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General McClellan . Too Cautious?

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  • #61
    Originally posted by D1J1 View Post

    Yet it was Little Mac himself who communicated that his horses were fatigued and underfed along with being ill. The words hoof and mouth aren't found that I can tell. As to the supplies not being delivered, perhaps not to that as well. https://www.nytimes.com/1862/11/10/a...ry-of-war.html

    Now, back to the excuse making for the general who did more for the rebel cause than anyone but Lee himself!

    Regards,
    Dennis
    While I'm not an expert on horse disease, hoof and mouth is a fast moving viral scourge of cloven hoofed animals- sheep, cattle, & hogs.
    Fast infectious epidemics of horses are mostly viruses , and fluke borne parasites, and in the 1860's had to be treated by quarantine and rest.

    https://info.mannapro.com/equine/top...horse-diseases.

    Horses take a beating in warfare:
    Image result for battle of bosworth
    The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

    Comment


    • #62
      Originally posted by marktwain View Post

      While I'm not an expert on horse disease, hoof and mouth is a fast moving viral scourge of cloven hoofed animals- sheep, cattle, & hogs.
      Fast infectious epidemics of horses are mostly viruses , and fluke borne parasites, and in the 1860's had to be treated by quarantine and rest.

      https://info.mannapro.com/equine/top...horse-diseases.

      Horses take a beating in warfare:
      Image result for battle of bosworth
      I am sure you are correct with the above, but the point is twofold. The two posters who seem to run together in more than one forum as some kind of "MDL" (McClellan Defense League) allege things as fact that are open to dispute, like the non-delivery of supplies which was contested at the time as my citation shows.

      Second, Little Mac was more than immediate in grasping any and all excuses for his lack of performance did not, to the best of my ability to find it, cite hoof and mouth.

      To your post, horses absolutely wear down, but the exertions of a few weeks can be recouped fairly shortly. It wasn't like Mac had his men doing the kind of marches Jackson put his "foot cavalry" through by any stretch of the imagination.

      The weeks, nearly two months, wasted after Antietam was far more than sufficient for that recovery. At that time of year western Maryland would be stocked with forage for those animals. That was readily available and Lee was not there long enough to put much of a dent in that supply.

      Timidity and an complete lack of ability in battle continue to be the hallmarks of McClellan. Sadly, his magnificent skills at organization could not be paired with anything remotely resembling combat leadership.

      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!

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by D1J1 View Post

        I am sure you are correct with the above, but the point is twofold. The two posters who seem to run together in more than one forum as some kind of "MDL" (McClellan Defense League) allege things as fact that are open to dispute, like the non-delivery of supplies which was contested at the time as my citation shows.

        Second, Little Mac was more than immediate in grasping any and all excuses for his lack of performance did not, to the best of my ability to find it, cite hoof and mouth.

        To your post, horses absolutely wear down, but the exertions of a few weeks can be recouped fairly shortly. It wasn't like Mac had his men doing the kind of marches Jackson put his "foot cavalry" through by any stretch of the imagination.

        The weeks, nearly two months, wasted after Antietam was far more than sufficient for that recovery. At that time of year western Maryland would be stocked with forage for those animals. That was readily available and Lee was not there long enough to put much of a dent in that supply.

        Timidity and an complete lack of ability in battle continue to be the hallmarks of McClellan. Sadly, his magnificent skills at organization could not be paired with anything remotely resembling combat leadership.

        Regards,
        Dennis
        AGreed - horse care is a combination of medical knowledge and rule of thumb And in the 1860's a lot of rule of thumb.
        I miss asking my late father for advice , even if it started with
        ' are you arguing on that$&[email protected]!?' Internet again?'
        The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

