McClellan

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Mac was told to move forward and did not. His failure to do so left the administration no alternative but to recall him. It was not intervention but prevention.
 

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67th Tigers

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You may also be right. That's the beauty of it. Educated people can disagree on the interpretation of historical events. I've always believed that Lee intended to go into PA. That's why McClellan's maneuver on the 16th has more significance to me than just positioning 1st corps for the 17th. Different strokes for different folks. Maybe @67th Tigers or @Saphroneth can add to the discussion.
As Harsh and Frye note, on 16th September Lee intention was to move up the Hagerstown Pike and continue the raid to Pennsylvania. Lee was passing his trains over the Potomac with orders for them to go north to Williamsport. The army would then advance north up the Hagerstown Pike in force.

What McClellan's intention was with the movement of 1st Corps is an interesting question. McClellan personally commanded the corps over the creek, and remained with it until it was astride the Hagerstown and Smoketown Roads on the plateau which Hooker occupied that night. McClellan left after Meade's division started forming a defensive line on the plateau. On returning to his CP he tells Sumner to send 12th Corps immediately to Hooker, and have 2nd Corps ready to march at dawn.

If McClellan's intention was only to seize a debouche, then there was good ground directly west from the crossings, where the evening of the 16th the 2nd Corps artillery line would be placed. Personally I think the positioning of 1st Corps, which he personally did, was deliberate to control the roads. However, McClellan's reports are very circumspect and simply relate the actions of the components of his formations. They are not "full of 'I'", and reveal little about his intent and thinking.

Whether or not he intended it, McClellan did cut Lee's next intended move off. I think the evidence suggests he knew, and that this was an "Active Defence", that is the doctrine he was taught at USMA. In an Active Defence you seize a piece of defensible key terrain, and then you let the enemy batter themselves against it. The problem is none of the plans McClellan later stated are consistent. I have my theory, and that is McClellan was protecting Burnside, but that's another topic.
 
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When? In what way? Please provide the order.
Who said it was an order?
After a July 8th visit from Lincoln at Harrison's Landing, the president returned to Washington and dispatched General in Chief Henry Halleck to Mac's Headquarters. In discussions with Mac Halleck made it clear that the only viable alternatives under the circumstances at that time was an advance on Richmond or departure from the peninsula. By July 30th Mac had still not moved forward and was ordered back.
 

67th Tigers

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Who said it was an order?
You stated "However, Mac certainly had no problem ignoring orders.", and hence you should be able to provide at least one example of an ignored order.

After a July 8th visit from Lincoln at Harrison's Landing, the president returned to Washington and dispatched General in Chief Henry Halleck to Mac's Headquarters. In discussions with Mac Halleck made it clear that the only viable alternatives under the circumstances at that time was an advance on Richmond or departure from the peninsula. By July 30th Mac had still not moved forward and was ordered back.
That is irrelevant to the question, and in some ways quite inaccurate.
 

Jamieva

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Who said it was an order?
After a July 8th visit from Lincoln at Harrison's Landing, the president returned to Washington and dispatched General in Chief Henry Halleck to Mac's Headquarters. In discussions with Mac Halleck made it clear that the only viable alternatives under the circumstances at that time was an advance on Richmond or departure from the peninsula. By July 30th Mac had still not moved forward and was ordered back.
Mac was talking about swinging across the James and goig after Petersburg, but wanted more troops before he moved. He and Halleck came to heads at that point and Lincoln and Halleck ordered them withdrawn
 

Saphroneth

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Mac was talking about swinging across the James and goig after Petersburg, but wanted more troops before he moved. He and Halleck came to heads at that point and Lincoln and Halleck ordered them withdrawn
Interestingly the troops he wanted were the troops which had been collecting at Fort Monroe, earmarked for McClellan but not permitted to join him, for some weeks. They were much less than the number Lincoln had originally promised him in reinforcements.
 

Jamieva

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There's been discussion of the troop reinforcements and the timing of letters in another thread. The way it is commonly told Mac said he would attack if he got 15k, Halleck agreed, and then Halleck got a request from Mac for 30k. When he got the 30k request that is when he pulled the plug.

Someone can probably refresh my memory but the 15k request was in person, and the 30k was in a letter from Mac to Halleck that was on Halleck's desk when he got back to DC.
 

