Capt. (For his part, McClellan claimed not to trust anyone in the administration to keep his plans secret from the press, and thus the enemy.) He was born the son of a prominent surgeon and a loving mother. Thomas J. Rowland presents a framework in which early Civil War command can be viewed without direct comparison to that of the final two years. United States presidential election, 1864. Historian James M. McPherson has pointed out that the two corps McClellan kept in reserve were in fact larger than Lee's entire force. He was very successful at that and made a handsome living in the Midwest. He served as the 24th Governor of New Jersey from 1878 to 1881. Despite being a tactical draw, Antietam is considered a turning point of the war and a victory for the Union because it ended Lee's strategic campaign (his first invasion of the North) and it allowed President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, taking effect on January 1, 1863. He also was not helped by the party's choice for vice president, George H. Pendleton, a peace candidate from Ohio. He graduated second in a class of 59 in 1846, along with 20 others who would become full rank generals during the Civil War. Lithograph with watercolor. He died unexpectedly at age 58 at Orange, New Jersey, after having suffered from chest pains for a few weeks. He created a false impression of many troops behind the lines and of even more troops arriving. McClellan was nominated by the Democrats to run against Abraham Lincoln in the 1864 U.S. presidential election. The New York Evening Post commented in McClellan's obituary, "Probably no soldier who did so little fighting has ever had his qualities as a commander so minutely, and we may add, so fiercely discussed. In George B. McClellan and Civil War History, Rowland presents a framework in which early Civil War command can be viewed without direct comparison to that of the final two years. Relations between the two generals became increasingly strained over the summer and fall. He kept telling Lincoln, I need more men; I need more equipment before I can move. This placed him at an obvious handicap because many politicians running the government believed that he was attempting to implement the policies of the opposition party. "[86] This fierce discussion has continued for over a century. [14] In March 1855, McClellan was promoted to captain and assigned to the 1st U.S. Cavalry regiment. He’s going to be a crucial factor in the war for more than a year, the major Union player on the military side in many ways. "[44] The army's advance from Fort Monroe up the Virginia Peninsula proved to be slow. He thought there were 150,000 Confederates facing his 100,000 Union soldiers; then he thought there were 200,000. I think Lee has made a gross mistake, and that he will be severely punished for it. His first personal command in battle was at Rich Mountain, which he also won, but only after displaying a strong sense of caution and a reluctance to commit reserve forces that would be his hallmark for the rest of his career. "[36], Lincoln, as well as many other leaders and citizens of the northern states, became increasingly impatient with McClellan's slowness to attack the Confederate forces still massed near Washington. George B. McClellan was a controversial military leader and politician during the U.S. Civil War period. fr:George McClellan And he developed a disdain for volunteer soldiers and officers, particularly politicians who cared nothing for discipline and training. A sensational story had reached the press, which McClellan blamed on "a set of scoundrels, who seek to keep up agitation on the frontier in order to get employment from the Govt. The president expressed his concern about the "vast labor" involved in the dual role of army commander and general in chief, but McClellan responded, "I can do it all. The Congress's joint committee visited the abandoned Confederate lines and radical Republicans introduced a resolution demanding the dismissal of McClellan, but it was narrowly defeated by a parliamentary maneuver. [70], Lincoln in McClellan's tent after the Battle of Antietam, The battle was tactically inconclusive, although Lee technically was defeated because he withdrew first from the battlefield and retreated back to Virginia. People spoke about George B. McClellan. He realized that McClellan was a strong organizer and a skilled trainer of troops, able to recombine the units of Pope's army with the Army of the Potomac faster than anyone. [31] The Army of the Potomac grew in number from 50,000 in July to 168,000 in November and was considered by far the most colossal military unit the world had seen in modern historical times. He refused to give any specific details of the proposed campaign, even to his friend, newly appointed War Secretary Edwin M. Stanton. Upon his return to the United States in 1856 he requested assignment in Philadelphia to prepare his report, which contained a critical analysis of the siege and a lengthy description of the organization of the European armies. McClellan was forced to repudiate the platform, which made his campaign inconsistent and difficult. He was appointed as a brevet second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers and served under General Winfield Scott during the Mexican-American War, helping to construct roads and bridges for the army. In fact, he’s the only Union general who came close to inspiring the kind of blind devotion among his men that the soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia expressed toward Robert E. Lee for much of the war. "[35] Scott became so disillusioned over his relationship with the young general that he offered his resignation to President Lincoln, who initially refused to accept it. [91], While McClellan's reputation has suffered over time, especially over the last 75 years, there is a small but intense cadre of American Civil War historians who believe that the