        Comment


        • #64
          This has been a very interesting thread. Didn't know about the hoof-n-mouth outbreak among the AoP's herds: unchecked, that might've wiped 'em out. Let me pose this question, by starting with a quote: a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week - George S Patton, Gen, USA. In IOC the mantra was something to the effect of "an 80% solution executed with commitment is better than a 100% solution executed halfheartedly." Was McClellan's failing that he desired too much to acquire the perfect intelligence, to formulate the perfect plan, and thus allowed opportunities to defeat his enemies slip by?
          I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
            Was McClellan's failing that he desired too much to acquire the perfect intelligence, to formulate the perfect plan, and thus allowed opportunities to defeat his enemies slip by?
            I suspect that Little Mac's failings were two fold
            • He thought he was Napoleon recreated but lacked the same's abilities - his actual ability was probably slightly poorer than Napoleon III's
            • He had political designs on the presidency and his political manoeuvring took priority over battlefield moves.
            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


            • #66
              Originally posted by MarkV View Post

              I suspect that Little Mac's failings were two fold
              • He thought he was Napoleon recreated but lacked the same's abilities - his actual ability was probably slightly poorer than Napoleon III's
              • He had political designs on the presidency and his political manoeuvring took priority over battlefield moves.
              Agreed - to a point.

              Napoleon lost his sense for directing the thorough planning of others as he passed into his forties. during his planned spring invasion of Poland, hundreds of thousands of horses were gathered into the North Polish plains- without enough pasture to support them. Sand colic became epidemic. Then the horses were forced into a mad dash into Lithuania.

              No one dared to tell the emperor, as they would have in past years, that the winters' pasturing had been a disaster- and that feeding them unripen sweet rye compounded the error- the horses became insulin spiked- with all the consequences.

              If your refer to the titanic Massena and Me horse care and Napoleon's invasion debates of six years ago----
              UHHHH, won't blame you if you skip them....
              The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
                This has been a very interesting thread. Didn't know about the hoof-n-mouth outbreak among the AoP's herds: unchecked, that might've wiped 'em out. Let me pose this question, by starting with a quote: a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week - George S Patton, Gen, USA. In IOC the mantra was something to the effect of "an 80% solution executed with commitment is better than a 100% solution executed halfheartedly." Was McClellan's failing that he desired too much to acquire the perfect intelligence, to formulate the perfect plan, and thus allowed opportunities to defeat his enemies slip by?
                Good point. Unfortunately,

                Some battalions simply didn’t recognize the position of “Veterinary Sergeant” at all, with disastrous effects. On one occasion, a Union regiment received a number of new horses in poor health. Lacking a veterinarian or farrier, the regiment’s officers selected five regular soldiers to care for the horses. He gave them a horse medicine chest and a copy of a 1783 book entitled Every Man His Own Horse Doctor, then wished them luck. The men improvised without the ingredients for the remedies in their book, concocting medications out of arsenic, water, and flour. Soon, half the new horses were dead, and the soldiers had been removed from horse-duty.

                http://www.civilwarmed.org/animal/

                Horses are basically herd subordinate couch potatoes that love to wander around together munching N cropping eighteen hours a day. The experienced mares that matriarch the herd lead them to safe grazing and water. War is a totally alien experience for a horse.

                Prairie wool, or rough fescue, is an ideal horse feed- high protein, low plant sugars. My grandfather used to turn the farm herd loose in the Winter fescue pastures to forage all winter- pawing through the snow, drinking snw and icy creek water.

                I asked my late dad once if they were fed oats in the cold months.

                "what the &&*^%$ for?" was his answer.


                The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

                Comment


                • #68
                  Originally posted by slick_miester View Post
                  This has been a very interesting thread. Didn't know about the hoof-n-mouth outbreak among the AoP's herds: unchecked, that might've wiped 'em out. Let me pose this question, by starting with a quote: a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week - George S Patton, Gen, USA. In IOC the mantra was something to the effect of "an 80% solution executed with commitment is better than a 100% solution executed halfheartedly." Was McClellan's failing that he desired too much to acquire the perfect intelligence, to formulate the perfect plan, and thus allowed opportunities to defeat his enemies slip by?
                  Feeding, of course, was a critical part of the horses’ care. The daily ration prescribed for an artillery horse was 14 pounds of hay and 12 pounds of grain, usually oats, corn or barley. The amount of grain and hay needed by any particular battery depended on the number of horses that battery had at the time. It varied almost from day to day, but it was always enormous. The horses of the battery had to be fed each day, whether the battery moved or not. During the Civil War, an artillery battery might sit in the same place for weeks at a time, and yet consume thousands of pounds of hay and grain each day.

