Research General Hancock a Democrat

jackt62

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Hancock is an overrated general who after Gettysburg spent most of his time trying to get on a presidential ticket

That's an interesting assessment. I was not aware that his presidential aspirations became active after Gettysburg. Regardless of his political life, after Hancock's Gettysburg wound, his subsequent military leadership of the II Corps suffered. But is he overrated for his overall performance? I would like to have more information before making a judgement.
 

rpkennedy

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That's an interesting assessment. I was not aware that his presidential aspirations became active after Gettysburg. Regardless of his political life, after Hancock's Gettysburg wound, his subsequent military leadership of the II Corps suffered. But is he overrated for his overall performance? I would like to have more information before making a judgement.

I certainly get the argument that he was overrated although I personally think that it goes a bit too far. Hancock was an excellent brigade and division commander and probably the best officer in either army on the field at Gettysburg. Unfortunately, the wound that he received on July 3 all but destroyed his ability to command in the field. He would never again be the active general on the move to the scene of action and it eventually led to his resigning his command to take quiet assignments (such as taking command of the Veteran Reserve Corps). Hancock's reputation is based almost entirely on those 3 days in Pennsylvania and while he deserves all of the praise that he gets for that, his post-Gettysburg career is more mixed and not exactly brilliant.

Ryan
 

jackt62

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Hancock was not the only capable commander whose later assignments tarnished their image. I'm thinking of Ewell and AP Hill on the Confederate side who had the same trajectory considering their original and final postings. Probably others as well on both sides, but can't think of anybody else right now. (Maybe Warren).
 

rpkennedy

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Hancock was not the only capable commander whose later assignments tarnished their image. I'm thinking of Ewell and AP Hill on the Confederate side who had the same trajectory considering their original and final postings. Probably others as well on both sides, but can't think of anybody else right now. (Maybe Warren).

I would agree. Ewell and Hill were outstanding division commanders who ended up being ok corps commanders with Hill's health, like Hancock's, kind of ruining his ability to shine. Unlike Hancock, Hill never had that shining moment like Hancock did at Gettysburg.

Ryan
 

Joshism

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Ewell and Hill were outstanding division commanders

Hill I get (Gaines Mill and Antietam), but Ewell I don't quite understand the hype for. Stonewall clearly thought highly of him and I wouldn't try to argue he was bad, but I'm not convinced he was "outstanding" as a division commander.
 

Belfoured

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Hancock was not the only capable commander whose later assignments tarnished their image. I'm thinking of Ewell and AP Hill on the Confederate side who had the same trajectory considering their original and final postings. Probably others as well on both sides, but can't think of anybody else right now. (Maybe Warren).
Good point, and Hood is another. That gets to the notion that officers may have skills that work at one level and not another. People have speculated about Phil Kearney had he not been killed at Chantilly. I'm skeptical - the things that worked for him in division command would have been detrimental at a higher level. It can go the other way, as well. We never saw Grant or Lee in the role of subordinate brigade/division/corps command - so who knows. And Sherman was fairly mediocre at the lower levels - where tactical skill was more important - but was successful at army command level, where operational/strategic talent was primary.
 

jackt62

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Grant, Lee, and Sherman were actually examples of great corps and army commanders who started off with lower expectations. Lee's first year in command positions in western Virginia and the South Carolina coast did not enhance his reputation. Grant probably less so, but his early leadership at Belmont was so so. And Sherman for sure.
 

rpkennedy

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Hill I get (Gaines Mill and Antietam), but Ewell I don't quite understand the hype for. Stonewall clearly thought highly of him and I wouldn't try to argue he was bad, but I'm not convinced he was "outstanding" as a division commander.

He did extremely well in the Valley Campaign, did well in limited action during the Seven Days, and was doing very well in the opening stages of the Second Manassas Campaign before losing his leg at Brawner's Farm. Personally, I think that he gets overlooked because he misses Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville, three heavily studied campaigns.

Ryan
 

Belfoured

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Grant, Lee, and Sherman were actually examples of great corps and army commanders who started off with lower expectations. Lee's first year in command positions in western Virginia and the South Carolina coast did not enhance his reputation. Grant probably less so, but his early leadership at Belmont was so so. And Sherman for sure.
Not sure if you're responding to mine - if you are, it's a somewhat different point than the one I made - which is that we have no data base for Lee and Grant at lower/subordinate levels of command, as opposed to "independent/"army level". We do with Sherman and it's underwhelming (see Chattanooga, for example).
 

jackt62

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Not sure if you're responding to mine - if you are, it's a somewhat different point than the one I made - which is that we have no data base for Lee and Grant at lower/subordinate levels of command, as opposed to "independent/"army level". We do with Sherman and it's underwhelming (see Chattanooga, for example).

I get your point regarding the lack of data for Grant and Lee at subordinate command levels, in contrast to Sherman. I guess my point was less specific.
 
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