general has been poorly served on at least four levels. [72] McClellan had no prior knowledge that the plans for emancipation rested on his battle performance. Seen from a longer perspective, General McClellan could be both comfortable and successful performing as executive officer, and also, if somewhat less successfully, as grand strategist; as battlefield commander, however, he was simply in the wrong profession. He later wrote that had it been his place to arrange the terms of peace, he would have insisted on gradual emancipation, guarding the rights of both slaves and masters, as part of any settlement. McClellan assessed local defensive capabilities for the secretary. McClellan's future campaigns would be strongly influenced by the overblown enemy strength estimates of his secret service chief, detective Allan Pinkerton, but in August 1861, these estimates were entirely McClellan's own. He’d fought with distinction in the Mexican War. He telegraphed President Lincoln: "I have the whole rebel force in front of me, but I am confident, and no time shall be lost. He doesn't claim that he was a great general, just that if the same criteria are applied to the more celebrated generals a more balanced perspective can be gained. In December, the Congress formed a Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, which became a thorn in the side of many generals throughout the war, accusing them of incompetence and, in some cases, treason. Scott (along with many in the War Department) was outraged that McClellan refused to divulge any details about his strategic planning, or even mundane details such as troop strengths and dispositions. Lincoln did warn McClellan that he was taking on two huge jobs here: You are General-in-Chief of all the armies, and you’re the field commander of our largest United States army. McClellan is usually ranked in the lowest tier of Civil War generals. When the public heard about the Galena, it was yet another enormous embarrassment, comparable to the Quaker Guns at Manassas. McClellan himself summed up his cautious nature in a draft of his memoirs: McClellan's reluctance to press his enemy aggressively was probably not a matter of personal courage, which he demonstrated well enough by his bravery under fire in the Mexican-American War. The Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, was the single bloodiest day in American military history. $31.03. On January 31, he issued a supplementary order for the Army of the Potomac to move overland to attack the Confederates at Manassas Junction and Centreville. The enemy is driven back into Virginia." McClellan immediately replied with a 22-page letter objecting in detail to the president's plan and advocating instead his Urbanna plan, which was the first written instance of the plan's details being presented to the president. simple:George B. McClellan pl:George McClellan The Northern press hailed McClellan as the man who would save the Union, and before long that kind of praise went to his head. During this assignment, he demonstrated a tendency for insubordination toward senior political figures. Although he complimented McClellan and expressed his "great confidence in your intelligence, zeal, science, and energy", he replied by letter that the 80,000 men would be better used on a river-based expedition to control the Mississippi River and split the Confederacy, accompanied by a strong Union blockade of Southern ports. Although McClellan's subordinates can claim their share of responsibility for delays (such as Ambrose Burnside's misadventures at Burnside Bridge) and blunders (Edwin V. Sumner's attack without reconnaissance), these were localized problems from which the full army could have recovered. The second called for those same men to drive south instead across the Ohio River into Kentucky and Tennessee. Randolph B. Marcy at Fort Smith, Arkansas, to serve as second-in-command on an expedition to discover the sources of the Red River. [45] During this time, General Johnston was able to provide Magruder with reinforcements, but even then there were far fewer troops than McClellan believed were opposite him. He first attended the University of Pennsylvania in 1840 at age 13, resigning himself to the study of law. At the start of the Civil War, McClellan's knowledge of what was called "big war science" and his railroad experience suggested he might excel at military logistics. [29] He reveled in his newly acquired power and fame:[27]. In fact, he was the General-in-Chief of the Union Army. [76], The deep division in the party, the unity of the Republicans (running under the label "National Union Party"), and the military successes by Union forces in the fall of 1864 doomed McClellan's candidacy. McClellan's focus was the organization of engineer troops and cavalry. Major General George B. McClellan’s brilliantly conceived Peninsula... America's Civil War Magazine General McClellan also failed to maintain the trust of Lincoln, and proved to be frustratingly derisive of, and insubordinate to, his commander-in-chief. ru:Макклелан, Джордж During the Utah War against the Mormons, he considered rejoining the Army. [73] McClellan wrote to his wife, "Those in whose judgment I rely tell me that I fought the battle splendidly and that it was a masterpiece of art. I have to fight my way against him. That fall, for example, Confederate forces ranged from 35,000 to 60,000, whereas the Army of the Potomac in September numbered 122,000 men; in early December 170,000; by year end, 192,000. George Brinton McClellan (December 3, 1826 – October 29, 1885) was a Major general in Union army during the American Civil War. He has been universally praised for his organizational abilities and for his very good relations with his troops. He witnessed Scott's success in balancing political with military affairs, and his good relations with the civil population as he invaded, enforcing strict discipline on his soldiers to minimize damage to their property. He left the service and retired. As the war progressed, there were various calls to return Little Mac to an important command, following the Union defeats at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, as Robert E. Lee moved north at the start of the Gettysburg Campaign, and as Jubal Early threatened Washington in 1864. It was an armada that dwarfed all previous American expeditions, transporting 121,500 men, 44 artillery batteries, 1,150 wagons, over 15,000 horses, and tons of equipment and supplies. FROM THE LECTURE SERIES: The American Civil War. Learn more about the common soldiers of the American Civil War. On March 11, 1862, Lincoln removed McClellan as general-in-chief, leaving him in command of only the Army of the Potomac, ostensibly so that McClellan would be free to devote all his attention to the move on Richmond. