veji1
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Tue May 15, 2007 8:54 am

Yep its the simplest thing to do, but you might want to adjust the strat of some of the generals that had that trait : McClellan's is already pretty bad, but JJJohnston's may need to be lowered a bit then..

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Carrington
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Wed May 23, 2007 5:05 pm

Wilhammer wrote:Perhaps what we need is another rating; persistence.

How willing was the commander willing to sustain and commit a blood bath to win a battle?

And then, what are its chances of doing so in certain regions?

A guy like Mac, who was opposed to the war and was thus very reluctant to press destruction of the Confederacy, might be considered somewhat fanatical in the defense of Md, but far less so moving South.


I like the idea of a persistence rating: this might get to the larger issue that big battles tended to freeze the winner as the loser retreats...

Or perhaps the commander activation could be modified by the average cohesion of his force -- so that commanders in command of a chewed up army have a lower chance of activating.

All of this to slow down the game for PBEM.

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heresy

Tue May 13, 2008 12:42 am

I am going to commit Civil War heresy today... sigh... don't burn my effigy too much.

I would rate Mac at 1-2-4 slow move, poor spy, charismatic, maybe defensive engineer.

Mac was rated by Lee as his toughest opponent. Bit of praise there.
Mac never made the idiot mistakes that Pope or Burnside made. Or for that matter Banks or Milroy.

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Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:21 pm

lycortas wrote:I am going to commit Civil War heresy today... sigh... don't burn my effigy too much.

I would rate Mac at 1-2-4 slow move, poor spy, charismatic, maybe defensive engineer.

Mac was rated by Lee as his toughest opponent. Bit of praise there.
Mac never made the idiot mistakes that Pope or Burnside made. Or for that matter Banks or Milroy.

Mike
I agree.

McClellen deserves better stats, for both historical and gameplay reasons. No, he certainly wasn't any sort of battlefield genius, and the tales of his caution and slowness are legendary, but he a) knew how to build and run an army, b) was *really* good at inspiring confidence, and c) inflicted a whole lot of casualties on the Army of Northern Virginia, despite being obligated to take the strategic offensive against it. When a general has to take the strategic offensive against Marse Roberts and Stonewall Jackson, and nonetheless repeatedly convinces them to take the tactical offensive against him, (suffering the associated casualties), that general may not be anything like their equal, but he most emphatically is not an idiot.

Plus, a McClellen who's not total crap will go some way to encouraging the Union player not to hunker down in the East, and instead seek to at least make a start on wearing down the Confederates by threatening Richmond and fighting battles. At present, we have the artificial solution of just beating the Union player over the head with NM penalties for failing to do something his overly-inactive generals generally make it wise to either a) not attempt, or b) cheat at.

One vote for 3-star stats of 2-2-4 for McClellen, rising by experience no higher than 2-4-6. His special attributes already look good, but I'd love to see him get +1 to his strategic rating ... coupled with a special rule that makes him go non-Active for 3+ turns if he or any subordinate corp commander ever fails to win a single battle, as long as his supply line is secure and the battle was in a Southern state. That's McClellen's generalship in a nutshell.

Add this rule, and we would be more likely to see smart Union players honestly willing to advance a powerful Army of the Potomac into Virginia ... and also see them wisely retreating it right back out again when (as is probable) it eventually fails to win and McCellen starts getting that nasty non-Active penalty. We might even see them doing this repeatedly, using McClellen as a sort of "one shot pistol" to attrite the South, until a better army leader is available. This would replicate the historical results far more closely than the gameplay at present encouraged.

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Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:38 pm

Lil' Mac was a great administrator, morale builder and strategist.

In the tactical arena, however, he always 'took counsel of his fears' and hesitated, stopped, regrouped, otherwise frittered away advantages he built with a good army and strategic positioning.

He believed the worst [as in Pinkerton's estimates of enemy strength]

He never fathomed the political aspect of war.


I think his ratings are fine. Look to abilities to fine tune him. Use events to 'force' him as Lincoln did.

A 'good rating' Mac is totally ahistorical.
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Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:30 pm

McClellan was smart and set new records and grades at West Point. He was a very capable military leader with an excellent record up to the beginning of the civil war. He was sent to Washington after Manassas. McClellan's biggest problem was that he was a Northern Democrat and didn't want to be seen as helping the slaves in any way. "I am fighting for the integration of the Union and to that end we cannot involve the negroes." The South was something he respected and he didn't want to destroy their way of life. McClellan's heart wasn't in the fight.

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Comtedemeighan
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Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:06 pm

McClellan was also a prima-donna I think he really thought he was on par with Napoleon....

tagwyn
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Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:01 pm

He believed he was the "only" person between the CSA and Union defeat!! Therefore, he could not be defeated because to lose meant the end of the USA. t

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Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:19 am

Question. Since McClellan was quite against using the war to force emancipation is he removed when the Union player selects the Emancipation political option?

