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Which General had the Biggest Ego?

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by OldBrainsHalleck, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. OldBrainsHalleck

    OldBrainsHalleck Private

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    We all know that many officers in the Civil War worried greatly about their reputations and this often caused them to make poor choices, some of which would have drastic effects in the field. But which officer had the biggest ego out of all of them?

    For me, it would have to be George B. McClellan.
     

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  3. Burning Billy

    Burning Billy Sergeant

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  4. OldBrainsHalleck

    OldBrainsHalleck Private

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    Ah yes. Old Dirty Dan.
     
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  5. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 2nd Lieutenant

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    There were so many prima donnas and ego maniacs in the senior officer corps on both sides that it is hard to single out just one.

    Joseph Johnston? Fitz John Porter?
     
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  6. OldBrainsHalleck

    OldBrainsHalleck Private

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    What about Braxton Bragg, or Jubal Early?
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
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  7. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Sergeant

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    McClellen, just ask him (well... if you could) he will tell you how great he was.
     
  8. 67th Tigers

    67th Tigers Sergeant Major

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    Kearny clearly had narcissistic personality disorder.
     
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  9. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Ego. Most successful generals have a darned good opinion of themselves or they would not be successful generals. I guess it would be where the ego trips them up? Well, there's Joe Hooker. Might not have been a top drawer general but he was effective...but then he started pulling Lincoln's beard. Lincoln could put up with that if Hooker got him a victory, but instead got him a resounding defeat at Chancellorsville. Got the toe of Lincoln's boot on his posterior! There's John Pope, who boldly declared his headquarters would now be in the saddle...which prompted stone-faced Stonewall Jackson to wisecrack Pope didn't know his headquarters from his hindquarters. Pope produced resounding defeat, got the toe of Lincoln's boot so hard he was kicked clear to Wisconsin to give Indians a bad time. Beauregard was arrogant enough to take a leave after a critical battle - Shiloh - and he really did need it. But he probably should have told his commander in chief about it! The resultant dispute with said commander in chief caused Beauregard to dip his pen in poison and write many letters. With the Southerners it seemed to be more pride than ego - Joe Johnston's first snit was about Lee being ranked ahead of him, never mind he was one of the four top generals of the Confederacy.
     
  10. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel

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    On the naval side, David Dixon Porter must surely be up there. His saving grace was that he actually had real leadership and administrative ability, but modesty was never one of his traits.
     
  11. hoosier

    hoosier 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    I recall a story about Lincoln making a visit to McClellan's home one evening. McClellan was out, but was expected to return shortly, so Lincoln sat down to wait.

    Upon being advised, when he returned, that the president was waiting to see him, McClellan headed for his room without a word. After another half-hour, Lincoln was advised that McClellan had gone to bed.

    Unless someone can remind me of another officer who did something similar, McClellan wins my vote for biggest ego.
     
  12. Youngblood

    Youngblood Sergeant

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    Ol JEB was pretty full of himself.
     
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  13. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Sergeant

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    Only on days that ended in "Y"
     
  14. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    With good reason.
     
  15. OldBrainsHalleck

    OldBrainsHalleck Private

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    Still, out of all Union commanders, I think Little Mac gave Abe the most trouble. I mean, McClellan ran against Lincoln for President in 1864.
     
  16. Youngblood

    Youngblood Sergeant

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    Lets not forget about the boy general. Custer.
     
  17. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Sergeant

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    You could put D.H. Hill here.
     
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  18. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    That's true, and he called him a gorilla, too! Hard to top McClellan for outstanding disrespect for his commander. But, Joe Hooker still did him one better. He loudly and clearly asserted there should be a dictator - himself, of course. Lincoln took him on anyway and told him he saw what he did there but only victorious generals could make that threat stick. Bring me victory and I'll take my chances! There were two generals who, by the end of the war, fit that criteria and who could actually make good on it, and Hooker was definitely not one of them. Grant was not so inclined and the idea never entered his head...but the idea sure did enter Sherman's head! Fortunately, he left it at blowing off steam to his wife. McClellan, on the other hand, was the only one who gave a bit of a cold chill up Lincoln's neck - the AoP was as loyal to their general as a hound dog. Lincoln referred to them as McClellan's personal body guard. If McClellan's ego hadn't been topped by his caution, he might have decided the only way to do his job of saving the country was to use his army against the president!
     
  19. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Retired Moderator

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    I can't believe no one has mentioned @Eric Wittenberg's favorite cavalryman (NOT), the darling little Phil Sheridan. Talk about short man's disease!
     
  20. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    :laugh: Well, every time he had a chance to mix it up with Forrest - who was more than happy to oblige - he had something else to do just then!
     
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  21. Andy Cardinal

    Andy Cardinal Sergeant

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    There's a lot of competition for this, but my vote goes to Alfred Pleasonton. By his own account, he singlehandedly saved the Army of the Potomac and was also responsible for Stonewall Jackson's wounding at Chancellorsville.

    Fighting Joe Hooker is a pretty good choice too. "I was at the battle of Bull Run the other day, and it is neither vanity or boasting in me to declare that I am a ****ed sight better General than you, Sir, had on that field.” Even if true, that's a pretty egotistical statement.

    I'd probably vote for Beauregard on the Confederate side.
     

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