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. [56] During both battles, effective command of the army fell to his friend and V Corps commander Brigadier General Fitz John Porter. There is indeed ample evidence that the terrible stresses of commanding men in battle, especially the beloved men of his beloved Army of the Potomac, left his moral courage in tatters. Unlike some of his fellow Union officers who came from abolitionist families, he was opposed to federal interference with slavery. He chronically overestimated Confederate strength in his front. You have done your best to sacrifice this army. So you have a major shake-up in the east of the command structure. [42] The second crisis was the emergence of the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia, which threw Washington into a panic and made naval support operations on the James River seem problematic. He was a powerful general who was hired and fired by Abraham Lincoln. He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points. [25] The New York Herald entitled an article about him, "Gen. McClellan, the Napoleon of the Present War."[26]. The controversy was not that his proclamation was diametrically opposed to the administration's policy at the time, but that he was so bold in stepping beyond his strictly military role. Lincoln's Cabinet met on October 18 and agreed to accept Scott's resignation for "reasons of health."[36]. The General took the gentle hands which were offered to him with many a kind and pleasing remark, and heard and answered the many remarks and compliments with which the people accosted him. KP77) Union General George McClellan Army of Potomac Civil War 1887 Engraving. George B. McClellan is famous in history for his involvement in the civil war. The result was a level of extreme caution that sapped the initiative of McClellan's army and caused great condemnation by his government. I find myself in a new and strange position here—Presdt, Cabinet, Genl Scott & all deferring to me—by some strange operation of magic I seem to have become the power of the land. But despite his successes and lucrative salary ($10,000 per year), he was frustrated with civilian employment and continued to study classical military strategy assiduously. [83], McClellan's final years were devoted to traveling and writing. McClellan spent the next three weeks repositioning his troops and waiting for promised reinforcements, losing valuable time as Lee continued to strengthen Richmond's defenses. Thank you." He also neglected to find three greatly superior passes in the near vicinity, which would be the ones eventually used for railroads and interstate highways.) Upon their return to civilization on July 28, they were astonished to find that they had been given up for dead. [9], McClellan's experiences during the war developed various attitudes that affected his later military and political life. Bailey, Ronald H., and the Editors of Time-Life Books. Lincoln's order was ambiguous as to whether McClellan might be restored following a successful campaign. Fitz John Porter; 15. He hoped to be named secretary of war in Cleveland's cabinet, a position for which he was well suited, but political rivals from New Jersey were able to block his nomination. Bouquets, beautiful and fragrant, in great numbers were thrown at him, and the ladies crowded around him with the warmest good wishes, and many of them were entirely overcome with emotion. Before that time I hope to be on the Susquehanna. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly (November 1861 to March 1862) as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. "[1] Indeed, McClellan was the most popular of that army's commanders with its soldiers, who felt that he had their morale and well-being as paramount concerns. [95] Proponents of this school claim that McClellan is criticized more for his admittedly abrasive personality than for his actual field performance.[96]. Hill. He had a very barrel-like chest, stood up very straight, and sort of threw his chest out even farther. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly (November 1861 to March 1862) as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. Nevertheless, McClellan received criticism from Washington for not counterattacking, which some believed could have opened the city of Richmond to capture. Hill. Feb 19, 2017 - Explore Civil War Profiles's board "George B. McClellan", followed by 107 people on Pinterest. McClellan was the grandson of Revolutionary War general Samuel McClellan of Woodstock, Connecticut. The governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, the three largest states of the Union, actively pursued him to command their states' militia. That approach failed following the Union Navy's defeat at the Battle of Drewry's Bluff, about 7 miles (11 km) downstream from the Confederate capital, on May 15. It became standard issue for as long as the U.S. horse cavalry existed and is currently used for ceremonies. A planned attack on September 16 was put off because of early morning fog, allowing Lee to prepare his defenses with an army less than half the size of McClellan's.