Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

General McClellan . Too Cautious?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #31
    Originally posted by Massena View Post

    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,
    How do you define slow? McClellan quadrupled his marching speed after the Lost Order was discovered, and he attacked the passes at South Mountain. That was a major increase in tempo compared to the initial days of the campaign.

    And McClellan was not gun shy. How many troops did he commit to the Cornfield? Isn't the action on that sector the bloodiest few hours of the war, maybe the Bloody Angle at Spottsylvania excepted? He did not commit his last division, but that's because he was conservative, and for all I know it was standard textbook procedure. How many times did Grant commit 100 percent of his forces in a pitched battle?
    "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

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

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by D1J1 View Post

      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
      Okay, then let's hear the best one.

      Note that I'm asking you to provide your best example - that is, the instance where you feel McClellan had the least justification for "hesitancy to act" based on both what he could feasibly know at the time and what was actually true.


      The reason for this is that I want you to make the pick; the tradeoff is that, if there is a valid reason, you concede that McClellan was justified in his pause.



      ED:
      I should check, by the way - do you think that Lincoln should have expected McClellan to be advancing south of the Potomac during early October, given the lack of supply? If so, what operational movements do you suggest McClellan should have made?

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by American87 View Post

        How do you define slow? McClellan quadrupled his marching speed after the Lost Order was discovered, and he attacked the passes at South Mountain. That was a major increase in tempo compared to the initial days of the campaign.
        Slight correction here. McClellan had sent an infantry corps up the road to South Mountain before the Lost Order was delivered to him - there's an error in the usually-given sequence of events. Not sure where it came from, but McClellan's telegram to Lincoln about the Lost Order was actually a telegram of 12 Midnight.

        (The normal chronology says it was 12 Noon; the original telegram clearly states "12 Midnight")

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by American87 View Post

          How do you define slow? McClellan quadrupled his marching speed after the Lost Order was discovered, and he attacked the passes at South Mountain. That was a major increase in tempo compared to the initial days of the campaign.

          And McClellan was not gun shy. How many troops did he commit to the Cornfield? Isn't the action on that sector the bloodiest few hours of the war, maybe the Bloody Angle at Spottsylvania excepted? He did not commit his last division, but that's because he was conservative, and for all I know it was standard textbook procedure. How many times did Grant commit 100 percent of his forces in a pitched battle?
          Yes, he was gun shy. How many battles did he 'miss' in the Peninsula? Where was he during the battle of Antietam? Answer those questions and you'll find that McClellan was indeed 'gun shy.'

          The difference between Grant and McClellan is that Grant was a solid commander and defeated Lee. McClellan was not and failed.
          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


          • #35
            Originally posted by Massena View Post

            Yes, he was gun shy. How many battles did he 'miss' in the Peninsula? Where was he during the battle of Antietam? Answer those questions and you'll find that McClellan was indeed 'gun shy.'

            The difference between Grant and McClellan is that Grant was a solid commander and defeated Lee. McClellan was not and failed.
            You seem to be arguing based on McClellan not placing himself in the front line, but the proper place for a commander is not to fight - he has a battle to organize.

            Certainly McClellan was away during the start of one battle, Glendale; he was conferring with the Navy who would determine where his supplies would arrive and where he would thus be falling back to. He returned to shore.
            Certainly also McClellan was south of the river during Gaines Mill; he was trying to determine how many reinforcements could be sent and send them.

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by Saphroneth View Post

              You seem to be arguing based on McClellan not placing himself in the front line, but the proper place for a commander is not to fight - he has a battle to organize.

              Certainly McClellan was away during the start of one battle, Glendale; he was conferring with the Navy who would determine where his supplies would arrive and where he would thus be falling back to. He returned to shore.
              Certainly also McClellan was south of the river during Gaines Mill; he was trying to determine how many reinforcements could be sent and send them.
              A commander's place, at any level, is with the troops he commands. McClellan didn't do that, and if he was present, as at Antietam, he sat on his hands and did not influence the battle with the exception of not using his reserve.
              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


              • #37
                Originally posted by Massena View Post

                A commander's place, at any level, is with the troops he commands. McClellan didn't do that, and if he was present, as at Antietam, he sat on his hands and did not influence the battle with the exception of not using his reserve.
                At the level of army command a commander's primary responsibility is to manage the commitment of resources. During Antietam McClellan is managing his reserves - he doesn't ride around much because it's a relatively large battlefield and he has to stay somewhere that has signals communication.
                (Lee also doesn't ride around much during Antietam.)

