McClellan on Hooker at Antietam

trice

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Actually, I do not recall ever seeing any order appointing McClellan to be "General in Chief" of the Army. I have seen an order appointing Halleck to be General in Chief.

McClellan:

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 94​
WAR DEP'T, ADJT. GEN.'S OFFICE,​
Washington,November 1, 186l.​

The following order from the President of the United States, announcing the retirement from active command of the honored veteran Lieut. Gen. Winfield Scott will be read by the Army with profound regret:​
EXECUTIVE MANSION,
Washington, November 1, 1861.
On the 1st day of November, A.D. 1861, upon his own application to the President of the United States, Brevet Lieut. Gen. Winfield Scott is ordered to be placed, and hereby is placed, upon the list of retired officers of the Army of the United States, without reduction in his current pay, subsistence, or allowances.
The American people will hear with sadness and deep emotion that General Scott has withdrawn, from the active control of the Army, while the President and a unanimous Cabinet express their own and the nation's sympathy in his personal affliction, and their profound sense of the important public services rendered by him to his country during his long and brilliant career, among which will ever be gratefully distinguished his faithful devotion to the Constitution, the Union, and the Flag, when assailed by parricidal rebellion.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
The President is pleased to direct that Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan assume the command of the Army of the United States. The headquarters of the Army will be established in the city of Washington. All communications intended for the Commanding- General will hereafter be addressed direct to the Adjutant-General. The duplicate returns, orders, and other papers, heretofore sent to the assistant adjutant-general, headquarters of the Army, will be discontinued.
By order of the Secretary of War:​
L. THOMAS,​
Adjutant-General.​

Halleck:

WAR DEPARTMENT,​
July 11, 1862.​
Major-General HALLECK, Corinth:​
The President has this day made the following order, which I hasten to communicate to you:​

EXECUTIVE MANSION,
Washington, July 11, 1862.
Ordered, That Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck be assigned to command the whole land forces of the United States as General-in-Chief, and that he repair to this capital so soon as he can with safety to the positions and operations within the department under his charge.
A. LINCOLN.

You will please acknowledge the receipt of this order, and state when you may be expected here. Your early presence is required by many circumstances.​
EDWIN M. STANTON,​
Secretary of War.​

So we know for sure that Halleck was appointed to be "General-in-Chief". McClellan was appointed to be "assume the command of the Army of the United States".
Then, when Grant replaced Halleck in 1864, we have this:
WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington City, March 10, 1864.

By order of the President, Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck is, at his own request, relieved from duty as General-in-Chief, commanding the Armies of the United States.

By order of the President:
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
-----
WAR DEPARTMENT,
March 10, 1864--1.40 p.m.
Lieut. Gen. U.S. GRANT,
Commander-in-Chief, Hdqrs. Army of the Potomac:

Pursuant to the authority of the act of Congress approved February 29, 1864, the President, by Executive order of this date, has assigned to you the command of the Armies of the United States.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
 

Lubliner

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When McClellan was first called to Washington after 1st Bull Run, didn't he write his wife and boast about having such little time for himself, that he would worry about sewing his stripes or bars on later? I am asking because it almost seems like McClellan to dismiss such a personal blow from being acknowledged, simply to keep the stars on until he figured he would be called out for it. I believe a small amount of sympathy had been extended to him.
Lubliner.
 

Belfoured

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Then, when Grant replaced Halleck in 1864, we have this:
WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington City, March 10, 1864.

By order of the President, Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck is, at his own request, relieved from duty as General-in-Chief, commanding the Armies of the United States.

By order of the President:
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
-----
WAR DEPARTMENT,
March 10, 1864--1.40 p.m.
Lieut. Gen. U.S. GRANT,
Commander-in-Chief, Hdqrs. Army of the Potomac:

Pursuant to the authority of the act of Congress approved February 29, 1864, the President, by Executive order of this date, has assigned to you the command of the Armies of the United States.

EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
So we have two dispositive facts here:
(1) The order appointing Grant also relieved Halleck. The order appointing Halleck did not relieve McClellan. Why not? That gets us to:
(2) The position requires that the occupant have one essential duty - command of all the armies. That's how McClellan understood it and he was removed from that duty on March 11, so when Halleck was appointed there was no need to simultaneously relieve McClellan - it had already happened. Anything else is fabricated spin and baseless argument.
 

