McClellan on Hooker at Antietam

67th Tigers

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The law, as of the Act of 17th July, 1862, proscribes that officers my only be held under arrest for 8 days without charges being preferred. If charges are preferred in this period, then the court-martial must occur within 10 days of the preferment of charges, and the arrested officer may remain under arrest during this period. If charges are brought within 8 days, but the court martial cannot be convened, then the officer may be kept in arrest upto an additional 30 days awaiting the court martial before they must be released.

If an officer is released from arrest without charge, charges may still be preferred at a later date, upto one calendar year from the arrest.

That is, if you lay the formal charge within 8 days, you have a maximum of 40 days to have the court martial, or the charges are dropped. The alternative is not to make the charges, in which case you have one year to lay the charges and start the clock. During the ACW, the latter was invariably the route chosen.

Common practice on campaign was to immediately (i.e. the same day) reassign the arrested officer to their home or a barracks to await further orders (i.e. the charges and arrangements for the court martial), rather than keep them in camp under arrest.

In some cases no-one ever got around to making the formal charge, but simply ran the clock out. The most famous example of this was General Stone, whose arrest was the reason why Congress placed the one year limit.
 

67th Tigers

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Throughout history, commanders have been relieved because their superiors believed they could not handle the job/someone else was better/they did not work well with the boss (the "relief for reasons other than misconduct" part of the current "relief for cause" in regulations).

No such ability to remove a non-performing general existed in the ACW. Only POTUS or the GINC could remove an officer without cause (i.e. arrest), and the latter only if the general was assigned by the GINC rather than POTUS.

For a corps commander, assigned to duty by POTUS, the only route to removal was arresting them, or asking POTUS to remove them.

When McClellan asked to remove his corps commanders in May 1862 for incompetence, the answer was that he could not do so, and he needed to arrest them for disobeying orders instead.

BTW, and just as an aside in a Civil War-related thread, your description of what Pershing was doing in WWI is way off target and misses the reality of the expansion of the US Army in 1917-18.
No, it is precisely what Pershing did. See https://www.jstor.org/stable/26300396?seq=18#metadata_info_tab_contents
 

Belfoured

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Aug 3, 2019
It appears you are talking about jargon and the specifics of regulatory action instead of the actual happenings of the time. As a result, to you, "relief for cause" only exists if the regulations use the actual phrase "relief for cause".

In practice, commanders have routinely been relieved because they did something that violated the ethics/morals/tradition of how they should act (the "relief for misconduct" part of the current "relief for cause" in regulations). Throughout history, commanders have been relieved because their superiors believed they could not handle the job/someone else was better/they did not work well with the boss (the "relief for reasons other than misconduct" part of the current "relief for cause" in regulations). You are hung up on the phrase while others may be looking at actual events in a more general way.

BTW, and just as an aside in a Civil War-related thread, your description of what Pershing was doing in WWI is way off target and misses the reality of the expansion of the US Army in 1917-18. The Army had less than 9,000 officers when the US entered the war April 7, 1917. Only about 5,800 of those were Regulars. By the end of the war, about 200,000 men had served as officers in the Army. With a raw army raised en masse that way and thrown into combat on distant shores, drastic methods were needed to find those who would get results. This is what Pershing did. He was ruthless about it beyond doubt, but if he had wasted time and lives on gentler methods, the First World War might have ended differently.

Anyone interested in this topic should take a look at the article John J. Pershing and Relief for Cause in the American Expeditionary Forces, 1917-1918 in Army History: The Professional Bulletin of Army History, Spring 2005.

For Civil War buffs, the same issue has an interesting article on Monocacy: Crossroads of Destiny: Lew Wallace, the Battle of Monocacy, and the Outcome of Jubal Early's Drive on Washington, D.C by Peter L. Platteborze. This includes a mention of Captain Robert E. Lee, Jr (the son of Robert E. Lee) who had been sent as a messenger to Early, arriving on August 6.
The, of course, there is the case of McClernand. He was relieved by Grant on June 18, 1863, possibly with the May 1863 blessing of Halleck. Neither sought or obtained Lincoln's approval (Halleck was Dep't CO and Grant CO of the Army of the Tennessee). Grant sent him packing to Illinois. In the same order Grant appointed Ord to command the XIII Corps and did seek Lincoln's approval of the permanent appointment. McClernand in a letter to Grant claimed that his relief was unauthorized but his subsequent bleating to Lincoln about it had no effect.
 