                  The prescribed rations were not always available. Sometimes, especially as the war went on and areas were picked clean by the opposing armies, severe shortages of grain and hay developed. At other times, there was available grain and hay but they could not be delivered to the batteries needing them. The artillery horses of the Union V Corps subsisted on a daily ration of five pounds of grain as Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant pushed south in May 1864. The meager rations were the result of a shortage of wagons, not a lack of grain. After the artillery wagons had delivered hay and grain to the batteries, infantry units seized them and used them as makeshift ambulances to carry the thousands of wounded back from the Wilderness and Spotsylvania.




                  Pasturage was sometimes available, but green grass and field plants were not efficient foods. Eighty pounds of pasturage was needed to match the nutritional value of 26 pounds of dry hay and grain, the prescribed daily ration. In addition, green pasturage increased the likelihood that a horse might founder. Nevertheless, pasturage was used, either as a supplement to the regular ration or as the primary source of nutrition for short periods, if hay and grain were not available.

                  http://www.thomaslegion.net/american...seskilled.html

                  superb article and well worth a read.

                  The Horse has a really rugged resistance to flesh wounds, provided they are cleaned, washed, and coated with pork fat( preferably) in the field. it's delicate points are the caecum, the hind gut, the respiratory systems, and the lower legs, esp. the hooves.

                  A high grain diet , or "high plant sugars', such as Italian ryegrass, play havoc with their digestion, blood sugars, and cause hoof problems that require extensive rest, or retirement, - which are not easily found in horse short areas.

                  Another "theory" , discussed extensively, in the old AHS, was that horses were "just way too small' and an "efficient horse ' should weigh 4to 5- thousand pounds...

                  the Danish developer of this on line revelation turned out to be a poster who had been inner city bound in Copenhagen - all his life....
                  or, uhh, the 'internal MRI steed'....
                  Last edited by marktwain; 14 May 19, 19:29.
                  The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by 67th Tigers View Post

                    Saph is correct.

                    Napoleon at Waterloo

                    Napoleon's main HQ was at La Ferme du Caillou. This is 2.6 km from Ney's forward CP at La Belle Alliance and 4.1 km from the Allied line. Napoleon got up and breakfasted with his generals at du Caillou at 0800. He dismissed the reports of his generals who'd been on the field that morning. Around 0900 the breakfast was over and Napoleon gave a final briefing and left Caillou sometime around 0930.

                    Napoleon rode to La Belle Alliance, had a quick look at Wellington's position, and then retired to Rossomme Farm. He rode through 1er Corps en route from La Belle Alliance to Rossomme Farm, 1.5 km south of LBA (this is wrongly sometimes reported as "inspecting the troops"). He arrived there before 1000, because we know he issued an order to Gouchy from there at 1000. Ney was left in command of the field.

                    Napoleon didn't visit the forward CP at LBA for some time. It was 1600 before he left Rossomme and returned to LBA. Napoleon had sat out the first 4.5 hours of combat. On returning he found Ney had launched a cavalry charge, and Napoleon ordered the reserve cavalry in as well. Napoleon then became aware of the Prussians at Plancenoit, and telescoped in on that, leaving the combat with Wellington still entirely in Neys hands.

                    At 1830, Ney finally took La Haie Sainte, and there was an opportunity. Ney brought his gunline forward and sent an ADC back to have the Guard sent in. Napoleon refused, because he might need them at Plancenoit. Ney himself rode back and argued his case with Napoleon, and at ca. 1930 Napoleon agreed and released the Guard to Ney.

                    Napoleon rode with Ney as far forward at La Haie Sainte, but then turned back to LBF. At 2030, sitting at LBF he returned to Rossomme Farm, boarded his carriage, and his last retreat began.

