McClellan on Hooker at Antietam

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
It seems there is a lack of understanding of a very basic principle:

Only an superior authority (or the original issuing authority) can countermand an order. A lesser authority cannot countermand an order from a higher authority.

The corps commander issue should be so obvious as not to need explanation. All corps commanders were ordered to duty by the President (by law). Thus only the President or a higher authority (i.e. an Act of Congress) could countermand the order, and order a corps commander out of said duty.

This, of course, does not overrule military discipline. Any officer over a corps commander has the right to arrest a corps commander, but this requires grounds.

The same with Hamilton. Hamilton had been ordered to duty by the General-in-Chief. Thus only the General-in-Chief or a higher authority (i.e. the President or an Act of Congress) can order Hamilton away from said duty.

A mere department commander is below the General-in-Chief and the President. Thus, he cannot countermand an order by either the General-in-Chief or the President.

Officers have to be ordered to duty in a department by the War Department, either by the President directly, the Secretary-of-War (in the name of the President), or the General-in-Chief. They cannot take duty in a department without such an order (per article II of the Regulations). A departmental commander does not have authority over an officer until they are assigned to his department, ergo a departmental commander could not order an officer to duty in his department because until they are part of his department he cannot issue them an order.

I trust you'll reframe your arguments to conform to the basic principles.
"
It seems there is a lack of understanding of a very basic principle:

Only an superior authority (or the original issuing authority) can countermand an order. A lesser authority cannot countermand an order from a higher authority.

The corps commander issue should be so obvious as not to need explanation. All corps commanders were ordered to duty by the President (by law). Thus only the President or a higher authority (i.e. an Act of Congress) could countermand the order, and order a corps commander out of said duty.

This, of course, does not overrule military discipline. Any officer over a corps commander has the right to arrest a corps commander, but this requires grounds.

The same with Hamilton. Hamilton had been ordered to duty by the General-in-Chief. Thus only the General-in-Chief or a higher authority (i.e. the President or an Act of Congress) can order Hamilton away from said duty.

A mere department commander is below the General-in-Chief and the President. Thus, he cannot countermand an order by either the General-in-Chief or the President.

Officers have to be ordered to duty in a department by the War Department, either by the President directly, the Secretary-of-War (in the name of the President), or the General-in-Chief. They cannot take duty in a department without such an order (per article II of the Regulations). A departmental commander does not have authority over an officer until they are assigned to his department, ergo a departmental commander could not order an officer to duty in his department because until they are part of his department he cannot issue them an order.

I trust you'll reframe your arguments to conform to the basic principles.

In case you didn't know what happened to Hamilton, he went to the west and was present at the Battle of Iuka. Lincoln then promoted him a major-general of volunteers to date from 18th September 1862 in December '62, and it was confirmed on 9th March 1863. With this, he found himself senior to McPherson (MG(V) with seniority to 8th October 1862). He then demanded that he be assigned command of the 17th Army Corps vice McPherson, or another Army Corps, and that if his wish was not granted then he'd resign. It wasn't, and he did. His resignation was dated 13th April 1863.
In case you didn't know what happened to Hamilton, you bet he was "present" at the Battle of Iuka in September - as CO of the Third Division in Rosecrans's Army of the Mississippi. And in case you didn't know what had happened with Hamilton, he was appointed to division command by McClellan on March 13, 1862. By my calendar, that's two days after the order relieving him as G-in-C. After March 11, McClellan never purported to take one action as G-in-C, because he knew - and we know - what would have happened. Hence his April 30 order issued through the Army of the Potomac's AAG and his subsequent defense of the order to Lincoln regarding Hamilton's unfitness in "this army". Among the many historians who have uniformly - and correctly - concluded that McClellan was removed as G-in-C on March 11 is Russel Beatie, who conducted deep research for his three volumes on the Army of the Potomac. In vol. 3 of his series, Beatie - who was also a skilled, practicing attorney - states repeatedly that McClellan was "removed" from the position on March 11.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
In case you didn't know what happened to Hamilton, you bet he was "present" at the Battle of Iuka in September - as CO of the Third Division in Rosecrans's Army of the Mississippi. And in case you didn't know what had happened with Hamilton, he was appointed to division command by McClellan on March 13, 1862. By my calendar, that's two days after the order relieving him as G-in-C. After March 11, McClellan never purported to take one action as G-in-C, because he knew - and we know - what would have happened. Hence his April 30 order issued through the Army of the Potomac's AAG and his subsequent defense of the order to Lincoln regarding Hamilton's unfitness in "this army". Among the many historians who have uniformly - and correctly - concluded that McClellan was removed as G-in-C on March 11 is Russel Beatie, who conducted deep research for his three volumes on the Army of the Potomac. In vol. 3 of his series, Beatie - who was also a skilled, practicing attorney - states repeatedly that McClellan was "removed" from the position on March 11.

