Allen Pinkerton not the fraud we think?

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prroh

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I attended a lecture tonight where the lecturer a well know academic and civil war historian said that Allen Pinkerton has gotten a bad rap for almost 145 years but recent research that the hugely inflated estimates that McClellan threw around, using Pinkerton as a source did not come from Pinkerton.

The assertion was made that Pinkerton's main task to to figure Order of Battle estimates. The reports he gave to McClellan would list three estimates low, probable and high. The estimates were high but not unrealistically so. He was trying to please his boss, after all. The estimates that McClellan threw around greatly exceeded Pinkerton's reports. McClellan never shared the contents of Pinkerton's reports so everyone assumed he was quoting the detective with maybe a 25% markup.

Anybody know about the fairly recent access to Pinkerton's reports that would show that McClellan basically ignored Pinkerton and used him as cover for his off the wall OOB estimates which were sometimes off by 400%?

If true, this is further proof that McClellan was even weirder than is generally believed.
 

K Hale

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Interesting. Who gave the lecture?
 

Elennsar

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What she asked, and a question: 400%? That seems high even for McClellan's habit of considering himself outnumbered in any and all situations.
 
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prroh

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What she asked, and a question: 400%? That seems high even for McClellan's habit of considering himself outnumbered in any and all situations.
Yes it does although 200% was more the average.
 

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All too interesting from my point of view. Why would McClellan blow the numbers so far out of proportion. What kind of a general would want to create overwhelming odds against himself?
 
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prroh

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All too interesting from my point of view. Why would McClellan blow the numbers so far out of proportion. What kind of a general would want to create overwhelming odds against himself?
Good question and one that historians have been asking for 140 years, It was a good excuse for inaction and so avoids the possibility of failure.

McClellan was a complex man who built one of the world's great army's and didn't want to see it damaged in battle. Lincoln called the Army of the Potomac 'McClellan's bodyguard" and asked the general if he might borrow the army as McClellan seemed to have nothing for them to do.

At Antietam, McClellan held back a reserve that could have destroyed the ANV several times for fear that Lee was hiding a huge force for a suprise counterattack despite the fact that Lee was seen to be moving the same troops from one end of the battlefield to another all day.
 

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So all McClellan was doing was polishing off the army but never getting it in a situation to be tarnished or used. He was so afraid of dents that he fabricated his own reasons for inaction. Hmm.... I wonder why Lincoln did nothing about him for so long?
 

K Hale

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I wonder why Lincoln did nothing about him for so long?
Who are you going to replace him with who is A) senior enough and B) can be predicted in 1862 to be a better performer?

Like Lincoln said when people told him to replace McClellan with anyone, "I can't have anyone. I must have someone."
 
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prroh

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So all McClellan was doing was polishing off the army but never getting it in a situation to be tarnished or used. He was so afraid of dents that he fabricated his own reasons for inaction. Hmm.... I wonder why Lincoln did nothing about him for so long?
As he said after 2nd Bull Run/Manassas , although he did not want to restore McClellan to command he had little choice. Within a short period, McClellan had restored morale in the Army and integrated Pope's Army of VA into the ANV. Lee thought that he was facing a demoralized foe at Antietam and was dismayed to find otherwise.

McClellan withheld about 25-30,000 veteran troops from Pope although directly ordered to do so, six times in two days. From letters to his wife and friends, McClellan intimated that he wanted Pope to fail so he would be recalled. Little Mac thought that he was chosen by God as the instrument to save the Union.

Anyway, we are drifting away from my original question. Anybody know the source of the the access to hitherto unreleased reports of Pinkerton to McClellan on troop strength?

Pat

Pat
 

TxSouthpaw

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I wonder why Lincoln did nothing about him for so long?
McClellan's army loved him and Lincoln was worried at the risk that if he fired McClellan there would be a mutiny; Mac could rally the troops and march on Washington. I read last night (in Foote's first volume) that about 2,000 troops were at the train station to bid McClellan adieu. Seems they unhitched his train car and called for Little Mac to lead them to Washington. Mac told them they had to respect the President's order and they hitched it back up.
 

TxSouthpaw

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From letters to his wife and friends, McClellan intimated that he wanted Pope to fail so he would be recalled.
Agreed, I think McClellan said that Pope should get out this "scrape" himself, something to that extent.
 
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prroh

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"Anybody know the source of the the access to hitherto unreleased reports of Pinkerton to McClellan on troop strength?"

I guess my answer is no.
 

K Hale

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We all know the source; we're just not telling you. :smile:
 

prroh

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We all know the source; we're just not telling you. :smile:
It might be because there is no source. At the lecture, when I heard about the availability of these heretofore secret reports from Pinkerton to McClellan, I thought:"huh? Hows come I never heard a peep about the papers?"
 
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prroh

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Agreed, I think McClellan said that Pope should get out this "scrape" himself, something to that extent.
He did use the words "scrape" , your paraphrase is close. Some reasonable people thought his actions was at least skirting with treason.
 
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