Belfoured

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When McClellan was first called to Washington after 1st Bull Run, didn't he write his wife and boast about having such little time for himself, that he would worry about sewing his stripes or bars on later? I am asking because it almost seems like McClellan to dismiss such a personal blow from being acknowledged, simply to keep the stars on until he figured he would be called out for it. I believe a small amount of sympathy had been extended to him.
Lubliner.
And the only thing that actually mattered did happen - as of March 12 he no longer had any authority to issue orders to other armies/departments, nor did he ever issue another such order. As he wrote after the war, he never even entered the G in C's office after March 11. There was no need to humiliate him with some official directive regarding his shoulder straps. Lincoln and Stanton were busy fighting a war. Until this thread I had never seen a theory by anybody - at the time or in the 150 years since - that McClellan still held the position until July 23.
 

67th Tigers

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So we have two dispositive facts here:
(1) The order appointing Grant also relieved Halleck. The order appointing Halleck did not relieve McClellan. Why not? That gets us to:
Because it is done by implication. There can only be one occupant of the office. Appointing someone else automatically removes the incumbent. That is exactly what happened.
(2) The position requires that the occupant have one essential duty - command of all the armies. That's how McClellan understood it and he was removed from that duty on March 11, so when Halleck was appointed there was no need to simultaneously relieve McClellan - it had already happened. Anything else is fabricated spin and baseless argument.
Nope. There was no legal definition of the duties of the General-in-Chief under the 1857 Army Regulations. Indeed, From those regulations coming in force until 12th December 1860, Scott had not been assigned to command the army, and did not command the army. He was, however, still General-in-Chief.
And the only thing that actually mattered did happen - as of March 12 he no longer had any authority to issue orders to other armies/departments, nor did he ever issue another such order. As he wrote after the war, he never even entered the G in C's office after March 11. There was no need to humiliate him with some official directive regarding his shoulder straps. Lincoln and Stanton were busy fighting a war. Until this thread I had never seen a theory by anybody - at the time or in the 150 years since - that McClellan still held the position until July 23.
Nope. The order simply reassigned part of the army to report directly. It did not alter the fact that McClellan was General-in-Chief, but rather modified what the duties of the General-in-Chief were.

I too was fooled for a long time.

It does matter in this thread because if McClellan was not General-in-Chief, he would not have been able to relieve General Hamilton from duty without arrest, because he had been ordered to duty in the Army of the Potomac by the General-in-Chief.

Only two authorities could command a general to duty in a department, and they were the President (or his proxy, the Secretary-of-War in the name of the President), and the General-in-Chief (if ordered to command the Army by the President). Only an equal or greater authority could revoke such an order by relieving the general without arrest.

If McClellan were not General-in-Chief, then he would have had no authority to revoke the orders of McClellan as General-in-Chief. Hence Hamilton's relief would not have been legal.* Despite intense scrutiny of the action, McClellan's right to relieve Hamilton was never questioned.

This entire line came from a spurious idea that Burnside could have been relieved without arrest. Burnside had been ordered to duty commanding 9th Corps by the President, and as such only the President could relieve him of said duty without arrest.

* For other generals, they could move generals within their command assuming where in the command they were assigned was not specified of course. An "other" general could move generals from brigade to brigade or division without changing their assignment to the department. What they could not do was move a general from department to department, because they did not have the authority to.
 

Belfoured

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Because it is done by implication. There can only be one occupant of the office. Appointing someone else automatically removes the incumbent. That is exactly what happened.

Nope. There was no legal definition of the duties of the General-in-Chief under the 1857 Army Regulations. Indeed, From those regulations coming in force until 12th December 1860, Scott had not been assigned to command the army, and did not command the army. He was, however, still General-in-Chief.

Nope. The order simply reassigned part of the army to report directly. It did not alter the fact that McClellan was General-in-Chief, but rather modified what the duties of the General-in-Chief were.

I too was fooled for a long time.

It does matter in this thread because if McClellan was not General-in-Chief, he would not have been able to relieve General Hamilton from duty without arrest, because he had been ordered to duty in the Army of the Potomac by the General-in-Chief.