Saphroneth

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This is simple enough for even you to understand. He was told move forward or be recalled. He didn't and was.
If the conversation ends with an understanding from McClellan that he will advance when he has recieved a small number of reinforcements but not an outright order from Halleck to advance before he's recieved the reinforcements, then McClellan is not disobeying orders by not advancing until he gets the promised reinforcements.

You will presumably not have trouble producing the order to advance immediately, as opposed to an understanding to advance upon reinforcement.

This is the thing about an order. It is an order, not an understanding; it states clearly what has to be done, it is not a suggestion. An example of an order would be something like:

"Attack the enemy within three days".

The reason why this matters is that under other circumstances (i.e. when dealing with an "understanding") a general can use their judgement; an order means accepting responsibility on the part of the man giving the order in the event that the order is misguided.

For example, take Pickett's Charge. Pickett was ordered to attack, and as such the blame for how badly it went does not fall on him - it falls on the commander who launched the attack. If Pickett had been led to understand that he should attack when reinforcements arrived, and reinforcements did not arrive, Pickett would not be expected to attack if he thought it was unlikely to work; if he then attacked anyway and things went badly the responsibility would accrue to him.


If one examines the history of the Peninsular campaign with an eye to finding orders one will find them, and one will also find that McClellan did his best to fulfil them promptly; the order to operate against the railroads north of Richmond is one, while the order to fix the supply base on the Pamunkey is another. These state what McClellan is to do in simple language and leave no conditionals; where is the simple order to advance in late July and early August?
 
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If the conversation ends with an understanding from McClellan that he will advance when he has recieved a small number of reinforcements but not an outright order from Halleck to advance before he's recieved the reinforcements, then McClellan is not disobeying orders by not advancing until he gets the promised reinforcements.

You will presumably not have trouble producing the order to advance immediately, as opposed to an understanding to advance upon reinforcement.

This is the thing about an order. It is an order, not an understanding; it states clearly what has to be done, it is not a suggestion. An example of an order would be something like:

"Attack the enemy within three days".

The reason why this matters is that under other circumstances (i.e. when dealing with an "understanding") a general can use their judgement; an order means accepting responsibility on the part of the man giving the order in the event that the order is misguided.

For example, take Pickett's Charge. Pickett was ordered to attack, and as such the blame for how badly it went does not fall on him - it falls on the commander who launched the attack. If Pickett had been led to understand that he should attack when reinforcements arrived, and reinforcements did not arrive, Pickett would not be expected to attack if he thought it was unlikely to work; if he then attacked anyway and things went badly the responsibility would accrue to him.


If one examines the history of the Peninsular campaign with an eye to finding orders one will find them, and one will also find that McClellan did his best to fulfil them promptly; the order to operate against the railroads north of Richmond is one, while the order to fix the supply base on the Pamunkey is another. These state what McClellan is to do in simple language and leave no conditionals; where is the simple order to advance in late July and early August?
You can disagree with your superiors decision all you want but you still have to carry it out. What Mac wanr=ted was irrelevant to what he was being told to do.
 

67th Tigers

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This is simple enough for even you to understand. He was told move forward or be recalled. He didn't and was.
So, what order did he disobey?

I ask because you've been unable to provide one. You're trying to claim that the non-existent orders of Halleck were not obeyed, but can't provide them. Of course, this is because they don't exist.

As to what happened. On the evening of 25th July the steamer Hero arrived with Halleck, Meigs and Burnside aboard. Burnside had arrived in Washington on 22nd July. They had sent no messages ahead. On being told Halleck had arrived, McClellan told all his Corps Commanders to board the Hero and went there himself. On boarding Halleck told him that he didn't want to talk to the CC's. However, soon they started arriving. Heintzelman recorded he had about half an hour of small talk with Halleck et al., and then they all went away, leaving Halleck on the Hero.

At McClellan's HQ on land, the CC's and a few others were told by McClellan that Halleck had forbidden their planned movement across the James, and given them two options: attack Richmond on the left bank of the James with Burnside's reinforcements only, or retreat to Washington. The arguments went back and forth for several hours. With two exceptions it was agreed to wait for Burnside's troops and then attack on the left bank. The two exceptions were Keyes and Franklin. Keyes had been a long standing opponent of the James line, and this was excepted. Franklin's opposition was perhaps unexpected. Franklin was not a McClellan loyalist, he was part of McDowell's clique. He was under extreme suspicion since his unordered retreat from the White Oak line which resulted in McClellan separating him from his command. McClellan spent much of the meeting in the tent next door trying to persuade Franklin, but to no avail.

