Who Should Have Been Promoted But Wasn't?

JeffBrooks

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Here's a question I would be interested in hearing opinions on. . . which officers, Union and/or Confederate, do you think deserved promotion but didn't receive it? Why?

I, for one, think Jubal Early should have been promoted to command of the Second Corps after his performance in the Chancellorsville Campaign.
 
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Saphroneth

Major
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Feb 18, 2017
The delegates to the Democratic National Convention approved the nomination of McClellan on August 31.

Atlanta fell on September 2.

McClellan issued his public letter repudiating the peace plank on September 9.
So, given travel time, it's possible that he didn't formally get the nomination until after Atlanta fell (given that my understanding is that he repudiated the peace plank in his acceptance letter, though I could be wrong there).
 

JeffBrooks

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So, given travel time, it's possible that he didn't formally get the nomination until after Atlanta fell (given that my understanding is that he repudiated the peace plank in his acceptance letter, though I could be wrong there).
He was aware of the nomination pretty much the moment it happened via the electric telegraph. It was in the papers the next morning. He didn't write the acceptance letter until a week after Atlanta's fall had been announced, for reasons that strike me as obvious.
 

Saphroneth

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He was aware of the nomination pretty much the moment it happened via the electric telegraph. It was in the papers the next morning. He didn't write the acceptance letter until a week after Atlanta's fall had been announced, for reasons that strike me as obvious.
The date I have is that he was formally offered the nomination 8th September (1300 hours). Is that incorrect?

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And that the acceptance letter came the same day as a direct reply:

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(and so on)

This just seems to be the practice of the time. The National Union National Convention was June 7-8 1864 and Lincoln didn't formally accept the nomination until the 27th (which was in reply to a nominating letter sent on the 14th). If it was normal custom to issue the formal acceptance as soon as you heard, Lincoln would have accepted the nomination well before the 27th June.

I should note in passing that we have McClellan's notes and drafts of his acceptance, and none of them accept the peace plank. The earliest version of the speech considers peace negotiations (on the grounds of reuninfication and the Constitution to be upheld), but says that if they fail then "we shall be obliged to appeal again to the God of battles, and leave the issue to the arbitrament of the sword."
 

JeffBrooks

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The date I have is that he was formally offered the nomination 8th September (1300 hours). Is that incorrect?

No, but that's just a formality. We know the State of the Union Address is going to happen on a certain date, but the Speaker of the House still has to formally invite the President to come to the Capitol. McClellan knew he had received the nomination on the night of August 31, and he knew it was in the bag for all practical purposes several weeks before that.

I should note in passing that we have McClellan's notes and drafts of his acceptance, and none of them accept the peace plank. The earliest version of the speech considers peace negotiations (on the grounds of reuninfication and the Constitution to be upheld), but says that if they fail then "we shall be obliged to appeal again to the God of battles, and leave the issue to the arbitrament of the sword."

The negotiations presupposed a cease-fire. If hostilities were brought to a halt for negotiations (which would have failed, as Jefferson Davis would not have accepted reunification under any circumstances), it's ridiculous to suppose that the political will would exist for combat operations to be resumed. Republicans would not have supported the war effort if the abolition of slavery were no longer a war aim. Half the Democrats would have refused to support any resumption of the war, either.
 

Saphroneth

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No, but that's just a formality. We know the State of the Union Address is going to happen on a certain date, but the Speaker of the House still has to formally invite the President to come to the Capitol. McClellan knew he had received the nomination on the night of August 31, and he knew it was in the bag for all practical purposes several weeks before that.
But he still rejected the peace plank at the same time as accepting the nomination. Is he supposed to repudiate it before getting the nomination in the first place? If so, then Lincoln should have repudiated the parts of his own platform he disagreed with (and he did disagree with some of them) before getting his own nomination...

The negotiations presupposed a cease-fire. If hostilities were brought to a halt for negotiations (which would have failed, as Jefferson Davis would not have accepted reunification under any circumstances), it's ridiculous to suppose that the political will would exist for combat operations to be resumed. Republicans would not have supported the war effort if the abolition of slavery were no longer a war aim. Half the Democrats would have refused to support any resumption of the war, either.
Well, the later versions of the speech didn't include the ceasefire - that is, as he moved ahead from the notes version to the later iterations of the draft he dropped the idea of the ceasefire, and indeed the issued letter itself was clear that negotiations would take place during military operations rather than there being a ceasefire. None of McClellan's draft or final versions were in any sense accepting of the peace plank, and the furthest any of them ever went was surrender negotiations; he repeatedly refused urgings to come out in support of the peace plank.

When writing to WC Prime, "I receive so many suggestions that I have determined to follow my own judgment in the matter. Morgan is very anxious that I should write a letter suggesting an armistice!!!! If these fools will ruin the country I won't help them."

I included it to note what was in even the earliest versions of McClellan's acceptance letter (which is to say, a pause in hostilities but then to resume) but the later and published versions dropped the ceasefire.
 

