The Army of the Potomac contained twelve total divisions; it was clearly necessary to divide them into corps but McClellan resisted doing so; he said ...

The Army of the Potomac contained twelve total divisions; it was clearly necessary to divide them into corps but McClellan resisted doing so; he said he wanted to wait until the army and officers were battle-tested first. But on March 17, 1862, he was chagrined to learn that the president had already decided for him and issued an executive order diving the army into four corps headed by Irvin McDowell, Edwin Sumner, Samuel Heintzelman, and Erasmus Keyes. All these generals were picked mainly due to seniority and none were McClellan's choice of command. Of the four, three were old-timers over the age of 50 and McDowell, at 43 in his prime, disliked McClellan and the lingering stigma of the defeat at Bull Run continued to hang over him.

McDowell's I Corps consisted of the divisions of Rufus King, George McCall, and James Ricketts. Sumner's II Corps had the divisions of John Sedgwick, Israel Richardson, and Louis Blenker. The III Corps under Heintzelman had the divisions of Joe Hooker, Phil Kearney, and Fitz-John Porter. The IV Corps had the divisions of William Frankin, Darius Couch, and John Peck.

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  1. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Edwin Sumner was the oldest general officer in this army at 65. He had been in the army since James Monroe was president but had never been to West Point. Nonetheless, he held the rank of brigadier general in the regular army after Joe Johnson's resignation the previous spring freed up a slot. Sumner's military skills were limited and he was only really cut out for command of a brigade or regiment. The old man enjoyed a good fight and his personal courage was unimpeachable, but he had no capacity for independent initiative; if given precise orders he would execute them well but told to act on his own and he was lost.

    Samuel Heintzelman was also an old timer who graduated West Point in 1826 and like Sumner, any problem of leadership above that of commanding a regiment was above his skill level. He was no abolitionist but also made it clear that he had no intention of helping Southern civilians re-capture escaped slaves. He had commanded a division adequately at Bull Run, where he was wounded in the arm.

    Erasmus Keyes had graduated West Point in 1831 and also commanded a division at Bull Run. He immediately made McClellan's enemies list due to his vocal Republican abolitionist beliefs and the commanding general also considered him vain, whiny, and not aggressive enough. McClellan did everything he could to keep Keyes away from any significant responsibility during the Peninsula Campaign and finally got rid of him when the campaign was over by breaking up his IV Corps and leaving him to command on the Virginia Peninsula while the rest of the army departed in August. Keyes's one moment of glory as a general happened at Seven Pines, although nobody outside the IV Corps ever realized it.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >and the commanding general also considered him vain, whiny, and not aggressive enough
      Mac, you might want to take a look in the mirror first.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        >McClellan wasn't aggressive enough
        this meme needs to be utterly destroyed

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          lol he played almost no direct role in this battle which was fought completely on autopilot

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            and yet he ordered big frontal assaults with four of his six corps, with the remaining too being either exhausted, green as grass, or both
            bloodiest single day in American history btw

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          It was the Army of Northern Virginia that needed to be utterly destroyed, which McClellan failed to do.
          That was a needed boost for Union morale, and the cover for the Emancipation Proclamation, but the impact in military terms was muted.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Not a single army was destroyed in battle during the entire war, discounting sieges. Nothing even close to that happened and it probably wasn't realistic with small cavalry arms not trained to capture

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            the Napoleonic standard of destroying armies in a single field engagement was impossible in the ACW because of more difficult terrain and the difficulties of cavalry movement & actions on that terrain (plus the inexperience and unique qualities of American cavalry vs European cavalry). additionally most of those huge Napoleonic field victories (Rivoli, Austerlitz, Jena-Auerstadt, Friedland, Leipzig, etc) were so decisive because the cavalry pursued and ran down the enemy in the days afterward, capturing thousands and sabering the rest.
            McClellan's army in the Antietam campaign was exhausted, composed heavily of fresh and completely inexperienced regiments (numerous regiments of II and V corps didn't even have the most basic understanding of musket and marching drill), and was straggling all over the place. the 87,000 figure you often see is misleading because the North counted army strengths differently from the South (who usually only counted "effectives," i.e men who would stand on the line with a musket, sabre, or loading a cannon), whereas the Union also counted various noncombatants like surgeons, staff officers, wagon drivers, etc.
            it is additionally misleading because both armies straggled heavily leading up to and during the battle. the 38-40,000 figure for Lee is more accurate than the 87,000 for McClellan as the former relies on eyewitness testimony and piecing together other reports while taking into account that straggling. the 87,000 takes the report of McClellan's returns from just after the battle at face value, which was itself incorrect and overinflated. the Federals' true field strength at Antietam was likely closer to 70,000, and perhaps 60,000 or even 55,000 if you discount the cavalry (useless in a battle like that) and the completely untrained regiments of V and VI corps

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            The Army of the Potomac up until the Overland Campaign counted noncombat personnel in its troop strength so the 87,000 men figure for the Antietam campaign meant that it was more likely 70,000 men actually shouldering a musket. The Confederates did not count noncombat personnel but the ANV's exact numbers at Antietam are conjectural as there were no returns filed between July 20 and September 22. However it may be guessed that about 50,000 men were PFD at the battle.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >the Napoleonic standard of destroying armies in a single field engagement was impossible in the ACW because of more difficult terrain and the difficulties of cavalry movement & actions on that terrain (plus the inexperience and unique qualities of American cavalry vs European cavalry).
            There is a lot to unpack here.

            First off, the reason that wholesale destruction of armies wasn't possible in the ACW had nothing to do with the terrain itself. The rolling farmlands of Northern Virginia/West Virginia/Pennsylvania/Maryland are very similar to European rolling fields and hills. There were Mountains and forests as well, but Europe had the same during the Napoleonic wars. Armies couldn't be destroyed effectively in the ACW because they were using far better firearms and artillery. The rifled musket could engage the enemy at a far greater distance than the smoothbore muskets of the Napoleonic age, which made infantry assaults absolutely ridiculously deadly (and is the reason why the ACW had such a high casualty rate), combined with far more accurate and quick loading cannon. In Jominian/Napoleonic tactics the idea is to get infantry to mass charge into the enemy weak point to get them to run. Troops faced with the bayonet have a high tendency to break and run, and then the cavalry would mop them up. The infantry in the ACW never had a break like that because you could not even get close enough for a bayonet charge. In the whole of the war there are like less than 100 confirmed cases of hand to hand fighting because of this.

            The US cavalry was also actually better in terms of riding than European cavalry, what was different was in doctrine. US Cav emphasized scouting and dragoon tactics and they didn't do mop up operations because the rifled musket and the supporting artillery would absolutely wreck cavalry, even on the retreat. The US found this shit out very quickly when they tried to use Cav in the Euro fashion and got BTFO.

            TBC

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >There is a lot to unpack here.
            stopped reading there

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Continued,

            US Cav started drifting more to the dragoon style even as early as the Mexican-American war because of the nature of the huge land area they had to cover, indian fighting, and the fact that modern firearms fricked cavalry up much worse than smoothbores.

            The Confederates actually took a bit longer to figure this out and it's one of the reasons their Cav started getting wrecked in the later war. They would do saber and pistol charges on Union Cav armed with rifled repeaters and they would just get absolutely fricked up.