                Note that half the purpose of a HQ is that messengers know where to go to inform the general of something; if the general is moving around this link is broken.


                As the battle goes on troops are arriving and being directed per McClellan's instructions - there's a period when McClellan has no reserve because he committed Richardson when Morell's lead elements came into sight, and Franklin also has to be told where to go when he arrives at the field.

                These jobs need to be done, and they're McClellan's. Once the whole army is closed up then perhaps going and personally supervising a wing would be appropriate, but not until then; the corps commanders are supposed to be able to fight their corps with reasonable competence. It's kind of the point of having corps.



                As for being "with the troops he commands", McClellan is in some cases under fire and generally is on the field. His 1862 battles:

                Advance to the Yorktown line - McClellan is with the right wing column.
                Dam Number One - McClellan is present during the taking of the Garrow Ridge, and leaves to organize moving up the reinforcements.
                Williamsburg - McClellan is organizing the flank move up the York at first and rides to the battle.
                Seven Pines - McClellan does not know which of his two wings will be attacked by Johnston's thrust and is thus where he can commit reserves to whichever one is attacked.
                Oak Grove - McClellan is originally with 6th Corps.
                Beaver Dam Creek - McClellan is with Porter during the battle.
                Gaines Mill - McClellan is in telegraphic communication with Porter and managing reserves being fed to Porter.
                Savage's Station - unsure.
                Glendale - McClellan is on a ship when this starts (albeit in touch with the shore via signals) and transfers to the land.
                Malvern Hill - McClellan is present..
                South Mountain - McClellan is at the main effort.
                Antietam - McClellan is on the field, in the centre of the line and managing reserves as they come in.


                Generally speaking McClellan is close enough to exercise what command can be exercised, which is usually the movement of reserves. He's not fighting at the head of his army, but that's an anachronism and highly inappropriate for anyone above maybe the DC level.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by Saphroneth View Post
                  Slight correction here. McClellan had sent an infantry corps up the road to South Mountain before the Lost Order was delivered to him - there's an error in the usually-given sequence of events. Not sure where it came from, but McClellan's telegram to Lincoln about the Lost Order was actually a telegram of 12 Midnight.

                  (The normal chronology says it was 12 Noon; the original telegram clearly states "12 Midnight")
                  He may have sent a corps up the road, but he quadrupled the marching speed of his whole army after the Lost Order was discovered. I donít think the new interpretation of McClellans dispatch is entirely ground breaking. It seems the Lost Order was still the impetus for his energetic advance towards South Mountain.
                  "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

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

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Yorktown-Remained at Yorktown supervising the embarkation of the divisions that were to make an amphibious envelopment while Hooker, Kearney, and Hancock were engaged with Longstreet.

                    Fair Oaks-McClellan was absent as he was ill.

                    Mechanicsville-Porter fought and won this battle north of the Chickahominy River on his own. McClellan remained south of the river convinced that the Confederate strength was massed there and not north of the river.

                    Gaines' Mill: Porter again fought his battle while McClellan was south of the river. McClellan decided to retreat to the James River.

                    Savage's Station: McClellan not present.

                    Frayser's Farm: McClellan not present.

                    White Oak Swamp: McClellan not present.

                    Glendale: McClellan not present.

                    Malvern Hill: McClellan not present initially was later present on the Union right flank, away from the fighting. Porter again fought the battle, not McClellan.

                    South Mountain: McClellan's overestimation of Confederate strength caused this battle to be 'conducted cautiously.' The outnumbered Confederates, though defeated, withdrew.