67th Tigers

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The, of course, there is the case of McClernand. He was relieved by Grant on June 18, 1863, possibly with the May 1863 blessing of Halleck. Neither sought or obtained Lincoln's approval (Halleck was Dep't CO and Grant CO of the Army of the Tennessee).

McClernand pointed out that Grant did not have the authority to relieve him. He, however, waived the point:

1631883674040.png


McClernand's gambit failed, and after Vicksburg fell Lincoln relieved McClernand backdated to Grant's order:

1631883089147.png


This made Grant's illegal order legal.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
The, of course, there is the case of McClernand. He was relieved by Grant on June 18, 1863, possibly with the May 1863 blessing of Halleck. Neither sought or obtained Lincoln's approval (Halleck was Dep't CO and Grant CO of the Army of the Tennessee). Grant sent him packing to Illinois. In the same order Grant appointed Ord to command the XIII Corps and did seek Lincoln's approval of the permanent appointment. McClernand in a letter to Grant claimed that his relief was unauthorized but his subsequent bleating to Lincoln about it had no effect.
Yes, things like that happened. Back in 1862, Halleck was complaining to McClellan about Grant (after Henry & Donelson). McClellan authorized Halleck to get rid of Grant on March 3, 1862:

Saint Louis, Mo., March 3, [received?] 1862.
General GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Washington, D.C.:
General Pope will attack New Madrid to-morrow. At the same time here will be a bombardment of Columbus.
I have had no communication with General Grant for more than a week. He left his command without my authority and went to Nashville. His army seems to be as much demoralized by the victory of Fort Donelson as was that of the Potomac by the defeat of Bull Run. It is hard to censure a successful general immediately after a victory, but I think he richly deserves it. I can get no returns, no reports, no information of any kind from him. Satisfied with his victory, he sits down and enjoys it without any regard to the future. I am worn-out and tired with this neglect and inefficiency. C.F. Smith is almost the only officer equal to the emergency.
H. W. HALLECK.
-----
WASHINGTON, March 3, 1862--6 p.m.
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Saint Louis:
Your dispatch of last evening received. The future success of our cause demands that proceedings such as Grant's should at once be checked. Generals must observe discipline as well as private soldiers. Do not hesitate to arrest him at once if the good of the service requires it, and place C. F. Smith in command. You are at liberty to regard this as a positive order if it will smooth your way.
I appreciate the difficulties you have to encounter, and will be glad to relieve you from trouble as far as possible.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, Commanding U.S. Army.
Approved:
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
 

67th Tigers

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Joined
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Yes, things like that happened. Back in 1862, Halleck was complaining to McClellan about Grant (after Henry & Donelson). McClellan authorized Halleck to get rid of Grant on March 3, 1862:

General GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Washington, D.C.:
Do not hesitate to arrest him at once if the good of the service requires it, and place C. F. Smith in command.
Note the word is arrest. Halleck can't simply relieve Grant, but he needs to arrest him on a charge.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
I am stunned: do you somehow think that Grant would not be relieved if he was arrested and replaced with another officer?
I don't think that's what 67th is saying? He's saying that you're not able to relieve someone without arresting them.

The quote is McClellan saying don't hesitate to arrest Grant if necessary; obviously if it were possible to relieve him without arresting him then that would also be an option, but it's not what McClellan is saying.

There are two possible interpretations of the quote:

1) It is possible to get rid of Grant without arresting him (i.e. relieve him without arresting him), but McClellan is not calling for that and instead only wants him removed if he commits an arrestable offence on top of Halleck feeling it necessary ("if the good of the service requires it") to get rid of Grant for cause.

2) The only way to remove Grant from his position is to arrest him on an arrestable offence (for example, disobedience of orders) and McClellan is calling for Halleck to do that if necessary.

The third possibility:
3) It is possible to get rid of Grant without arresting him, and McClellan is calling for that.
is the only one which is explicitly denied by the wording.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
I don't think that's what 67th is saying? He's saying that you're not able to relieve someone without arresting them.
If he is saying that, he is simply wrong.

The quote is McClellan saying don't hesitate to arrest Grant if necessary; obviously if it were possible to relieve him without arresting him then that would also be an option, but it's not what McClellan is saying.

