Discussion Should Have Been Relieved - Corps or Division Commanders

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Andy Cardinal

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Warren should have been relieved/replaced much sooner than he was. Same with Burnside.

Also McCook and Crittenden were basically incompetent. They were eventually relieved, but not soon enough.
 

James N.

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Warren should have been relieved/replaced much sooner than he was. Same with Burnside.

Also McCook and Crittenden were basically incompetent. They were eventually relieved, but not soon enough.
A "problem" with Crittenden and McCook was that along with Nelson and Wood they were the only combat veterans in their army available for promotion when the corps system was adopted.
 
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Saint Jude

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Joe Hooker. In the end, he didn't end up being relieved of command, either of the Army of the Potomac or the Twentieth Corps. Instead, he shot himself in the foot--twice!
 

Saint Jude

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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.)
No one in the higher echelons of the Army of the Potomac or the War Department ever seriously considered removing Howard after Chancellorsville, and after Gettysburg, Congress thanked him for selecting the ground on which the battle was fought and won. Sherman never regretted choosing Howard over Logan to lead the AoT after McPherson's death.
 

Andy Cardinal

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No one in the higher echelons of the Army of the Potomac or the War Department ever seriously considered removing Howard after Chancellorsville, and after Gettysburg, Congress thanked him for selecting the ground on which the battle was fought and won. Sherman never regretted choosing Howard over Logan to lead the AoT after McPherson's death.
There was a brief movement by Meade to eliminate the 11th Corps after Gettysburg. In this scenario, however, Howard (not Warren) would have become commander of the 2nd Corps.
 
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rpkennedy

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I'm not saying Early was a great general, but all things considered he should have been elevated to corps command instead of Ewell.
Early was too junior for corps command in May 1863. Ewell had been an outstanding division commander under Jackson and was recommended by Jackson himself as his successor. In addition, he was the senior major general available.

After Ewell, A.P. Hill was the only real choice. The other candidates were Lafayette McLaws who had lost Lee's trust at Chancellorsville/Fredericksburg and Richard Anderson who was needed because of a dearth of experienced division commanders (Rodes, Johnson, Heth, and Pender were all new and Pickett, Hood, and Early had limited experience at that level). With the reorganization of the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee's options were severely limited.

Many promising Confederate brigadiers ended up dead before they could be elevated.
Here is the rub. So many good field officers and brigadiers were lost in 1862-63 that the officer corps was being bled white.

Ryan
 

Joshism

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Sherman never regretted choosing Howard over Logan to lead the AoT after McPherson's death.
Howard did quite commanding an army/wing under Sherman - no doubt about it. But I don't think his track record suggests that he would. Sherman was biased in favor of West Pointers.

In addition, he was the senior major general available.
Civil War officers were a slave to seniority, and I think it seriously hampered both the Union and Confederate armies. Seniority has its merits, especially for sudden battlefield circumstances, but when it comes to selection officers for wartime promotion or commands it should be a guideline not a rule. (The Grand-Meade-Burnside situation in 1864 was ridiculous and one of the most glaring examples.)
 
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No one in the higher echelons of the Army of the Potomac or the War Department ever seriously considered removing Howard after Chancellorsville, and after Gettysburg, Congress thanked him for selecting the ground on which the battle was fought and won. Sherman never regretted choosing Howard over Logan to lead the AoT after McPherson's death.
"Congress thanked him for selecting the ground" that thanks should have gone to Budford and Reynolds. Reynolds committed his Corp to the batt
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.
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.
Isn't that what we do though? We question everything why this why that what if? Of course it's easy for us to Monday morning Quarterback, we have history on our side. For the sake of the discussion what about Robert Rhodes and maybe John Bell Hood. Lee like aggressive commanders both of these guys were known to be aggressive from my understanding. I am more then sure someone will pick them apart and thats fine. I do agree with the comment that many good officer died early and maybe Lee was stuck. But it's certainly fun to second guess isn't it?
 
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Rebelsoul

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Early was too junior for corps command in May 1863. Ewell had been an outstanding division commander under Jackson and was recommended by Jackson himself as his successor. In addition, he was the senior major general available.

After Ewell, A.P. Hill was the only real choice. The other candidates were Lafayette McLaws who had lost Lee's trust at Chancellorsville/Fredericksburg and Richard Anderson who was needed because of a dearth of experienced division commanders (Rodes, Johnson, Heth, and Pender were all new and Pickett, Hood, and Early had limited experience at that level). With the reorganization of the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee's options were severely limited.



Here is the rub. So many good field officers and brigadiers were lost in 1862-63 that the officer corps was being bled white.

Ryan
I believe Rodes would have been an excellent corps commander although he apparently had some slip ups at Gettysburg but so did Ewell. Jackson at The Peninsula and Longstreet in Tennessee also weren't at their best. If I were Lee I would have gave Rodes 2nd corps moved Ewell somewhere else. He was a great officer but he lost something somewhere along the way. I'm sure losing a leg didn't help.
 
