But there is one who is remembered for it more than any other. Preparing for the first Gulf War, Norman Schwarzkopf had already accumulated over 100,000 troops in northern Saudi Arabia and over a thousand tanks, and was waiting for a few more before making his move into Iraq. At a press conference in a tent, a reporter asked about the delay and dared make a reference to our all-time most infamous never-ready general, McClellan. Schwarzkopf pounded the table as he fired back, "I'M NO G** ****ED McCLELLAN!!!"
It was the tradition to consider seniority in appointing commanders, regardless of the level of the command. It's why even a very good subordinate like George Thomas wrote Washington to verify the seniority of Rosecrans.There is no such tradition, as these were the first corps commanders appointed in US history. Lincoln had a completely free hand in appointing who he wanted.
And McClellan knew that Lincoln had this concern. If he had made the Washington defensive arrangements absolute clear to Lincoln before he left for the Peninsula, perhaps there would have been no interference with troops heading for the Peninsula.
No American officer would like to be included in a comparison with McClellan, however, if the Shoe fits ..... . I.E., If by waiting a little bit longer, Schwarzenegger had suffered a stunning defeat, .... ?
Stalemate is to kind of a word. How about loss after loss to an inferior force. That’s the point I’ve been attempting to make. McClellan’s obsession with numbers was his undoing. Lee, on the opposite side of the spectrum had so much confidence in his armies ability never concerned himself with the numeric superiority of his opponent.In ref.to this post, McClellan did indeed lose his job because of a critical(for McClellan) loss of patienceby Lincoln.
The war was progressing at much too slow a pace for Lincoln, but, he did not often show it by replacing unsuccessful generals, if that had been his criteria, Burnside, Hooker and probably, Meade, would have gotten second chances.
But, Generals who insisted on fighting the war his own way, in contradistinction, to that of his Commander In Chief, had better be successful.
As I have already noted, for politiical reasons, the War was not progressing fast enough for Lincoln, the war was progressing (if too slowly) in the West, because Union authority was being progressively restablished in formerly confederate territory, the same could not be said for the War for the Union, in the East, where the operative word was stalemate.
I do want to acknowledge this response as the most accurate, to me. When looking through dispatches and correspondence, the movement was performed in a necessary haste, and the irregularities ironed out. This seemed to be done at loading areas with McClellan's free hand and watchful eye. But the eventual breakdown in communication was almost immediate with the landing zones, and McClellan was trying to supervise an army where he wanted to be in twelve places. So the tact in control of these forces appear to have slipped beyond management capability due to communication problems, personality clashes, and political struggles for prominence in the State of Affairs.And McClellan knew that Lincoln had this concern. If he had made the Washington defensive arrangements absolute clear to Lincoln before he left for the Peninsula, perhaps there would have been no interference with troops heading for the Peninsula.
It was a lack of communication and failure to ensure that Lincoln understood the arrangement that caused the problem.
I do want to acknowledge this response as the most accurate, to me. When looking through dispatches and correspondence, the movement was performed in a necessary haste, and the irregularities ironed out. This seemed to be done at loading areas with McClellan's free hand and watchful eye. But the eventual breakdown in communication was almost immediate with the landing zones, and McClellan was trying to supervise an army where he wanted to be in twelve places. So the tact in control of these forces appear to have slipped beyond management capability due to communication problems, personality clashes, and political struggles for prominence in the State of Affairs.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Fairfax Court-House, March 13, 1862.
A council of the generals commanding army corps at the Headquarters Army of the Potomac were of the opinion-
I. That, the enemy having retreated from Manassas to Gordonsville, behind the Rappahannock and Rapidan, it is the opinion of the generals commanding army corps that the operations to be carried on will be best undertaken from Old Point Comfort, between the York and James River, upon Richmond, provided-
1. That the enemy's vessel Merrimac can be neutralized.
2. That the means of transportation sufficient for an immediate transfer of the force to its new base can be ready at Washington and Alexandria to move down the Potomac, and
3. That a naval auxiliary force can be had to silence or aid in silencing the enemy's batteries in York River.
4. That the force to be left to cover Washington shall be such as to give an entire feeling of security for its safety from menace.