Sigh.

As I've explained, it was perfectly allowed to move officers around within their own department, if they had simply been assigned to that department by a superior authority.

Please, try and understand that these two things are different:

1. X is appointed a duty in department Y
2. Commander of department Y assigns X a specific job within department Y

It's a simple case of from what authority an action derives.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
You keep making this mistake.

The authority creating the corps and assigning to command their commanders here is Lincoln, not McClellan. McClellan is simply executing an order given to him by the President. Since the authority is the President, McClellan cannot countermand the order.
Once again, no -- please stop this constant posting of your imagination as fact. I specifically posted Lincoln's entire PRESIDENT'S GENERAL WAR ORDER, No. 2 issued on the 8th of March. It is directly above the part you are quoting -- did you somehow not read it?

Lincoln's order includes things that were part of McClellan's command on that date (such as the formation of Banks Corps in point 5). On March 11 (as I noted), McClellan is relieved from his duties as commanding general of the Armies of the United States. He is now only the commanding general of the Army of the Potomac.

So on March 13 (as I noted) McClellan implements the parts of the President's order he is still responsible for. McClellan is now only the commanding general of the Army of the Potomac. The President's order says in point No. 1 that "the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac" shall reorganize that Army into Corps. McClellan is "the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac". Just as I said:
McClellan implemented that on March 13th with his General Order, No. 101. In between those two dates, McClellan was relieved as his duties as commanding general of the Armies of the United States. Thus McClellan's order is issued by Major general McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac.
Please stop constantly trying to twist the words of others to suit whatever vision you happen to have. Post evidence of what actually happened instead. Pay attention to what the people posting to you actually say instead of imagining how you can bend it around to try to suit yourself.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Once again, no -- please stop this constant posting of your imagination as fact.

Did, or did not, Lincoln issue General War Order No. 2 in his own name? Did, or did not, this create five Army Corps and assign commanders to them?

The answer, of course, is yes and yes, and all proceeds forth from this.

You fail to understand basic civics here.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
9th May: McClellan asks for permission to be able to remove corps commanders for incompetence. It is denied. McClellan is allowed to temporarily suspend the current organisation, but it is clear this does not include removing the existing corps commanders.

Here is the reply McClellan got to his request:
FORT MONROE, VA.,
May 9, 1862.
Major-General McCLELLAN:
The President is unwilling to have the army corps organization broken up, but also unwilling that the commanding general shall be trammeled and embarrassed in actual skirmishing, collision with the enemy, and on the eve of an expected great battle. You, therefore, may temporarily suspend that organization in the army now under your immediate command, and adopt any you see fit until further order. He also writes you privately.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

Which part of that do you see as "it is clear this does not include removing the existing corps commanders"????

If McClellan temporarily suspends the organization of the Army of the Potomac and adopts any organization he sees fit, what is it that the Corps commanders are doing? What, exactly, is your complaint or McClellan's complaint here????
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Did, or did not, Lincoln issue General War Order No. 2 in his own name? Did, or did not, this create five Army Corps and assign commanders to them?

