Did Halleck have any redeeming qualities?

rbasin

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Must disagree. Grant's strategy of concentrating forces in space and time did lead to victory. Sherman was able to hold Johnston at bay and prevent any reinforcement of the ANV. It is true that Grant's subordinates such as Sigel and Butler failed in their particular roles to distract and hold down Confederate forces in their respective fronts, and even Meade's AotP did not succeed in destroying the ANV during the Overland Campaign. But military plans are sure to go awry at the first sound of gunfire, but Grant's ability to adapt to the changing situation on the ground and not throw in the towel, was evidence of his determination and the eventual success of his strategy.
But Grant did not and could not know the field and or battle conditions from City point. Let's use Nashville as an example. Thomas had an ice storm to contend with that by all accounts was pretty bad. It would have affected the usefulness of the cavalry force that Thomas and Wilson built during the battle and afterwards.
 

damYankee

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Gutter rats. Got it. I assume you mean the ones that halleck wrote to Sheridan in response to Sheridan's?
When Grant secured a victory at Shiloh, Halleck did what?
Dismiss him and take over his army advanced on Corinth, as slowly as possible, allowing the Confederate forces to slip away.
When Grant secured a victory at Vicksburg what did Halleck do? Broke up his forces and scatter them all over the West against Grant's and others protests. Unity was not in Halleck's vocabulary. His behavior was like that of a jealous sibling or co-worker who resented the success of others, and had to do everything possible to claim it for himself, or sabotage the other persons reputation.
He was a meddling, incompetent power hungry tool.
 

damYankee

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But Grant did not and could not know the field and or battle conditions from City point. Let's use Nashville as an example. Thomas had an ice storm to contend with that by all accounts was pretty bad. It would have affected the usefulness of the cavalry force that Thomas and Wilson built during the battle and afterwards.
There is another way to look at it, with Halleck second guessing and undermining Grant, perhaps Thomas was confused as to which commander he should listen to...this is the problem with someone as divisive as Halleck, they undermine others.
 

wausaubob

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What I said is not right or is what Halleck did not right?
What I described was taken from Grants Memoirs, and is backed up by letters and copies of the orders that Halleck had fiddled with, an activity which required Grant to stop routing ordered through Washington and rely solely on orders delivered directly to field commanders to avoid meddling from the brass hats ( Staton and Halleck, both useless gutter rats imo) .
Which is confirmed by his decision that sending Logan to Nashville was insufficient and the decision by Grant that he would have to go himself to Nashville. The battle of Nashville intervened and Grant never went to Nashville.
Similarly, even though Sheridan had fired Warren, Grant and Sheridan rode to meet with Meade directly to explain the war ending operation in the pursuit along the Appomattox river. Meade understood and issued orders consistent with the plan.
 

wausaubob

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This one is new to me. Did Grant really protest that he was directed to send troops to where they could be used rather than sitting at Vicksburg?
Halleck reinforced efforts by the US to reoccupy Arkansas and the remainder of Tennessee. Those operations were very important to Lincoln in regard to achieving the eventual abolition of slavery. Halleck was following orders. It was Lincoln's mistake that he did not perceive he was delaying the end of the war.
 

NedBaldwin

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Halleck reinforced efforts by the US to reoccupy Arkansas and the remainder of Tennessee. Those operations were very important to Lincoln in regard to achieving the eventual abolition of slavery. Halleck was following orders. It was Lincoln's mistake that he did not perceive he was delaying the end of the war.
I know where the troops went and I do not perceive it as a mistake
What I was asking what about the statement that Grant protested that forces he had used at Vicksburg were sent somewhere else instead of remaining at Vicksburg
 

wausaubob

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I know where the troops went and I do not perceive it as a mistake
What I was asking what about the statement that Grant protested that forces he had used at Vicksburg were sent somewhere else instead of remaining at Vicksburg
I think Grant wrote that an attempt should be made to capture Mobile as that would help Rosecrans by creating more pressure on the Confederates. But as you suggest, its not clear that he made that suggestion to Washington at that time. He did visit Banks in New Orleans, where they probably discussed it. Banks still had a lot of pull in 1863.
 