There are two possible interpretations of the quote:

1) It is possible to get rid of Grant without arresting him (i.e. relieve him without arresting him), but McClellan is not calling for that and instead only wants him removed if he commits an arrestable offence on top of Halleck feeling it necessary ("if the good of the service requires it") to get rid of Grant for cause.

2) The only way to remove Grant from his position is to arrest him on an arrestable offence (for example, disobedience of orders) and McClellan is calling for Halleck to do that if necessary.

The third possibility:
3) It is possible to get rid of Grant without arresting him, and McClellan is calling for that.
is the only one which is explicitly denied by the wording.
No. This is simply a logical fallacy and internally inconsistent.

McClellan isn't "calling" for anything except for Halleck to straighten this situation out. He is telling Halleck that he can and should arrest Grant if that is required. He is telling Halleck that he has McClellan's support. He is telling Halleck the decision is Halleck's call.

The truth, of course, is that Halleck was wrong. Grant had been sending messages to Halleck. Halleck had not been receiving them. Grant was wondering why Halleck was leaving him in the dark. Grant stayed in command.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
McClernand pointed out that Grant did not have the authority to relieve him. He, however, waived the point:

View attachment 414332

McClernand's gambit failed, and after Vicksburg fell Lincoln relieved McClernand backdated to Grant's order:

View attachment 414329

This made Grant's illegal order legal.
But, see, here's the problem. Halleck and Grant both disagreed. Neither ever sought or obtained Lincoln's permission. McClernand never in fact challenged it (called "walking the talk") and Lincoln never told him in response to his whining letters about the removal that he was right. So you omit Grant's Special Order, probably because - as I posted - the only part of it subject to Lincoln's approval was the appointment of Ord. It's called "plain English". in case you're confused, nobody has argued "appointment for cause", by the way. As for McClernand, the "waiver" of a losing argument happens every day in litigation.

SPECIAL ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE
Number 164. near Vicksburg, MISS., June 18, 1863.

IV. Major-General McClernand is hereby relieved from the command of the Thirteenth Army Corps. He will proceed to any point he may select in the State of Illinois, and report by letter to Headquarters of the Army for orders. Major General E. O. C. Ord is hereby appointed to the command of the Thirteenth Army Corps, subject to the approval of the President, and will immediately assume charge of the same. By order of Major-General Grant:
JNO. A. RAWLINS,

Assistant Adjutant-General
 

Belfoured

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Joined
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I don't think that's what 67th is saying? He's saying that you're not able to relieve someone without arresting them.

The quote is McClellan saying don't hesitate to arrest Grant if necessary; obviously if it were possible to relieve him without arresting him then that would also be an option, but it's not what McClellan is saying.

There are two possible interpretations of the quote:

1) It is possible to get rid of Grant without arresting him (i.e. relieve him without arresting him), but McClellan is not calling for that and instead only wants him removed if he commits an arrestable offence on top of Halleck feeling it necessary ("if the good of the service requires it") to get rid of Grant for cause.

2) The only way to remove Grant from his position is to arrest him on an arrestable offence (for example, disobedience of orders) and McClellan is calling for Halleck to do that if necessary.

The third possibility:
3) It is possible to get rid of Grant without arresting him, and McClellan is calling for that.
is the only one which is explicitly denied by the wording.
If he's saying that, his continued silence on Humphreys' April 6, 1865 order relieving Hays is completely understandable. Hays was not "arrested". Hays was not punished and he was not subject to a court martial. He was, however, nonetheless relieved from division command and reverted to the Artillery Reserve.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
No such ability to remove a non-performing general existed in the ACW. Only POTUS or the GINC could remove an officer without cause (i.e. arrest), and the latter only if the general was assigned by the GINC rather than POTUS.
So you are saying that this ability did exist and that during the period when he was General-in-Chief, McClellan could have done this on his own authority. Right? Please acknowledge -- or withdraw your claim.

For a corps commander, assigned to duty by POTUS, the only route to removal was arresting them, or asking POTUS to remove them. When McClellan asked to remove his corps commanders in May 1862 for incompetence, the answer was that he could not do so, and he needed to arrest them for disobeying orders instead.
Would you please post the relevant coorespondence in sequence so I may see what you are referring to here?
No offense, but I think you cannot see the forest for the trees on this. That article doesn't do much to support your argument.
 