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Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:32 am

From April 1864 Mclellan has a 50% chance to be removed from the game due to the fact he ran for President.
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Colonel Dreux
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Fri May 29, 2009 1:29 am

I agree with all those who spoke up to raise and/or improve McClellan's ratings. He was a pretty good general, in my opinion, for all the reasons prevously listed.
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soloswolf
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Fri May 29, 2009 5:26 am

As an FYI: None of the ratings will be changed for any of the Generals. All this McClellan discussion you have been up to is interesting to be sure, but it has been stated multiple times that the stats will not be changed.

Any and all of these conversations lead to heated arguments about why this guy was maligned by history, or why so and so is the best ever. It never ends well, so they have closed the books on that front.

If you really want something different, I am sure somebody could assist you with modding it.
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Colonel Dreux
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Fri May 29, 2009 5:59 am

soloswolf wrote:As an FYI: None of the ratings will be changed for any of the Generals. All this McClellan discussion you have been up to is interesting to be sure, but it has been stated multiple times that the stats will not be changed.

Any and all of these conversations lead to heated arguments about why this guy was maligned by history, or why so and so is the best ever. It never ends well, so they have closed the books on that front.

If you really want something different, I am sure somebody could assist you with modding it.


Oh, I wasn't asking for his ratings to be changed, although I'd change Pope to make him worse than McClellan if I knew how maybe. I'm just engaging in some Civil War banter of "know he was the best, know this guy was the best". I just think McClellan gets a bad rap and wanted to remark on it.

Joe Johnston is rated just fine I think.
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Colonel Dreux
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Fri May 29, 2009 8:46 pm

I figured out how to mod the generals, just like editing a depot or fort. I've edited McClellan to a 4-2-4 with Master_Logistician added in . He was on another level from Pope and Burnside, and they are 2-2-2 and 2-2-3 in the game respectively. Will change the game, I know, but bring it on Yankees.

Other officers have now been edited as well, so it should all balance out I think.
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Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:31 pm

Of course you gave him those stats as a protest, right??

Right?

I would like to know why you feel Little Mac refused to send Franklin to assist Pope at 2nd Bull Run? He was ordered to several times by Halleck.

Colonel Dreux wrote:I figured out how to mod the generals, just like editing a depot or fort. I've edited McClellan to a 4-2-4 with Master_Logistician added in . He was on another level from Pope and Burnside, and they are 2-2-2 and 2-2-3 in the game respectively. Will change the game, I know, but bring it on Yankees.

Other officers have now been edited as well, so it should all balance out I think.

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Rondor wrote:Of course you gave him those stats as a protest, right??

Right?

I would like to know why you feel Little Mac refused to send Franklin to assist Pope at 2nd Bull Run? He was ordered to several times by Halleck.


I didn't change the ratings as a protest, I changed them because comparable to how others are rated, in my humble opinion, his ratings should be better, definitely better than Burnside and Pope.

I don't think the Second Bull Run was decided on McClellan sending in more troops from Washington. Pope didn't even know Longstreet was on the battlefield before it was too late. Pope thought he had half of Lee's army in front of him and that they would eventually start to retreat. He also attacked Jackson's Corps piece meal which made it easier for Jackson to repulse the attacks on the first day.

Logistical and troop movements orders also got fouled up by even the best of generals. So I don't see that being a big strike against McCllelan. Pope had plenty of enough army to beat Lee.
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Colonel Dreux wrote:I didn't change the ratings as a protest, I changed them because comparable to how others are rated, in my humble opinion, his ratings should be better, definitely better than Burnside and Pope.

I don't think the Second Bull Run was decided on McClellan sending in more troops from Washington. Pope didn't even know Longstreet was on the battlefield before it was too late. Pope thought he had half of Lee's army in front of him and that they would eventually start to retreat. He also attacked Jackson's Corps piece meal which made it easier for Jackson to repulse the attacks on the first day.

Logistical and troop movements orders also got fouled up by even the best of generals. So I don't see that being a big strike against McCllelan. Pope had plenty of enough army to beat Lee.



I am certainly not defending Pope. I am saying that Mac essentially acted in a manner that specifically was meant to hurt Pope. He was ordered to send his troops more than once. He refused because he disliked Pope and wanted him to lose the battle. Personally, I would have had him hung if I was Halleck.

It is very well documented that Mac thought himself a military genius yet he consistently and without fail severely overestimated his opponents numbers to an extent that I do not believe any other ACW general can approach. He was never quite ready to move due to some logistical concern or another.

He should have been a training officer and nothing more. There is a reason why leaders like Patton, Napolean, Lee et al are considered the best. L'Audace! Toujours de L'Audace! This is a saying Mac never understood.

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Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:18 am

Rondor wrote:I am certainly not defending Pope. I am saying that Mac essentially acted in a manner that specifically was meant to hurt Pope. He was ordered to send his troops more than once. He refused because he disliked Pope and wanted him to lose the battle. Personally, I would have had him hung if I was Halleck.

It is very well documented that Mac thought himself a military genius yet he consistently and without fail severely overestimated his opponents numbers to an extent that I do not believe any other ACW general can approach. He was never quite ready to move due to some logistical concern or another.

