Discussion Should Have Been Relieved - Corps or Division Commanders

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Joshism

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Which corps or division commanders should have been relieved of command, but never were?

Judson Kilpatrick after Buckland in particular, but probably other times. He was an incompetent, self-aggrandizing blowhard. Custer but without talent.

A.P. Hill and/or Henry Heth in late 1863 because of Gettysburg and Bristoe.

O. O. Howard after Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. (Rarely has a transfer ever served someone so well, although he shouldn't have been promoted over Logan.)

Leonidas Polk should've never commanded more than a brigade, but was bulletproof because he was a friend of Jeff Davis (not cannon-proof though).
 
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You forgot Ewell. I can't believe AP Hill became a Corp Commander. As much as Lee trusted Jackson why would he over rule Jackson when he had Hill arrested. Then make him a Corp Commander. Hill should have been dealt with after he was told there was Federal Calvery in Gettysburg and ignored that report and allowed Heth to March to town the next day. Howard helped establish the union line late in the day on the 1st. He worked with Hancock so I think he gets a pass there. What about Stuart? Longstreet? Joe Davis couldn't be found half the time at Gettysburg maybe he should have been relieved. Same could be said of Iverson and O'neill on the 1st Day under Robert Rhodes. Him and his staff later behind trees while is command was destroyed. I'm sure there are examples throughout the war where commanders could have been demoted or lost their command. In the end I think there was just a shortage of good leaders so guys didn't lose commands.
 
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rpkennedy

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You forgot Ewell. I can't believe AP Hill became a Corp Commander. As much as Lee trusted Jackson why would he over rule Jackson when he had Hill arrested. Then make him a Corp Commander. Hill should have been dealt with after he was told there was Federal Calvery in Gettysburg and ignored that report and allowed Heth to March to town the next day. Howard helped establish the union line late in the day on the 1st. He worked with Hancock so I think he gets a pass there. What about Stuart? Longstreet? Joe Davis couldn't be found half the time at Gettysburg maybe he should have been relieved. Same could be said of Iverson and O'neill on the 1st Day under Robert Rhodes. Him and his staff later behind trees while is command was destroyed. I'm sure there are examples throughout the war where commanders could have been demoted or lost their command. In the end I think there was just a shortage of good leaders so guys didn't lose commands.
A.P. Hill had a bit of an abrasive personality (not too dissimilar from D.H. Hill) and had trouble getting along with Longstreet as well as Jackson. That said, Hill was arguably one of the finest division commanders that the war produced and deserved the chance at a corps command (not to mention that there weren't many other options for promotion). It was his misfortune that his health broke after his promotion. As for his decision on July 1, he was sending Heth forward in a reconnaissance in force to see what was in Gettysburg. Heth had the bad luck to walk right into the First Corps who arrived in the nick of time.

Ryan
 
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A.P. Hill had a bit of an abrasive personality (not too dissimilar from D.H. Hill) and had trouble getting along with Longstreet as well as Jackson. That said, Hill was arguably one of the finest division commanders that the war produced and deserved the chance at a corps command (not to mention that there weren't many other options for promotion). It was his misfortune that his health broke after his promotion. As for his decision on July 1, he was sending Heth forward in a reconnaissance in force to see what was in Gettysburg. Heth had the bad luck to walk right into the First Corps who arrived in the nick of time.

Ryan
Hill was told what was in Gettysburg, Heth even went as far as to find a staff officer who was a long time friend of Hill to convince Hill that there was Union Calvery in Gettysburg he ignored both of them. So Heth requested permission to go to Gettysburg to gather supplies. There were none Jubal Early's division had already cleaned out the town's supplies days prior. I'm not suggesting Hill should have lost his command or that he was a bad Commander just wanted to add some names to the original list to help develop the topic.
 

Kyle Kalasnik

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Which corps or division commanders should have been relieved of command, but never were?

Judson Kilpatrick after Buckland in particular, but probably other times. He was an incompetent, self-aggrandizing blowhard. Custer but without talent.

A.P. Hill and/or Henry Heth in late 1863 because of Gettysburg and Bristoe.

O. O. Howard after Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. (Rarely has a transfer ever served someone so well, although he shouldn't have been promoted over Logan.)

Leonidas Polk should've never commanded more than a brigade, but was bulletproof because he was a friend of Jeff Davis (not cannon-proof though).
What about Daniel Sickles and the III Corps at Gettysburg. I have read many posts on this site, as well in numerous books, that he disobeyed his order from George Meade.

Thankfully (Except for the sake of his leg) he was wounded, evacuated, and played up his actions as saving the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, which in turn got him a Medal of Honor.

Or was he correct in his judgement, and moving his corps forward, which actually helped save the army on the 2 Jul at Gettysburg?
 

