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General McClellan . Too Cautious?

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  • You are wrong on many counts.

    For the strengths of the armies in the Peninsula, see Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Volume II, pages 313-317 for the strengths of the Seven Days; pages 218-219 for Seven Pines.

    Seven Pines:

    Union: 14,000 engaged out of a strength of 93,008.
    Confederate: 16,600.

    Seven Days:

    Union: 105,445.
    Confederate: Between 80,000 and 90,000.

    This material is taken from the Official Records.

    McClellan was wrong (again); Lincoln was correct in ordering him out of the Peninsula because it was a failure and eventually in relieving him.

    From The West Point Atlas of American Wars, Volume I, Map 47:

    'In the campaign, Lee had preserved Richmond and had put his opponent to flight. But the Union army, though somewhat demoralized, remained strong. Under a more energetic and confident commander, it could have again advanced on Richmond. Instead, it remained at Harrison's Landing until August, when it was recalled to the Washington area.'

    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


    • Originally posted by Massena View Post
      You are wrong on many counts.

      For the strengths of the armies in the Peninsula, see Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Volume II, pages 313-317 for the strengths of the Seven Days; pages 218-219 for Seven Pines.

      Seven Pines:

      Union: 14,000 engaged out of a strength of 93,008.
      Confederate: 16,600.
      For the Federals six divisions were engaged (all of 2nd, 3rd and 4th Corps). It so happens I recently had cause to look this up in a comparison to Shiloh:

      seven-pines-vs-shiloh-png.300657.png
      This is not a fair comparison, as the Federals use PFD, and the rebels (at SP) use "effectives" from the 20th May memo. To convert present multiply by 1.2*. At Seven Pines roughly 64,000 rebels attacked 51,500 Federals.

      * http://67thtigers.blogspot.com/2015/...1-army-of.html

      ANV%2BPFD%2Bvs%2BAP.png

      Seven Days:

      Union: 105,445.
      Confederate: Between 80,000 and 90,000.
      There are no consolidated rebel returns in the OR. You're using Burton's attempt to add self-reported "effectives" up. If you accept them then then you should multiply the Federal figures by 0.8.

      In fact, unit returns do exist, and when they are added up a total of 112,200 effectives or PFD is found, excluding two regiments which joined mid battle. To quote Harsh:

      "In his memoirs, Joseph Johnston referred to Lee’s forces on June 26 as “the largest Confederate army that ever fought.” He estimated Lee’s reinforcements as follows: 15,000 from North Carolina, 22,000 from South Carolina and Georgia and 16,000 from Jackson, for a total of 53,000. When combined with the 73,000 Johnston had on May 31, this would have given Lee 126,000 men. Johnston later admitted his figures were too high. For example, he counted Lawton twice (with Jackson and with Georgia); he included forces that did not arrive until July and August; and he overestimated Holmes by 150%.

      Johnston’s claims affronted that plank of the “Lost Cause” myth that insisted the Confederates had always been heavily outnumbered, and his figures were emphatically rejected by Charles Marshal, Jubal Early, Jefferson Davies, the Reverend J. William Jones, and Walter Taylor, who insisted Lee had 80,000 men or fewer. These defenders of Confederate meagreness indulged in a bad habit of mixing apples and oranges.” They used the figure for their own “effectives”, a stripped down statistic, whilst employing “present for duty” figures for the enemy. Their 80,000 may be fairly effective for Lee’s combat effectives, but then it should be compared to the approximately 70,000 McClellan had in the same category.

      The total of 112,220 present for duty for the Army of Northern Virginia…. Breaks down as follows:

      Attacking Column North of the Chickahominy

      Army of Northern Virginia
      Longstreet: 14,291
      A.P. Hill: 16,411
      D.H. Hill: 12,318
      Stuart: 2,109
      Total: 45,129

      Army of the Valley
      Jackson: 9,604
      Ewell: 6,353
      Whiting: 5,537
      Cavalry: 605
      Total: 22,099

      Confederate defensive forces south of the Chickahominy:
      McLaws: 4,915
      D.R. Jones: 4,503
      Magruder: 5,671
      Huger: 6,160
      Holmes: 9,018
      Reserve artillery: 1,680
      Cavalry: 2,000
      Richmond defenses: 9,136
      Petersburg defenses: 1,909
      Total: 44,992 "

      "[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


      • And your source is...?

