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

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

  • Yes, it was justified

    Votes: 3 13.0%
  • No, it was not justified

    Votes: 20 87.0%

  • Total voters
    23

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Eric Wittenberg

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#22
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?
I have a vast amount of sympathy for Warren. He was the victim of a manifest injustice at the hands of lying little narcissist. He should have been relieved for the good of the service months earlier. But the specific reason for his relief on April 1, 1865 were found by a court of inquiry to have been unjust, and that injustice robbed him of the opportunity to lead his men up Pennsylvania Avenue during the Grand Review after the surrender at Appomattox.
 
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#23
I have a vast amount of sympathy for Warren. He was the victim of a manifest injustice at the hands of lying little narcissist. He should have been relieved for the good of the service months earlier. But the specific reason for his relief on April 1, 1865 were found by a court of inquiry to have been unjust, and that injustice robbed him of the opportunity to lead his men up Pennsylvania Avenue during the Grand Review after the surrender at Appomattox.
Exactly. Warren could have been, and probably should have been, relieved at the end of the Overland Campaign or during the Petersburg Campaign when his performances were lackluster at best. But what happened in April 1865 was unjustified.

Ryan
 

Irishtom29

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#24
Exactly. Warren could have been, and probably should have been, relieved at the end of the Overland Campaign or during the Petersburg Campaign when his performances were lackluster at best. But what happened in April 1865 was unjustified.

Ryan
I think his previous poor performance justified his being relieved any time it suited his superiors to do so. He wasn’t even fired, he still had a job.

And he was in management, not some poor common soldier getting a raw deal. You know, like getting killed.
 

Jamieva

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#25
I think his previous poor performance justified his being relieved any time it suited his superiors to do so. He wasn’t even fired, he still had a job.

And he was in management, not some poor common soldier getting a raw deal. You know, like getting killed.
But his superiors didn't. They left it up in the air at the decision of a minion. If Grant or Meade had the moral conviction to jettison him they should have done so themselves directly. The fact that they passed it off to Sheridan to pass judgment is just passing the buck
 

Irishtom29

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#26
But his superiors didn't. They left it up in the air at the decision of a minion. If Grant or Meade had the moral conviction to jettison him they should have done so themselves directly. The fact that they passed it off to Sheridan to pass judgment is just passing the buck
Evidently Sheridan was his superior. And being the man on the spot he exercised his authority on the spot. Seems to me to be a sensible delegation of authority to give a combat group commander the authority to relieve his subordinates.

Late in war old structures such as Army of the Potomac, Army of the Cumberland, Army of the James etc. were breaking down in favor of ad hoc combat groups made up from various armies. Such as Thomas’s army at Nashville which had one corps of the old Army of the Cumberland, the corps which had been the Army of the Ohio, AJ Smith’s wandering group from the Army of the Tennessee and various other available troops. Grant used Sheridan as such a combat group commander and gave him authority over those troops he used regardless of what army or department they belonged to.
 
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#27
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#28
I voted that Warren should not have been relieved.

Once you look closely at the battle, you learn Sheridan's cavalry did not break Pickett's line and win the battle. Neither did the divisions of Griffin and Ayres which were under Sheridan's command and rolling up the Confederate line from east to west - but so very gradually.

Warren won the battle by marching Crawford's division westward across the Confederate rear and then attacking south down the Five Forks Road and crushing the Confederate center. This broke the Confederate line.

May I recommend that anyone interested should read Confederate Waterloo by Mike McCarthy. It is a study of both the battle and of the Warren Court of Inquiry. I discovered this manuscript which was a dissertation and persuaded Ted Savas to publish it.

Anyone interested in learning more about the battle should contact me.

Bryce A. Suderow
streetstories@juno.com

ps

I want to add that my favorite part of the battle is the fight between Custer and Rooney Lee. The dismounted troopers of Devin's and Custer's cavalry divisions were arrayed in an east-west line facing Pickett's infantry. The plan was for them to pin down the infantry while the V Corps attacked the Confederate flank.

About the same time that Waarren and Crawford's division attacked the rear of Pickett's infantry on the five forks road, Custer mounted two of his three brigades and road northward along the western edge of the Gilliam farm. He was heading for a road north of the farm and north of the white oak road, a road that the Confederates must take to escape the battlefield.

Custer's advance was near the road when Rooney Lee sent the 2nd and 3rd North Carolina regiments in a mounted charge against his right flank. A short battle ensued. The two regiments of cavalry fought Custer's two brigades long enough for Pickett's army to escape.
 
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ErnieMac

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#29
I voted that Warren should not have been relieved.

Once you look closely at the battle, you learn Sheridan's cavalry did not break Pickett's line and win the battle. Neither did the divisions of Griffin and Ayres which were under Sheridan's command and rolling up the Confederate line from east to west - but so very gradually.

Warren won the battle by marching Crawford's division westward across the Confederate rear and then attacking south down the Five Forks Road and crushing the Confederate center. This broke the Confederate line.

May I recommend that anyone interested should read Confederate Waterloo by Mike McCarthy. It is a study of both the battle and of the Warren Court of Inquiry. I discovered this manuscript which was a dissertation and persuaded Ted Savas to publish it.

Anyone interested in learning more about the battle should contact me.

Bryce A. Suderow
streetstories@juno.com

ps

I want to add that my favorite part of the battle is the fight between Custer and Rooney Lee. The dismounted troopers of Devin's and Custer's cavalry divisions were arrayed in an east-west line facing Pickett's infantry. The plan was for them to pin down the infantry while the V Corps attacked the Confederate flank.

About the same time that Waarren and Crawford's division attacked the rear of Pickett's infantry on the five forks road, Custer mounted two of his three brigades and road northward along the western edge of the Gilliam farm. He was heading for a road north of the farm and north of the white oak road, a road that the Confederates must take to escape the battlefield.

Custer's advance was near the road when Rooney Lee sent the 2nd and 3rd North Carolina regiments in a mounted charge against his right flank. A short battle ensued. The two regiments of cavalry fought Custer's two brigades long enough for Pickett's army to escape.
I read Confederate Waterloo by Mike McCarthy and found it to be well written and informative. Glad you were able to persuade Ted Savas to publish it.
 



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