Lubliner

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
If the basis for removing Hooker during McClellan's leadership was against military authority, then what procedures were in place for Burnside to dismiss him form the army after Fredericksburg? I know he tried to by submitting it to the President. Should McClellan have tried this same tactic, it would not have made any difference, since both commanders were eventually relieved, first McClellan and then Burnside. And who took control; none other than Hooker.
Lubliner.
 

67th Tigers

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Joined
Nov 10, 2006
If he is saying that, he is simply wrong.

He is saying that, and he is correct.

No. This is simply a logical fallacy and internally inconsistent.

McClellan isn't "calling" for anything except for Halleck to straighten this situation out. He is telling Halleck that he can and should arrest Grant if that is required. He is telling Halleck that he has McClellan's support. He is telling Halleck the decision is Halleck's call.

The truth, of course, is that Halleck was wrong. Grant had been sending messages to Halleck. Halleck had not been receiving them. Grant was wondering why Halleck was leaving him in the dark. Grant stayed in command.

Whether Halleck was correct in his assessment or not is completely irrelevant. McClellan pointed out that Halleck had the right to arrest Grant.

It's very simple; no officer can just "relieve" another officer if said officer was appointed by a higher authority. They have to arrest them on a charge.

Since there were only two authorities that could order a general officer to duty in a department (the President and the General-in-Chief) effectively a more junior general could not simply "relieve" a subordinate general. They needed to go via the arrest route.

Since, by the Militia Act of 17th July 1862, only the President could assign to corps command, only the President could unassign them. However, the commander of a army/department over the corps commander could arrest them and prefer charges. They had a year to do so after the arrest.

Take the case of McClernand. Grant removed him by "arrest" on 18th June 1863, with the intent being to charge McClernand for failing to obtain authorisation before sending an item to the press (i.e. a violation of Article 26 of the Army Regulations). On the 26th June, Grant acknowledged that he had no right to remove McClernand (without charge), but stated he hoped Lincoln would endorse a relief (without charge).

Here, Lincoln has a choice; he can endorse the relief without charge, or he can not endorse it. In the latter case Grant would then have to prefer a charge. Lincoln endorsed this by making a reassignment on 10th July 1863. This made it legally an act of the President.

A month later, on 10th August, Lincoln asked Stanton what charges were being preferred against McClernand by Grant. Stanton answered that he did not know, and after Halleck confirmed that Grant would not be pressing the charge, but he had the basis for one. Lincoln wrote to McClernand on the 12th August. He suggested McClernand let things go; "Better leave it where the law of the case has placed it." Legally, McClernand had been reassigned by Lincoln, and not by Grant. Hence no charges needed to be preferred.

McClernand replied that he wanted Grant to charge him to force the court-martial, and that if Grant would not make the charge, then he wanted a court-of-inquiry. This was denied, and eventually McClernand resigned.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Whether Halleck was correct in his assessment or not is completely irrelevant. McClellan pointed out that Halleck had the right to arrest Grant.
Not sure why you would bother with this. I was just posting to tell others what the end result of Halleck's complaint to McClellan was. You have made a false assumption so you can call it "irrelevant". Please avoid this type of silliness.
It's very simple; no officer can just "relieve" another officer if said officer was appointed by a higher authority. They have to arrest them on a charge.
Nonsense. Officers relieve officers "appointed by a higher authority" routinely when there is a need. McClellan did it himself in the Spring of 1862.

Since there were only two authorities that could order a general officer to duty in a department (the President and the General-in-Chief) effectively a more junior general could not simply "relieve" a subordinate general. They needed to go via the arrest route.
Again, nonsense. McClellan himself relieved a subordinate general in the Spring of 1862. (Which made him enemies in Congress, which Lincoln warned him about, since it caused Lincoln a lot of grief with Congress.)

Since, by the Militia Act of 17th July 1862, only the President could assign to corps command, only the President could unassign them. However, the commander of a army/department over the corps commander could arrest them and prefer charges. They had a year to do so after the arrest.
So? McClellan was trying to remove generals from Corps command on May 9, 1862. The " Militia Act of 17th July 1862" you are citing DID NOT EXIST at that time. Why are you bothering to drag this red herring about?

Take the case of McClernand. Grant removed him by "arrest" on 18th June 1863, with the intent being to charge McClernand for failing to obtain authorisation before sending an item to the press (i.e. a violation of Article 26 of the Army Regulations). On the 26th June, Grant acknowledged that he had no right to remove McClernand (without charge), but stated he hoped Lincoln would endorse a relief (without charge).