            >His performance at the 7 days battles was also very good, and
            He never got within 10 miles of any combat in the Seven Days.

            He didn't need to, he still effectively issued orders and reinforced where needed and made sure his army wasn't destroyed.

            >I won't say that a fear of failure wasn't a huge part of this, but I maintain that McClellan's problem was not one of a lack of aggression, it was a willingness to believe that the worst was always about to happen, and willingness to believe inflated enemy numbers.
            That's not a problem, it's a strength. That's the reason why he was the only union commander who consistently had a positive casualties ratio against the confederates. If you always assume the worst, and prepare accordingly, then at least you're not gonna get defeated.

            It's a strength in moderation but it McClellan took it too far. There are times when you have to attack and be aggressive even when it might mean defeat. The reason people still talk about Napoleon is because he would fight battles and take risks that should have got him killed, but instead lead to incredible victories. The problem is that you can get a Gettysburg out of that, but it's the risk you run.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >There are times when you have to attack and be aggressive even when it might mean defeat.
            Only if you're desperate and acting reckless is your only chance. Best example of that is probably Germany in France in 1940.

            >The reason people still talk about Napoleon is because he would fight battles and take risks that should have got him killed, but instead lead to incredible victories.
            Napoleon was a genius, most commanders wouldn't be able to pull of what he did. But even then, in the end, his recklessness is the reason why his regime failed.

            >The problem is that you can get a Gettysburg out of that, but it's the risk you run.
            The civil war was a war where tactics massively favoured the defender. McClellan was great, because he had this ability to almost always force the enemy to attack him even when he was on a strategic offensive. If he had been allowed to continue his command, the confederates would have lost a war of attrition with way fewer losses on the union side.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >If he had been allowed to continue his command, the confederates would have lost a war of attrition with way fewer losses on the union side.
            You know what, i'm going to agree with you.

            But the problem is that the US is Republic and the public couldn't stomach a slow war of attrition. The Union wanted aggressive commanders who would actually do something. Is it kind of moronic? Yes, the public is moronic most of the time. But it was the political reality. Call Lincoln an idiot or whatever but he understood the political reality and acted on it. Grant may have been a "butcher," but people actually respected the fact that he was willing to attack the enemy and pursue a more aggressive policy, right or wrong.

            The thing about waging war as a republic or democracy is that war is an extension of politics. The political reality is as much a factor in warfare as terrain, numbers, logistics, or anything else. McClellan wasn't a political animal and that's why he failed.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >couldn’t stomach a slow war of attrition
            Except they did. They sat through four years of it.
            McClellan was slow at a tactical level but extremely rapid at the strategic level.
            McCellan basically never lost anything he took. While everyone was constantly getting circles run around them by Lee being forced to constantly give up land.
            McClellans strategy of using the navy to move men and materials to fortified siege positions around Richmond was genius. It completely prevented the confederate cavalry advantage. Freed up the entire army for the investment of cities, and forced the Confederates to play defense.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            I think that anon could have phrased it better - they couldn't stomach the idea of slow war of attrition early in the war. Once it was clear that quick fixes wouldn't work, they realized they had no choice. IRCC Scott said at the beginning of the war that they'd need half a million men and 3 years to subdue the south and was told to go pound sand.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            they badly underestimated the South's willingness to resist. Grant was as guilty of this in the early days; right up until Shiloh he thought the average Southern private didn't really care that much and would fold up easily.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Continued,

            US Cav started drifting more to the dragoon style even as early as the Mexican-American war because of the nature of the huge land area they had to cover, indian fighting, and the fact that modern firearms fricked cavalry up much worse than smoothbores.

            The Confederates actually took a bit longer to figure this out and it's one of the reasons their Cav started getting wrecked in the later war. They would do saber and pistol charges on Union Cav armed with rifled repeaters and they would just get absolutely fricked up.

            [...]
            He didn't need to, he still effectively issued orders and reinforced where needed and made sure his army wasn't destroyed.

            [...]
            It's a strength in moderation but it McClellan took it too far. There are times when you have to attack and be aggressive even when it might mean defeat. The reason people still talk about Napoleon is because he would fight battles and take risks that should have got him killed, but instead lead to incredible victories. The problem is that you can get a Gettysburg out of that, but it's the risk you run.

            It's mostly because both sides of the American civil war were bumbling amateurs; you can't take nation with almost no army and raise half a million men and expect its army to be competent. There were great battles of destruction in the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars, where higher proportions of the armies were equipped with modern weapons.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            That's only true in 61 and 62. By 63 both sides had seen enough combat to turn them into professionals. Also the Cavalry in particular had tons of experience due to all the indian fighting out West. It's one of the reasons as I stated earlier that the US cav had different tactics and ethos than European cav.

            The South in particular also had a lot of Men who had been riding and shooting all their lives and knew what they were doing on horseback.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            A couple of years isn't long enough to build up the sort of structural organization that an army needs to run properly. By professional standards their officers and ncos were amateurs; particularly at the regimental level. It seems pretty common even in the later stages of the civil war that one excellent attack will be made, but then the units involved will have lost all cohesion and take so long to reorganize that they've given the defender time to recover. There is often a lack of ability to keep pushing and it's the ability to keep pushing that destroys armies.

            And yes, the fact that the American cavalry basically fought as mounted infantry is another indication of their lack of organizational professionalism. If the Americans had recognized what massed cavalry could achieve and had time needed to create a proper cavalry force - a shock force, there's more than a few instances where it could had proved decisive.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >recognized what massed cavalry could achieve and had time needed to create a proper cavalry force - a shock force
            The Union literally tried this in the Early war and their unironic fricking lancers and saber cav got absolutely shredded by Southern cav with pistols and carbines. That's why they quickly learned that mass shock cavalry doesn't work against an enemy with firepower and artillery support. A lesson Europe wouldn't learn until fricking WWI despite shit like Balaclava showing the futility of mass cav charges in the age of rifled muskets and advanced artillery.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >The Union literally tried this in the Early war and their unironic fricking lancers and saber cav got absolutely shredded by Southern cav with pistols and carbines.
            Because shock cavalry takes experienced leaders at all levels of command to be handled well, mounted infantry are far more forgiving. If Meade had 8000 sabers in hand after Pickett's charge fell apart, you'd be calling him the man who crushed Lee.
            There were successful, battle deciding shock charges in both the Franco-Prussian and Austro-Prussian war, where far more firepower was faced.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >After hearing news of the Union's success against Pickett's charge, Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick launched a cavalry attack against the infantry positions of Longstreet's Corps southwest of Big Round Top. The terrain was difficult for a mounted attack because it was rough, heavily wooded, and contained huge boulders—and Longstreet's men were entrenched with artillery support.[97] Brigadier General Elon J. Farnsworth protested against the futility of such a move, but obeyed orders. Farnsworth was killed in the fourth of five unsuccessful attacks, and his brigade suffered significant losses.[98] Although Kilpatrick was described by at least one Union leader as "brave, enterprising, and energetic", incidents such as Farnsworth's charge earned him the nickname of "Kill Cavalry".
            Nice

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            hurr durr moron throws cavalry, complety unsupported, at the worst portion of of the confederate line, that means its bad

            It has nothing to do with discipline, pea-brain. The power of shock cav from <1820 is that the infantry have perhaps 100 meters in which they can fire their guns effectively. That is usually 1, maybe two shots.

