McClellan on Hooker at Antietam

NedBaldwin

Major
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Location
California
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.

Actually Lincoln restored McClernand to command of the 13th Corps in February 1864.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
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
Yes. Ledlie was placed on leave for a "physical disability" a few days before Burnside went on leave. Burnside went on leave immediately after giving three days of testimony to the board of inquiry. Grant had just arrived back from a quick trip up through Washington to straighten out the Halleck-Hunter-Sheridan situation at the suggestion of Lincoln. IMHO, either Grant wanted to ease Burnside out or Burnside wanted time away from this mess (maybe to work his connections); maybe a bit of both.

It is also worth noting that Grant almost moved Meade out of the AoP at this exact time because of his temper and contentious relations with his commanders. The Burnside-Meade relationship was part of that, so maybe this was a means of resolving the command status in the AoP.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Well, no.
  • McClellan was not General-in-Chief after March 11, 1862.
McClellan was not General-in-Chief for either event involving Hamilton's appointment to or relief from division command in the Spring of 1862.

Yes, he was. He was General-in-Chief, with 3 stars on his shoulder straps, until July 1862.

Lincoln only transferred some of his responsibilities away from him whilst he was "in the field", and he remained in position.

McClellan's position here is analogous to Grant's during the 1864-5 campaigns. He has the office, but many of the functions are retained at Washington in his absence.

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.

Indeed, and McClellan invited Lincoln to give the order restoring Hamilton. Lincoln declined to do so.

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?

This is nonsense. It is the office that has the responsibility, not the man occupying it.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
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After Burnside had been granted that extended leave he was never recalled to duty for the remainder of the war

Indeed. Burnside requested, and was granted, a 20 day leave. This was not unusual. Essentially Grant unilaterally extended it whilst Burnside was away. There are legal differences between placing someone on leave, and extending existing leave I believe.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
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Location
California
Interesting. I read McClernand tendered his resignation in January 1864. Did Lincoln not accept it?
He did not. Instead he sent McClernand back orders to replace ord.
13th was in Louisiana and on the coast of Texas at the time
So McClernand was on the coast of Texas for a couple months then joined the end of the Red River campaign
But he took leave for his health and resigned later in the year
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Yes, he was. He was General-in-Chief, with 3 stars on his shoulder straps, until July 1862.

Lincoln only transferred some of his responsibilities away from him whilst he was "in the field", and he remained in position.
Well, no. That is just wrong, and it explains a lot about why you mistake so many things on this topic. The following is from Civil War High Commands by John H. Eicher and David E. Eicher, Stanford University Press, 2002:
1632065916526.png

1632065975239.png

1632065648703.png

McClellan's position here is analogous to Grant's during the 1864-5 campaigns. He has the office, but many of the functions are retained at Washington in his absence.
Well, no. That is again completely wrong. Grant actually was General-in-Chief of the Army from March 9 of 1864 until March 4 of 1869 (when he took the oath of office as President of the United States). McClellan was not General-in-Chief after March 11 of 1862.

Grant actually has ***two*** headquarters established: the one in Washington run by Halleck, and the one with the Army of the Potomac run by Rawlins. Both report directly to Grant, who actually was the General-in-Chief of the Army no matter where he went.

Indeed, and McClellan invited Lincoln to give the order restoring Hamilton. Lincoln declined to do so.
Do you actually believe this? What makes you think so? Do you have a source you can show us to back up what you say here -- because it sure looks like McClellan did exactly the opposite of what you are claiming.

This is nonsense. It is the office that has the responsibility, not the man occupying it.
Then you should be more clear in what you say.

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Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
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Well, no. That is just wrong, and it explains a lot about why you mistake so many things on this topic. The following is from Civil War High Commands by John H. Eicher and David E. Eicher, Stanford University Press, 2002:
View attachment 414589
View attachment 414590
View attachment 414588

Well, no. That is again completely wrong. Grant actually was General-in-Chief of the Army from March 9 of 1864 until March 4 of 1869 (when he took the oath of office as President of the United States). McClellan was not General-in-Chief after March 11 of 1862.

Grant actually has ***two*** headquarters established: the one in Washington run by Halleck, and the one with the Army of the Potomac run by Rawlins. Both report directly to Grant, who actually was the General-in-Chief of the Army no matter where he went.


Do you actually believe this? What makes you think so? Do you have a source you can show us to back up what you say here -- because it sure looks like McClellan did exactly the opposite of what you are claiming.


Then you should be more clear in what you say.