Only two authorities could command a general to duty in a department, and they were the President (or his proxy, the Secretary-of-War in the name of the President), and the General-in-Chief (if ordered to command the Army by the President). Only an equal or greater authority could revoke such an order by relieving the general without arrest.

If McClellan were not General-in-Chief, then he would have had no authority to revoke the orders of McClellan as General-in-Chief. Hence Hamilton's relief would not have been legal.* Despite intense scrutiny of the action, McClellan's right to relieve Hamilton was never questioned.

This entire line came from a spurious idea that Burnside could have been relieved without arrest. Burnside had been ordered to duty commanding 9th Corps by the President, and as such only the President could relieve him of said duty without arrest.

* For other generals, they could move generals within their command assuming where in the command they were assigned was not specified of course. An "other" general could move generals from brigade to brigade or division without changing their assignment to the department. What they could not do was move a general from department to department, because they did not have the authority to.
In other words, you have erected a theory that is completely unsupported by any facts and have no plausible answers to the points made here. So - as always - you deflect. "This entire line" started with the "spurious" theory that if Burnside were performing inefficiently or incompetently in executing McClellan's orders on September 17 at 10 AM, jeopardizing his army's fate - but not committing a technically arrestable offense that would meet the burden of proof at a court martial trial - McClellan was stuck unless he could get Lincoln on his cell phone, obtain permission to relieve Burnside on the field of battle, and get his orders effectively implemented. That is ridiculous. There is no doubt that Lincoln would agree that it's spurious because he was trying to win a war, not some silly debate. That's why Burnside's appointment made him a subordinate to McClellan.
 

trice

Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
So we have two dispositive facts here:
(1) The order appointing Grant also relieved Halleck. The order appointing Halleck did not relieve McClellan. Why not? That gets us to:
(2) The position requires that the occupant have one essential duty - command of all the armies. That's how McClellan understood it and he was removed from that duty on March 11, so when Halleck was appointed there was no need to simultaneously relieve McClellan - it had already happened. Anything else is fabricated spin and baseless argument.
Well, here is an interesting thing. The general-in-chief is actually supposed to be the senior officer in the Army.
  • Jacob Brown (incapacitated in 1821, died in 1828) was actually the senior Major General by rank in the Army while he was alive.
  • Alexander Macomb was actually the senior Major General by rank in the Army after President Jackson promoted him (date of substantive rank May 28, 1828) over the heads of the squabbling Winfield Scott and Edmund Gaines (brevet major generals from 1814) and remained senior until his death in 1841.
  • Winfield Scott was promoted by President Tyler to a substantive rank of Major General in 1841 after Macomb died.
    • This makes Scott the senior Major General in the Army until he retires (in 1855 he is promoted to Brevet Lieutenant General with a date of rank in 1847).
  • George McClellan was not the the senior officer in the Army at any time.
    • McClellan and John Fremont had exactly the same substantive date of rank.
    • McClellan was seen as the general-in-chief because he was assigned to command the Army by President Lincoln, putting him in command of Fremont.
    • When Lincoln relieved McClellan from the command of the Army, he was back on the same level as Fremont again.
  • Henry Halleck was not the the senior officer in the Army at any time.
    • Halleck's date of rank is after both McClellan and Fremont.
    • Halleck becomes general-in-chief because President Lincoln specifically makes him General-in-Chief over McClellan and Fremont in 1862.
    • Halleck is now in command of both McClellan and Fremont.
    • When Halleck is relieved of the command of the Army and the position of General-in-Chief by Presidential Lincoln in 1864, he is no longer the general-in-chief.
    • Halleck's status is now that he is junior to McClellan and Fremont (who both resign in 1864 anyway).
  • Ulysses Grant is the senior officer in the Army after he is promoted to a substantive rank of Lieutenant General by President Lincoln (March 10, 1864).
    • Grant is assigned by President Lincoln to the command of the Army.
    • Grant is now senior to both McClellan and Fremont.
    • Grant is now in command of both McClellan and Fremont.
 