NedBaldwin

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I think Grant wrote that an attempt should be made to capture Mobile as that would help Rosecrans by creating more pressure on the Confederates. But as you suggest, its not clear that he made that suggestion to Washington at that time. He did visit Banks in New Orleans, where they probably discussed it. Banks still had a lot of pull in 1863.
He did suggest it at the time and he did visit Banks.
I am not suggesting that it wasnt clear he made this suggestion at the time -- I am questioning the word "protest" about his forces being sent elsewhere.

Mobile was in Banks' Department. To make an attempt at it would involve sending troops to Banks, and in fact Grant sent the 13th corps to Banks after Vicksburg. Halleck wanted them used to go west toward texas instead of east toward Mobile. But I am unaware that Grant ever protested sending them.

Grant also sent the 9th corps back to Burnside. Did he protest this?

Grant also sent a division or two to Arkansas. Did he protest this?

Finally he was directed to send the remaining available force to help Rosecrans. Did he protest this?
 

jackt62

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But Grant did not and could not know the field and or battle conditions from City point. Let's use Nashville as an example. Thomas had an ice storm to contend with that by all accounts was pretty bad. It would have affected the usefulness of the cavalry force that Thomas and Wilson built during the battle and afterwards.
Grant was in error when forcibly urging Thomas at Nashville to the point where he was ready to have him relieved. And that is not the only case where Grant's hand or lack thereof were lacking during his tenure as General-in-Chief. That being said, and in contrast to Halleck, Grant's primary role in that position was in setting a national strategy in cooperation with civilian leadership, and in ensuring that it would be carried out. In that regard, Grant's leadership was a large factor in winning the war.
 

jackt62

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Yours is not the universal conclusion. Others have claimed that Halleck was a direct and dynamic actor... In a work defending Fitz-John Porter, ("Stanton and Halleck in the Civil War"...) the author claims several times that Gen. Halleck was far more active with ordering field movements than generally acknowledged...
I'm not sure how many have described Halleck as a "direct and dynamic actor" although I would not be surprised that he has defenders in that regard. But as far as 2nd Manassas is concerned, Halleck's entreaties to McClellan to transfer sufficient force to bolster Pope's army were the type of communications that Halleck was good at as a capable administrator. But his ability to have those orders acted on were lacking, a serious deficiency in a General-in-Chief.
 

damYankee

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This one is new to me. Did Grant really protest that he was directed to send troops to where they could be used rather than sitting at Vicksburg?
Protest may have been a strong term, Grant certainly voiced his disagreement with Halleck's breaking up the forces after Vicksburg in his book, I believe his point was right on the money, with the force he had Mobile would have been the logical next target. With Vicksburg and New Orleans under federal control, Mobile was a logical next step as the rebellion would loss the two major seaports on the Gulf Coast, and the rail systems. The defenses of Mobile were at the time vulnerable to a west approach, the fall of Mobile would have changed the way the rest of the war in the west would have been fought.
We could go down that rabbit hole, but that would be a what if. But I believe most armchair generals would agree that the Union forces gathered at Vicksburg at the end on the siege, and the fact that these were now battle tested well organized and finally, well armed. Breaking up that force was shortsighted.
Is there a possibility that Halleck was unhappy with the fact that Grant abandoned most of the established rules of war as laid out by Halleck in his book by leaving his supply base and supply lines and depending of foraging after concluding that he couldn't carry out the operations in the swampy river bottoms.
 