            Rifled guns extend that range to 300 meters, which means they now get 3-5 shots depending on skill on top of those shots being more accurate and potentially deadly. Add on to this repeating firearms and you may begin to see why shock cavalry diminishes in power very rapidly.

            It is the exact same concept as Napoleonic columns being shot down by British rank fire due to extended drilling. Columns work great against untrained conscripts, but they lose too much mass when facing concentrated firepower.

            Here look, the column of infantry takes 3-4 times as long to reach the line, right? So it will take 3-6 volleys in the time the cavalry takes 1-2. Now simply imagine with the evolution of firearms that the cavalry is now taking the same weight of fire as the infantry and you can perhaps see why shock cavalry is obsolete.

            So, why were there successful charges in the Franco-Prussia war, where both side were widely equipped with breach-loading rifles?

            Shock cavalry has always been a meme anyway. Cavalry's greatest strengths have always been reconnaissance and raiding/harassing. Cavalry through history has likely generated 100 times as many casualties after battles than during them.

            >To plan to reserve cavalry for the finish of the battle, is to have no conception of the power of combined infantry and cavalry charges, either for attack or for defense.
            Napoleon

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            It has nothing to do with discipline, pea-brain. The power of shock cav from <1820 is that the infantry have perhaps 100 meters in which they can fire their guns effectively. That is usually 1, maybe two shots.

            Rifled guns extend that range to 300 meters, which means they now get 3-5 shots depending on skill on top of those shots being more accurate and potentially deadly. Add on to this repeating firearms and you may begin to see why shock cavalry diminishes in power very rapidly.

            It is the exact same concept as Napoleonic columns being shot down by British rank fire due to extended drilling. Columns work great against untrained conscripts, but they lose too much mass when facing concentrated firepower.

            Here look, the column of infantry takes 3-4 times as long to reach the line, right? So it will take 3-6 volleys in the time the cavalry takes 1-2. Now simply imagine with the evolution of firearms that the cavalry is now taking the same weight of fire as the infantry and you can perhaps see why shock cavalry is obsolete.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Shock cavalry has always been a meme anyway. Cavalry's greatest strengths have always been reconnaissance and raiding/harassing. Cavalry through history has likely generated 100 times as many casualties after battles than during them.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            when applied to their strengths (i.e not against infantry squares) they were usually decisive, at least on a local tactical level, almost 100% of the time in the Napoleonic Wars
            it wasn't until breech loading rifles and artillery became commonplace in the 1860s/70s that the era of shock cavalry came to an end. (see von Bedrow's death ride)

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >von Bedrow's death ride
            Successful charge, overthrew the French batteries that were its objective.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            and they got fricking slaughtered in the process is my point
            those types of casualties were only suffered by heavy cavalry in Napoleonic charges if the enemy formed square, enemy cavalry countercharged, or they were raked by canister in the attack

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Von Below's attack was counter-charged by the best part of 3000 French cavalry and his attack was literally into the teeth of artillery batteries

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            didn't he come up over the crest of the ridge at the last moment? it wasn't until he was already in among the guns that the French began to react

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            I've been trying to find the distance that they were exposed, but I'm seeing everything from 1000m to the last few hundreds meters with no good source either way. Pic related is from the German General Staff study of the war, which is clear that the French were able to bear fire on them before that hit, at least.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            good find anon

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            https://www.gutenberg.org/files/36209/36209-h/36209-h.htm
            The complete text is available here, if you're interested in reading it

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Cavalry almost always exhausts itself neutralizing the enemy cavalry during battles. The greatest cav victories are when they had the discipline to reform after routing the enemy cavalry but this is extremely rare.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            the Appalachian mountains cover about 35% of the states you named
            of those states all had thick forests and Virginia is just a pile of rivers.
            It is not at all comparable to Europe.
            >the farmland
            Not as much as Europe.
            Also you’re forgetting the MOST decisive factor.
            There were no accurate maps of the East Coast United States.
            People had been surveying the East Coast relatively little beyond immediate land claims. And the maps of the era were often outdated/inaccurate.
            Europe had numerous skilled cartographers mapping out minutiae for the past thousand years.
            America had nothing like that.
            In fact Antietam was mapped out more by the army during the battle than by the locals and state of Maryland.

            >His performance at the 7 days battles was also very good, and
            He never got within 10 miles of any combat in the Seven Days.

            He was present at Malvern and Beaver dam and Oak grove.
            He was also closer to the frontlines at Antietam than Lee.
            Where does this meme come from that he was never apart of any battles?

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            You read about the Vicksburg campaign and its maze of bayous and swamps? Nowhere in Europe did that kind of terrain exist and Europeans also didn't have to deal with the rather extreme North American weather; the climate there outside Scandinavia and Russia is mild year-round and nobody had to deal with the South and its blazing summer heat and humidity.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >McClellan's army in the Antietam campaign was exhausted
            Debatable. A good deal of the AOP had not fought since the Seven Days Battles.

            >I Corps
            Fought at 2nd Bull Run, the Pennsylvania Reserves also fought in the Seven Days and were pretty used up
            >II Corps, VI Corps
            Didn't fight since the Seven Days (one VI Corps brigade was routed a couple days prior to 2nd Bull Run and its commander killed), the VI Corps was mostly unengaged at Antietam
            >V Corps
            Fought in the Seven Days and 2nd Bull Run but basically sat idle at Antietam
            >XII Corps
            Fought at Cedar Mountain, was not engaged at 2nd Bull Run
            >III Corps
            Fought in the Seven Days and 2nd Bull Run, was exhausted and depleted so left behind in Washington to rest and refit.
            >XI Corps
            Fought at 2nd Bull Run, considered inferior troops and left behind in Washington

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        https://i.imgur.com/50iRSrQ.jpg

        >McClellan wasn't aggressive enough
        this meme needs to be utterly destroyed

        lol he played almost no direct role in this battle which was fought completely on autopilot

        McClellan issue wasn't a lack of aggressiveness, it was his willingness to believe inflated numbers and always assuming the enemy knew his plans and was preparing to frick him.

        If he Mac had fired the fricking Pinkertons and just trusted the scouting reports and intel he would have been probably the single best general of the war, unironically. There is a reason Lee considered him to be the best of the Union generals he faced even with his issues.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          The numbers were actually not very inflated, the confederates had about 100k in Virginia around the time of the 7 days, people have covered it in civil war forums. They were pulling troops from everywhere. McClellan was probably outnumbered slightly or 1:1.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            McClellan knew the numbers were fake, but he used it as an excuse to not do anything because he had a horrible fear of failure.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            See

            > if he had the 30k men lincoln detached to send to pope he would have held
            He would have held that Lee somehow got 60k men and he was still badly outnumbered e.g.
            >"The rebel force is stated at 200,000, including Jackson [it was actually less than 90,000] . . . I shall have to contend against vastly superior odds. . . . If [the army] is destroyed by overwhelming numbers . . . the responsibility cannot be thrown on my shoulders; it must rest where it belongs.
            >: "I have lost this battle because my force was too small. . . . The Government has not sustained this army. . . . If I save this army now, I tell you plainly that I owe no thanks to you or to any other persons in Washington. You have done your best to sacrifice this army."
            Richmond, except in the scenario that the Army of Northern Virginia died defending it, would not have terminated the war, though taking it (and holding it) at that time would have gone a long way toward killing chances of foreign intervention.
            >It took grant huge casualties to get where McClellan did 2+ years later
            Grant's purpose was to threaten Richmond to force engagement with Lee, and to keep that up so that the ANV couldn't reinforce, reorganize, and make good its losses as it had been doing for years. The nature of military technology, the development of fortification, the concentration of forces and the general nature of attritional warfare against a force that isn't overmatched drove massive casualties. The Union could also afford to sustain those rates, while the Confederacy couldn't, giving an operational and strategic purpose to the campaign.