The answer, of course, is yes and yes, and all proceeds forth from this.

You fail to understand basic civics here.

No. Since I actually started out by posting the entire text of Lincoln's order that you are clearly engaging in active disinformation here. McClellan's own order starts out by saying what I say -- that he is implementing the President's order for the Army of the Potomac.

Please stop posting all this wasteful and useless disinformation.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Sigh.

As I've explained, it was perfectly allowed to move officers around within their own department, if they had simply been assigned to that department by a superior authority.

Please, try and understand that these two things are different:

1. X is appointed a duty in department Y
2. Commander of department Y assigns X a specific job within department Y

It's a simple case of from what authority an action derives.
Sigh.

As I've explained, Hamilton was assigned by McClellan to division command after he was relieved from the G-in-C post. He had, and exercised, no authority to assign Hamilton in his capacity as anything other than Department/Army of the P CO. Likewise, he relieved Hamilton (without arrest, confinement, or charges based on violation of the Articles or Regulations, we should note as an aside) solely in that same capacity. Hence, once relieved from division command in McClellan's department/army for general "unfitness", he was free to be assigned to division command in another department under authority of the Acting G-in-C Lincoln/Stanton. And so it went until Halleck was appointed G-in-C in July.

Please, try and understand that McClellan's two actions regarding Hamilton were not taken as G-in-C because he no longer held that position to any extent.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
No. Since I actually started out by posting the entire text of Lincoln's order that you are clearly engaging in active disinformation here. McClellan's own order starts out by saying what I say -- that he is implementing the President's order for the Army of the Potomac.

Indeed. So, the authority for creating the corps commanders, and placing McDowell, Sumner et al. as commanders thereof is... drumroll... the President of the United States.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Sigh.

As I've explained, Hamilton was assigned by McClellan to division command after he was relieved from the G-in-C post.

Doesn't matter. It's a red herring. It was a movement within a department. The authority ordering Hamilton to duty in that department was the General-in-Chief. The question is on what authority Hamilton was ordered to duty in said department.

He had, and exercised, no authority to assign Hamilton in his capacity as anything other than Department/Army of the P CO.

Yet he did exercise the authority of the General-in-Chief to remove Hamilton from the Department of the Potomac, a power that a mere department commander would not have...
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Doesn't matter. It's a red herring. It was a movement within a department. The authority ordering Hamilton to duty in that department was the General-in-Chief. The question is on what authority Hamilton was ordered to duty in said department.



Yet he did exercise the authority of the General-in-Chief to remove Hamilton from the Department of the Potomac, a power that a mere department commander would not have...
First, that's actually in question itself. His justification to Lincoln was based expressly on "this army". You can read it for yourself. Also, as I've pointed out (with no response, coherent or otherwise), the order was issued by the Army of the Potomac's AAG. And if he were G-in-C he could have re-assigned Hamilton. He didn't because he couldn't. Here's where we are. (1) Give us a citation to anyone - then or since - stating that McClellan took any actions after March 11 in his capacity as G-in-C. (2) Show us any document establishing the rank/office of "Partial G-in-C" or "Co-G-in-C". In both instances, resist the urge to simply give us more of your "interpretation", spin, theories, or argument.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Sigh.

As I've explained, Hamilton was assigned by McClellan to division command after he was relieved from the G-in-C post. He had, and exercised, no authority to assign Hamilton in his capacity as anything other than Department/Army of the P CO. Likewise, he relieved Hamilton (without arrest, confinement, or charges based on violation of the Articles or Regulations, we should note as an aside) solely in that same capacity. Hence, once relieved from division command in McClellan's department/army for general "unfitness", he was free to be assigned to division command in another department under authority of the Acting G-in-C Lincoln/Stanton. And so it went until Halleck was appointed G-in-C in July.