View attachment 414586

View attachment 414587
Just as one example, Grant was issuing orders directly to George Thomas at Nashville in December 1864 and Thomas was acknowledging them.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Well, no. That is just wrong, and it explains a lot about why you mistake so many things on this topic.

No, a lot of people get this wrong, including some published authors. McClellan was General-in-Chief until Halleck was appointed vice McClellan.

Read the actual text of Lincoln's order, which simply relieved him of command of other departments other than the eastern ones. It does not relieve him of his position of General-in-Chief, but rather proscribes a limit on the scope of the General-in-Chief whilst he is in the field. Please show he any reference to the position of General-in-Chief in Lincoln's order:

President's War Order No. 3 [1]


President's War} Executive Mansion

Order, No. 3 } Washington, March 11, 1862.

Major General McClellan having personally taken the field at the head of the Army of the Potomac, until otherwise ordered, he is relieved from the command of the other Military departments, he retaining command of the Department of the Potomac.

Ordered further that the two departments now under the respective commands of Generals Halleck, and Hunter together with so much of that under General Buell as lies West of a North and South line indefinitely drawn through Knoxville, Tennessee, be consolidated, and designated the Department of the Mississippi; and that, until otherwise ordered, Major General Halleck have command of said department.

Ordered also, that the country West of the Department of the Potomac, and East of the Department of the Mississippi be a Military department to be called the Mountain Department; and that the same be commanded by Major General Fremont.

That all the commanders of departments, after the receipt of this order by them respectively, report severally and directly to the Secretary of War, and that prompt, full, and frequent reports will be expected of all and each of them. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
He did not. Instead he sent McClernand back orders to replace ord.
13th was in Louisiana and on the coast of Texas at the time
So McClernand was on the coast of Texas for a couple months then joined the end of the Red River campaign
But he took leave for his health and resigned later in the year

Thank you very much for filling in a gap in my knowledge.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
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Location
California
No, a lot of people get this wrong, including some published authors. McClellan was General-in-Chief until Halleck was appointed vice McClellan.

Read the actual text of Lincoln's order, which simply relieved him of command of other departments other than the eastern ones. It does not relieve him of his position of General-in-Chief, but rather proscribes a limit on the scope of the General-in-Chief whilst he is in the field. Please show he any reference to the position of General-in-Chief in Lincoln's order:

President's War Order No. 3 [1]


President's War} Executive Mansion

Order, No. 3 } Washington, March 11, 1862.

Major General McClellan having personally taken the field at the head of the Army of the Potomac, until otherwise ordered, he is relieved from the command of the other Military departments, he retaining command of the Department of the Potomac.

Ordered further that the two departments now under the respective commands of Generals Halleck, and Hunter together with so much of that under General Buell as lies West of a North and South line indefinitely drawn through Knoxville, Tennessee, be consolidated, and designated the Department of the Mississippi; and that, until otherwise ordered, Major General Halleck have command of said department.

Ordered also, that the country West of the Department of the Potomac, and East of the Department of the Mississippi be a Military department to be called the Mountain Department; and that the same be commanded by Major General Fremont.

That all the commanders of departments, after the receipt of this order by them respectively, report severally and directly to the Secretary of War, and that prompt, full, and frequent reports will be expected of all and each of them. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

If he does not have command of other departments, how is he still general in chief?
 

67th Tigers

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Joined
Nov 10, 2006
If he does not have command of other departments, how is he still general in chief?

Because he hasn't been relieved of the position. He simply has had some of his responsibilities suspended whilst he is in the field. The position carried a separate rank insignia (3 stars), and he continued to wear it without anyone complaining. He unpicked the third star when Halleck relieved him from the position.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
He isn't - he's in command of one department. That's why the order states "all the commanders of departments" report henceforward to Stanton - including McClellan.

Whether or not Lincoln has restricted what departments he was responsible for*, his appointment as General-in-Chief has not been revoked. Hence he continued to wear the rank insignia of general-in-chief and exercise some of the powers of general-in-chief.

* Which of course was always true - Lincoln excluded the Department of Virginia from his command in November '61 to placate Wool.
 

Belfoured

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Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Whether or not Lincoln has restricted what departments he was responsible for*, his appointment as General-in-Chief has not been revoked. Hence he continued to wear the rank insignia of general-in-chief and exercise some of the powers of general-in-chief.

* Which of course was always true - Lincoln excluded the Department of Virginia from his command in November '61 to placate Wool.
Which powers did he continue to exercise? He is a "department commander" under the Order and he had no authority over the other departments - contrary to his status starting on November 1, 1861.