            [...]
            [...]
            The numbers didn't matter. Little Napoleon had a fear of failure and a sense of destiny that led him to avoid risk-taking until everything was perfect, which of course it never would be. These also made him unreceptive to critique or advice.
            >Lincoln visited the army in early October and urged McClellan to get moving before the Confederates could be reinforced and refitted. Upon returning to Washington, the president had Halleck send McClellan an order: "Cross the Potomac and give battle. . . . Your army must move now while the roads are good."
            >But McClellan as usual protested that he could not act until his supply wagons were full and his soldiers reorganized.
            > Lincoln wrote the general on October 13. "Are you not over-cautious when you assume that you can not do what the enemy is constantly doing?" McClellan had argued that his men could not march twenty miles a day and fight without full stomachs and new shoes. Yet the rebels marched and fought with little food and no shoes
            >little happened for another two weeks except telegrams citing broken-down horses, Lincoln lost patience: "Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigues anything?"
            >"The good of the country," [McClellan] wrote to his wife, "requires me to submit to all this from men whom I know to be my inferior! . . . There never was a truer epithet applied to a certain individual than that of the 'Gorilla.'

            The reason I say McClellan wasn't afraid to fight when he had to is that his performance at Antietam after getting the actual Confederate battle plans was very aggressive and very nearly destroyed Lee's army. It was such a close thing that Lee was actually surprised that McClellan let him cross back into Virginia after the battle.

            His performance at the 7 days battles was also very good, and he was aggressive in reinforcing his divisions and making sure they had what they needed.

            When shit hit the fan and McClellan had to act, or if he had the actual Southern numbers of troops, he was fine. It was when he didn't know the exact disposition and numbers of the enemy that he failed.

            I won't say that a fear of failure wasn't a huge part of this, but I maintain that McClellan's problem was not one of a lack of aggression, it was a willingness to believe that the worst was always about to happen, and willingness to believe inflated enemy numbers.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >His performance at the 7 days battles was also very good, and
            He never got within 10 miles of any combat in the Seven Days.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >I won't say that a fear of failure wasn't a huge part of this, but I maintain that McClellan's problem was not one of a lack of aggression, it was a willingness to believe that the worst was always about to happen, and willingness to believe inflated enemy numbers.
            That's not a problem, it's a strength. That's the reason why he was the only union commander who consistently had a positive casualties ratio against the confederates. If you always assume the worst, and prepare accordingly, then at least you're not gonna get defeated.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >he was the only union commander who consistently had a positive casualties ratio against the confederates
            The Union had no need to be so sparing with manpower - the sense of progression mattered more than absolute casualty figures, as seen most graphically in 1864. And in the event, the Confederates tended to lose a higher proportion of their manpower, which they were less able to physically replace, even if psychologically they were better able to sustain it than the Union seemed to be. As McPherson pointed out, the Union war effort was near-fatally rattled by casualty rates that the Army of Northern Virginia and its like had been sustaining for years. One could also argue that taking more risks, or even inflicting upon both sides a higher attritional rate earlier on, would leave the Confederacy depleted well in advance of OTL, and thus end the war sooner.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            The problem with your logic is that you assume that the union would have necessarily inflicted higher losses by being more aggressive. This is exactly the same mentality that Lincoln had, which caused him to replace McClellan. The result of that was that he was replaced by Burnside, who led the union in what is arguably its worst defeat at Fredericksburg, and Hooker, who had another massive defeat at Chancellorsville despite outnumbering Lee 2:1. This was the lowest point of the war for the union, and the tide only turned around at Gettysburg, in a defensive battle.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Even without pleading specifics of generalship, the basic idea was sound even if execution left much to be desired. The Confederacy was on the strategic defensive and so had to be actively engaged, if only to limit the rate at which it could generate and acquire resources and practice de facto independence before foreign observers. Painful as losses were, they could be made good in relatively short order and did not convert into a general weakening of the Union's military position. And perversely, frustration and loss amplified the effect of the successes they did have while repeated victory bred overconfidence in the Army of Northern Virginia and a sharp mood whiplash upon reverses. Applied in the West, a forward posture eventually achieved substantial results, and forced Confederate leadership to confront vexing questions of force allocation that somewhat nullified their interior lines of communication.
            >in a defensive battle.
            Ceding initiative to the opponent is its own sort of risk, admittedly one that worked out every time Lee attempted an invasion of the North. The consequences of the tactical ineptitude that plagued the Army of the Potomac would've been vastly greater if it led to a major defeat in Maryland or Pennsylvania. Even the victory at Antietam was costly enough to be seized upon by British interventionists as evidence that the war was futile and costly, and thus needed intervention. On the psychological level, it's admittedly hard to determine whether repeated reverses or a more cautious posture would do more damage to morale and to the performance of subsequent generals.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >The Confederacy was on the strategic defensive and so had to be actively engaged
            Therefore, it's justified to just banzai charge into their defensive lines repeatedly?

            >Painful as losses were, they could be made good in relatively short order and did not convert into a general weakening of the Union's military position.
            Taking disproportionately heavy losses always weaken your military position, even if you still have reserves to spend. Can you really say that the Union position wasn't weaker after Fredericksburg?

            >Ceding initiative to the opponent is its own sort of risk, admittedly one that worked out every time Lee attempted an invasion of the North
            It worked almost every time, because generals in the civil war almost never made smart maneuvers and mostly just sent lines against other lines.

            >The consequences of the tactical ineptitude that plagued the Army of the Potomac would've been vastly greater if it led to a major defeat in Maryland or Pennsylvania
            Yes, and that's probably what would have happened if Grant had been in charge from the beginning. He had no tactical talent whatsoever and could only win with an absurd numerical advantage.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >it's justified to just banzai charge into their defensive lines repeatedly?
            No. There should've been more work/analysis done on the implications of modern firearms and entrenching techniques for offensive operations.
            >disproportionately heavy losses always weaken your military position
            I meant that the resource base it was drawing from, the territory it was operating from, didn't substantially change. One benefit to fighting in Virginia (and a motivation for Lee's ventures north) was that it was the enemy's country continually getting devastated.
            And Union losses (Fredericksburg aside) weren't disproportionately heavy - they had a larger manpower pool and lost a lesser share of that pool than the Confederacy did.
            >if Grant had been in charge from the beginning.
            Grant and the rest productively learned from their Western experiences, and learned how to properly operate against Lee, whose mystique had unnerved and sapped the energy of their forebears.
            e.g.
            >I am heartily tired of hearing what Lee is going to do...some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault, and land on our rear and on both our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            The ANV sustained something like 20% casualties in almost every major battle it fought. Only Fredericksburg was relatively non-bloody.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            this is what happens when you're outnumbered and forced to apply all of your strength against a part of the enemy's
            not saying you necessarily argue this, but it's semi-related: the people who say that Lee shouldve just sat back and "fought a defensive war" or something ot that effect 1. don't really know anything about basic military theory and 2. don't really know anything about the Civil War. Lee was a far better strategist than modern revisionists give him credit for. the whole "Lee was a great tactician and poor strategist" meme needs to be put to rest forever. he was also a solid logistician, or at least not deficient with it. it's hard to supply an army of 60-70,000 men in foraged-out country when your government is broke and you're competing with other generals on your side for resources