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WJC

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Isn't that what we do though? We question everything why this why that what if? Of course it's easy for us to Monday morning Quarterback, we have history on our side.
Thanks for your response.
I am simply suggesting that we ought to 'walk in the shoes' of Lee and other senior commanders who actually had to decide what to do with poorly performing subordinates. It seems to me it is far more fun, once the poor performer is identified, to try to find an acceptable replacement. Identifying incompetence is easy; what to do about it is the challenge.
 
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I believe Rodes would have been an excellent corps commander although he apparently had some slip ups at Gettysburg but so did Ewell. Jackson at The Peninsula and Longstreet in Tennessee also weren't at their best. If I were Lee I would have gave Rodes 2nd corps moved Ewell somewhere else. He was a great officer but he lost something somewhere along the way. I'm sure losing a leg didn't help.
Yeah he did a leg.......Rhodes was victim of bad brigade commanders. I know in the end it falls on the boss.
 
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I tot
Thanks for your response.
I am simply suggesting that we ought to 'walk in the shoes' of Lee and other senior commanders who actually had to decide what to do with poorly performing subordinates. It seems to me it is far more fun, once the poor performer is identified, to try to find an acceptable replacement. Identifying incompetence is easy; what to do about it is the challenge.
I totally agree.
 

rpkennedy

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Yeah he did a leg.......Rhodes was victim of bad brigade commanders. I know in the end it falls on the boss.
Rodes made some pretty serious mistakes of his own as well. He was ill at Gettysburg and wasn't in top form. I think he would have made an ok corps commander in 1864 but not in 1863. He still had to learn his business at the division level.

Ryan
 
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rpkennedy

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Thanks for your response.
I am simply suggesting that we ought to 'walk in the shoes' of Lee and other senior commanders who actually had to decide what to do with poorly performing subordinates. It seems to me it is far more fun, once the poor performer is identified, to try to find an acceptable replacement. Identifying incompetence is easy; what to do about it is the challenge.
Agreed.

After Chancellorsville, here is who Lee had to replace Jackson and also take over a new Third Corps:

Lafayette McLaws, George Pickett, John B. Hood, Richard H. Anderson, Richard S. Ewell, A.P. Hill, Robert Rodes, Jubal Early, and J.E.B. Stuart.

McLaws had lost Lee's trust.
Pickett was an average division commander, at best (not to mention that he had never commanded a division in action).
Hood didn't have the temperament for more than division command, according to Lee.
Anderson was a viable candidate. He had both the seniority and the competence to take over a corps.
Ewell was the most senior candidate and was Jackson's chosen successor.
A.P. Hill was both a senior officer and was probably the best division commander in the army.
Rodes was a junior division commander and wasn't promoted to major general until after the reorganization (although his date of rank was backdated to May 2).
Early was a possible candidate but there were questions about his temperament.
Stuart was a real possibility although Lee just didn't trust any other officer in charge of the cavalry. Lee just relied on him too much.

Of these, Ewell was the easiest choice since Jackson recommended him and he had both the experience and quality that was needed. After him, it was down to Hill, Anderson, and Early. Early was taken out so that Ewell would have a senior division commander to rely on (both Rodes and Johnson were fairly new to division command). So, Hill and Anderson. Hill is the obvious choice and also gives him a senior officer for Hill in Anderson. In retrospect, Lee's choices are fairly obvious but allowing Stuart to take over one of the corps makes for an interesting option. If only Lee could put his trust in either Wade Hampton or Fitzhugh Lee, it could have worked.

Ryan
 

Joshism

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Ewell was the most senior candidate and was Jackson's chosen successor.
If Ewell was healthy, sure.

Ewell lost a leg and spent nearly a year recovering. He comes back and is immediately promoted. He should have returned to division command, with the understanding that he was first choice to rake over if Hill or (Anderson/Early/whoever) proved not up for the task.
 
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rpkennedy

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If Ewell was healthy, sure.

Ewell lost a leg and spent nearly a year recovering. He comes back and is immediately promoted. He should have returned to division command, with the understanding that he was first choice to rake over if Hill or (Anderson/Early/whoever) proved not up for the task.
The problem becomes, would he serve under a junior officer? If not, you've lost Ewell, possibly permanently. And really, other than A.P. Hill, none of the others were clearly better than Ewell. It would be difficult to leap them above him.

Ryan
 

Andy Cardinal

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If Ewell was healthy, sure.

Ewell lost a leg and spent nearly a year recovering. He comes back and is immediately promoted. He should have returned to division command, with the understanding that he was first choice to rake over if Hill or (Anderson/Early/whoever) proved not up for the task.
I have often wondered (as a what if) that if Ewell had not lost his leg whether Lee might have gone to 3 corps earlier. He believed that each corps was too large for one man to conmand and control, and I believe the 1862 Maryland Campaign was a trial of sorts for McClaws. He failed Lee's test.
 
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