[69]. Union soldiers accidentally found a copy of Lee's orders that divided his army and delivered them to McClellan's headquarters in Frederick on September 13. [27], Carl Sandburg wrote, "McClellan was the man of the hour, pointed to by events, and chosen by an overwhelming weight of public and private opinion. McClellan photographed by William S. Warren, circa 1880. George Armstrong Custer. He seemed to be a good choice to command the Union armies in the east. [10], McClellan returned to West Point to command his engineering company, which was attached to the academy for the purpose of training cadets in engineering activities. As the war went on, he was promoted to Major General of the normal army. Such a villain as he is ought to bring defeat upon any cause that employs him. He complained that he had arrived too late to take any part in the American victory at Monterrey in September. "Prince John" Magruder defended the Peninsula against McClellan's advance with a vastly smaller force. But in November 1861, he wrote to his wife, "I will, if successful, throw my sword onto the scale to force an improvement in the condition of those poor blacks." "[2], McClellan was born in Philadelphia, the son of a prominent surgical ophthalmologist, Dr. George McClellan, the founder of Jefferson Medical College. [34], The dispute with Scott would become very personal. He established a supply base on the Pamunkey River (a navigable tributary of the York River) at White House Landing where the Richmond and York River Railroad extending to Richmond crossed, and commandeered the railroad, transporting steam locomotives and rolling stock to the site by barge. George was born on December 3, 1826, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "[8] He served bravely as an engineering officer during the war, subjected to frequent enemy fire, and was appointed a brevet first lieutenant for Contreras and Churubusco and to captain for Chapultepec,[7] He performed reconnaissance missions for Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, a close friend of McClellan's father. [1] McClellan's writings after the war were typical of many Northerners: "I confess to a prejudice in favor of my own race, & can't learn to like the odor of either Billy goats or niggers." [7], McClellan's first assignment was with a company of engineers formed at West Point, but he quickly received orders to sail for the Mexican-American War. He learned to appreciate the value of flanking movements over frontal assaults (used by Scott at Cerro Gordo) and the value of siege operations (Vera Cruz). There’s no question about that. tr:George B. McClellan He did not share his overall battle plans with his corps commanders, which prevented them from using initiative outside of their sectors. As for Lincoln, McClellan said simply, “The president is an idiot.”. His subordinate commander, William S. Rosecrans, bitterly complained that his attack was not reinforced as McClellan had agreed. He always seemed to find an excuse not to move rapidly and not to force the issue militarily. It was the events associated with the Army of the Potomac that made or broke McClellan’s reputation, as we will see. In school, many of McClellan's close friends, including A.P. hr:George McClellan The 18 hours of delay allowed Lee time to react, because he received intelligence from a Confederate sympathizer that McClellan knew of his plans. Lee had assumed that the Union army would withdraw to the east toward its existing supply base and McClellan's move to the south delayed Lee's response for at least 24 hours. [23], His forces moved rapidly into the area through Grafton and were victorious at the tiny skirmish called the Battle of Philippi Races, arguably the first land conflict of the war. He eventually became a writer, defending his actions during the Peninsula Campaign and the Civil War. (From Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper), After the defeat of Pope at Second Bull Run, President Lincoln reluctantly returned to the man who had mended a broken army before. Lincoln won the election handily, with 212 Electoral College votes to 21 and a popular vote of 403,000, or 55%. George Brinton McClellan (December 3, 1826 – October 29, 1885) was an American soldier, civil engineer, railroad executive, and politician who served as the 24th Governor of New Jersey.A graduate of West Point, McClellan served with distinction during the Mexican–American War (1846–1848), and later left the Army to work on railroads until the outbreak of the American Civil War … Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union. He was of medium height. [4], At West Point, he was an energetic and ambitious cadet, deeply interested in the teachings of Dennis Hart Mahan and the theoretical strategic principles of Antoine-Henri Jomini. So some of his Southern colleagues approached him informally about siding with the Confederacy, but he could not accept the concept of secession. "[38] On November 13, he snubbed the president, visiting at McClellan's house, by making him wait for 30 minutes, only to be told that the general had gone to bed and could not see him. He arrived near the mouth of the Rio Grande in October 1846, well prepared for action with a double-barreled shotgun, two pistols, a saber, a dress sword, and a Bowie knife. These include Fort McClellan in Alabama, McClellan Butte in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, where he traveled while conducting the Pacific Railroad Survey in 1853, McClellan Street in North Bend, Washington, McClellan Street in South Philadelphia, McClellan Road in Cupertino, California, McClellan Elementary School in Chicago, and a bronze equestrian statue honoring General McClellan in Washington, D.C. Another equestrian statue honors him in front of Philadelphia City Hall. 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