                    Antietam: McClellan's orders were ambiguous so his plan might not have been properly understood. McClellan wrote that he intended 'to make the main attack upon the enemy's left-at least to create a diversion in favor of the main attack, with the hope of something more, by assailing the enemy's right-and as soon as one or both of the flank movements were fully successful, to attack their center with any reserve I might then have in hand.' McClellan did not issue any written general order for the Union attack and conducted no reconnaissance of the Confederate positions.

                    The attacks were not coordinated and struck the Confederates separately and were defeated separately. This allowed Lee to shift units to meet such uncoordinated attacks and generally negated the northern numerical advantage. McClellan had 70,000 troops on hand, Lee 39,000.

                    'The failure of the Union army to gain a decisive victory under the prevailing favorable circumstances can be attributed directly to McClellan. The Union troops had fought well; most of the subordinate commanders had led well; and the artillery support had been superb. But there had been lacking a leader with imagination, initiative, and determination. Early in the campaign, through slowness and overcaution, McClellan had allowed the badly dispersed Confederates to unite. He had fought the battle by bits, committing single corps after single corps, which usually had run against superior numbers of Confederates-for Lee had been left free to shift his troops to meet each attack in turn. On several occasions when opportunity for a decisive assault had arisen, McClellan had refused to act. Throughout the battle he had neither led nor inspired, but remained little more than a spectator.'

                    In short, he remained in his headquarters watching the battle instead of participating in it. Like I said, he sat on his hands.

                    What does 'close enough to exercise what command can be exercised,' mean? It makes no sense at all. And it is not an anachronism to fight at the head of his army. Napoleon certainly did it, as did Lee and the senior Confederate commanders.

                    The bottom line is that McClellan failed repeatedly as an army commander and neither led nor inspired.

                    In short, McClellan was 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


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Massena View Post
                      Yorktown-Remained at Yorktown supervising the embarkation of the divisions that were to make an amphibious envelopment while Hooker, Kearney, and Hancock were engaged with Longstreet.
                      Nope. For a start this is Williamsburg, not Yorktown. For the movement from Yorktown McClellan split his army into two wings. He placed one under Sumner consisting of the cavalry, Hooker's division, and the 4th Corps. The remainder of the army were ordered to embark on the ships and land behind the enemy. McClellan intended to go with the amphibious movement.

                      Once news reached McClellan that the rebels were at Williamsburg and entrenched, McClellan sent Kearny's division. When news came back that Sumner wasn't handling the situation, McClellan rode hard for Williamsburg and relieved Sumner. Sumner was sent back to command the river column. McClellan then sent three divisions round the rebel left and turned them, forcing them to retreat.


                      Fair Oaks-McClellan was absent as he was ill.
                      Nope. Whilst he was ill, he got out of his sickbed when firing was heard. He mounted his horse and rode upto New Bridge Heights. He could see smoke and told Sumner to cross his corps immediately and reinforce Heintzelman. Riding back to his HQ he telegraphed Heintzelman, who said there was no attack. McClellan then got into an argument with Franklin - he ordered 6th Corps to cross the river at New Bridge, but the engineers failed to bridge it promptly.

                      In the late afternoon, once Sumner communicated he was across the river and where the line was, McClellan rode over and took personal command of the forces south of the river. He personally commanded the counterattack the next day.

                      Mechanicsville-Porter fought and won this battle north of the Chickahominy River on his own. McClellan remained south of the river convinced that the Confederate strength was massed there and not north of the river.
                      McClellan had intelligence of this attack the evening before. He went to Porter's HQ and commanded the action.

                      You missed Oak Grove, which McClellan personally commanded from Casey's Redoubt.

                      Gaines' Mill: Porter again fought his battle while McClellan was south of the river. McClellan decided to retreat to the James River.
                      Once Jackson had turned Porter, the 5th Corps and McCall withdrew. McClellan personally placed the command along the creek at Gaines' Mill. He went to the main HQ 1 mile south of Porter's HQ, and a proper electrical telegraph wire had been run between them, allowing McClellan to control the action. McClellan sent the reserve division (Slocum), then Richardson's division and Peck's.

