at our disposal.

  2. Fascinating question. I’ll be thinking about in regards tomPerryville, the only field I’ve visited recently.

    Also, if we figure out MVPs, who would be the Rookie of the Year? Perhaps some green troops, or a political general new to combat.

    Or Comeback Player of the Year? Maybe ?Sherman gets that after his “crazy” episode

  3. My civil war mvp is Gen Winfield Scott Hancock with an honorable mention to Gen gouveneur k warren. Hancock for consistently “superb” performance at the division and corps level at Gettysburg and throughout the overland campaign . Warren for little round top, a brilliant engineer , and being the soldier’s general – resisting orders to make suicidal charges and needless casualties .

  4. Gen. Robert E Lee C.S.A. for not allowing his army to take up gorilla war fare in 1865 and thus saving our country. People need to think bout that before they want to tear down his monuments.. Listening New Orleans .

  5. Interesting choice for a photo. If I recall correctly, the Great One was all three stars of the game in his finale for the NYR.

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