Please, try and understand that McClellan's two actions regarding Hamilton were not taken as G-in-C because he no longer held that position to any extent.
Here is the order appointing General Hamilton to command of a division. This is being done as a part of McClellan's orders to the Army of the Potomac implementing the Corps organization the President ordered on the 8th (McClellan's General Orders, No. 101 of March 13):

SPECIAL ORDERS No. 75.
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Fairfax Court-House, Va., March 13, 1862.

1. Brig. Gen. Philip Kearny is relieved from duty with his brigade (Franklin's division), and will report for duty to Brig. Gen. E. V. Sumner, to relieve him in the command of his division.
2. Brig. Gen. Charles S. Hamilton is relieved from duty with his brigade (Banks' division), and will report for duty to Brig. Gen. S. P. Heintzelman, to relieve him in the command of his division.
3. Brig. Gen. D. N. Couch will at once relieve Brig. Gen. E. D. Keyes in the command of his division.
4. Brig. Gen. Rufus King will at once relieve Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell in the command of his division.

By command of Major-General McClellan:
A. V. COLBURN,
Assistant Adjutant-General.
Heintzelman was moving up to command the new Corps, which his division would be in, which is why Hamilton is reporting to him. Six weeks go by, most of it down in the Yorktown area. Here is the order assigning Kearney to replace Hamilton:

SPECIAL ORDERS No. 129.
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Camp Winf. Scott, near Yorkt'n, Va., Ap'l 30, '62.
* * * * * * * * * *
II. Brig. Gen. Philip Kearny is assigned to the command of the Third Division of the Third Army Corps, in place of Brig. Gen. C. S. Hamilton, relieved.

By order of Major-General McClellan:
S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

Heintzelman's Corps was regarded as anti-McClellan, particularly after Porter's division left. I have never seen a clear explanation of what Hamilton had done to cause his relief. It is clear McClellan wanted him gone from his May 22nd response to Lincoln -- but McClellan never actually says what Hamilton had done.

It all seems to be a matter of McClellan as Army of the Potomac commander "hiring and firing" C. S. Hamilton.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Doesn't matter. It's a red herring. It was a movement within a department. The authority ordering Hamilton to duty in that department was the General-in-Chief. The question is on what authority Hamilton was ordered to duty in said department.

Charles S. Hamilton was the first colonel of the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry. The 3rd Wisconsin: "Organized at Fond du Lac, Wis., and mustered in June 19, 1861. Ordered to Hagerstown, Md., July 12; thence to Harper's Ferry, W. Va., July 18. " They became part of Patterson's Army. On August 11, Hamilton was promoted to Brigadier General and by October the 3rd Wisconsin becomes part of Hamilton's Brigade. Eventually, Hamilton's Brigade becomes part of Banks Division.

So that is how Hamilton got to where he was. General Scott would have been commanding the Army at the time they left Wisconsin and Cameron was Secretary of War.

But all you are saying here is that McClellan was acting as commanding general of the Army of the Potomac when he assigned Hamilton to division command (March 13) and then relieved him of division command (April 30).

Yet he did exercise the authority of the General-in-Chief to remove Hamilton from the Department of the Potomac, a power that a mere department commander would not have...

If you think this happened, please post the actual evidence of General McClellan doing it.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Indeed. So, the authority for creating the corps commanders, and placing McDowell, Sumner et al. as commanders thereof is... drumroll... the President of the United States.

Please be serious. If you will scroll back through this thread you will find that I have made posts describing that several times. Please stop all this useless posturing to make believe you have somehow uncovered something that never existed.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
It all seems to be a matter of McClellan as Army of the Potomac commander "hiring and firing" C. S. Hamilton.

Not a corps commander.

Could say more, but... not a corps commander.

Further to that, Hamilton was ... not a corps commander.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Please be serious. If you will scroll back through this thread you will find that I have made posts describing that several times. Please stop all this useless posturing to make believe you have somehow uncovered something that never existed.