                      Savage's Station: McClellan not present.
                      This was a rearguard action. McClellan was in the centre of his moving army, making his HQ at the river crossing the army were using, 2-3 miles south of the rearguard. Sumner had been directed to hold the rear whilst the trains cross the river. Once the trains were clear McClellan issued orders the Sumner and Heintzelman to withdraw across the river. Heintzelman did, but Sumner refused the order. McClellan sent Col Key with a sealed order relieving Sumner of command if he refused McClellan's orders. Sumner sullenly obeyed.

                      Frayser's Farm: McClellan not present.

                      White Oak Swamp: McClellan not present.

                      Glendale: McClellan not present.
                      All the same battle. McClellan personally placed the army and made his command post on the northern slope of Malvern Hill. Around 1600, with no battle occurring, he went to a meeting with Rodgers. He had telegraphic comms, and when Longstreet lost control of his corps McClellan reacted by sending the reserves in by telegraph, and getting back ASAP to resume command.

                      Malvern Hill: McClellan not present initially was later present on the Union right flank, away from the fighting. Porter again fought the battle, not McClellan.
                      McClellan was present at Porter's HQ for all of the fighting. When the attack snowballed as Magruder lost control of his corps, McClellan gathered in a reserve by stripping out brigades from the quiet sectors. McClellan ordered Porter to lead them forward. McClellan remained behind the line with another division in reserve ready to put it in.


                      South Mountain: McClellan's overestimation of Confederate strength caused this battle to be 'conducted cautiously.' The outnumbered Confederates, though defeated, withdrew.
                      McClellan rode with Burnside and commanded. The Federals attacked but were badly repulsed. Only the victory of 6th Corps at Crampton's Gap caused the rebels, who in such a commanding position as not to be seriously threatened, to withdraw.

                      Antietam: McClellan's orders were ambiguous so his plan might not have been properly understood. McClellan wrote that he intended 'to make the main attack upon the enemy's left-at least to create a diversion in favor of the main attack, with the hope of something more, by assailing the enemy's right-and as soon as one or both of the flank movements were fully successful, to attack their center with any reserve I might then have in hand.' McClellan did not issue any written general order for the Union attack and conducted no reconnaissance of the Confederate positions.

                      The attacks were not coordinated and struck the Confederates separately and were defeated separately. This allowed Lee to shift units to meet such uncoordinated attacks and generally negated the northern numerical advantage. McClellan had 70,000 troops on hand, Lee 39,000.
                      McClellan made his CP at Porter's 5th Corps HQ, and commanded the battle.

                      Lee did not "shift forces around". Lee started the battle with 3 divisions in reserve, and a fourth on the march. The Federal attacks were blunted by Lee putting in uncommitted reserves. By the end of the 17th, McClellan had one division in reserve, and so did Lee.

                      What does 'close enough to exercise what command can be exercised,' mean? It makes no sense at all. And it is not an anachronism to fight at the head of his army. Napoleon certainly did it, as did Lee and the senior Confederate commanders. [LEFT]
                      No, Napoleon commanded from his HQ. Lee commanded from his HQ. The other rebel commanders commanded from their HQ's. McClellan commanded from his HQ.

                      McClellan was no further back than Napoleon ever was, and generally further forward. McClellan's CP at Antietam was about the same distance from the fighting as Napoleon's was at Waterloo for example...

                      "[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

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Massena View Post
                        Yorktown-Remained at Yorktown supervising the embarkation of the divisions that were to make an amphibious envelopment while Hooker, Kearney, and Hancock were engaged with Longstreet.

                        Fair Oaks-McClellan was absent as he was ill.

                        Mechanicsville-Porter fought and won this battle north of the Chickahominy River on his own. McClellan remained south of the river convinced that the Confederate strength was massed there and not north of the river.

                        Gaines' Mill: Porter again fought his battle while McClellan was south of the river. McClellan decided to retreat to the James River.

                        Savage's Station: McClellan not present.

                        Frayser's Farm: McClellan not present.

                        White Oak Swamp: McClellan not present.

                        Glendale: McClellan not present.