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >just waste men
            LOL
            yes they fricking had a need to be sparing with manpower because those are human lives you subhuman moron.
            This isn’t a video game. You will suffer immensely if you do things like China/Russia and use manpower reserves as a crutch for lacking tactical efficacy.
            The United States has always been better off in moral and the post war economics as well as maintaining high compliance from the native population due to their meticulous care in handling their own forces.
            The sense of progression is a meme. You do the anaconda plan and invest the cities and ports.
            That’s what ended the war.
            Everyone forgets that Grant never actually defeated Lee. Lee ran out of supplies because Union Cavalry under Stoneman and Sheridan had severely limited the supplies Lee could draw from and the Union blockade forced the Confederacy to move supply overland where Union cavalry could cut them off/capture.

            McClellans original strategy of Invest the cities and force the Confederates to attack fortified positions while you sit back and shell them to pieces as you slowly march over their dwindling supply was sound and the war only ended when Grant actually attempted to imitate this instead of the bizarrely aggressive Lee hunt.
            Lee LOVED being hunted because he was able to pull out these insane victories using mobility and terrain knowledge.
            But you hit him in the cities, the supplies, force him to try and lift sieges or sally out, and he’s cooked.

            Lee was king of the battlefield. McClellan tried to turn everything into a siege, which worked while he was in command. His battle record and KDR shows it.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >due to their meticulous care in handling their own forces.
            The US has always been in a position where it could choose to substitute expenditure of money and materiel for expenditure of manpower. The Union effort in the Civil War was a prototype version of that, but technological limitations meant that on the battlefield itself there was relatively little substitution that could be made.
            >and invest the cities and ports.
            The cities didn't matter, except for Union morale, and as sites of stores and transport nodes. It would be no different than Howe marching into Philadelphia militarily.
            >Lee ran out of supplies
            The entire Confederacy was out of everything, even wares that it theoretically had sufficient production of. As Josiah Gorgas wrote in a January 1865 diary entry,
            >No positive news of Sherman's intentions. Indications are that Charleston, too, will be given up. Where is this to end? No money in the Treasury, no food to feed Gen. Lee's Army, no troops to oppose Gen. Sherman, what does it all mean. As Judge Campbell says of the declaration of the Comy General that he cannot feed the Army, what is the "significance" of it? Is the cause really hopeless? Is it to be abandoned and lost in this way
            >force the Confederates to attack fortified positions while you sit back and shell them to pieces
            The enemy always has a choice in their conduct, especially when they can withdraw into the interior. But even when they stay at Richmond, you're sharply constrained by whatever the lines of approach or supply are, by the opponent's ability to launch diverting offensives elsewhere, and by tactical factors whenever the enemy chances to give battle.
            >Lee LOVED being hunted
            Only in the scenario where it was the defining battle of a campaign and there would be ample time for rest and refit of the force. One can't possibly say Lee enjoyed 1864.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >The cities didn't matter, except for Union morale, and as sites of stores and transport nodes. It would be no different than Howe marching into Philadelphia militarily.
            Grant understood this while many officers didn't--occupying cities was not enough, you had to also destroy the enemy's armies and resource base.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Sending 100,000 men on a giant search and destroy patrol is obviously a gross misallocation of manpower and resources and extremely costly.

            The cities absolutely mattered and were the only way the south could reliably resist, they were the supply depots, rail hubs, and places to outfit new brigades.
            It’s nothing like the AmRev where an expeditionary force is in a completely hostile country and tasked with occupying… all of it.
            The Union didn’t need to take the entire South like the British. Just the supply depots and strategically significant points such as cities, ports, and a handful of forts.
            The confederates could not allow their cities to fall under garrison. Doing so would ruin any legitimacy they had. No one was even sure what the Civil War was about until it was concluded. It was largely an open question especially to the Europeans whom many held out would come to their rescue once The Mexican invasion was wrapped.
            Lee definitely got more out 1864 than he did out of 61 and 62 when facing McClellan.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >they were the supply depots, rail hubs, and places to outfit new brigades.
            Or in other words, sites of stores and transport nodes. Both of those functions could be (and were extensively) destroyed, enabling armies to move on to repeat the process elsewhere. The destruction of anything militarily relevant also occurred in rural areas, most prominently the swath from Georgia into South Carolina and the Shenandoah Valley, for the same reasons.
            >The Union didn’t need to take the entire South like the British.
            They needed to destroy the Confederate armies in a way which would not allow reconstitution, which required destroying the material basis by which war could be razed (which had the side-benefit of killing the will and means for the civilian population to wage insurgency).
            Otherwise it would be a classic late-stage guerilla war where one side occupies the cities and links between cities, and continuously faces attrition along the line while the other regroups and maneuvers from rural base areas.
            >Doing so would ruin any legitimacy they had.
            Their legitimacy came from being able to keep armies in the field.
            >Lee definitely got more out 1864 than he did out of 61 and 62
            The campaigns of '61 and '62 built his reputation, and that of the ANV, contributing to the overconfidence that sent them toward Gettysburg.
            ANV (and the Confederacy) was a shambles in 1864. Supplies were down, desertions were up, manpower was increasingly strained.
            Quoting Josiah Gorgas again,
            >[29 August 1864) Can we hold out much longer? The captured killed and wounded tho' half that of the enemy are still seriously depleting us. I doubt whether Lee now has 30,000 men of all arms under his & Beauregard's joint command.
            >[6 October 1864] Our poor harrowed and overworked soldiers are get-ting worn out with the campaign. They see nothing before them but certain death and have I fear fallen into a sort of hopelessness

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            they were also running out of horses by 1864 which was increasingly crippling the ANV's mobility. they just couldn't maneuver around anymore like they once did.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          The numbers were actually not very inflated, the confederates had about 100k in Virginia around the time of the 7 days, people have covered it in civil war forums. They were pulling troops from everywhere. McClellan was probably outnumbered slightly or 1:1.

          McClellan knew the numbers were fake, but he used it as an excuse to not do anything because he had a horrible fear of failure.

          The numbers didn't matter. Little Napoleon had a fear of failure and a sense of destiny that led him to avoid risk-taking until everything was perfect, which of course it never would be. These also made him unreceptive to critique or advice.
          >Lincoln visited the army in early October and urged McClellan to get moving before the Confederates could be reinforced and refitted. Upon returning to Washington, the president had Halleck send McClellan an order: "Cross the Potomac and give battle. . . . Your army must move now while the roads are good."
          >But McClellan as usual protested that he could not act until his supply wagons were full and his soldiers reorganized.
          > Lincoln wrote the general on October 13. "Are you not over-cautious when you assume that you can not do what the enemy is constantly doing?" McClellan had argued that his men could not march twenty miles a day and fight without full stomachs and new shoes. Yet the rebels marched and fought with little food and no shoes
          >little happened for another two weeks except telegrams citing broken-down horses, Lincoln lost patience: "Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigues anything?"
          >"The good of the country," [McClellan] wrote to his wife, "requires me to submit to all this from men whom I know to be my inferior! . . . There never was a truer epithet applied to a certain individual than that of the 'Gorilla.'