Coonewah Creek

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Hill after Bristoe Station, definitely. Lee probably came as close to actually rebuking Hill as he ever came when he and Lee were riding over the battlefield and seeing all the Confederate dead. Hill was trying to make excuses for his poor judgement in ordering the attack when Lee, with disappointment showing in his face, finally said, "Well, well General, bury these poor men and let us say no more about it."
 
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What about Daniel Sickles and the III Corps at Gettysburg. I have read many posts on this site, as well in numerous books, that he disobeyed his order from George Meade.

Thankfully (Except for the sake of his leg) he was wounded, evacuated, and played up his actions as saving the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, which in turn got him a Medal of Honor.

Or was he correct in his judgement, and moving his corps forward, which actually helped save the army on the 2 Jul at Gettysburg?
I agree about Sickles and was going to mention him but did Sickles ever return to the Army after Gettysburg?
 

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What about Daniel Sickles and the III Corps at Gettysburg. I have read many posts on this site, as well in numerous books, that he disobeyed his order from George Meade.

Thankfully (Except for the sake of his leg) he was wounded, evacuated, and played up his actions as saving the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, which in turn got him a Medal of Honor.

Or was he correct in his judgement, and moving his corps forward, which actually helped save the army on the 2 Jul at Gettysburg?
There are several good (and long) threads on Sickles on the Gettysburg forum. I for one think he was in error, but I give him credit for thinking he was doing the right thing to protect his troops against the threat of Confederate artillery on the high ground, as had happened at Hazel Grove during the battle of Chancellorsville.
 
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WJC

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Which corps or division commanders should have been relieved of command, but never were?

Judson Kilpatrick after Buckland in particular, but probably other times. He was an incompetent, self-aggrandizing blowhard. Custer but without talent.

A.P. Hill and/or Henry Heth in late 1863 because of Gettysburg and Bristoe.

O. O. Howard after Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. (Rarely has a transfer ever served someone so well, although he shouldn't have been promoted over Logan.)

Leonidas Polk should've never commanded more than a brigade, but was bulletproof because he was a friend of Jeff Davis (not cannon-proof though).
It's very easy for us to question why some apparently incompetent senior officers were not relieved. However, the question remains: who would be a better replacement?
If we are to nominate officers to be relieved, we ought also nominate replacements.
 

Kyle Kalasnik

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It's very easy for us to question why some apparently incompetent senior officers were not relieved. However, the question remains: who would be a better replacement?
If we are to nominate officers to be relieved, we ought also nominate replacements.
Finer words might have never been spoken, sometimes a commander may not have had a suitable replacement, and they were stuck with with who they had.
 
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There are several good (and long) threads on Sickles on the Gettysburg forum. I for one think he was in error, but I give him credit for thinking he was doing the right thing to protect his troops against the threat of Confederate artillery on the high ground, as had happened at Hazel Grove during the battle of Chancellorsville.
The other argument that can be made is he slowed Longstreets advance on the 2nd day.
 
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diane

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Lee cleaned up the ANV of incompetents but unfortunately shuffled them west. Floyd, for instance - just in time to surrender Ft Donelson and pretty much skedaddle with his Virginians. That surrender was the beginning of the end.
 
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Had Sickles been where he was intended to be he might've stopped Longstreet's advance dead. And avoided the wreck of the 3rd Corps and much of the 5th and 2nd.
[/QUOTE
Maybe? Maybe not. Simply put had Sickles 3rd Corp not moved out of his originally assigned position Longstreets Corp would had more of it's men when it hit the Whatfield, Devil's Den and Little Round Top the outcome may have been different. The 5th Corp may have never reached Little Round Top had the delay not happened.
 
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Joshism

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What about Daniel Sickles and the III Corps at Gettysburg.
Sickles wasn't technically relieved, but he never returned to field command so I would exempt him from discussion.

As far as the pros and cons of Sickles on July 2 there are other, better threads in which that question has been and can be discussed.

The problem here is that Lee did not have a large selection of alternate commanders who could lead a corps. Although Hill was superior as a division commander, he did manage to lead the III Corps to the very end, despite illness and blunders.
I'm not saying Early was a great general, but all things considered he should have been elevated to corps command instead of Ewell.

AP Hill was an understandable decision as corps commander based on his work as a division commande, but should have been demoted after his corps-level abilities (and health) were found wanting.

D.H. Hill probably should have been retained by Lee, but they didn't get along (Daniel didn't really get along with anyone). Again, probably not a great general, but a viable alternative.

Many promising Confederate brigadiers ended up dead before they could be elevated.
 

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It's very easy for us to question why some apparently incompetent senior officers were not relieved. However, the question remains: who would be a better replacement?
If we are to nominate officers to be relieved, we ought also nominate replacements.
This seems to have been Lee's reply when asked about certain generals mentioned here.
 
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