Veteran of the National Park Service and Gettysburg National Military Park’s supervisory historian


While elements of Scott’s plan were ultimately adopted by the Union armed forces, Scott’s belief that the war could essentially be won without fighting was naïve and the numbers of troops he anticipated could defeat the rebellion was pitifully small. Scott’s plan was predicated on the belief that the Confederates would grant the Union the time to raise, equip and train its army and build a number of ships sufficient to conduct a meaningful blockade. This was doubtful. The Confederacy had the ability to raise and equip large armies and it was unlikely that they would wait passively for Union forces to move. Although Scott expected the Northern public to be impatient for action he seemed to think that somehow he could weather these pressures and implement his strategy on his own timetable. This too was doubtful. Laudable as elements of his plan were it is unlikely that it could have, or would have, worked as Scott envisioned.