Here, Lincoln has a choice; he can endorse the relief without charge, or he can not endorse it. In the latter case Grant would then have to prefer a charge. Lincoln endorsed this by making a reassignment on 10th July 1863. This made it legally an act of the President.

A month later, on 10th August, Lincoln asked Stanton what charges were being preferred against McClernand by Grant. Stanton answered that he did not know, and after Halleck confirmed that Grant would not be pressing the charge, but he had the basis for one. Lincoln wrote to McClernand on the 12th August. He suggested McClernand let things go; "Better leave it where the law of the case has placed it." Legally, McClernand had been reassigned by Lincoln, and not by Grant. Hence no charges needed to be preferred.

McClernand replied that he wanted Grant to charge him to force the court-martial, and that if Grant would not make the charge, then he wanted a court-of-inquiry. This was denied, and eventually McClernand resigned.
So? At this point the Militia Act of 1862 does exist and does apply. You like to toss things about to confuse the situation and to use apples-to-oranges comparisons to make it seem like you have proved something when you have not. Please stop.

Even when you sometimes have the events right, you seem outraged that McClellan would have to work within the system to get his goals accomplished. One of the major reasons men like Lee and Grant had good relations with Davis and Lincoln was they did not try to act like tin-pot dictators -- they acknowledged higher authority, worked with those above them, and got more accomplished.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
He is saying that, and he is correct.



Whether Halleck was correct in his assessment or not is completely irrelevant. McClellan pointed out that Halleck had the right to arrest Grant.

It's very simple; no officer can just "relieve" another officer if said officer was appointed by a higher authority. They have to arrest them on a charge.

Since there were only two authorities that could order a general officer to duty in a department (the President and the General-in-Chief) effectively a more junior general could not simply "relieve" a subordinate general. They needed to go via the arrest route.

Since, by the Militia Act of 17th July 1862, only the President could assign to corps command, only the President could unassign them. However, the commander of a army/department over the corps commander could arrest them and prefer charges. They had a year to do so after the arrest.

Take the case of McClernand. Grant removed him by "arrest" on 18th June 1863, with the intent being to charge McClernand for failing to obtain authorisation before sending an item to the press (i.e. a violation of Article 26 of the Army Regulations). On the 26th June, Grant acknowledged that he had no right to remove McClernand (without charge), but stated he hoped Lincoln would endorse a relief (without charge).

Here, Lincoln has a choice; he can endorse the relief without charge, or he can not endorse it. In the latter case Grant would then have to prefer a charge. Lincoln endorsed this by making a reassignment on 10th July 1863. This made it legally an act of the President.

A month later, on 10th August, Lincoln asked Stanton what charges were being preferred against McClernand by Grant. Stanton answered that he did not know, and after Halleck confirmed that Grant would not be pressing the charge, but he had the basis for one. Lincoln wrote to McClernand on the 12th August. He suggested McClernand let things go; "Better leave it where the law of the case has placed it." Legally, McClernand had been reassigned by Lincoln, and not by Grant. Hence no charges needed to be preferred.

McClernand replied that he wanted Grant to charge him to force the court-martial, and that if Grant would not make the charge, then he wanted a court-of-inquiry. This was denied, and eventually McClernand resigned.
"Take the case of McClernand. Grant removed him by "arrest" on 18th June 1863, with the intent being to charge McClernand for failing to obtain authorisation before sending an item to the press (i.e. a violation of Article 26 of the Army Regulations). On the 26th June, Grant acknowledged that he had no right to remove McClernand (without charge), but stated he hoped Lincoln would endorse a relief (without charge). Here, Lincoln has a choice; he can endorse the relief without charge, or he can not endorse it. In the latter case Grant would then have to prefer a charge. Lincoln endorsed this by making a reassignment on 10th July 1863. This made it legally an act of the President"

Still wrong. The text of Grant's General Orders 164 is clear - First sentence - McClernand is relieved - no reference to the President approving. Third sentence - Ord is appointed to command XIII Corps, "subject to the approval of the President" This condition is missing from the first sentence.

Special Orders 305, issued on July 10, 1863, is fully consistent with this: "By direction of the President of the United States, Maj. Gen. E.O.C. Ord is appointed to the command of the Thirteenth Army Corps, in place of Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand, relieved, to date June 18, 1863". It doesn't state "and Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand is relieved" or "the relief of Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand is approved", although it does state that Ord "is appointed" - as Grant requested . Instead, the July 10 order simply uses "relieved" as an adjective - because McClernand had been lawfully relieved on June 18 by Grant.