Belfoured

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Ridiculous of not, it is the law governing the relationship. Thinking that said law is ridiculous does not stop it being the law.
You fail to understand a basic proposition of American jurisprudence which dates back to the founding - courts will always construe a law if at all possible so that it is not a nullity or doesn't lead to an absurd result. There is nothing - literally nothing - you can point to in Burnside's appointment which renders him immune from McClellan's authority to relieve him if necessary on the battlefield in the commander-subordinate relationship, which is at the core of the military. And it's not "thinking that said law is ridiculous" IF it has the meaning you give it. It IS ridiculous, because you propose that McClellan must accept defeat on a battlefield in lieu of exercising the basic authority of a commander over a subordinate unless Burnside is technically committing a court martial offense. Lincoln would be reading your proposition and scratching his head.
 

67th Tigers

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You fail to understand a basic proposition of American jurisprudence which dates back to the founding - courts will always construe a law if at all possible so that it is not a nullity or doesn't lead to an absurd result.

This is an army that court-martialled and cashiered officers for incorrectly filling in muster forms. You seem to have a very rose-tinted view of what you can get away with.

There is nothing - literally nothing - you can point to in Burnside's appointment which renders him immune from McClellan's authority to relieve him if necessary on the battlefield in the commander-subordinate relationship, which is at the core of the military.
You can't point to a regulation that would allow him to. That's part of the problem.

Burnside had been assigned to command of 9th Corps by Lincoln. McClellan cannot issue a command contravening Lincoln. That's how it works:

Lincoln is above McClellan in the chain-of-command.

I know I should have to repeat this, but you seem to be oblivious to this fact. McClellan can't countermand Lincoln's order.

Of course, McClellan could, if he had just cause, arrest Burnside for contravening any particular regulation or article-of-war.

And it's not "thinking that said law is ridiculous" IF it has the meaning you give it. It IS ridiculous, because you propose that McClellan must accept defeat on a battlefield in lieu of exercising the basic authority of a commander over a subordinate unless Burnside is technically committing a court martial offense. Lincoln would be reading your proposition and scratching his head.

Lincoln did weigh in on this very matter when McClellan asked for permission to relieve "incompetent commanders of army corps" in May 1862. Guess what Lincoln's answer was? I'll give you a clue - you won't like it because it disproves your argument.
 

Belfoured

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This is an army that court-martialled and cashiered officers for incorrectly filling in muster forms. You seem to have a very rose-tinted view of what you can get away with.


You can't point to a regulation that would allow him to. That's part of the problem.

Burnside had been assigned to command of 9th Corps by Lincoln. McClellan cannot issue a command contravening Lincoln. That's how it works:

Lincoln is above McClellan in the chain-of-command.

I know I should have to repeat this, but you seem to be oblivious to this fact. McClellan can't countermand Lincoln's order.

Of course, McClellan could, if he had just cause, arrest Burnside for contravening any particular regulation or article-of-war.



Lincoln did weigh in on this very matter when McClellan asked for permission to relieve "incompetent commanders of army corps" in May 1862. Guess what Lincoln's answer was? I'll give you a clue - you won't like it because it disproves your argument.
Lincoln's answer actually ducked that issue and authorized McClellan's option of reorganizing his army and adding two corps. He counseled McClellan regarding the political wisdom of taking out S, F and H but - as usual - you embellish. And in any event Lincoln said nothing to the effect that McClellan had no authority to act approprately as a CO on the battlefield. I know I should not have to repeat this but you seem oblivious to this fact - Lincoln said nothing to that effect because it would have been ridiculous. He was trying to win a war.

McClellan is above Burnside in the chain-of-command.
 

67th Tigers

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Lincoln's answer actually ducked that issue and authorized McClellan's option of reorganizing his army and adding two corps. He counseled McClellan regarding the political wisdom of taking out S, F and H but - as usual - you embellish. And in any event Lincoln said nothing to the effect that McClellan had no authority to act approprately as a CO on the battlefield. I know I should not have to repeat this but you seem oblivious to this fact - Lincoln said nothing to that effect because it would have been ridiculous. He was trying to win a war.

McClellan is above Burnside in the chain-of-command.

McClellan asked permission to be able to relieve "incompetent commanders of army corps". Lincoln waffled a bit but declined, asking "Do the Commanders of Corps disobey your orders in any thing?"