                        Malvern Hill: McClellan not present initially was later present on the Union right flank, away from the fighting. Porter again fought the battle, not McClellan.

                        South Mountain: McClellan's overestimation of Confederate strength caused this battle to be 'conducted cautiously.' The outnumbered Confederates, though defeated, withdrew.

                        Antietam: McClellan's orders were ambiguous so his plan might not have been properly understood. McClellan wrote that he intended 'to make the main attack upon the enemy's left-at least to create a diversion in favor of the main attack, with the hope of something more, by assailing the enemy's right-and as soon as one or both of the flank movements were fully successful, to attack their center with any reserve I might then have in hand.' McClellan did not issue any written general order for the Union attack and conducted no reconnaissance of the Confederate positions.

                        The attacks were not coordinated and struck the Confederates separately and were defeated separately. This allowed Lee to shift units to meet such uncoordinated attacks and generally negated the northern numerical advantage. McClellan had 70,000 troops on hand, Lee 39,000.

                        'The failure of the Union army to gain a decisive victory under the prevailing favorable circumstances can be attributed directly to McClellan. The Union troops had fought well; most of the subordinate commanders had led well; and the artillery support had been superb. But there had been lacking a leader with imagination, initiative, and determination. Early in the campaign, through slowness and overcaution, McClellan had allowed the badly dispersed Confederates to unite. He had fought the battle by bits, committing single corps after single corps, which usually had run against superior numbers of Confederates-for Lee had been left free to shift his troops to meet each attack in turn. On several occasions when opportunity for a decisive assault had arisen, McClellan had refused to act. Throughout the battle he had neither led nor inspired, but remained little more than a spectator.'

                        In short, he remained in his headquarters watching the battle instead of participating in it. Like I said, he sat on his hands.

                        What does 'close enough to exercise what command can be exercised,' mean? It makes no sense at all. And it is not an anachronism to fight at the head of his army. Napoleon certainly did it, as did Lee and the senior Confederate commanders.

                        The bottom line is that McClellan failed repeatedly as an army commander and neither led nor inspired.

                        In short, McClellan was gun shy.
                        Some of these interpretations of the battles are very odd. McClellan certainly departed the Galena before 1730 hours at Glendale (as when a staffer reached the Galena looking for him then he'd already left), and much of the fighting took place after 1800, for example. Certainly McClellan wasn't on the field at the start of the battle, but he had an important task to do coordinating with the Navy and he headed back to the battlefield once he knew it was going on.

                        As for McClellan being at Malvern Hill, his CP was by Malvern House on the 30th and he stayed there the night of the 30th/1st.
                        McClellan gives the location of his CP on the headers of his communications on 30th June/1st July as "Turkey Bridge", which is by Malvern House.
                        Averell says McClellan commanded from "a plateau in front of a farmhouse".
                        And Everett said he watched the battle from near McClellan, his regiment being on the right, but Everett said:


                        "... I went to the river + washed the blood from my hands and bathed my friend brin, then in camp with Dr. Morrison of Mich 3Ē sent up to join the regt again, after a ride of 3 miles we came to a high bluff on the river + for miles around we could see all of their lines. the gun boats were throwing sheel & our large siege guns wind shell the distant woods and our field batteries + infantry was pitted against theirs and it made the heavens ring. Gen McClellan sat near me & for an hour I with my glass watched the battle. I then went to the front to join my regt..."

                        Thus McClellan is on a high bluff within sight of the battle near a farmhouse; this is Malvern House.



                        As for what command can be exercised, McClellan is commanding the army. He's not a corps commander or a division commander - his job is to command the army as a whole.
                        When divisions come into Antietam it's his job to feed them into the battle, which is what he does. If he's down on the right flank he can't do that and large chunks of his army (Franklin, Morell, Casey) don't have direction when they come onto the battlefield and he's got no idea what's going on on the left.

                        And corps commanders are supposed to be trusted to fight their corps - they should not need their hands held, and the responsibility of the army commander is to command the whole army and hold it together. Tasks like pushing Burnside to go faster, directing reserves as they come up and so on are what McClellan is meant to be doing; a corps commander is a senior general themselves.

