Was Sheridan's Relief of Warren after the Battle of Five Forks Justified?

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Was Sheridan's relief of Warren after the Battle of Five Forks justified?

  • Yes, it was justified

    Votes: 5 20.0%
  • No, it was not justified

    Votes: 20 80.0%

  • Total voters
    25
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

rpkennedy

Major
Member of the Month
Joined
May 18, 2011
Messages
9,888
Location
Carlisle, PA
At that time, Sheridan's (and Grant's, for that matter) treatment of Warren was unfair. I believe that the argument could be made that Warren could have and should have been relieved at various times during the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns. He was not particularly able for large portions of those campaigns and was somewhat lucky to have gotten through them with his authority intact.

Ryan
 

Eric Wittenberg

2nd Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
3,476
Location
Columbus, OH
At that time, Sheridan's (and Grant's, for that matter) treatment of Warren was unfair. I believe that the argument could be made that Warren could have and should have been relieved at various times during the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns. He was not particularly able for large portions of those campaigns and was somewhat lucky to have gotten through them with his authority intact.

Ryan
Exactly right, Ryan. The specific reason for his relief was unjust, as the court of inquiry found.
 

jackt62

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
3,462
Location
New York City
I voted no. The case of Warren and Sheridan has always intrigued me and probably has its roots in personality differences between the men. Warren was quite deliberative and often questioned superior orders during the Overland and Petersburg campaigns, a trait that bedeviled Grant to no end. In fact, Grant gave Sheridan permission to relieve Warren prior to the Five Forks engagement. Sheridan too, was a more emotional, highly aggressive commander who had little patience for those like Warren, who Sheridan perceived as being less than effective. But at Five Forks, Sheridan was plain wrong. He blamed Warren for failing to bring up his V Corps in a timely manner, when the order to Warren barely gave enough time to do so, and for being being unavailable when in fact, Warren was trying to redirect General Crawford's division to the right position. Not to mention the fact that Warren's V Corps with Sheridan's cavalry made Five Forks the decisive Union victory that led to Appomattox about 10 days later. So Warren's relief would seem to be unjustified by the facts of the matter, and showed the spiteful side of Sheridan.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

ErnieMac

Brigadier General
Moderator
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
8,980
Location
Pennsylvania
I voted no. The case of Warren and Sheridan has always intrigued me and probably has its roots in personality differences between the men. Warren was quite deliberative and often questioned superior orders during the Overland and Petersburg campaigns, a trait that bedeviled Grant to no end. In fact, Grant gave Sheridan permission to relieve Warren prior to the Five Forks engagement. Sheridan too, was a more emotional, highly aggressive commander who had little patience for those like Warren, who Sheridan perceived as being less than effective. But at Five Forks, Sheridan was plain wrong. He blamed Warren for failing to bring up his V Corps in a timely manner, when the order to Warren barely gave enough time to do so, and for being being unavailable when in fact, Warren was trying to redirect General Crawford's division to the right position. Not to mention the fact that Warren's V Corps with Sheridan's cavalry made Five Forks the decisive Union victory that led to Appomattox about 10 days later. So Warren's relief would seem to be unjustified by the facts of the matter, and showed the spiteful side of Sheridan.
It's my opinion that Grant's permission to relieve Warren was a subtle message that Sheridan interpreted correctly. Warren had worn out his welcome with Grant and Meade over the past 11 months. Grant could have overruled Sheridan - he didn't. Meade could have interceded with Grant to try to save Warren's position - he didn't.
 

rpkennedy

Major
Member of the Month
Joined
May 18, 2011
Messages
9,888
Location
Carlisle, PA
It's my opinion that Grant's permission to relieve Warren was a subtle message that Sheridan interpreted correctly. Warren had worn out his welcome with Grant and Meade over the past 11 months. Grant could have overruled Sheridan - he didn't. Meade could have interceded with Grant to try to save Warren's position - he didn't.
Warren could be abrasive and would question orders when he thought that he knew better and by 1865, Grant's and Meade's patience with him had worn thin. I agree that Grant's order was meant for Sheridan to relieve Warren if there was any excuse at all to do so.

Ryan
 

Eric Wittenberg

2nd Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
3,476
Location
Columbus, OH
It's my opinion that Grant's permission to relieve Warren was a subtle message that Sheridan interpreted correctly. Warren had worn out his welcome with Grant and Meade over the past 11 months. Grant could have overruled Sheridan - he didn't. Meade could have interceded with Grant to try to save Warren's position - he didn't.
There is no question that Grant gave him authority to do so. But Grant should have done it himself PRIOR to April 1. It was kind of cowardly of Grant to pass the buck. And there is no question that the specific reason given for Warren's relief by Little Phil the Pathological Liar was wrong and was an injustice.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

matthew mckeon

Colonel
Retired Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
Messages
13,767
There is no question that Grant gave him authority to do so. But Grant should have done it himself PRIOR to April 1. It was kind of cowardly of Grant to pass the buck. And there is no question that the specific reason given for Warren's relief by Little Phil the Pathological Liar was wrong and was an injustice.
That reminds me I have your book on Sheridan on the shelf. I'll have to finally read it!
 

ErnieMac

Brigadier General
Moderator
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
8,980
Location
Pennsylvania
There is no question that Grant gave him authority to do so. But Grant should have done it himself PRIOR to April 1. It was kind of cowardly of Grant to pass the buck. And there is no question that the specific reason given for Warren's relief by Little Phil the Pathological Liar was wrong and was an injustice.
I agree, but think that it conforms with some other choices Grant made.
 

Irishtom29

First Sergeant
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
1,729
Location
Comancheria
Warren was considered a pain in the *** and had to go. Any reason to send him down the tracks was a good one.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Andy Cardinal

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,243
Location
Ohio
Not justified for Five Forks but in reality probably overdue. Possibly should have happened at Spottsylvania, and should have happened (I have come to believe) after the botched attack on Petersburg in June.
 

Dom71

Sergeant
Joined
May 12, 2017
Messages
720
Location
Long Island, NY
I agree he should have been relieved long before five forks. Meade and Grant both talked each other out of it early on. Not one of Grants better days.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Ole Miss

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Messages
2,902
Location
North Mississippi
I believe Warren had worn out his welcome prior to 5 Forks but somehow keep hanging on till Sheridan nailed him with the idea of better late than never. Warren peaked way too early with his best performance at Gettysburg.
Regards
David
 

jackt62

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Messages
3,462
Location
New York City
His real strength was as engineering officer as shown by his actions at Gettysburg. His historical reputation would have been much greater had he stayed in that position throughout the rest of the war.
 

Jamieva

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Messages
4,247
Location
Midlothian, VA
I think everyone already nailed it and I will concur. He deserved to be relieved before Five Forks, but his actions at FF did not warrant his removal specifically for that.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

MikeyB

Corporal
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
Messages
305
Is there any sympathy for Warren? My understanding is that Grant/Meade got fed up largely because he was overly reflective and imposed some of his judgment to postpone attacks he thought would fail. But is that entirely a bad thing in a stage of the war where any attack on prepared positions was most likely to be a bloody disaster? Esp w/ the ANV who had gotten quite good at it bloodying Grant throughout the Overland Campaign, most painfully at Cold Harbor. If Warren had done the same thing and said no to Burnside at F-berg, wouldn't he be seen as a hero instead of a royal pain in Grant's side?
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top