In "Own Story", the following is the reference to the November 1, 1861 order:
" ... my own sphere of command and responsibility was extended from the Army of the Potomac to all the armies."

In the same book, this is how the March 11, 1862 order is described:
"I was relieved from the general command of the army while with the front near Manassas (March 11), and never re-entered the office of commanding general in the War Department. All the papers there were taken possession of by the Secretary of War, and he and Halleck are alone responsible for any gaps in the files."
 

67th Tigers

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Joined
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Which powers did he continue to exercise?

Those of the general-in-chief within those areas not temporarily reassigned. The GINC has a separate legal status, and wear a different rank insignia. McClellan recorded that he would remove the insignia on 20th July 1862 when he heard he was to be removed from the post.

The fact that Lincoln directed that McClellan's supervision of other departments be suspended whilst he was in the field with the Department of the Potomac does not alter the fact that he still was the general-in-chief. He remained the legal general-in-chief until he was properly relieved of that position, which happened in late July 1862.

As general-in-chief, he had powers that departmental commanders did not. One was the power to remove generals not appointed by Lincoln, and he exercised this in removing Hamilton.

You are conflating the de jure and de facto statuses.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
No, a lot of people get this wrong, including some published authors. McClellan was General-in-Chief until Halleck was appointed vice McClellan.

Read the actual text of Lincoln's order, which simply relieved him of command of other departments other than the eastern ones. It does not relieve him of his position of General-in-Chief, but rather proscribes a limit on the scope of the General-in-Chief whilst he is in the field. Please show he any reference to the position of General-in-Chief in Lincoln's order:

President's War Order No. 3 [1]


President's War} Executive Mansion

Order, No. 3 } Washington, March 11, 1862.

Major General McClellan having personally taken the field at the head of the Army of the Potomac, until otherwise ordered, he is relieved from the command of the other Military departments, he retaining command of the Department of the Potomac.

Ordered further that the two departments now under the respective commands of Generals Halleck, and Hunter together with so much of that under General Buell as lies West of a North and South line indefinitely drawn through Knoxville, Tennessee, be consolidated, and designated the Department of the Mississippi; and that, until otherwise ordered, Major General Halleck have command of said department.

Ordered also, that the country West of the Department of the Potomac, and East of the Department of the Mississippi be a Military department to be called the Mountain Department; and that the same be commanded by Major General Fremont.

That all the commanders of departments, after the receipt of this order by them respectively, report severally and directly to the Secretary of War, and that prompt, full, and frequent reports will be expected of all and each of them. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Once again, you are completely wrong about this. You are imagining a false view of what occurred.

President Lincoln himself notified high-ranking commanders in the Army directly that McClellan was no longer General-in-Chief. For example:
FORT MONROE, VA.,
March 13, 1862--2 a.m.
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

1 have just sent the following to Major-General McClellan:

Major-General MCCLELLAN,
Fairfax Court-House :
I have just received dispatch from the President, informing me that you are no longer General-in-Chief of the Army. You command the Army of the Potomac. My orders are hereafter to be received from the Secretary of War. I have urged for months Fort Monroe as a base of operations against the army of the rebels at Manassas and the South.
JOHN E. WOOL,
Major-General.
-----
FORT MONROE, VA.,
March 13, 1862--2 a.m.
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

I received last evening a dispatch from the President that Major-General McClellan was no longer General-in-Chief of the Army, and that he was assigned to the Army of the Potomac. The Army of the Potomac is not included in my department--the Department of Southeastern Virginia. Since the above telegram I have received the following telegram from Major-General McClellan, viz:
Can I rely on the Monitor to keep the Merrimac in check so that I can make Fort Monroe a base of operations? Please answer at once.
I have answered that he could rely on the Monitor; but if he makes Fort Monroe the base of operations---which should have been done months ago--I will rank him, and must command, for I am now in command by the President according to my brevet rank. Please to answer.

JOHN E. WOOL,
Major-general.

For the good of the service and the country, Wool was willing to co-operate and assist McClellan beyond the strict limits of the Department system. McClellan was no longer the General-in-Chief of the Army. He was a Major General, date of rank May 14, 1861 -- the same exact date as Major General Fremont (although Fremont was nominated and appointed first). McClellan's authority did not extend into Wool's Department, and technically Wool ranked McClellan if McClellan came into Wool's Department. This was because Wool's appointment had been given to him under his brevet rank of Major General, which dated back to the War with Mexico.