Pete Longstreet

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As we know, Lincoln would relieve/fire a commander for incompetence or failure to act, etc. But Lincoln held onto Halleck. He must have seen his administrator qualities as an asset to the war effort. When Grant was promoted in the spring of 64, Lincoln promotes Halleck to Chief of Staff. Even though Halleck and Grant had their issues in the past, it was Halleck the administrator that complimented Grant the warrior. Halleck dealt with organizational duties from his desk, while Grant dealt with the boots on the ground.
 

damYankee

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As we know, Lincoln would relieve/fire a commander for incompetence or failure to act, etc. But Lincoln held onto Halleck. He must have seen his administrator qualities as an asset to the war effort. When Grant was promoted in the spring of 64, Lincoln promotes Halleck to Chief of Staff. Even though Halleck and Grant had their issues in the past, it was Halleck the administrator that complimented Grant the warrior. Halleck dealt with organizational duties from his desk, while Grant dealt with the boots on the ground.
Or, Old Abe followed the sage advice, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Halleck seemed most comfortable pulling the rug out from under other generals, Grant was different, he succeeded in spite of Halleck' s antics, and thereby be and indispensable to Lincoln.
Grant was aggressive, Halleck wasn't. Halleck, like McClellan, were afraid of public response to high casualties, Grant saw that the only way to end the war was to destroy the confederate army. Grant understood, as did Lincoln (by 1863) that the longer the Union dragged it's feet, try to avoid costly engagements the stronger the Confederacy became.
In the course of this conversation one point that has been neglected is the role the press, both North and South, had on these leaders.
Grant made the point In his memoir, there were many newspapers in the North that were not shy about their support of the South, and took every opportunity to attack the president and the federal army,
Halleck was more concerned about the political repercussions of every proposed operations submitted by Grant and others. He was more concerned about the ballot box than victory.
 

rbasin

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Protest may have been a strong term, Grant certainly voiced his disagreement with Halleck's breaking up the forces after Vicksburg in his book, I believe his point was right on the money, with the force he had Mobile would have been the logical next target. With Vicksburg and New Orleans under federal control, Mobile was a logical next step as the rebellion would loss the two major seaports on the Gulf Coast, and the rail systems. The defenses of Mobile were at the time vulnerable to a west approach, the fall of Mobile would have changed the way the rest of the war in the west would have been fought.
We could go down that rabbit hole, but that would be a what if. But I believe most armchair generals would agree that the Union forces gathered at Vicksburg at the end on the siege, and the fact that these were now battle tested well organized and finally, well armed. Breaking up that force was shortsighted.
Is there a possibility that Halleck was unhappy with the fact that Grant abandoned most of the established rules of war as laid out by Halleck in his book by leaving his supply base and supply lines and depending of foraging after concluding that he couldn't carry out the operations in the swampy river bottoms.

Well, Lincoln wanted a show of force in the southwest, to impress the French in Mexico. Even sent Grant a letter about it, with Lincoln's usual noncommittal. Said that while understood the idea of mobile, the Mexican issue "impressed" Lincoln.
 

Pat Answer

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As I said in the other recent thread, I have some issues with the way Halleck undermined some commanders. But, as I also said in the other thread, in his defense were some strong "redeeming qualities." He was an able administrator, his strategic ideas in the quite improvised war prior to 1864 were about as good as anyone else's, and it simply cannot be forgotten that the position he occupied from July 1862 to March 1864 - dealing with Lincoln, Stanton, and the War Board as well as the various personalities of the military hierarchy - fairly guaranteed that p****** someone off was a daily affair. Getting anything done in the midst of all that actually requires more skill than that of the "first-rate clerk” Lincoln wrongly accused him of being.
 
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damYankee

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But Grant did not and could not know the field and or battle conditions from City point. Let's use Nashville as an example. Thomas had an ice storm to contend with that by all accounts was pretty bad. It would have affected the usefulness of the cavalry force that Thomas and Wilson built during the battle and afterwards.
The same could be said about Halleck changing Grants orders to Grants subordinates. It's astounding that after going through so many generals to lead the AoP, that when a good one is found, you would undermine him, and to do so in such a petty fashion, it seemed to be Hallecks MO.
 

rbasin

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The same could be said about Halleck changing Grants orders to Grants subordinates. It's astounding that after going through so many generals to lead the AoP, that when a good one is found, you would undermine him, and to do so in such a petty fashion, it seemed to be Hallecks MO.

What orders did halleck change concerning the AoP? Or for any army after Grant was named GiC?
 
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