It should be obvious to you that when someone asks permission to do something, and their superior answers with reasons they shouldn't have this permission that the permission is denied. McClellan was denied in his request to have the authority to relieve "incompetent commanders of army corps." He did give (in the accompanying order) permission to temporarily reorganise the corps without breaking the existing ones up.

Lincoln had spoken.

That McClellan is above Burnside is why he can arrest him if he has just cause, and prefer charges. However, he cannot relieve him otherwise because Burnside is ordered to that position by Lincoln, and Lincoln's order cannot be countermanded by McClellan.
 

NedBaldwin

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That McClellan is above Burnside is why he can arrest him if he has just cause, and prefer charges. However, he cannot relieve him otherwise because Burnside is ordered to that position by Lincoln, and Lincoln's order cannot be countermanded by McClellan.
Though McClellan could assign Burnside to wing command; could assign temporary corps commanders (Mansfield) or could put one Corps temporarily under the command of another (wing command to Sumner before Mansfield arrived) so seems he had plenty of flexibility when it came to Lincoln's order putting someone in command of a corps.
 

Belfoured

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McClellan asked permission to be able to relieve "incompetent commanders of army corps". Lincoln waffled a bit but declined, asking "Do the Commanders of Corps disobey your orders in any thing?"

It should be obvious to you that when someone asks permission to do something, and their superior answers with reasons they shouldn't have this permission that the permission is denied. McClellan was denied in his request to have the authority to relieve "incompetent commanders of army corps." He did give (in the accompanying order) permission to temporarily reorganise the corps without breaking the existing ones up.

Lincoln had spoken.

That McClellan is above Burnside is why he can arrest him if he has just cause, and prefer charges. However, he cannot relieve him otherwise because Burnside is ordered to that position by Lincoln, and Lincoln's order cannot be countermanded by McClellan.
McClellan requested the option of one or the other. He was given the second and in a letter Lincoln counseled him about the political issues for McClellan if the first were used. As we know, Grant relieved McClernand without seeking or getting Lincoln's approval. And McClernand was never "arrested" or charged with anything as the basis for an arrest. Wilson merely delivered the order relieving him and McClernand's response was "I am relieved". Wilson did not "arrest" him. If you need to understand how an arrest works, ask Fitz John Porter about the events of November 25, 1862 and what he was allowed/not allowed to do.

And, of course, in order to make Lincoln appear a fool, you resort to the usual tactic of filling in non-existent words.
 

Belfoured

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Though McClellan could assign Burnside to wing command; could assign temporary corps commanders (Mansfield) or could put one Corps temporarily under the command of another (wing command to Sumner before Mansfield arrived) so seems he had plenty of flexibility when it came to Lincoln's order putting someone in command of a corps.
Think about the concept of a subordinate failing on the battlefield, leading to a defeat, all because he is performing poorly but has to be left in command because he isn't committing a court martial offense. That's right out of the Cosmo Kramer Manual of Command.
 

67th Tigers

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Though McClellan could assign Burnside to wing command; could assign temporary corps commanders (Mansfield) or could put one Corps temporarily under the command of another (wing command to Sumner before Mansfield arrived) so seems he had plenty of flexibility when it came to Lincoln's order putting someone in command of a corps.
Indeed, but he could not remove Burnside from the corps.

When he created wings, he did it by grouping corps thus:

Sumner's Wing: 2nd Corps (Sumner) and 12th Corps (official commander absent)
Burnside's Wing 9th Corps (Burnside) and 1st Corps (officially Reno, but order suspended by permission of Lincoln)

In these two cases, the senior corps commanders acted differently. Burnside stepped out of his corps, leaving the running of it to the senior division commander. Sumner remained in personal command of his corps, and relayed instructions to whoever was senior in 12th corps. Burnside was of course ordered to actively resume command of his corps at Antietam as the wing was not together.

Further, consider what happened with the more formal organisation into Grand Divisions. As Halleck notes, changing Corps Commanders is a power reserved for the President:

1632252996036.png


Or consider another case. In October 1863 Slocum requested to be relieved of command of the 12th Corps as he objected to serving under Hooker. Grant did not have the authority to change a corps commander, and had to ask Halleck to have Lincoln order that Hooker assume command of 12th Corps vice Slocum.