McClernand was never "removed by 'arrest'" on June 18 - and your use of quotation marks around the word arrest is telling. Not even McClernand asserted that he had been "arrested". Nor was he charged with a specific offense in the order - as would be required if he were "arrested". This is because, although the publication by McClernand of his own order triggered Grant to act, Grant was actually motivated by broader considerations of McClernand's fitness. And at no point - despite multiple correspondence between McClernand and Lincoln - did Lincoln ever question Grant's authority to act on June 18, nor did he ever "approve" the order. The correspondence involved McClernand's request for a "court of inquiry", which under military law could be convened by the President at the request of McClernand to investigate his conduct and/or Grant's in relation to McClernand. At no point did Lincoln "act" on Grant's order. In fact, on September 5, 1863, McClernand limited his request for a court of inquiry to his own conduct and excluded Grant's. Lincoln declined to convene a court of inquiry. Like a Supreme Court order denying a petition for certiorari from a decision by a court of appeals, that is not an "approval" or endorsement of Grant's order. By the way, McClernand did not request a court martial. On June 27 he asked Stanton for "an investigation of General Grant's and my conduct as officers". That's a court of inquiry and not a court martial. And McClernand knew how to use the term "arrest" - as he did in his June 4 letter to Grant regarding rumors about his status. Stop editing the facts.
 
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67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Nonsense. Officers relieve officers "appointed by a higher authority" routinely when there is a need. McClellan did it himself in the Spring of 1862.


Again, nonsense. McClellan himself relieved a subordinate general in the Spring of 1862. (Which made him enemies in Congress, which Lincoln warned him about, since it caused Lincoln a lot of grief with Congress.)

No, they do not. They can arrest generals appointed by higher authorities, but not simply relieve them.

You quote the case of an officer appointed by McClellan, in his position of GINC, being relieved by McClellan, in his position of GINC. You have not advanced your position one iota.


So? McClellan was trying to remove generals from Corps command on May 9, 1862. The " Militia Act of 17th July 1862" you are citing DID NOT EXIST at that time. Why are you bothering to drag this red herring about?

What authority appointed the Corps commanders to their position? Was it Lincoln in his General War Order No. 2 perhaps?

See the difference; McClellan could remove a general appointed by the authority of McClellan, but not a general appointed by the authority of Lincoln. It is almost like the President is above the General-in-Chief...
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
No, they do not. They can arrest generals appointed by higher authorities, but not simply relieve them.

You quote the case of an officer appointed by McClellan, in his position of GINC, being relieved by McClellan, in his position of GINC. You have not advanced your position one iota.
Well, no.
  • McClellan was not General-in-Chief after March 11, 1862.
    • Lincoln had removed him from the General-in-Chief position, and the position remained vacant until Henry Halleck became General-in-Chief in July 23, 1862. This was done by Lincoln's General War Order No. 3 on March 11, 1862.
    • As of that date, McClellan is only in command of the Department of the Potomac.
    • McClellan and Fremont are now simply the two senior Major-Generals in the US with the same date of rank.
    • Fremont now commands everything between Halleck's new Department of the Mississippi and McClellan's Department of the Potomac. This includes Buell's department.
  • C. S. Hamilton was relieved from his duty with Banks and appointed to command Heintzelman's Division on March 13, 1862.
    • This is, of course, within the Department of the Potomac, relieving Hamilton in Banks new Corps and assigning him to a different command in Heintzelman's new Corps.
    • Both Corps were created by Lincoln's General War Order No. 2 on March 11, 1862.
  • C. S. Hamilton was relieved from that division command on April 30, 1862 (IIRR), although Kearny does not seem to have assumed the command until May 3, 1862 (IIRR).
    • Hamilton's relief caused an uproar in Congress that Lincoln had to deal with. A committee from the Congress hand-delivered a petition signed by 23 Senators and 84 Congressman asking for C. S. Hamilton to be restored to his command.
    • Hamilton was not restored to command under McClellan.
    • He was sent west to the Shennadoah, then further west to Rosecrans where he served at Iuka and Corinth.
    • During the Winter of 1862-63 Hamilton was politicking for high command, trying to undermine Sherman and McPherson. Grant transferred him to McClernand's Corps and Hamilton refused to report, after which Grant relieved him and Hamilton resigned.
McClellan was not General-in-Chief for either event involving Hamilton's appointment to or relief from division command in the Spring of 1862.