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            McClellan was like 2 kilometers away from richmond in 1862 before a giant confederate banzai charge pushed him back, if he had the 30k men lincoln detached to send to pope he would have held and there's a good chance the war would have ended that year. It took grant huge casualties to get where McClellan did 2+ years later

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            they were paranoid as frick about leaving Washington D.C. undefended although there was no point after summer 1861 when the Confederates could have realistically occupied it

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            > if he had the 30k men lincoln detached to send to pope he would have held
            He would have held that Lee somehow got 60k men and he was still badly outnumbered e.g.
            >"The rebel force is stated at 200,000, including Jackson [it was actually less than 90,000] . . . I shall have to contend against vastly superior odds. . . . If [the army] is destroyed by overwhelming numbers . . . the responsibility cannot be thrown on my shoulders; it must rest where it belongs.
            >: "I have lost this battle because my force was too small. . . . The Government has not sustained this army. . . . If I save this army now, I tell you plainly that I owe no thanks to you or to any other persons in Washington. You have done your best to sacrifice this army."
            Richmond, except in the scenario that the Army of Northern Virginia died defending it, would not have terminated the war, though taking it (and holding it) at that time would have gone a long way toward killing chances of foreign intervention.
            >It took grant huge casualties to get where McClellan did 2+ years later
            Grant's purpose was to threaten Richmond to force engagement with Lee, and to keep that up so that the ANV couldn't reinforce, reorganize, and make good its losses as it had been doing for years. The nature of military technology, the development of fortification, the concentration of forces and the general nature of attritional warfare against a force that isn't overmatched drove massive casualties. The Union could also afford to sustain those rates, while the Confederacy couldn't, giving an operational and strategic purpose to the campaign.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Nice speculation. McClellans use of spy networks was sound and he won multiple battles against a numerically superior enemy and NEVER got caught with his pants down like literally everyone else Lee fought.
            You can say whatever but at the end of the day you must deal with the facts. McClellan was a consistent winner, army moral was always through the roof, preserved the lives of his men, had perhaps the most well drilled men, got farther in a month than Grant did in a year, and actually managed to keep Lee in the South, a feat no one else was able to pull off - he did this with a numerical inferiority.

            >Grants purpose was to keep the confederates from reinforcing their army
            Well he failed to do so. It was the cavalry that Grant had given full independence that caused Lee to feel the lack of supply and manpower.
            Grant probably inhibited the war effort.
            >the Union can sustain the losses
            Firstly, no they can’t. Such losses were catastrophic and profoundly impacted the lives of everyone in the North.
            Secondly, their loss was entirely unnecessary.
            Lee wasn’t beaten in a decisive battle. He ran out of supply when the Union Cavalry tore up the rail, captured the supply depots, and made it untenable for Lee to escape Westward. This could have been done with a single corps + cavalry.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >he did this with a numerical inferiority.
            Only in his mind, and that was just one of the excuses he'd trot out.
            >army moral was always through the roof... had perhaps the most well drilled men
            Nobody denies that. He would've been spectacular in a rear position training and organizing forces.
            >Well he failed to do so
            Look at Confederate losses through the Wilderness Campaign to Petersburg, which followed three years of war. And then consider the reinforcements required to keep Lee's force levels up. And that many other burning fronts where the Confederacy could've used them.
            >such losses were catastrophic
            The pool of military-age men in the Union was greater in 1865 than in 1861. It would've required Cold Harbor ratios in every battle before attrition would've mere severely affected the Army of the Potomac.
            >Secondly, their loss was entirely unnecessary.
            Lee maneuvered so that, rather than yield the approaches to Richmond or chance a battle on open terrain, his forces would be entrenched in some strategic location such that battle was likely (hard to profitably avoid) and conducted on defensive/attritional terms.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >only in his mind
            Nope. In reality he was correct, in fact he slightly under estimated the enemy based on the actual numbers the confederacy fielded.
            It is solely in hindsight that anyone can make the case he wasn’t outnumbered because we know today Confederate organization was very poor. However, officially, McClellan was outnumbered, and has all the stragglers been present he really would have been facing an army 115,000 strong.

            The confederate losses aren’t the result of anything unique to Grant. An army lead by a council of corps commanders could also produce similar numbers by blindly attacking.
            This is obviously very poor strategy However it is indistinguishable from Grant’s “strategy”.
            Any losses are felt. These are not numbers they are people’s lives.

            Lee’s defenses did not need to be so costly to overwhelm, furthermore Lee’s position was untenable the moment the Union Cavalry gained the repeater. The Confederates were no longer able to prevent the Union from making every confederate army an island desolate of supply.
            There just wasn’t a need to endlessly attack Lee. In fact it probably helped him as he got to send most of the casualties home and his downsized force was more agile and consumed less.
            Would have been much better if Grant did what McClellan did.
            Dig in, surround and isolate, and shell the enemy to pieces.
            Lee was born too late and McClellan too early.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >he slightly under estimated the enemy based on the actual numbers the confederacy fielded.
            Confederates didn't have 200,000 men in the field for the Peninsular Campaign.
            > An army lead by a council of corps commanders could also produce similar numbers by blindly attacking.
            Grant's overall strategy was one of maneuver: using the threat to Richmond as bait to goad Lee in open confrontation. Lee countered in ways that produced the casualty figures seen, but the campaigning still ended with the Army of the Potomac outside Petersburg. It did not, unlike its previous campaigns, retire and lick its wounds.
            >This is obviously very poor strategy However it is indistinguishable from Grant’s “strategy”.
            Even through that, Grant's losses were proportionately less than Lee's, whom everyone falls over themselves to fellate. Not to mention somewhat inevitable when you have two armies, neither of which outmatch each other. Phrased one way, over seven weeks the casualty "figure amounted to three-fifths of the total number of combat casualties suffered by the Army of the Potomac during the previous three years" but phrased another, they were, for about fifty days of campaigning, five times greater than the losses in the single day at Antietam.
            >These are not numbers they are people’s lives.
            It's war, at times it demands an unsentimental accounting of available resources, and a willingness to deploy them to achieve stated objectives. In World War II, American losses skyrocketed in 1944, yet that doesn't mean the war took a turn for the worse.
            > The Confederates were no longer able to prevent the Union from making every confederate army an island desolate of supply.
            Because of degradation of their manpower and material base through total war.
            >and shell the enemy to pieces.
            Confederate command mistakes played a major role in the Seven Days.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Lee had to do more with less for much much longer. Grant is elevated to his pedestal almost entirely due to Gettysburg and the mythos around it.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Grant wasn't at Gettysburg and had not even been appointed to overall command of Union forces yet. He would win Vicksburg the day after Gettysburg, arguably of greater strategic importance anyways, and then get appointed to overall field command.