Changing Corps Commanders was different to divisions. Since only the President could order a general to assume substantive command of one by statute (Militia Act of 17th July 1862). Nothing stopped corps commanders being reassigned to higher duties. Indeed, as best one can tell Burnside was not relieved of the ninth army corps when he was made commander of the Army of the Potomac, and simply resumed command of it without any orders assigning him to it.
 

trice

Colonel
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May 2, 2006
McClellan asked permission to be able to relieve "incompetent commanders of army corps". Lincoln waffled a bit but declined, asking "Do the Commanders of Corps disobey your orders in any thing?"

It should be obvious to you that when someone asks permission to do something, and their superior answers with reasons they shouldn't have this permission that the permission is denied. McClellan was denied in his request to have the authority to relieve "incompetent commanders of army corps." He did give (in the accompanying order) permission to temporarily reorganise the corps without breaking the existing ones up.

Lincoln had spoken.

That McClellan is above Burnside is why he can arrest him if he has just cause, and prefer charges. However, he cannot relieve him otherwise because Burnside is ordered to that position by Lincoln, and Lincoln's order cannot be countermanded by McClellan.
I think the most instructive thing about this is what you are leaving out.

Lincoln sent a private letter to McClellan and it does
Major General McClellan. Fort Monroe, Va.
My dear Sir: May 9, 1862.
I have just assisted the Secretary of War in framing the part of a despatch to you, relating to Army Corps, which despatch of course will have reached you long before this will. I wish to say a few words to you privately on this subject. ...

The above is just Lincoln telling McClellan that he wants to brief him on the entire situation, to point out to him matters that McClellan seems totally about. In short, the above is just Lincoln saying: "Heads up! Pay attention!".

The paragraph continues:

... I ordered the Army Corps organization not only on the unanimous opinion of the twelve Generals whom you had selected and assigned as Generals of Division, but also on the unanimous opinion of every military man I could get an opinion from, and every modern military book, yourself only expected. Of course, I did not, on my own judgment, pretend to understand the subject. ...

Those two sentences are just Lincoln making his motivation and reasoning in creating the Corps clear to McClellan. The word "expected" was in the source I cut-and-pasted here; I suspect it should be "excepted". It would make more sense that way, IMHO. In any case, McClellan had been opposed to Lincoln's action in creating the Corps. Like a few other generals (J. E. Johnston, for example) in the Civil War, McClellan seems to have felt that actions he did not like were blows against him personally. Lincoln seems to be making clear to McClellan that he was taking things in the wrong way.

The paragraph continues:

...I now think it indispensable for you to know how your struggle against it is received in quarters which we cannot entirely disregard. It is looked upon as merely an effort to pamper one or two pets, and to persecute and degrade their supposed rivals. I have had no word from Sumner, Heintzelman, or Keyes. The commanders of these Corps are of course the three highest officers with you, but I am constantly told that you consult and communicate with nobody but General Fitz John Porter, and perhaps General Franklin. I do not say these complaints are true or just; but at all events it is proper you should know of their existence. ...
Those few sentences show something very clearly: Lincoln thinks McClellan is either politically blind or a helpless neophyte. Lincoln is trying to explain to McClellan the big problems that McClellan is creating. Lincoln is telling McClellan that:
  • McClellan is making enemies, big and powerful enemies
  • the word around Washington is that McClellan is playing personal favorites. ("to pamper one or two pets")
  • the word around Washington is that McClellan will not listen to "Sumner, Heintzelman, or Keyes", only to "Fitz John Porter, and perhaps General Franklin".
  • Lincoln has not decided this is all true, but McClellan better wake up and pay attention.
The paragraph finishes:

... Do the Commanders of Corps disobey your orders in any thing?
Here is the direct point. Lincoln wants to know is McClellan has an actual , tangible cause to complain and/or relieve these (so far unmentioned by McClellan) commanders. If McClellan does have real complaints, here is McClellan's opportunity to respond. Since Lincoln actually asked this question, the implication is that Lincoln would back McClellan if he can just present some solid basis for his relief of these generals.