II. If the foregoing cannot be, the army should then be moved against the enemy behind the Rappahannock at the earliest possible moment, and the means for reconstructing bridges, repairing railroads, and stocking them with material sufficient for the supplying the army should at once be collected for both the Orange and Alexandria and the Aquia and Richmond Railroads.
NOTE.- That, with the forts on the right bank of the Potomac fully garrisoned, and those on the left bank occupied, a covering force in front of the Virginia line of 25,000 men would suffice.
A total of 40,000 men for the defense of the city would suffice.
What do you mean? McClellan doesn't appear to have had any political ambitions at that time.It was going to be impossible for McClellan to fight that kind of war, when he might later want southerners to vote for him.
To go from my point above to a more specific assessment, there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the Peninsular operations as of June 1862, and McDowell's troops arriving would have largely averted the Seven Days.
Lincoln thought that he could see an opportunity to trap Jackson's Valley force using McDowell's troops and those of Fremont, and overrode his earlier orders to McDowell (to join McClellan) to instead order him to march into the Valley.
This was based on a lack of understanding of military operations, as what Lincoln did (not for the last time) was to measure the straight-line distance between the Union army and where he wanted it to be, and between the Confederate army and where they would have to pass to thwart his designs, and decided that since the Union army had fewer miles to cover either his designs would work or it would be the fault of the Union army in question.
The problem here is the matter of terrain, in this case the mountains of the Blue Ridge. The Confederate army in this case had a macademized road to march down; the Union army had to cross a mountain range and was naturally slower.
This meant that Jackson's Valley force did exactly what it was meant to. It distracted a large amount of Union troops and kept them from the critical battles of the Seven Days; McDowell was never actually sent to join McClellan, excepting one division only (which was not enough) and in making this decision Lincoln overruled the advice of McClellan, McDowell and even most of his own cabinet; he did not overrule the general in chief because there was no general in chief in the first place.
As for July, after the Seven Days has ended, Lincoln's attitude changes in a way which is hard to understand. Initially he is full of praise for McClellan having survived and promises him vast reinforcements if only McClellan can wait, but after the visit to Harrisons Landing his tune changes a little. Troops sent to reinforce McClellan are gathered at Fort Monroe instead and forbidden to join him; Lincoln tries to calculate whether McClellan is lying to him about the number of troops McClellan has to hand, even though questioning the corps commanders separately during the Harrisons Landing visit led to an agreement with McClellan's numbers.
Not really. McClellan asked permission to send Lincoln his thoughts on such subjects, Lincoln approved it, and then McClellan wrote out the thoughts in question.Probably had a lot to do with the political document Mac handed to him at the Harrison’s Landing meeting. Mac seriously overstepped his bounds and Abe was not likely to forget it.
Permission to submit a letter does not guarantee that the letter is going to be viewed favorably.Not really. McClellan asked permission to send Lincoln his thoughts on such subjects, Lincoln approved it, and then McClellan wrote out the thoughts in question.
Or, to put it another way, the man who was still in theory the general-in-chief and in practice the highest ranking general in the Union army secured permission from his commander-in-chief and then wrote out a document which contained suggestions on general military policy.
Perhaps Lincoln had forgotten that he'd given permission.
I suppose it's also possible that Lincoln didn't realize that the question of how the war should be prosecuted was something that would have to be settled for the Union army to have a coherent war policy; at this point, more than a year into the war, one did not yet exist, and it's this that the Harrison's Landing letter is about. McClellan urges Lincoln to set a war policy, and in addition to that lays out his personal views on things that should be part of it.
If the highest-ranking general in the US Army can't suggest things to the President, then surely nobody can...