                    McClellan and Lee at Antietam

                    Now we can compare to some civil war commanders.

                    Lee at Antietam set up a CP on Cemetery Hill, around a mile in the rear of the rebel lines, NW of the town itself. He only left there once during the whole battle. Since there was no movement on Longstreet's front, and heavy pressure on Jackson, around 0800 hours Lee committed his entire reserve to Jackson and rode over to Jackson's CP at the Reel House. He remained there for about 90 mins until news of Burnside attempting an assault was received. Lee returned to Cemetery Hill and remained there for the battle.

                    McClellan at Antietam set his CP co-located with Porter's. He left there at least once and maybe twice. In the early afternoon McClellan rode to the right to consult with Sumner and Franklin. Whilst there he directed Hancock to take command of Richardson's division. As McClellan was also with Sumner around 1600 it's not clear whether there was one long visit or two shorter ones. Mostly likely McClellan remained ca. 90 mins with Sumner etc., and he rode back to his CP on hearing that Burnside had finally started to advance. This is a similar pattern to Lee.

                    Both McClellan and Lee were about equally as "forward" as the other. Both remained at their CP except for one visit to an important sector. This was, in fact, more involved than Napoleon was at Waterloo.
                    Neither 'Saph' nor you are correct regarding Napoleon at Waterloo. Seems to me that you are relying on the movie version of events instead of historical evidence and fact.

                    And you have not named your 'source.'

                    I would suggest that if you are going to delve into the Napoleonic period you could at least view some reliable and credible source material. You might want to take a look at Andrew Field's excellent work on Waterloo.

                    Why did you bring Napoleon up, albeit inaccurately, on the Civil War Board?
                    Last edited by Massena; 15 May 19, 10:46.

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by MarkV View Post

                      I suspect that Little Mac's failings were two fold
                      • He thought he was Napoleon recreated but lacked the same's abilities - his actual ability was probably slightly poorer than Napoleon III's
                      • He had political designs on the presidency and his political manoeuvring took priority over battlefield moves.
                      Only 'slightly'?

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Massena View Post

                        Only 'slightly'?
                        Given the failure at Sedan 1870 Napoleon III's capabilities have to be rated pretty low.
                        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


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by MarkV View Post

                          Given the failure at Sedan 1870 Napoleon III's capabilities have to be rated pretty low.
                          Agree completely.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                            Again pondering my new readings of the civil war from a basis of not knowing a lot .George McClellan it seems is given a lot of credit for actually creating a trained union army in pretty short order after the slow beginnings in 1861 but seems to get a decent amount of criticism (Including from the POTUS) for not actually using it particularly in 1862 when he transported his army south by boat to then park it not far from Richmond and then just stay put. I know he seems to have been convinced that the CSA had a large force nearby when he in fact outnumbered them ten to one or therabouts but nonetheless looks like he was just too cautious? What's the prevailing thinking from the more well read?

                            I think he was a great general, see here.

                            https://www.amazon.com/George-McClel.../dp/0873389891

                            https://www.amazon.com/Life-Campaign...gateway&sr=8-3

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                            • #74
                              There is an over-abundance of historical evidence to prove that your assertion is wrong. And quite a bit of it has been posted on this forum in other threads over the years.

                              The bottom line is McClellan was defeated by Lee in the Seven Days Campaign and was outgeneraled at Antietam.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                McClellan was not too cautious; he just relied on ridiculously poor information during the Peninuslar Camapign.
                                He captured West Virginia, advanced to within 12 miles of Richmond, and attacked Lee so hard at Antietam that Lee had to “retrograde” to Virginia, to use D.S. Freeman’s word. Few other generals did as much. Even Grant couldn’t break Lee like McClellan did at Antietam, and Grant never had to face Jackson.
                                Had McClellan had accurate information in front of Richmond, I believe he would have taken the city.

                                The timid criticism could be applied to Meade instead. Meade kept to the defensive at Gettysburg and moved cautiously in the operations of late 1863. He never lost, but he barely took the offensive.
                                "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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