Next paragraph:

When you relieved General Hamilton of his command the other day, you thereby lost the confidence of at least one of your best friends in the Senate. ...
Lincoln is telling McClellan that he lost a friend and gained an enemy when he relieved Hamilton. Lincoln got a delegation from the Congress bringing a petition to re-instate Hamilton signed by 23 Senators and 84 Congressman over that move. Yet Lincoln stood strong and supported McClellan in that, easing Hamilton on to the Shenandoah and then the West. Lincoln has already told McClellan about that -- and now McClellan is trying to make even a bigger mess by relieving Corps commanders. No wonder Lincoln thinks McClellan is politically clueless (or maybe just too arrogant to figure this out without clear direction).

The paragraph finishes:

And here let me say, not as applicable to you personally, that Senators and Representatives speak of me in their places as they please, without question; and that officers of the army must cease addressing insulting letters to them for taking no greater liberty with them.

This is Lincoln telling McClellan (the boss telling the subordinate) that his people are back-room politicking and feuding with Congress, causing great turmoil and problems. Lincoln wants it stopped ("officers of the army must cease addressing insulting letters to them"). He wants McClellan to stop it in the Army of the Potomac (why else is he telling it to him?)

The next paragraph:

But, to return, are you strong enough, even with my help-to set your foot upon the necks of Sumner, Heintzelman, and Keyes all at once? This is a practical and very serious question for you.
This is Lincoln telling McClellan to think about this matter before proceeding. Lincoln is asking: Does McClellan really think he can win a fight with the Congress? Lincoln sees a showdown coming and wants to be sure McClellan is not blind to what he is charging towards --the sort of warning a politician only gives to someone they think is too think to see what they are doing, or too arrogant for their own good.

The final paragraph

The success of your army and the cause of the country are the same; and of course I only desire the good of the cause.
Yours truly. A. LINCOLN.
All of that is good and helpful advice, explanatory background that you seem to have missed completely. If McClellan wanted to relieve one of those five Corps commanders, he needed to explain it to Lincoln. If he made a good enough case, it looks like Lincoln would have supported McClellan. The problem is that McClellan wants free rein, wants to "hire and fire" without explaining himself (as is obvious from the Hamilton case on April 30 and the Lincoln-McClellan dialogue that followed).
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
If you need to understand how an arrest works,
Thanks. I do.

Usually officers were arrested and "bailed" instantaneously unless the court-martial could be arranged immediately. The officer was usually simply then assigned to their home or other known location waiting for the charges and instructions for the court-martial.

In McClernand's case, the boundaries of his arrest were set as the state of Illinois (which he was ordered to). Grant had one year to prefer charges and arrange a court-martial. After Lincoln issued a backdated order (i.e. from 18th June) making it an ordinary relief of reassignment, Grant indicated he would not press the charges relating to an unauthorised publication.

As I've learnt in this thread, Lincoln waited until the 13th Corps was out from under Grant and then reassigned McClernand to its command.
 

Belfoured

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Thanks. I do.

Usually officers were arrested and "bailed" instantaneously unless the court-martial could be arranged immediately. The officer was usually simply then assigned to their home or other known location waiting for the charges and instructions for the court-martial.

In McClernand's case, the boundaries of his arrest were set as the state of Illinois (which he was ordered to). Grant had one year to prefer charges and arrange a court-martial. After Lincoln issued a backdated order (i.e. from 18th June) making it an ordinary relief of reassignment, Grant indicated he would not press the charges relating to an unauthorised publication.

As I've learnt in this thread, Lincoln waited until the 13th Corps was out from under Grant and then reassigned McClernand to its command.
This just gets sillier by the post. McClernand was not "confined" to Illinois - 57,918 square miles of "confinement". He was ordered to report there and await assignment - as Grant's order stated, "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." McClernand had to be ordered to report somewhere since - as McClernand told Stanton on June 27, 1863 - "General Grant has assumed power to relieve me from the command of the Thirteenth Army Corps" but he was still in service waiting for orders. That's why his sponsor Governor Yates on June 30, 1863 wrote to Lincoln and suggested that he be "put in command in Pennsylvania". You can't seem to grasp the reality that there were no "charges and instructions for the court-martial" that McClernand was awaiting.

And stop falsifying - we've seen the July 10 order in which Lincoln approved Ord's assignment, as Grant requested. He did not issue a "backdated order" regarding Grant's relief of McClernand, as Grant did not request.
 
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