Discussion Should Have Been Relieved - Corps or Division Commanders

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rpkennedy

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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.
I could see Lee going to 3 corps in the winter of 1862-63 if D.H. Hill was not an obnoxious twit (he was senior to A.P. Hill). His inability to get along with others killed his career in the AoNV.

Ryan
 

Hoseman

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There weren't many options in the ANV after 1863 as many of the young, up & coming stars had been killed. Oftentimes, officers are promoted beyond their capabilities and can not handle the responsibilities of the larger command. Hood would be the best example IMO. He should never have moved higher than he was with Lee in the ANV. Many excellent brigadiers became just average when promoted to division command. Very few officers excelled more as they moved up in rank but there are exceptions. Mahone would be an exception to the rule as he is considered an average brigadier but performed better once he moved up in rank. I think John Gordon would have potentially been a good choice for corps command earlier in the war as well.
 

James N.

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… 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.
Another "recommendation" for Hill as commander of the Third Corps was its makeup, as I've mentioned before: two of its three divisions had already been part of Hill's oversized Light Division, six out of the eight brigades. (Most divisions had only 4-5 brigades.) Pender's and half of Heth's had been Hill's original division, plus two more brigades for Heth and Anderson's entire division transferred from Longstreet, and presto: Third Corps!
 
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Saint Jude

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"Congress thanked him for selecting the ground" that thanks should have gone to Budford and Reynolds. Reynolds committed his Corp to the batt ...
To say that "Congress thanked him for selecting the ground" is stating a fact. To say that "thanks should have gone to Budford [sic]" is stating an opinion. You may have intended to substantiate it, but if you did, it didn't show up on your post.
 

AlexPensFan86

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After reading his biography by Donald Pfanz, I believe Ewell as a corps commander has been treated rather unfairly by history. 2nd Winchester was a masterpiece. He followed Lee's orders at Gettysburg and performed credibly during the Bristoe and Mine Run operations. Day 1 of the Wilderness was probably his finest hour as a corps commander. However, Ewell's worst moment probably came during Hancock's attack at the Mule Shoe and we all know what happened to him after that.
 

AlexPensFan86

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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."
Didn't Lee rebuke Hill again after his disastrous attack at North Anna?
 
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luinrina

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Maybe someone else can refresh our memories
Didn't Lee rebuke Hill again after his disastrous attack at North Anna?
Are you referring to this one?

1565783721876.png

Confederate Military History, Vol. 3, p. 460

Freeman describes it in Lee's biography in Vol. 3, p. 357, and refers to the Confederate Military History page in the footnote. The footnote continues:

White (op. cit., 381), without citing his authority, quoted Lee as saying, "General Hill, why did you let these people cross the river? Why did you not drive them back as General Jackson would have done?"​

"White" would be H. A. White. "Robert E. Lee and the Southern Confederacy."
 

AlexPensFan86

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Are you referring to this one?

View attachment 320716
Confederate Military History, Vol. 3, p. 460

Freeman describes it in Lee's biography in Vol. 3, p. 357, and refers to the Confederate Military History page in the footnote. The footnote continues:

White (op. cit., 381), without citing his authority, quoted Lee as saying, "General Hill, why did you let these people cross the river? Why did you not drive them back as General Jackson would have done?"​

"White" would be H. A. White. "Robert E. Lee and the Southern Confederacy."
I believe I read it in Rhea's North Anna book. I will have to double check.
 
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Jamieva

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Are you referring to this one?

View attachment 320716
Confederate Military History, Vol. 3, p. 460

Freeman describes it in Lee's biography in Vol. 3, p. 357, and refers to the Confederate Military History page in the footnote. The footnote continues:

White (op. cit., 381), without citing his authority, quoted Lee as saying, "General Hill, why did you let these people cross the river? Why did you not drive them back as General Jackson would have done?"​

"White" would be H. A. White. "Robert E. Lee and the Southern Confederacy."
So basically that quote could've been completely made up. Same as the one after Bristoe Station was embellished by people who either were not there, or could not have heard what was said
 

Florida Rebel

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Good points by all of you! And I totally agree, to replace someone, you must have a new person in mind. Starting with Jackson in May of '63. Lee was rapidly running out of potential Generals. John B Gordon became an exceptional leader later but in '63, he was hardly known. Richard Anderson stepped in for Longstreet in '64 but he was hardly dazzling. Billy Mahone became a really good leader later! Jubal Early probably made the most sense. But the best one would have been Jeb Stuart! He was a natural to step in for Jackson. If any of you agree that he would be more valuable as a corp commander to Lee than heading up the Cavalry, Jeb could/would be replaced by almost equal and outstanding replacements in Wade Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee.
 

neyankee61

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Didn't Lincoln say the same thing when told to relieve McClellan. "I need someone!"
Burnside after Antietam or after the Crater. Instead promoted to AOP commander and commended for his service in 1864
 
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clebeurne

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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).
Braxton bragg at any time! did more to hurt the confederacy than anyone, [ except maybe jeff davis]
 

ronzzo

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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.
According to Lafayette McLaws in Richard Saurer’s “A Caspian Sea of Ink”, he opined that if Sickles remained in place and occupied Little Round Top, Longstreet wouldn’t have made the attack.
 
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ronzzo

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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.
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.
According to Lafayette McLaws in Richard Sauer’s “A Caspian Sea of Ink”, he opined that if Sickles remained on Cemetery Ridge and occupied Little Round Top, Longstreet wouldn’t have made the attack.
 

Florida Rebel

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NO WAY should Bragg have EVER led a complete army as he did at Chickamauga and Chattanooga. And that was ALL of Jeff Davis! But Bragg did have a decent subordinate in Cleburne. The one general who truly rose way above his intellect and skill level was Hood. This just goes to show that when pickings are slim, some people get jobs they don't really deserve.
 

Luke Freet

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Heth to me is a misnomer in this. He was a competent commander. People blow his performance out of proportion at Gettysburg, given he had no clue he would face major resistance, as Stuart had taken the cavalry on one of his wild rides.
If there were any names I'd kick from the list, it'd be thus:
Burnside: He had shown promise at 1st Bull Run, in the Carolinas, and at Antietam. Thus, I'd have him removed from command and transfered to a different department (this was historical, but eventually he regained command of IX Corps and took and held Knoxville, for which many thought he redeemed himself)
Warren: He should have never been promoted up from a staff officer to army command. Reading up on the Overland Campaign, he constantly proved himself the weaklink of the army. Maybe give him a brigade or division command before promoting him so quickly.
Howard: Utterly inept. Failed at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Picketts Mill, where his Corps faced a single confederate division, still moving into place, lacking earthworks, and yet he failed to organize a proper assault due to incompetence from one division commander, and scorn from another who felt slighted for Howard's actions at Chancellorsville. He was despised by his men for his puritanical nature. Maybe give him an administrative position.
Joe Johnston: Whenever the pivotal moment to stand and fight came, he'd order a retreat. He did this on the Pennisula, he did this in Mississippi, and he did this in Georgia, costing the Confederacy dearly.
 
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Belfoured

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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.
Not to revive the never-ending debate but Sickles' move was pretty idiotic. All you need do is look at his strength and the "line" he ended up occupying, exacerbated by his complete lack of connection to support.
 
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