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General McClellan . Too Cautious?

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  • #16
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothea_Dix
    The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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    • #17
      McClellan's estimates of the enemy force at Richmond were broadly correct. If I may quote Harsh's "On the McClellan-go-round":

      Harsh%2BOtMGR%2BPinkerton.png

      His estimates at Yorktown were correct, McClellan was not fooled:

      YT%2Bestimate%2Bvs%2Breal.png

      McClellan faced an equal force at Yorktown, dug in and behind a river. As Johnston withdrew to Richmond he was reinforced by the troops from Norfolk, the "Army of the North" and a few other brigades. At the time of Seven Pines Johnston appears to have a larger army than McClellan. The reinforcement by McCall's division restored equality temporarily, but Jackson's arrival meant Lee again had a superior force.

      Babcock had fed some wrong information into the system, leading to an overestimate of 36 regiments (ca. 22,000 overestimate - the estimates were 150,000 at Richmond vs 128,000 aggregate present from the number of rations issued). McClellan was outnumbered, but his int said he was outnumbered more than he actually was.


      "[T]he worst that could be said of the Peninsula campaign was that thus far it had not been successful. To make it a failure was reserved for the agency of General Halleck." -Emory Upton

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      • #18
        Hey a thread about history! I might join for a bit! 67th Tigers, that is fascinating! I've always wondered why McClellan imagined the rebel army to be so big.

        Another good Lincoln statement on McClellan is the following story. One morning while in army camp, Lincoln rose early to take a walk with a friend from Illinois. The two walked to the highest ridge, or point, taking in the immensity of the Army of the Potomac, whose tents and fires seemed to stretch for miles. The two were silent for a time, then Lincoln suddenly asked his friend, “Do you know what this is?” Puzzled, his friend replied that of course he knew, it was the Army of the Potomac. “So it is called,” Lincoln replied, “but that is a mistake. It is McClellan’s bodyguard.”
        "A foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse." Ulysses S. Grant

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        • #19
          Originally posted by jonny87kz View Post
          Hey a thread about history! I might join for a bit! 67th Tigers, that is fascinating! I've always wondered why McClellan imagined the rebel army to be so big.

          Another good Lincoln statement on McClellan is the following story. One morning while in army camp, Lincoln rose early to take a walk with a friend from Illinois. The two walked to the highest ridge, or point, taking in the immensity of the Army of the Potomac, whose tents and fires seemed to stretch for miles. The two were silent for a time, then Lincoln suddenly asked his friend, “Do you know what this is?” Puzzled, his friend replied that of course he knew, it was the Army of the Potomac. “So it is called,” Lincoln replied, “but that is a mistake. It is McClellan’s bodyguard.”
          As with many Lincoln quotes, this one seems to be repeated without giving the time context. According to the only place I could find which gave a date to it, this was during Lincoln's battlefield tour over two weeks after the Battle of Antietam.

          At this time, the Army of the Potomac was in fact low on supplies (and had been since shortly after the battle) - there was a screw up with supplies where they were being issued to the Washington garrison instead of to the actual Army of the Potomac well over fifty miles away. This wasn't rectified until the second week of October (no apology or anything, they just quietly unblocked the supplies), and the first supplies arrived at Hagerstown on the 14th of October.

          McClellan issues orders to cross the Potomac on the 22nd October and begins crossing on the 25th.

          So if it was "McClellan's bodyguard" it was probably because it was getting only the supplies an actual bodyguard unit would need.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Saphroneth View Post

            As with many Lincoln quotes, this one seems to be repeated without giving the time context. According to the only place I could find which gave a date to it, this was during Lincoln's battlefield tour over two weeks after the Battle of Antietam.

            At this time, the Army of the Potomac was in fact low on supplies (and had been since shortly after the battle) - there was a screw up with supplies where they were being issued to the Washington garrison instead of to the actual Army of the Potomac well over fifty miles away. This wasn't rectified until the second week of October (no apology or anything, they just quietly unblocked the supplies), and the first supplies arrived at Hagerstown on the 14th of October.

            McClellan issues orders to cross the Potomac on the 22nd October and begins crossing on the 25th.

            So if it was "McClellan's bodyguard" it was probably because it was getting only the supplies an actual bodyguard unit would need.
            This is far from the only instance of Lincoln attempting to get Little Mac to move. All of those messages are well known, cogent. and illustrative of Mac's lack of ability in battle. His hesitancy to act combined with the blanket and avid acceptance of wildly inaccurate rebel numbers provided to him in support of his inactivity and indecisiveness are far to numerous to ignore or be washed away.