            Gettysburg was Meade, but really it was the various AOP Corps commanders coming of age. Also the Union Cavalry finally adopting a much more flexible command structure and more modern tactics finally enabling it to outfox the Confederate Cavalry. Meade was kind of just there lmao. Gettysburg is the culmination of years of campaigning finally making the AoP into an effective experienced force that wouldn't run even when hit hard.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      After the Seven Days Battles, McClellan requested and got promotions to major general for all his corps and division commanders outside Keyes.

  2. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    In short, this collection of corps commanders was something of a motley assemblage and McClellan sarcastically said they were promoted "mainly due to seniority and senility." During the Peninsula campaign, he made sure to keep Sumner, Heintzelman, and Keyes out of any significant planning and they were often in the dark about his exact plans. This led to Lincoln protesting that McClellan seemed too eager to protect "his groomed pets" and defended his choosing of the three generals to corps command--"I had appointed them after very careful consideration, by discussing the matter with the commanders of the nine different divisions, the opinions of those in the War Department, and by consulting every military text I could obtain."

    As it also turned out, McClellan ended up not bringing a good part of his army to the Peninsula; McDowell and his corps were detached and posted to the Rappahannock area and Blenker's German-American division sent west to reinforce John Fremont out in West Virginia.

  3. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Lincoln was a constant torn in the Union war effort. I reckon that without his involvement, McClellan could have probably won the war by 1864.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Lincoln was a constant torn in the Union war effort
      I mean, he did need to give up his weird obsession with Eastern Kentucky when all of the generals knew it wasn't happening. The place was staunchly Unionist and he believed there was a giant pool of army recruits that could be gotten from there, too bad it was impoverished and had a horrible road network so armies couldn't maneuver through there or provision themselves.

  4. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Why wasn't Winfield Scott just put in charge again? Would the United States had won sooner with him leading the efforts?

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Why wasn't Winfield Scott just put in charge again?
      Because was an old sickly man in his 70s. I mean look at him in '62. This fricker looks dead

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        he was often the butt of jokes that he was "older than the Federal Constitution", which he was, having been born the year before it was written

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      https://i.imgur.com/KK7xI67.jpg

      >Why wasn't Winfield Scott just put in charge again?
      Because was an old sickly man in his 70s. I mean look at him in '62. This fricker looks dead

      He was also literally too fat to mount a horse.

      He did have a lot of input on the initial planning and execution of the war and helped the War dept in a lot of ways. But he was never going to be a field commander at that point.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        https://i.imgur.com/KK7xI67.jpg

        >Why wasn't Winfield Scott just put in charge again?
        Because was an old sickly man in his 70s. I mean look at him in '62. This fricker looks dead

        Scott and other old farts stayed way past their time as the antebellum Army had no retirement age and no pensions for officers. Although some officers were independently wealthy, Scott himself had no income aside from his army salary. Congress finally established a mandatory retirement age of 64 and pensions for Army officers in 1862. Promotions were very very slow in the antebellum Army which was why Robert E. Lee was still a captain in 1861 after 32 years of service.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          Lee was a lieutenant colonel by 1861, then promoted to colonel (commander) of a cavalry regiment at some point a few weeks before Fort Sumter (I can't recall the exact date); largely in an attempt to convince him to stay with the North, as Virginia's secession convention was being held at the time and it looked as though it may secede.
          the promotion to a cavalry regiment command is actually quite funny because he was an engineer by training and designed half the new forts on the East Coast built after the 1820s

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Don't forget they offered him overall command of Union volunteers and a promotion of Brig General in the regular army as well.

            They really did not want Lee to go South. Which is ironic because the South basically sidelined him until Joe Johnston got wounded and they had no one else competent to take command of the ANV.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Didn’t Lee’s cavalry command in the southwest include the Camel Corps, camels imported in the 1850s as army pack animals? In my alternative history there’s Confederate camels facing off against the war elephants the King of Siam wanted to send Lincoln.

  5. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    If anyone fricked up at Antietam it was Edwin Sumner which goes back to the earlier point how the man was given a responsibilty that was too big for him.

    >sends Sedgwick's division without adequate reconnaissance to get demolished in the West Woods
    >later William Franklin wants to send the VI Corps into action but Sumner is so shell-shocked from the rout of Sedgwick that he forbid him to

  6. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    It’s amazing how almost all of these generals were totally out of the picture by the middle of 1863. This didn’t seem to happen as much in the Union’s western theater and the Confederates just shuffled around incompetent or politically unfavored generals.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Sumner
      Left the Army of the Potomac after Hooker took command, was heading to a less demanding assignment in Missouri when he fell ill and died.
      >Heintzelman
      Reassigned to the Washington defenses after Second Bull Run, later assigned to the quiet Department of Ohio, retired a few years after the war with the rank of major general.
      >Keyes
      Left behind on the Virginia Peninsula, got removed from command there by John Dix in July 1863, resigned from the Army and became a successful businessman in California.
      >McDowell
      Banished to California after Second Bull Run, spent most of the rest of his life there and died in 1885 three years after retiring from the Army.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Not just the corps commanders but most of the division commanders quickly vanished, apart from Hooker, Sedgwick and Kearney.

  7. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Reassigned to top command after Second Bull Run, McClellan quickly reorganized the Army of the Potomac and integrated Pope's command into it. McDowell's corps became the I Corps, generals Hatch, Ricketts, and Meade commanding its divisions, and the luckless McDowell was replaced by Joe Hooker. The II Corps under Sumner had the divisions of Sedgwick, Richardson, and a new outfit of nine month regiments led by William French. The III Corps was in terrible shape; it had fought all through the battles on the Peninsula and at Second Bull Run where it lost over 1,000 men. It would be left in Washington to rest and refit. Samuel Heintzelman would soon be replaced with the bumbing George Stoneman as its commander.

    The V Corps continued under Porter with the divisions of Morrell, Sykes, and a new outfit of nine month regiments under Andrew Humphreys. The VI Corps under William Franklin continued with the divisions of Slocum, Hanwiener, and one of the old IV Corps divisions under Darius Couch. Nathaniel Banks was reassigned to the Deep South and his command, which had not fought at Second Bull Run and was reasonably well-rested, was given to an aged regular army staff officer named Joseph Mansfield. It had two divisions commanded by Alpheus Williams and George Greene. The luckless command of Franz Sigel, now redubbed the XI Corps, was considered a second rate outfit and left behind in the Washington defenses.

    There was also Ambrose Burnside's former command from the Carolinas, now the IX Corps, and it had four divisions commanded by Jesse Reno, Jacob Cox, Isaac Rodman, and Orlando Willcox. Two of these fought under Reno at Second Bull Run. Reno himself had been momentarily considered for command of the I Corps but it was ultimately given to the more experienced Hooker. The cavalry was grouped for the first time into a single division under Alfred Pleasanton instead of the awkward arrangement of two cavalry regiments per infantry division used on the Peninsula.