What authority appointed the Corps commanders to their position? Was it Lincoln in his General War Order No. 2 perhaps?

See the difference; McClellan could remove a general appointed by the authority of McClellan, but not a general appointed by the authority of Lincoln. It is almost like the President is above the General-in-Chief...

I am not sure what you are trying to say here. If you want to go by the Militia Act of July 17, 1862, then the General-in-chief could relieve a general -- as you maintained only 2 or 3 posts back. At any time, the General-in-Chief would be a subordinate of the President and could always be reversed by him. That is simply the way US law works.

This position you are taking on only being able to relieve the generals you appointed yourself is logical nonsense. If it were true, no officer could ever relieve a subordinate who had been appointed by the man they relieved. Do you really believe all subordinates become tenured for life when their superior moves on to another post?
 

Grant's Tomb

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Apr 4, 2020
No, he expressly didn't have that authority. The Militia Act expressly states that appointments to corps command are the prerogative of the President, and the President only. Burnside was legally assigned to command 9th Corps by the President directly. An army commander, since at this point McClellan is not even General-in-Chief, has no authority to overrule the President's commission of Burnside as GOC 9th Corps. Hell, even Grant, as GINC, could not fire Burnside as much as he wanted to.

Consider how Burnside was actually removed in 1864. Meade ordered a court-of-inquiry into Burnside to have him removed, and went as far as appointing the court. He was then told that neither me nor Grant had the authority to do such a thing. Burnside was a Presidential appointee and only the President could thus order such a thing. Meade asked Grant to have Lincoln give the order, whilst he prepared to prefer charges of insubordination if Lincoln did not assent. Grant duly requested that Halleck get Lincoln to give the order. Lincoln gave the order the next day.

The court had been packed by Meade with anti-Burnside partisans, and they found that Burnside was to blame. On 13th August Burnside asked Grant for a leave-of-absence and Parke assumed acting command of 9th Corps. When Burnside asked when was convenient to return, Grant said he should wait but that he was still GOC 9th Corps. No order replacing Burnside as GOC 9th Corps has been found by me, in which case General Orders 84 of 1862 is still in effect. Hence the 9th Corps remained "Burnside's Corps". In late September Parke asked about Burnside's extended leave, and the answer was it was indefinite. This triggered Grant to ask for any remaining staff members to return.

The take home point is that Grant, as GINC, could not order a court-of-inquiry, and Grant, as GINC, could not relieve Burnside of command of the 9th Corps even after a court had found against him. In the end he simply extended a leave Burnside had taken indefinitely. Arguably, Burnside could simply have returned to his duty station (9th Corps) and resumed command.

Given that Grant could not do what Belfoured proposes, and was General-in-Chief, what makes anyone think McClellan could?
After Burnside had been granted that extended leave he was never recalled to duty for the remainder of the war
 

Grant's Tomb

Corporal
Joined
Apr 4, 2020
Burnside was responsible for the choice of the "less than competent Division Commander was put in charge of the attack". Burnside also deliberately chose not to remove some of the obstacles on his front (despite orders) before the mine exploded. The switch from the USCT division was surely a Grant/Meade decision based on political sensitivity.

Also, Grant exposed himself to fire to get to Burnside and order the attack stopped, and Meade issued at order to stop the attack by 9:30 AM; Burnside didn't get that order into the Crater until about 2:00 PM (where it had little effect).

Meade can be dinged for micro-managing this -- but then Burnside's record almost demanded micro-managing from above. By mid-1864, the general consensus in Union higher commands was that Burnside was not suited to command more than a brigade.

Grant's post-war comment on Burnside:
General Burnside was an officer who was generally liked and respected. He was not, however, fitted to command an army. No one knew this better than himself. He always admitted his blunders, and extenuated those of officers under him beyond what they were entitled to. It was hardly his fault that he was ever assigned to a separate command.
It was a mistake to allow his 3 other division commanders draw lots to decide which division would lead the attack into the crater after the mine exploded. Ledlie didn't even bother to give his men a briefing on what they were expected to do and was drunk during the battle behind the lines in a bombproof shelter
 
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