Second Corps – Edwin V. Sumner

Edwin V. Sumner

Edwin V. Sumner Quotes

Last Updated January 16, 2010

With quotations by Sumner first followed by others in alphabetical order of the person making the quote

“In God’s name, what are you fighting for?  Unfurl those colors.”

Sumner, Edwin V.

Sep 17 1862

Sumner upon seeing that the 1st MN flag was still cased.  Carmen, “Maryland Campaign” ch 17, p 26

Armstrong, Vince. Unfurl Those Colors.  Tuscaloosa:  University of Alabama Press,  2008 pg180

“My God!  We must get out of this.”

Sumner, Edwin V.

Sep 17 1862

Sumner as the left flank of Sedgwick’s division is flanked.  Bruce, George A The Twentieth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

Armstrong, Vince. Unfurl Those Colors.  Tuscaloosa:  University of Alabama Press,  2008 pg188

“Cant cross this bridge!  I can sir; I will, sir…Impossible Sir, I tell you I can cross.  I am ordered.”

Sumner, Edwin V.

May 31, 1862

Sumner at the Battle of Seven Pines sending his troops across a flooded bridge over the Chickahominy

Mason, Jack C.  Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army. Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009 pg139

“Never say go in, Mr. Lomax, but come in.”

Sumner, Edwin V.

Sumner to Lt Lunsford Lomax while serving on the frontier and observing a work detail engaged in connecting a ferry cable across the Platte River

Mason, Jack C.  Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army. Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009 Pg 158

“No, General, you shall not go, nor will I go; I never leave a victorious field.  Why! If I had twenty thousand more men, I would crush this rebellion.”

Sumner, Edwin V.

Sumner to Franklin when Franklin said he would retreat across White Oak Swamp

Mason, Jack C.  Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army. Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009 pg156

“Sir, I have rallied these troops in the woods and behind the fences and got them in line-Sir, tell the General I will try and hold my position-tell him, Sir, I will hold it, I will hold it Sir!

Sumner, Edwin V.

Sep 17 1862

Sumner to one of McClellan’s staff in the Cornfield

Sears, Stephen.  George B McClellan – The Young Napoleon. New York:  Ticknor & Fields, 1988 pg311

“Impossible! Sir, I tell you I can cross.  I am ordered.”

Sumner, Edwin V.

June 1862

In Seven Days Battles

unk

“Genl Sumner says he shall not be so strict when we become better drilled.”

Barlow, Francis

Barlow describing the training of his regiment under Sumner in the first year of the war.

Buell, Thomas B. The Warrior Generals Combat Leadership in the Civil War. New York:  Crown Publishers. 1997 pg59

“He was of the old school, rugged and stern, honest and brave.  He detested frivolity, was austerely sober, and always reminded me of Cromwell’s best puritan soldiers”

Claiborne, Thomas

April 1847

speaking of Sumner at Cerro Gordo

Johnson, Timothy. A Gallant Little Army.  Lawrence KS:  University of Kansas, 2007.   pg80

“the indomitable courage of old Sumner”

Comte de Paris

Comte de Paris describing Sumner at the Battle of Fair Oaks

Carmen, Ezra.  The Maryland Campaign of 1862. Ed. Joseph Pierro.  New York: Routledge, 2008 pg75

“He was an old and tried officer; perfectly honest; as brave as a man could be; conscientious and laborious.  In many respects he was a model soldier.  He was a man for whom I had a very high regard, and for the memory I have the greatest respect.  He was a very valuable man, his soldierly example was of the highest value in a new army.  A nation is fortunate that possesses many such soldiers as was Edwin V. Sumner.”

McClellan, George

In his memoirs, McClellan’s Own Story 138

Carmen, Ezra.  The Maryland Campaign of 1862. Ed. Joseph Pierro.  New York: Routledge, 2008 pg75

“But unfortunately nature has limited his capacity to a very narrow extent.”

McClellan, George

McClellan commenting on Sumner’s capacity to command during Peninsula Campaign

Mason, Jack C.  Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army. Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009 pg157

“Sumner would ruin things in about two days.”

McClellan, George

McClellan commenting on Sumner’s capacity to command during Peninsula Campaign

Mason, Jack C.  Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army. Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009 pg157

“but unfortunately nature had limited his capacity to a very narrow extent”

McClellan, George

Draft of McClellan’s memoirs McClellan’s Own Story

Sears, Stephen.  George B McClellan – The Young Napoleon. New York:  Ticknor & Fields, 1988 pg301

(Sumner)” proved that he was even a greater fool than I had supposed”

McClellan, George

May 1862

GBM in letter to wife describing Sumner

Sears, Stephen.  George B McClellan – The Young Napoleon. New York:  Ticknor & Fields, 1988 pg183

“He was a most excellent and every way respectable man and had in the highest degree the courage of a soldier, but was wanting in the courage of a general.  He was apt to be demoralized by hard fighting, and to overestimate the losses of his own side and the strength of the enemy, and he seems to have possessed no judgment as a tactician.  It is probable that his training as a cavalry officer had done him positive harm as a leader of infantry.”

Palfrey, Francis

Palfrey in his book Antietam and Fredericksburg

Carmen, Ezra.  The Maryland Campaign of 1862. Ed. Joseph Pierro.  New York: Routledge, 2008 pg75

“I am convinced that Col. Sumner’s course toward me, to say the least is calculated to injure one seriously in the estimation of all not cognizant of the facts.”

Stuart, J.E.B.

June 1 1857

Stuart in a letter to the War Dept protesting Sumner’s actions in relieving him as ordnance officer in the 1st Cavalry Rgt

Wert, Jeffry D. Cavalryman of the Lost Cause. New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2008. pg33

“If we have war I want to be vis a vis Sumner so as to teach him some cavalry evolutions, & take him prisoner.  It would be ‘sweet revenge’”

Stuart, J.E.B.

March 23 1861

Stuart in a letter recalling Sumner’s treatment of him.  JEBS-My Dear Brother, Jan 18 1861 VHS Stuart Papers

Wert, Jeffry D. Cavalryman of the Lost Cause. New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2008. pg44

“If the Second Corps had a touch above the common;…it was very largely through the inspiration derived from the gallant old chieftain who first organized them and led them into battle.”

Walker, Francis Amasa

History of the Second Corps in the Army of the Potomac (New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887),11-13

Carmen, Ezra.  The Maryland Campaign of 1862. Ed. Joseph Pierro.  New York: Routledge, 2008 pg75

“Much may be said upon either side of the question whether, with his mental habits and at his advanced age, he should have been designated for the command of twenty thousand new troops in the field, against a resolute and tenacious enemy skillfully and audaciously led.”

Walker, Francis Amasa

History of the Second Corps in the Army of the Potomac (New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887),11-13

Carmen, Ezra.  The Maryland Campaign of 1862. Ed. Joseph Pierro.  New York: Routledge, 2008 pg75

“The commander himself was of race horse stock; he ran until he dropped; and he expected no less from every man of his raw troops

Walker, Francis Amasa

Walker commenting on Sumner as commander of his division of raw troops.

Walker, Francis A. History of the Second Corps in the Army of the Potomac (New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887),11-13

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