I am very serious, and this is not a revelation. If you go through this thread you'll find Halleck saying only the President can appoint or remove corps commanders. You'll find Grant acknowledging the President alone has the right to appoint or remove a corps commander.

All that is because, well, the law stipulated that only the President had the right to appoint or remove a corps commander.

You might posture otherwise, but the gentlemen who fought the war knew the law they operated under.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
I am very serious, and this is not a revelation. If you go through this thread you'll find Halleck saying only the President can appoint or remove corps commanders. You'll find Grant acknowledging the President alone has the right to appoint or remove a corps commander.

All that is because, well, the law stipulated that only the President had the right to appoint or remove a corps commander.

You might posture otherwise, but the gentlemen who fought the war knew the law they operated under.
As you have been shown many times, Grant ===actually did relieve=== a Corps commander in 1863. He was simply better than McClellan at getting things done while McClellan sabotaged himself by his attitude. You make believe McClernand was "arrested" to avoid this fact, but you have also been shown many times that McClernand was NEVER arrested.

How did Grant get that done? By acting like a reasonable and responsible subordinate. A month before he relieved McClernand, Grant checked to see if he could. He went up the chain of command and received an answer.

Grant knew Halleck. He'd had almost two years under Halleck's command, with some bad moments included. He knew that Halleck did not like political generals in general and McClernand in particular. He also knew Halleck well enough to know he needed more support than Halleck (probably suspected Halleck would prove a weak support). So Grant went further, he went to Stanton, the Secretary of War:

WAR DEPARTMENT, May 5, 1863.
C. A. DANA,
Smith's Plantation, or Grant's Headquarters, via Memphis:

General Grant has full and absolute authority to enforce his own commands, and to remove any person who, by ignorance, inaction, or any cause, interferes with or delays his Operations. He has the full confidence of the Government, is expected to enforce his authority, and will be firmly and heartily supported; but he will be responsible for any failure to exert his powers. You may communicate this to him.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

There are only three people that matter in this: General-in-Chief Halleck. Secretary of War Stanton. President Lincoln. Grant knew where two of them stood, knew he had protection from above -- and also knew that Lincoln could still say no, could still deny him and reverse his order relieving McClernand.

That gets us to June 18th and Grant relieving McClernand.

Grant might have gone further, tried to get permission direct from Lincoln. He did not. Faced with an intolerable situation, he went ahead and relieved McClernand.

Now maybe:
  • Grant wanted to give Lincoln room for plausible deniability in case political matters required it.
  • Grant believed Stanton had the scope to approve the relief
  • Grant believed he was safe and any argument would be between Stanton and Lincoln.
  • Grant simply thought he would rather seek forgiveness than seek additional permission.
  • Grant was willing to risk censure for acting because he felt McClernand had to go.
Grant went ahead. McClernand was relieved. Faced with the accomplished fact, Lincoln chose to support Grant.

Note the difference: Grant works with his superiors, keeping them in the loop. McClellan simply wants blanket authority to do whatever he wants. McClellan could have acted as Grant did, but McClellan would not act as Grant did. That is a large part of ===why=== McClellan makes so many enemies and has so little success in command matters.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Here is the order appointing General Hamilton to command of a division. This is being done as a part of McClellan's orders to the Army of the Potomac implementing the Corps organization the President ordered on the 8th (McClellan's General Orders, No. 101 of March 13):

SPECIAL ORDERS No. 75.
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Fairfax Court-House, Va., March 13, 1862.

1. Brig. Gen. Philip Kearny is relieved from duty with his brigade (Franklin's division), and will report for duty to Brig. Gen. E. V. Sumner, to relieve him in the command of his division.
2. Brig. Gen. Charles S. Hamilton is relieved from duty with his brigade (Banks' division), and will report for duty to Brig. Gen. S. P. Heintzelman, to relieve him in the command of his division.
3. Brig. Gen. D. N. Couch will at once relieve Brig. Gen. E. D. Keyes in the command of his division.
4. Brig. Gen. Rufus King will at once relieve Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell in the command of his division.