                        It's kind of the whole point of having a corps structure instead of just a mass of divisions.



                        As for Lee, can you cite an example of Lee leading his men from the front in the way you're thinking of? He certainly didn't at Antietam - he stayed back where he could see much of the battlefield and orchestrated the movement of reserves - and at Malvern he was with Longstreet's wing coordinating their movement around the flank.
                        Meanwhile Napoleon famously spent most of Waterloo sitting on a stool and when he did move forwards it was only to behind a captured farmhouse; you'd have a better case if you mentioned Wellington, whose style involved riding around and personally imperilling himself a lot.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Actually, speaking of that "shifts troops around", Massena, please name a brigade of Lee's forces which he did that with at Antietam.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Saphroneth View Post

                            At the level of army command a commander's primary responsibility is to manage the commitment of resources. During Antietam McClellan is managing his reserves - he doesn't ride around much because it's a relatively large battlefield and he has to stay somewhere that has signals communication.
                            (Lee also doesn't ride around much during Antietam.)

                            Note that half the purpose of a HQ is that messengers know where to go to inform the general of something; if the general is moving around this link is broken.


                            As the battle goes on troops are arriving and being directed per McClellan's instructions - there's a period when McClellan has no reserve because he committed Richardson when Morell's lead elements came into sight, and Franklin also has to be told where to go when he arrives at the field.

                            These jobs need to be done, and they're McClellan's. Once the whole army is closed up then perhaps going and personally supervising a wing would be appropriate, but not until then; the corps commanders are supposed to be able to fight their corps with reasonable competence. It's kind of the point of having corps.



                            As for being "with the troops he commands", McClellan is in some cases under fire and generally is on the field. His 1862 battles:

                            Advance to the Yorktown line - McClellan is with the right wing column.
                            Dam Number One - McClellan is present during the taking of the Garrow Ridge, and leaves to organize moving up the reinforcements.
                            Williamsburg - McClellan is organizing the flank move up the York at first and rides to the battle.
                            Seven Pines - McClellan does not know which of his two wings will be attacked by Johnston's thrust and is thus where he can commit reserves to whichever one is attacked.
                            Oak Grove - McClellan is originally with 6th Corps.
                            Beaver Dam Creek - McClellan is with Porter during the battle.
                            Gaines Mill - McClellan is in telegraphic communication with Porter and managing reserves being fed to Porter.
                            Savage's Station - unsure.
                            Glendale - McClellan is on a ship when this starts (albeit in touch with the shore via signals) and transfers to the land.
                            Malvern Hill - McClellan is present..
                            South Mountain - McClellan is at the main effort.
                            Antietam - McClellan is on the field, in the centre of the line and managing reserves as they come in.


                            Generally speaking McClellan is close enough to exercise what command can be exercised, which is usually the movement of reserves. He's not fighting at the head of his army, but that's an anachronism and highly inappropriate for anyone above maybe the DC level.
                            a very god point.
                            One of McClellan's difficulties was that competence in command takes a long time to develop. and time had been short. Ambrose Burnside,, for example- given too many men to command in a tense, violent battle. McClellan gets my sympathies. He would have been, it appears, a great complement to general Grant- as a chief of staff.
                            The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by 67th Tigers View Post

                              Nope. For a start this is Williamsburg, not Yorktown. For the movement from Yorktown McClellan split his army into two wings. He placed one under Sumner consisting of the cavalry, Hooker's division, and the 4th Corps. The remainder of the army were ordered to embark on the ships and land behind the enemy. McClellan intended to go with the amphibious movement.

                              Once news reached McClellan that the rebels were at Williamsburg and entrenched, McClellan sent Kearny's division. When news came back that Sumner wasn't handling the situation, McClellan rode hard for Williamsburg and relieved Sumner. Sumner was sent back to command the river column. McClellan then sent three divisions round the rebel left and turned them, forcing them to retreat.



