Was G.K. Warren Really "Manically Depressed" and "Screw Loose"?

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Henry Hunt

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Was G.K. Warren Really "Manically Depressed" and "Screw Loose"?

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A few months ago I read David M. Jordan's book Happiness is Not My Companion: The Life of General G.K. Warren. After reading the work you are left with an image of a deeply depressed individual. I was reminded of this recently when listening to a lecture by Kristopher D. White. White believes Warren was "manically depressed" and agreed with General Charles Wainwright's statement that Warren "has a screw loose and is not quite accountable for all his little freaks." On the other side, I have listened to Warren fan Robert I. Girardi who does not believe Warren was depressed at all and that Jordan's cherry-picking quotes to fit a narrative.

So is there any real evidence that Warren was manically depressed? Or is this just smear similar to Grant's drinking?
 

Andy Cardinal

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I've read Jordan but not Giardi, although i watched his presentation on CSPAN.

I would say that it's awfully hard to diagnose a civil war figure 150+ years later, especially since depression was not something diagnosed in those days as today. Going back and retro-diagnosing is always a dangerous exercise, and the evidence regarding Warren is pretty thin.

My opinion, though, is Warren probably did suffer from fatigue and/or exhaustion in 1864-65, as did many other commanders. Lack of sleep, constant stress, and the massive casualties would have been overwhelming to all who experienced the Overland Campaign. This would have affected Wareen in the ways Jordan documents. It also, I believe, effected Meade and even Grant. But this is speculation on my part.
 

jackt62

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I always thought that the issue connected to Warren's psychology was his extreme sense of being methodical and deliberate in his moves, which sometimes brought him into conflict with commanders like Grant and Sheridan who lacked the patience for that type of thinking. That being said, I agree that it is difficult, if not an overreach, to analyze historical figures long deceased. In that regard, there have been attempts to get into the mind of Lincoln and Sherman, to name two very prominent persons who some historians love to psychoanalyze.
 
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Saint Jude

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A few months ago I read David M. Jordan's book Happiness is Not My Companion: The Life of General G.K. Warren. After reading the work you are left with an image of a deeply depressed individual.
I haven't studied Warren enough to have an opinion on this subject, but, based on Jordan's book on Hancock, I think he has a tendency to exaggerate. In that book, his evidence tends to contradict his conclusions.
 
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