McClellan

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Specster

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I think the concensus is that he was great preparing the troops, good with logistics but average to poor as a battlefield Commander. However, Lee said, post war that Mac was by far his most difficult adversary. I dont know what Lee knew about behind the scene fiascos. Historians have not treated Mac kindly for his battlefield acumen.
 
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leftyhunter

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Is it true that McClelland was a bad commander?
If you mean McCellen we have many existing threads on him. I forgot the author's name but perhaps our McCellen experts @Saphroneth and @67th Tigers knows recently a very well received book on the battle of Antietam was published tat is much kinder to McCellen then say Stephen Sears.
As @Saphroneth points out no Union commander if the AoP had the same Combat Equivalent Values a McCellen. The author in question has a lecture series on CWT but I forgot the thread's title.
Leftyhunter
 
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Northern Light

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I have read, don't ask me where that McClellan had a hatchet job done on him by the Republicans because they were pretty sure he would run against Lincoln in the 1864 election and so ensured his military resume was pretty poor. How true this was, I cannot say, but it is an interesting and plausible theory. It might have been Dennis Frye, as he has done some interesting research on McClellan.
 

67th Tigers

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Is it true that McClelland was a bad commander?
No, he was probably one of the best commanders the US produced. He was however the victim of, as Grant described it, "earliness". The government and public simply didn't understand the nature of war, and expected a grand Waterloo style victory culminating in a march into Richmond. This was of course never achieved by anyone.

Essentially, the bar was set so high that no-one could reach it. He didn't reach that bar, and then nobody that followed him, Pope, Burnside, Meade or Grant, reached it either. If you read some of the diaries of Lincoln's cabinet members then even in 1864 they are expecting a Waterloo style victory, and are appalled with what Grant delivered.
 
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Andy Cardinal

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If you read some of the diaries of Lincoln's cabinet members then even in 1864 they are expecting a Waterloo style victory, and are appalled with what Grant delivered.
This was the view of the members of the JCCW as well, and since the war in the East was essentially a stalemate that was a real problem for any commander.

I think one problem for McClellan was that he promised such a climatic victory although his war aims were different that those of the JCCW. Expectations were high and then he didn't deliver one in May/June 1862.
 

leftyhunter

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He utterly lacked one of the necessary qualities in a great battlefield commander - a killer instinct.
If that is true why did his men have a better kill ratio then under other AoP commanders?
Also unlike Grant McCellen was almost even in manpower to the AnV.
Leftyhunter
 

NoiseFloor

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My opinion is that he was very intelligent and capable, but once he was so adulated by the North, he was terrified of losing. As such, he had a tendency to avoid engaging. Better not to engage and have a plausible excuse than lose. Again, this is just my take on it.
 
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JeffBrooks

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If that is true why did his men have a better kill ratio then under other AoP commanders?
That's not what I'm talking about. I am talking about the focus that an excellent battlefield commander has on the destruction of the opposing force. If Grant had been in command at Antietam, Lee's army would have been obliterated.
 

leftyhunter

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That's not what I'm talking about. I am talking about the focus that an excellent battlefield commander has on the destruction of the opposing force. If Grant had been in command at Antietam, Lee's army would have been obliterated.
We can't ever know that. I forgot the author's name who I believe @67th Tigers had a link to his lectures but McCellen led many green troops and getting them organized was difficult.
The author pointed out that has a so called bad general McCellen captured many Confederate soldiers and battle flags.
Leftyhunter
 
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leftyhunter

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My opinion is that he was very intelligent and capable, but once he was so adulated by the North, he was terrified of losing. As such, he had a tendency to avoid engaging. Better not to engage and have a plausible excuse than lose. Again, this is just my take on it.
Also @1SGDan
For a general that did not wish to engage or was a poor field commander more Confederate deaths were caused by his command CV at the loss of less Union troops.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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I think the concensus is that he was great preparing the troops, good with logistics but average to poor as a battlefield Commander. However, Lee said, post war that Mac was by far his most difficult adversary. I dont know what Lee knew about behind the scene fiascos. Historians have not treated Mac kindly for his battlefield acumen.
Yet no commander of the AoP killed more Confederate troops and lost less Union troops doing so.
Leftyhunter
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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That's not what I'm talking about. I am talking about the focus that an excellent battlefield commander has on the destruction of the opposing force. If Grant had been in command at Antietam, Lee's army would have been obliterated.
Had Grant been in command, I do not think there would have been a battle at Sharpsburg. The entire campaign would have been different.
 
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Robin Lesjovitch

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Lee would not have been operating against a thoughtful, deliberate opponent. The question revolves around how well the two opposing commanders thought they understood each other.
Lee would have been more cautious at the start. But if Grant got aggressive, got his forces spread out, Lee would have bushwacked him. But, if Grant was careful, Lee might be lulled, and attacked in a way he was not expecting.
It was Lee that chose to fight at Antietam. Except facing a commander he knew, Lee would have crossed into VA.
 
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