                              Nope. Whilst he was ill, he got out of his sickbed when firing was heard. He mounted his horse and rode upto New Bridge Heights. He could see smoke and told Sumner to cross his corps immediately and reinforce Heintzelman. Riding back to his HQ he telegraphed Heintzelman, who said there was no attack. McClellan then got into an argument with Franklin - he ordered 6th Corps to cross the river at New Bridge, but the engineers failed to bridge it promptly.

                              In the late afternoon, once Sumner communicated he was across the river and where the line was, McClellan rode over and took personal command of the forces south of the river. He personally commanded the counterattack the next day.



                              McClellan had intelligence of this attack the evening before. He went to Porter's HQ and commanded the action.

                              You missed Oak Grove, which McClellan personally commanded from Casey's Redoubt.



                              Once Jackson had turned Porter, the 5th Corps and McCall withdrew. McClellan personally placed the command along the creek at Gaines' Mill. He went to the main HQ 1 mile south of Porter's HQ, and a proper electrical telegraph wire had been run between them, allowing McClellan to control the action. McClellan sent the reserve division (Slocum), then Richardson's division and Peck's.



                              This was a rearguard action. McClellan was in the centre of his moving army, making his HQ at the river crossing the army were using, 2-3 miles south of the rearguard. Sumner had been directed to hold the rear whilst the trains cross the river. Once the trains were clear McClellan issued orders the Sumner and Heintzelman to withdraw across the river. Heintzelman did, but Sumner refused the order. McClellan sent Col Key with a sealed order relieving Sumner of command if he refused McClellan's orders. Sumner sullenly obeyed.



                              All the same battle. McClellan personally placed the army and made his command post on the northern slope of Malvern Hill. Around 1600, with no battle occurring, he went to a meeting with Rodgers. He had telegraphic comms, and when Longstreet lost control of his corps McClellan reacted by sending the reserves in by telegraph, and getting back ASAP to resume command.



                              McClellan was present at Porter's HQ for all of the fighting. When the attack snowballed as Magruder lost control of his corps, McClellan gathered in a reserve by stripping out brigades from the quiet sectors. McClellan ordered Porter to lead them forward. McClellan remained behind the line with another division in reserve ready to put it in.



                              McClellan rode with Burnside and commanded. The Federals attacked but were badly repulsed. Only the victory of 6th Corps at Crampton's Gap caused the rebels, who in such a commanding position as not to be seriously threatened, to withdraw.



                              McClellan made his CP at Porter's 5th Corps HQ, and commanded the battle.

                              Lee did not "shift forces around". Lee started the battle with 3 divisions in reserve, and a fourth on the march. The Federal attacks were blunted by Lee putting in uncommitted reserves. By the end of the 17th, McClellan had one division in reserve, and so did Lee.



                              No, Napoleon commanded from his HQ. Lee commanded from his HQ. The other rebel commanders commanded from their HQ's. McClellan commanded from his HQ.

                              McClellan was no further back than Napoleon ever was, and generally further forward. McClellan's CP at Antietam was about the same distance from the fighting as Napoleon's was at Waterloo for example...
                              And your sourcing for your positions on this subject are...? This subject has been gone over at least three times in some depth here before. You might want to look up that material before continuing.

                              I have sources to present to you if necessary which proves you wrong. The one I used for my posting on McClellan's absences is The West Point Atlas of American Wars, Volume I. There are others, both credible secondary and primary sources that show McClellan absences from the battles his troops fought without him.

                              The bottom line is that McClellan was an incompetent army commander and his blunders prolonged the war.

                              Your comment on Napoleon is incorrect. He led from the front, not from a 'headquarters.' If you believe that incorrect, then please post sources that back up your error.
                              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


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Saphroneth View Post
                                Meanwhile Napoleon famously spent most of Waterloo sitting on a stool and when he did move forwards it was only to behind a captured farmhouse; you'd have a better case if you mentioned Wellington, whose style involved riding around and personally imperilling himself a lot.
                                Really? Where did you find that ridiculous statement? That is incorrect and is more from the movie than anything else. In short, it's wrong.

                                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

                                Latest Topics

                                Collapse

                                Working...
                                X