  8. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    >At the time of Gettysburg the problem of high command in the Army of the Potomac had yet to be solved. Of the seven army corps, not one was still being led by the man who had commanded it around the time of Antietam while just three of the 16 divisions still had the same commander they had at Antietam. Of the 51 infantry brigades, nearly half were led by colonels rather than men with the proper rank of brigadier general.[9]

  9. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    the cavalry was another area where McClellan was a tard because he considered it an extension of the army signal corps and in the Peninsula Campaign it was organized as two cavalry regiments assigned to each infantry brigade. later on John Pope organized the cavalry into proper brigades as the Confederates did and formed them into a separate cavalry division with the idea of actually being used for raids. this reorganization was retained after McClellan resumed command in the Antietam campaign.

    also a lot of AOP troopers were city boys from the Northeast who had no concept of riding a horse and enlisted because they thought it would look dashing and impress women or something

  10. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    McClellan should have seen the executive override coming and just formed corps with his own commander appointments.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      I mean, Grant's army was also formed into corps via presidential order but two of them were commanded by his buddies Sherman and McPherson so it wasn't as big a deal for him. In the early days though, he was stuck with a lot of useless political appointees. At Shiloh all of his division commanders but Sherman were political guys and nonprofessional officers while all of McClellan's corps and division commanders were professional officers.

  11. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Just like the Japanese vs the US in WWII, the Japanese and confederates were on a clock. McClellan understood that the only way to lose the war was to play into a decisive defeat and allow the Confederates to take Washington, which would have been a monumental morale swing. There was no need to push into Virginia at any point, it only occurred successfully at the end of the war because the Confederacy was collapsing thanks to constant pressure from the Mississippi.

    Lincoln was purely concerned about his own re-election and, setting a precedent that continues to the modern day, made political moves which benefited nobody but himself.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Lincoln was purely concerned about his own re-election and, setting a precedent that continues to the modern day, made political moves which benefited nobody but himself.
      he thought invading East Kentucky was a good idea and he appointed a lot of useless generals for being Republican abolitionists

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        To be honest many of those political generals like Banks and Butler were passionate about the Union cause and believed there was no substitute for victory while the professional generals were often apathetic. didn't want to fight their old buddies in the Confederate army, didn't like abolitionists, often thought the South's culture was kind of cool etc.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >the Japanese and confederates were on a clock.
      to Anglo-French recognition?
      Yes.
      >There was no need to push into Virginia at any point
      It was the most visible theater of the war, and the one that received the most investment of resources and hence diverted the most resources from other sectors, greatly easing the Western advance. And even a defensive/cautious posture there would require substantial commitment of men who could hardly be left idle while fighting raged in the West.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Anglos and French were unlikely to intervene, it was too great a gamble(both nations had proponents for intervention, but neither group was likely to influence their nation enough to do it). So long as the Union kept the south blockaded they would eventually wither and die.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          There was absolutely no way to know that at the time. With hindsight and historical records we know it was never going to happen, but at the time both sides considered it a very serious possibility.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          It was unlikely (if only because the Union was the largest supplier of wheat to the UK and other sources of cotton were being brought online), but in the scenario where they believed Lincoln, or the victor of the 1864 election would accept mediation, they would've gladly offered it. There was never a point where that occurred, where intervention wouldn't have meant the expansion of war, but one could see scenarios where a dispirited Union faced with a European united front and a bit of gunboat diplomacy might have acquiesced to some face-saving arrangement.
          >So long as the Union kept the south blockaded they would eventually wither and die.
          Pretending that the Virginia theater was the only theater, if that was static, then by default the Union would've been unable to enforce its authority by force of arms and past a certain point unable to credibly claim sovereignty over the territory, somewhat reprising what happened with Britain during the American Revolution.
          Additionally, high expenditures/requisitions for the army, and high manpower losses in combat, as well as severe losses of territory and disruption of transportation, were key factors in imploding the Southern economy. Decrease them, and the South stays viable for longer than it did OTL.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            I didn't mention the other theaters because the Union crushed those. My point was playing defensively on the Potomac would have been completely acceptable and McClellan was good at that.

  12. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Did the abundance of fences and stonewalls in america have anything to do with cavalry charges losing effectiveness? I know a lot of battles happened in and around towns or forests and infantry are commonly depicted taking cover behind walls or sunken roads. Obviously europe has these too, but were they more of an obstacle in the new world?

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      The tidewater where the war was mostly fought is either mountainous, dense forest, or marshland, all of it covered in rivers and streams and while not all mountains it has very few coastal plains. It’s very difficult anywhere in the North East US to see for more than 1000ft in any direction because of the prevalence of land features like hills and rocky outcroppings or dense vegetation.

  13. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    McClellan was a homosexual.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      ad hominems are not an argument

  14. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    the Confederates were never able to win a decisive victory; any battles won were just delaying the inevitable

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Id'e argue the closest they came was unironically first Bull Run. If they had had a well disciplined and fresh Cavalry corps they could have completely fricking destroyed the Federal army in detail and walked in to DC with little resistance.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Washington was never in any danger. About half the Union army had not gotten into the fight and was still fresh and ready for use.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          Also green as fricking hell, under equipped (they had not yet finished the fortifications and large field guns around DC), and would have been fighting a confident enemy that had just won a crushing victory.

          I'm not saying it absolutely would have happened. But I think a Confederate attack on DC that early in the war would have been feasible.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            >Also green as fricking hell, under equipped
            the Confederates were not any more experienced or equipped at that point

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Also the half that was "still fresh and ready for use," aside from the units that had been kept near DC, had just finished going 30 miles in one mad retreat and were massively disorganized and unprepared. It took literal weeks after Bull Run for the Union to gather up all the stragglers and put their units back together in anything resembling an cohesive army structure.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          Jubal early got somewhat close

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        not really. most of McDowell's army was uncommitted and several brigades actually conducted an able rearguard throughout the 21st and 22nd. a lot of those regiments ended up becoming the core of well-regarded units later on, like the Irish and Iron brigades.
        the Confederates were largely fought-out, and even Davis tried urging Beauregard and Johnston to conduct a vigorous pursuit all the way to Arlington Heights, but two factors prevented this:
        1. most of the Confederates were exhausted
        2. most of them believed a pursuit was unnecessary because the victory would immediately end the war
        by the time the rank and file realized that the North wasn't going to sue for peace and recognize Confederate independence, it was too late to act on it, as the Union expanded the volunteer cap, and McClellan came east 3 or 4 days after Bull Run and assumed command of the DC defenses, building forts everywhere and organizing the tens of thousands of inflowing recruits.
        on the cavalry pursuit point: a cavalry pursuit is basically impossible without well-disciplined and -trained troopers. the Confederates indeed had a huge cavalry advantage at Bull Run, but it basically meant nothing.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          The divisions of Runyon and Miles and Richardson's brigade of Tyler's division were not engaged. These troops were all fresh and still in order after the battle. Having said that, there were five Confederate brigades (Bonham, Longstreet, Ewell, Holmes, and Jones) that also didn't get into the fighting at all.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          The Confederate army also did not have the training or experience to attempt a pursuit like that.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Despite the exhulations in the Southern press about the victory at Fredericksburg, Robert E. Lee did not share in the celebration. "It means nothing in the long run," he said. "They can easily replace all the men they lost."

  15. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    ok

  16. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    seriously at the start of the war there was not one regular officer aside from Winfield Scott who had ever led anything larger than a regiment in battle

  17. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    How much shorter do you think the war would have been with Lee not defecting? Might (first) Bull Run be a victory even?

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Might (first) Bull Run be a victory even?
      Doubtful; McDowell would have still been in command and he would have still adopted an overly complicated plan and failed to use his regular battalions en masse.

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