Rebforever

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I think what got in Lee's bonnet about Early is that the supposed looting showed that Early had lost control of his troops. That was something Lee could not abide.

Ryan
Early’s army was starving. They went after that. Tell me how you are going to keep a starving man away from foods?
General Lee had already drawn Early’s army down for Petersburg. Don’t think I would say they were looting.
Union would say “spoils of war”! 😉
 

Luke Freet

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I think this thread has obsessed too much over Early and the taking of DC and McClellan's presidential run. As wonderful as these discussions are, I don't think it is too pertinent to the spirit of the thread at this point.
To put things back on track somewhat: I'd posit that John Logan should have gotten the Army of the Tennessee after Bald Hill. Howard did well in command of it, but this was more in spite of his previous track record as a commander. Of course, he was a democrat and considered an issue in postwar politics, but he was a staunch War Democrat, and would have still been subordinate to Sherman (the defacto commander in the theater), and so most of the credit, deserved or undeserved, would trickle up to him.
 

Saphroneth

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I think this thread has obsessed too much over Early and the taking of DC and McClellan's presidential run. As wonderful as these discussions are, I don't think it is too pertinent to the spirit of the thread at this point.
That's quite fair, yes.

One thing I think is interesting is that there were some people who got promoted who probably shouldn't have been. Hunter was an extremely senior MG(V) for example.
 

Luke Freet

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That's quite fair, yes.

One thing I think is interesting is that there were some people who got promoted who probably shouldn't have been. Hunter was an extremely senior MG(V) for example.
Certainly. Hunter was good in that he pushed the use of black troops before it was acceptable in the Union. Other than that, his only real success was at Piedmont, which, given how the forces there were about equal in strength, was a decent performance.
 

Saphroneth

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Certainly. Hunter was good in that he pushed the use of black troops before it was acceptable in the Union. Other than that, his only real success was at Piedmont, which, given how the forces there were about equal in strength, was a decent performance.
Which is the interesting thing. He was so high ranking that in June 1864 only six people ranked him - Grant, McClellan, Halleck, Dix, Banks and Butler, in that order - and he got that rank essentially for one engagement (First Bull Run as a brigade commander).
 

NedBaldwin

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Which is the interesting thing. He was so high ranking that in June 1864 only six people ranked him - Grant, McClellan, Halleck, Dix, Banks and Butler, in that order - and he got that rank essentially for one engagement (First Bull Run as a brigade commander).
All the MGs promoted in 1861 were based on politics and potential.
Hunter was politically connected to Lincoln and on paper had potential
 

Saphroneth

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All the MGs promoted in 1861 were based on politics and potential.
Hunter was politically connected to Lincoln and on paper had potential
Which is the thing that makes it difficult. There are plenty of generals I think rate higher than, say, Hunter (or Pope) but promoting them to LG (which would be fine in a European military as there are dozens of LGs and it's just "corps commander" rank in effect) is really troublesome in the Union military because it makes them the #1 or #2 nationally.
 

Lubliner

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I have trouble finding General Q. A. Gillmore's promotion up from Brig. Gen., which is partly due to his always remaining behind away from the movements in his orders. A headquarter general that just, to me, was not successful. When he was sent to Butler as a Major General, his front-line command was riddled with insubordination and scheming.
Lubliner.
 
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Your admiration for Early is noted. I would caution, however, that I doubt that there is a single Civil War historian of any reputation who would agree with your assertion that Early could have won the war for the Confederacy in 1864 with an attack on Washington DC.
Attacking Washington, of course not. Arriving there 24 hours sooner (which was entirely possible if not completely likely), having the opportunity to bag the Pres and VP as well as a large number of Congressmen (Senator + Representatives) would have essentially ended the war. Given the mores of the time, this would have been viewed as a fait accompli. You've taken the capitol, the war is over.
 

JeffBrooks

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Attacking Washington, of course not. Arriving there 24 hours sooner (which was entirely possible if not completely likely), having the opportunity to bag the Pres and VP as well as a large number of Congressmen (Senator + Representatives) would have essentially ended the war. Given the mores of the time, this would have been viewed as a fait accompli. You've taken the capitol, the war is over.
As I recall, Stanton had made sure that a steamer was at the docks and ready to go in case Lincoln needed to get out of town in a hurry.
 

Bruce Vail

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As I recall, Stanton had made sure that a steamer was at the docks and ready to go in case Lincoln needed to get out of town in a hurry.

Yeah, the possibilty that Early's forces might have captured Lincoln and other top Union leaders is very, very remote.

I would further argue, given the huge Union armies in the field, that a Confederate capture of Washington (including Mr. Lincoln) would not have changed the final outcome of the war at all. The Confederacy was effectively beaten in July 1864, and it is tribute to the tenacity and military skill of the Confederates that they were able to hang on for about another year. Their chances of turning it all around and actually winning the war were zero.
 
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