By command of Major-General McClellan:
A. V. COLBURN,
Assistant Adjutant-General.
Heintzelman was moving up to command the new Corps, which his division would be in, which is why Hamilton is reporting to him. Six weeks go by, most of it down in the Yorktown area. Here is the order assigning Kearney to replace Hamilton:

SPECIAL ORDERS No. 129.
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Camp Winf. Scott, near Yorkt'n, Va., Ap'l 30, '62.
* * * * * * * * * *
II. Brig. Gen. Philip Kearny is assigned to the command of the Third Division of the Third Army Corps, in place of Brig. Gen. C. S. Hamilton, relieved.

By order of Major-General McClellan:
S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

Heintzelman's Corps was regarded as anti-McClellan, particularly after Porter's division left. I have never seen a clear explanation of what Hamilton had done to cause his relief. It is clear McClellan wanted him gone from his May 22nd response to Lincoln -- but McClellan never actually says what Hamilton had done.

It all seems to be a matter of McClellan as Army of the Potomac commander "hiring and firing" C. S. Hamilton.
And, just as with the April 30 order, the March 13 order was issued through the AAG of the Army of the Potomac. Anybody with a rudimentary knowledge of the Peninsula Campaign knows that Colburn and Williams were on McClellan's staff as CO of the Army of the Potomac. They were categorically not on the G-in-C's staff in Washington, which included the US AG. The proponent of this theory is transfixed by what he identifies as relevant, technical protocols and formalities - unless, of course, they rebut the desired conclusion. Then they become irrelevant.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I am very serious, and this is not a revelation. If you go through this thread you'll find Halleck saying only the President can appoint or remove corps commanders. You'll find Grant acknowledging the President alone has the right to appoint or remove a corps commander.

All that is because, well, the law stipulated that only the President had the right to appoint or remove a corps commander.

You might posture otherwise, but the gentlemen who fought the war knew the law they operated under.
"the gentlemen who fought the war knew the law they operated under"

You bet they did. That's why Grant, for example, never used any of the words or concepts you claim that he "operated under". He - and everybody else involved - knew what he was doing and why. It wasn't remotely within the house of legal cards you've constructed. Under your theory everybody was using secret code. As I keep proffering, shop it with a publisher. Be sure to include return postage.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
I am very serious, and this is not a revelation. If you go through this thread you'll find Halleck saying only the President can appoint or remove corps commanders. You'll find Grant acknowledging the President alone has the right to appoint or remove a corps commander.

All that is because, well, the law stipulated that only the President had the right to appoint or remove a corps commander.

You might posture otherwise, but the gentlemen who fought the war knew the law they operated under.
I have asked you many times to show where the law says this. You have never done so.

As I have also said many times to you, The Militia Act of July 17, 1862 does not say that "only the President had the right to appoint or remove a corps commander". In fact, the only time that Act mentions the "commander of the army corps" is when discussing the appointment of aides-de-camp:
  • the President gets to appoint the aides-de-camp.
  • the Senate gets to "advise and consent" on aides-de-camp (IOW, the Senate approves or denies the President's appointees)
  • the "commander of the army corps" may recommend aides-de-camp candidates to the President.
Please post an actual reference to the actual law you mean when you say "the law stipulated that only the President had the right to appoint or remove a corps commander." If you do not have one, simply say so.
 
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Lubliner

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Forum Host
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Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
"He who is responsible for little shall be given more." (a proverb). It does appear with Stanton's direct acknowledgement to Grant that he will be responsible for any failure in exerting his powers. This is a clear indication to me that reflects back on McClellan's own refusal to be responsible for that which he had been given. Lincoln's administration learned from their setbacks that occurred; another reason the north won.
Lubliner.
 
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