The next morning McClellan, Sumner, Heintzelman and Burnside boarded the Hero and told Halleck of their decision. In the afternoon the Hero departed, carrying not just Halleck, but Burnside, Keyes and Franklin. The Hero returned to Washington on the 27th. Halleck wrote down his report or what had occurred, and on the 28th was in cabinet with Lincoln etc., Burnside and the bureau chiefs. The main topic of conversation was a letter Keyes sent to Meigs on 23rd July.

As an aside, Meigs was feeding Keyes' negative letters directly to Lincoln and Stanton. As CB Grayson's article notes, Meigs had reached the conclusion that McClellan was a more deadly enemy than the rebel army, and his removal was necessary. Hence over the coming months Meigs worked tirelessly to hamstring McClellan. The disappearance of the supplies for McClellan's army in September-October '62 was likely a deliberate act by Meigs to prevent McClellan's success. Meigs was one of the three bureau officers on the War Board who effectively told Lincoln what to do. The other two were Wadsworth and Buckingham (who was brought in to oust the McClellan friendly EA Hitchcock, cementing the complete anti-McClellan bias of the senior staff).

The morning of the 28th, before McClellan had had time to do anything, the cabinet made the decision to withdraw McClellan's Army. Meigs went in with a brief prepared, using Keyes' letter and a dodgy undercount of the enemy army he created against McClellan's returns to suggest McClellan outnumbered Lee 3:2 (158,000 to 105,000) and hence needed no reinforcements. His attempts to get Ingalls, the QM of McClellan's army to agree were rebuffed and his deputy also rebuffed Meigs' assessment, and so their evidence, like all contrary to Meigs' prosecutorial case, was suppressed.

However, the order would have to be issued by Halleck, and it took a lot of pressure to get Halleck to do this. McClellan had agreed to and put in writing the plan to advance when Burnside's 20,000 men (13,000 already at Fort Monroe plus 7 regiments from NC and 4 from SC sent for) arrived, although he noted that if 15-20,000 could be added from the west, things would be more certain. Halleck said that this changed his mind. However, he did not issue an order to McClellan to start running down his army until the 30th July. Why the delay?

Halleck's letter to his wife of 28th July makes it clear that he's washed his hands of McClellan. We can determine from various etters and Burnside's movements that on 28th July Burnside was offered command of the Army of the Potomac, but refused. Halleck's plans to replace McClellan with Burnside were thus thawted.

On the 30th Halleck issues the order to start running down McClellan's army by removing the sick. He issued the orders sending Burnside to Aquia Creek on 1st August, and orders for a general retreat from Virginia on the 3rd August.

Thus your statement "He was told move forward or be recalled." is wrong. He was told to wait for Burnside with 20,000 men to reinforce him first. Before the ink had dried, Halleck had decided to renege on this, and issued orders for a general retreat, which were promptly and rapidly obeyed, if not rapidly enough for Halleck who thought 100,000 men could move like one man.
 

Saphroneth

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You can disagree with your superiors decision all you want but you still have to carry it out. What Mac wanr=ted was irrelevant to what he was being told to do.
If your superior and you come to an understanding to advance when reinforced, then surely you have to wait until you're reinforced? Otherwise you'd be going against that understanding.

So. Where's the order, or even understanding, to move forwards sans reinforcements? You will surely have no trouble displaying this given how many times you have reiterated it.
 

Saphroneth

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I should make a note by the way about the order which McClellan did disobey, but nobody ever seems to bring it up.
This is because, while it was disobeyed, it's very hard to complain about because of the nature of the order.
That's the order to draw supplies from the Pamunkey when McDowell arrived, and since that was McClellan's current supply point it fixed him there until McDowell arrived. McDowell's movement was suspended, but not countermanded entirely, and so the order was still in force (especially when McCall's division did arrive by water, as they were from MCDowell's corps).

McClellan disobeyed this order only after the battle of Gaines Mill, because it was no longer possible to obey it. But it was technically disobeyed.
 



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