            Regards,
            Dennis
            If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

            Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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            • #21
              The bottom line, as has been shown in more than one thread on this forum, is that McClellan was a failure as an army commander. He was too young and inexperienced, except in his own mind, and was apparently gun-shy.
              We are not now that strength which in old days
              Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
              Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
              To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Saphroneth View Post

                As with many Lincoln quotes, this one seems to be repeated without giving the time context. According to the only place I could find which gave a date to it, this was during Lincoln's battlefield tour over two weeks after the Battle of Antietam.

                .
                A dated Lincoln quote
                To George B. McClellan [1]

                Washington City, D.C.
                Majr. Genl. McClellan Oct. 24 [25]. 1862

                I have just read your despatch about sore tongued and fatiegued horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigue anything? A. LINCOLN

                Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by MarkV View Post

                  A dated Lincoln quote
                  To George B. McClellan [1]

                  Washington City, D.C.
                  Majr. Genl. McClellan Oct. 24 [25]. 1862

                  I have just read your despatch about sore tongued and fatiegued horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigue anything? A. LINCOLN
                  Indeed, and in context you should be using it to point out Lincoln's crassness and lack of understanding. Both McClellan's and Lee's armies had serious outbreaks of hoof and mouth disease. Lincoln made crass epigrams and was unconcerned by the military problem. Davis had fresh horses sent.
                  "[T]he worst that could be said of the Peninsula campaign was that thus far it had not been successful. To make it a failure was reserved for the agency of General Halleck." -Emory Upton

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Massena View Post
                    The bottom line, as has been shown in more than one thread on this forum, is that McClellan was a failure as an army commander. He was too young and inexperienced, except in his own mind, and was apparently gun-shy.
                    He also relied on wildly inaccurate information in the Seven Days.

                    He could and did move boldly when he thought the odds were balanced or in his favor, as at South Mountain and Antietam.
                    "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                    "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by American87 View Post

                      He also relied on wildly inaccurate information in the Seven Days.

                      He could and did move boldly when he thought the odds were balanced or in his favor, as at South Mountain and Antietam.
                      He moved slowly after the find of Lee's lost order. And his performance at Antietam was lackluster. He sat at his headquarters and let an excellent opportunity to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia slip away. He caught Lee outnumbered and with his back to the Potomac and Lee fought off every attack and then got away out of McClellan's reach, not that McClellan would take advantage of anything the army won for him,
                      We are not now that strength which in old days
                      Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                      Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                      To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by 67th Tigers View Post

                        . Davis had fresh horses sent.
                        Probably not too bright a move if there was foot and mouth present as they would quicly come down with it.
                        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Massena View Post

                          He moved slowly after the find of Lee's lost order.
                          We've had long discussions about this. He moved on South Mountain before SO191 was found.

                          And his performance at Antietam was lackluster. He sat at his headquarters and let an excellent opportunity to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia slip away. He caught Lee outnumbered and with his back to the Potomac and Lee fought off every attack and then got away out of McClellan's reach,
                          You've destroyed your own argument. Lee's army repelled every attack...
                          "[T]he worst that could be said of the Peninsula campaign was that thus far it had not been successful. To make it a failure was reserved for the agency of General Halleck." -Emory Upton

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                            Probably not too bright a move if there was foot and mouth present as they would quicly come down with it.
                            That's a hell of a circumlocution...

                            The question was why are fresh horses needed. The answer is the outbreak of a destructive disease.
                            "[T]he worst that could be said of the Peninsula campaign was that thus far it had not been successful. To make it a failure was reserved for the agency of General Halleck." -Emory Upton

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by American87 View Post

                              He also relied on wildly inaccurate information in the Seven Days.
                              Lee actually did outnumber McClellan at the Seven Days.
                              "[T]he worst that could be said of the Peninsula campaign was that thus far it had not been successful. To make it a failure was reserved for the agency of General Halleck." -Emory Upton

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by 67th Tigers View Post

                                We've had long discussions about this. He moved on South Mountain before SO191 was found.



                                You've destroyed your own argument. Lee's army repelled every attack...
                                We are not now that strength which in old days
                                Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                                Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                                To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                                Comment

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