You might not like it and it might not fit your theories. It remains true.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Those of the general-in-chief within those areas not temporarily reassigned. The GINC has a separate legal status, and wear a different rank insignia. McClellan recorded that he would remove the insignia on 20th July 1862 when he heard he was to be removed from the post.

The fact that Lincoln directed that McClellan's supervision of other departments be suspended whilst he was in the field with the Department of the Potomac does not alter the fact that he still was the general-in-chief. He remained the legal general-in-chief until he was properly relieved of that position, which happened in late July 1862.

As general-in-chief, he had powers that departmental commanders did not. One was the power to remove generals not appointed by Lincoln, and he exercised this in removing Hamilton.

You are conflating the de jure and de facto statuses.
Once again, you are completely wrong about this. See above.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
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Those of the general-in-chief within those areas not temporarily reassigned. The GINC has a separate legal status, and wear a different rank insignia. McClellan recorded that he would remove the insignia on 20th July 1862 when he heard he was to be removed from the post.

The fact that Lincoln directed that McClellan's supervision of other departments be suspended whilst he was in the field with the Department of the Potomac does not alter the fact that he still was the general-in-chief. He remained the legal general-in-chief until he was properly relieved of that position, which happened in late July 1862.

As general-in-chief, he had powers that departmental commanders did not. One was the power to remove generals not appointed by Lincoln, and he exercised this in removing Hamilton.

You are conflating the de jure and de facto statuses.
You are inexplicably enraptured with "de jure" and badges and have an equally inexplicable contempt for what actually happens. He became a "department commander" in the order. He no longer had any control over the other departments he had control over on March 10 - most notably, of course, Halleck's. He no longer issued orders to those others. His "Own Story" states the case directly. The fact that Lincoln didn't summon everybody to the White House for a defrocking ceremony at which he ripped McClellan's shoulder bars off his uniform doesn't change anything. McClellan no longer saw himself as actually General in Chief. Hamilton commanded a division in the III Corps which was under McClellan's direct command as CO of the Army of the Potomac, so McClellan's removal of Hamilton proves nothing. I can walk around with a crown and robe saying I'm the King of Norway - that doesn't entitle me to go on NRK-1 and give the annual New Year's Eve speech.
 

67th Tigers

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Nov 10, 2006
You are inexplicably enraptured with "de jure" and badges and have an equally inexplicable contempt for what actually happens.
No, I am going with what actually happened.

Nothing in GWO3 relieved McClellan from being General-in-Chief. It redefined his responsibilities, but because it did not relieve him, he remained in that post. It was the post that was redefined, not McClellan's occupation of it.

If you don't see the distinction, well...

It may have been that Stanton intended to have McClellan removed from the position when he drafted the order, but like a bad lawyer he made a mistake in his drafting. I'm sure you've experienced badly negotiated contracts etc., and that "I meant to write this instead" doesn't work in a court.

What was written was:

"Major General McClellan having personally taken the field at the head of the Army of the Potomac, until otherwise ordered, he is relieved from the command of the other Military departments, he retaining command of the Department of the Potomac."

Note, whilst he was relieved of command of other departments, he was not relieved from the position of general-in-chief. If he was, it would say "relieved from the position of General-in-Chief".

If you wanted to make a comparison to a king, then Charles I of England would be better. As he was led to the block, he was still nominally the King of England, it's just England had redefined itself to be a Republic.

FORT MONROE, VA.,
March 13, 1862--2 a.m.
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

1 have just sent the following to Major-General McClellan:

Major-General MCCLELLAN,
Fairfax Court-House :
I have just received dispatch from the President, informing me that you are no longer General-in-Chief of the Army. You command the Army of the Potomac. My orders are hereafter to be received from the Secretary of War. I have urged for months Fort Monroe as a base of operations against the army of the rebels at Manassas and the South.

Which shows how out of touch Stanton was. Wool's department was excluded from the command of the General-in-Chief in the same November 1861 order appoint McClellan to the position. It had never been under McClellan's command, and would not by under McClellan's command until Wool was assigned out of the department in June 1862, at which point McClellan assumed command of it.

Wool refused to recognise the authority of McClellan, citing that he had the brevet rank of major-general in the regular army with seniority predating McClellan.

The fact that Lincoln was able to remove Wool from McClellan's command whilst it is undisputed that he was General-in-Chief shows that authority over all departments and the position of GINC were not indivisible. Lincoln could redefine the limits of the general-in-chief as much as he wanted, but it did not change who the general-in-chief was.

In reality, whilst it was Stanton's intent to remove him, no doubt, that is not the order he actually wrote for Lincoln.
 
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