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Should Lincoln Have Chosen Halleck?

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  • Should Lincoln Have Chosen Halleck?

    As things turned out, Henry Halleck wasn't the best choice that Lincoln could have chosen to succeed McClellan as General of the Armies...or was he? Was there any other general out there who could have been spared from the field that might have better fulfilled the role that Lincoln had in mind?

    As far as that goes, after Grant superceded Halleck, who do you think should have been installed as the army's Chief of Staff?

    (I didn't think a comprehensive enough poll could be constructed for this one without first hearing the potential nominees!)

  • #2
    Only man that comes to my mind off the top of my head would be General Hancock or maybe John Reynolds after Burnside failed at Fredericksburg.

    Matt
    "We Will Stay Here, If We Must All Go to Hell Together"
    -Col. John R. Cooke, 27th NC

    Avatar: My Grandfather on the right. His twin on the left. Their older brother in the middle. In their Navy Blues

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    • #3
      Halleck was chosen long before Fredericksburg, we need to look at the available talent at the time. Given the time frame, I don't see any other viable candidate.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by grognard View Post
        Halleck was chosen long before Fredericksburg, we need to look at the available talent at the time. Given the time frame, I don't see any other viable candidate.
        Agreed. Without Monday-morning quarterbacking, if you look back at it from their perspective Halleck was the ideal choice. Now if you want to change the rules & look back with hindsight, we could discuss other folks.
        Last edited by hellboy30; 27 Sep 07, 16:06.
        The muffled drums sad roll has beat the soldier's last tatoo. No more on life's parade shall meet that brave and fallen few.

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        • #5
          Oh I thought we were talking about head of the AoP Not General of the Armies.
          "We Will Stay Here, If We Must All Go to Hell Together"
          -Col. John R. Cooke, 27th NC

          Avatar: My Grandfather on the right. His twin on the left. Their older brother in the middle. In their Navy Blues

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          • #6
            Nor do I.

            The only other possibility that I can think of is Don Carolos Buell, who was highly thought of at the time. He, of course, quickly disproved that confidence....

            Eric
            "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

            Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Joseph Meyer View Post
              As things turned out, Henry Halleck wasn't the best choice that Lincoln could have chosen to succeed McClellan as General of the Armies...or was he? Was there any other general out there who could have been spared from the field that might have better fulfilled the role that Lincoln had in mind?

              As far as that goes, after Grant superceded Halleck, who do you think should have been installed as the army's Chief of Staff?

              (I didn't think a comprehensive enough poll could be constructed for this one without first hearing the potential nominees!)
              "Old Brains" Halleck despised younger, more militarily gifted, "rising star" officers like Grant and Sherman who actually won the battles that they fought in. Halleck was a vascilating, jealous, overly cautious general who would have been far better suited in counting uniforms and bullets in the Quartermaster Corps.
              "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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              • #8
                Halleck was a good choice in the west he oversaw commanders like, Grant, Sherman, etc even though he got in their way. In hindsight Halleck was the best choice because Grant and Sherman didn't have to worry about his meddling. Also Grant then for all intensive purposes became in charge of the western theatre. There were other choices but Halleck wasn't really needed in the field and officers like Reynolds were.

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                • #9
                  Perhaps some of you Northern-oriented gentlemen could answer a question for me: what exactly was Halleck's job?

                  McClellan organized the army (and did a great job, as far as I can tell).

                  Grant led from the front, so to speak.

                  What exactly did Halleck do? There was no large training establishment, like we have today. The QM General pushed supplies...so what's left for Old Brains to do that he was so bad at?
                  Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
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                  • #10
                    In Washington, Halleck exceled at administrative issues and facilitated the training, equipping, and deployment of thousands of Union soldiers over vast areas.
                    When Grant became general in the field, Halleck's administrative capabilities complemented Grant nicely and they worked well together. Throughout the arduous Overland Campaign and Richmond-Petersburg Campaign of 1864, Halleck saw to it that Grant was properly supplied, equipped, and reinforced on a scale that wore down the Confederates. He agreed with Grant and Sherman on the implementation of total war toward the Southern economy and endorsed both Sherman's March to the Sea and Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan's destruction of the Shenandoah Valley. Alongside Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan, Henry Halleck may be regarded as one of the fathers of modern warfare.
                    The Quartermaster General is in charge of supplies for the entire army, and therefore, Halleck was in charge of supplying leaders like Grant and Sherman with the necessary equipment to implement their strategy of Total War successfully.
                    Just like children sleeping, we can dream this night away... ~NY

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Janos View Post
                      Perhaps some of you Northern-oriented gentlemen could answer a question for me: what exactly was Halleck's job?

                      What exactly did Halleck do? There was no large training establishment, like we have today. The QM General pushed supplies...so what's left for Old Brains to do that he was so bad at?
                      I think I was able to answer the question of what Halleck's job was in the post above this one. As far as his negative qualities, this quote sums him up better than anything I could write.

                      "Although he had impressive credentials, Henry Halleck was not an easy man to work for. The nature of his job and his personality often provoked antagonism, hatred, and contempt. Halleck's strengths were organizing, coordinating, planning, and managing. He could also advise and suggest, and he sometimes ordered subordinates where and when to make a move, but he never was comfortable doing it himself. Halleck seldom worked openly, and as a department commander, he was always at headquarters, separated and aloof from the men. His decisions were the result of neither snap judgments nor friendly discussion, but calculated thinking. He was also prone to violent hatred and never cultivated close relationships. Overall, he generated no love, confidence, or respect."
                      – Kendall D. Gott, Where the South Lost the War
                      Just like children sleeping, we can dream this night away... ~NY

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