Restricted Committee on the Conduct of the War

weasel

Private
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Location
West Michigan
It seems like everything I come across treats the Committee on the Conduct of the War as a horrible, politically-charged way for Congress to insinuate themselves into the decision-making process of the battlefield generals. I'm curious if that's a near-universal opinion or if anyone feels that the Committee had a positive impact anywhere.
 

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
It seems like everything I come across treats the Committee on the Conduct of the War as a horrible, politically-charged way for Congress to insinuate themselves into the decision-making process of the battlefield generals. I'm curious if that's a near-universal opinion or if anyone feels that the Committee had a positive impact anywhere.

It's difficult to find much positive in that particular body. It was cutthroat partisan politics that got very ugly for a lot of Union generals.

Ryan
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
It was an instrument of terror, in a mild form, meant to root out and expose secret enemies of the state, believed to be operating within the ranks of Union armies. To the extent that such enemies existed the Congress would be remiss to leave the control of Union Armies solely in the hands of an executive tht was suspected of not being up to his job of saving the Union.

To a certain extent, the war was a Revolutionary one, in which national survival was seen as at stake by both sides. In the United States at that time, it became only an instrument of instrument of intimidation, but, in struggle to the death, it cold have become an instrument of terror.
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
There was a belief, not entirely unfounded, especially in Washington, that there were many Union officers whose hearts were not really into their jobs of subduing the rebellion.

There were some in Congress who believed Lincoln was being too soft in tring to root out malingerers, if not traitors, within the ranks of the national armies and that Congress should not, could not, leave the job solely to Lincoln and his administration.

The committee served notice that officers who thought they above restraint from Congress and inclined to substitute their wishes and thoughts over those of their political superiors, and there were some, then there would be consequences.
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
It seems like everything I come across treats the Committee on the Conduct of the War as a horrible, politically-charged way for Congress to insinuate themselves into the decision-making process of the battlefield generals. I'm curious if that's a near-universal opinion or if anyone feels that the Committee had a positive impact anywhere.



Revolutionary times sometimes demand Revolutionary Means. The efficacy of the committee depends upon ones view of the progress of the War and from the perspective of ones view of it.

It is easier to see that there was probably no need for the Committee now, than it was at the time. At the time there was a very real question of the progress of the war was being impeded by disaffected or or incompetent Generals of the Unions Armies, and it was just as much the duty of Congress to look into the matter, as it was the Presidents, more so in fact, because they were the direct representatives of the people of the United States, and if there were any doubts, it was their job to see that the President in his roles as Commander In Chief of All the Unions Armies, was doing that job adequately.
 
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