        And why have you not answered the question put to you on the Napoleonic forum on source material?

        The source for the numbers I used is from Battles and Leaders, Volume II, which took them from the Official Records. I didn't get them from Burton.

        Nice try, guess again.
        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


        • Originally posted by American87 View Post
          McClellan did not go on the offensive after Malvern Hill, because it was a rear guard action to cover his retreat. He was preoccupied with protecting the army and drawing up a new plan of operations after he believed his first plan had failed.
          If I may make a couple of points.

          McClellan never intended to fight Malvern Hill at all, and neither did Lee.

          McClellan had intended to halt at the positions he occupied on 30th June, resupply and then counterattack. However, Franklin quit his position without orders. Lt Newhall was sent to find him. Thus there was a desperate scramble during the night to assemble a temporary defensive laager on Malvern Hill.

          Malvern Hill is a bad position. From reasons this map makes clear:

          malvern-jpg.300654.jpg

          Lee intended to envelop Malvern Hill and then it would have been game over.

          As to a post-Malvern Hill advance; the likes of Sears use misquotes to suggest it was possible. In fact Porter indicated that the troops could not hold out another day.

          "[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


          • Originally posted by American87 View Post

            In post #90 you wrote, “He hesitated because he was afraid of engaging. He was bluffed in northern Virginia and again in the Peninsula.
            Regarding Northern Virginia; he wasn't bluffed. The numbers commonly quoted were the troops in the whole of Virginia.

            Johnston had the equivalent of 8 standard divisions (i.e. of 3 full strength brigades each). On the same day (8th March) there was the equivalent of a full division in West Va (2 bdes under "Allegheny" Johnson and a brigade under Harry Heth), and an overstrength (4 bde) division each at both Norfolk and on the Peninsula.

            The December returns show 118,306 present in the four largest departments in Va (SW Va and Henrico county are not included in the return) vs. general estimates of around 120,000 (which are explicitly aggregate present). Thus McClellan's numbers are in fact accurate.
            "[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


            • Originally posted by Massena View Post
              Nice try, guess again... The source for the numbers I used is from Battles and Leaders, Volume II, which took them from the Official Records.
              Hardly a guess.


              pages 218-219 for Seven Pines.

              Seven Pines:

              Union: 14,000 engaged out of a strength of 93,008.
              Confederate: 16,600.
              There is no strength data from the OR in these pages. You seem to be using the opinions of GW Smith on page 219, which Newton notes are wrong.

              GW Smith gives the aggregate PFD of the three engaged Federal Corps as 51,543, the exact number I give above. We both took this figure from OR returns. GW Smith further indicates that only 34,853 infantry effectives were "in close action" over the two days. This is reasonable, as not all of 3rd Corps were engaged due to Kearny's dysfunction.

              The 14,000 you use is GW Smith's estimate of the number of infantry effectives that counterattacked him on the second day of the battle.

              Now, you give 16,600 for rebel engaged. GW Smith gives ca. 39,000 engaged and 26,490 infantry effectives "in close action". Clearly much larger than you give. However, this is an underestimate, as Huger's division, which GW Smith estimates at 3,300, was estimated by Johnston at 7,000, excluding a brigade left at Drewry's Bluff. This fits the regimental average, and so ca. 31,190 were thus "in close action".

              For the strengths of the armies in the Peninsula, see Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Volume II, pages 313-317 for the strengths of the Seven Days;
              Seven Days:

              Union: 105,445.
              Confederate: Between 80,000 and 90,000.

              This material is taken from the Official Records.
              McClellan's strength is certainly from the OR, although of course his effective strength would be lower, about 70,000 effectives according to Harsh. The Confederate strength is simply a guess, and is in effectives. 70,000 Federal effectives against 80-90,000 rebel effectives is about right.
              "[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


              • Post edited. Please keep discussions of the Napoleonic era in their proper forum.

                ACG Staff
                Last edited by D1J1; 29 Jun 19, 04:34.

                Comment


                • Post edited. Please keep discussions of the Napoleonic era in their proper forum.

                  ACG Staff
                  Last edited by D1J1; 29 Jun 19, 04:36. Reason: Off topic for this forum.
                  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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