He should have been a training officer and nothing more. There is a reason why leaders like Patton, Napolean, Lee et al are considered the best. L'Audace! Toujours de L'Audace! This is a saying Mac never understood.


I kind of disagree. If you read his personal letters he doesn't come across as too arrogant. If anyone was arrogant it was Pope, cause he was a puffer. He routinely exaggerate his abilities in front of other people, or at least that is what comes out in the record after the War. Not many generals liked him.

I don't know if McClellan didn't like Pope and/or wanted him to fail. Maybe he did. I think some people would like to think that about the situation, but that strikes me as too harsh.

Even if Pope didn't have all of the Union forces in the Virginia theater, he still outnumbered Lee and he screwed up big time in front of a smaller foe.

I also disagree about McClellan as a field officer or battlefield general. In both of his campaigns he did what he was supposed to do, but for destroying the Confederate army. He got up the Penisula and engaged the Confederates (the Army of the Potomac gaining all kind of experience from it), and he stopped Lee's invasion of the North in September of 1862. The key battle in this brief campaign wasn't even Antietam, but the Battles of South Mountain, which more or less stopped Lee from making it into Pennsylvania and force him to fight his way out of Maryland at Antietam.

He could have been a greater field general, don't get me wrong, but just because he wasn't Napoleon or Patton, doesn't mean he wasn't still good or decent.

McClellan was probably confident in his abilities, he was a very able man.

Lastly, McClellan effectively did not have control of any forces while waiting in Washington during Pope's campaign. His troops were extracted from his Army and sent to Pope. Even most of his staff was sent off to fight or participate in some capacity. I need to read up or more on Halleck's orders to McClellan, but my understanding is Mac was effectively not in control of his forces at the time.

Mac was upset with Pope's machinations to get McClellan's removed from his position though, I'm aware of that. Pope was supported by the radicals, unlike McClellan.
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Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:47 pm

Pope's situation was far more fluid than Mac ever encountered. He had a hard enough time determining what troops were under his command, much less what Lee had. The circumstances of Pope's defeat were primarily due to Mac's own actions. His failure to either advance again from Harrison's landing or withdraw his troops from there more quickly allowed Lee the opportunity and time to advance on Pope.

If you find fault with Pope for 'outnumbering Lee and screwing up big time in front of a smaller force' how would you describe Mac's advance up the Penisula against Magruder or his entire conduct of Antietem? He probably outnumbered Magruder 5-1 and Lee 2-1 maybe 3-1. As bad as Pope was, I find it hard to believe that he would have done worse in either situation (although he may have done worse during the 7 Days). Pope was nothing special as a commander but at least you didn't have to threaten to fire him to get him to move.

Questioning Mac's field generalship is difficult because he evidenced so little of it. He wasted a month besieging Yorktown against Magruder, dawdled in front of Richmond for another month, repeatedly left Porter isolated during the 7 Days, failed to direct the retreat to Harrison's landing allowing his corps commanders to conduct it, abandoned his army even before it reached Malvern Hill, failed to defeat Lee even having obtained his battle plans prior to Antietam and was little more than a spectator there after giving the intial orders to advance by the right.

It's hard not to admire Mac's ability as an organizer and trainer of troops and potentially as a strategist, but as a battlefield leader and tactician he was one of the worst commanders the Union or the US army has ever had. His demonstrated lack of loyalty and his constant involvement in political issues hardly recommends him either.

Sorry, but Mac brings out the worst in me.

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Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:42 am

anarchyintheuk wrote:Pope's situation was far more fluid than Mac ever encountered. He had a hard enough time determining what troops were under his command, much less what Lee had. The circumstances of Pope's defeat were primarily due to Mac's own actions. His failure to either advance again from Harrison's landing or withdraw his troops from there more quickly allowed Lee the opportunity and time to advance on Pope.

If you find fault with Pope for 'outnumbering Lee and screwing up big time in front of a smaller force' how would you describe Mac's advance up the Penisula against Magruder or his entire conduct of Antietem? He probably outnumbered Magruder 5-1 and Lee 2-1 maybe 3-1. As bad as Pope was, I find it hard to believe that he would have done worse in either situation (although he may have done worse during the 7 Days). Pope was nothing special as a commander but at least you didn't have to threaten to fire him to get him to move.

Questioning Mac's field generalship is difficult because he evidenced so little of it. He wasted a month besieging Yorktown against Magruder, dawdled in front of Richmond for another month, repeatedly left Porter isolated during the 7 Days, failed to direct the retreat to Harrison's landing allowing his corps commanders to conduct it, abandoned his army even before it reached Malvern Hill, failed to defeat Lee even having obtained his battle plans prior to Antietam and was little more than a spectator there after giving the intial orders to advance by the right.

It's hard not to admire Mac's ability as an organizer and trainer of troops and potentially as a strategist, but as a battlefield leader and tactician he was one of the worst commanders the Union or the US army has ever had. His demonstrated lack of loyalty and his constant involvement in political issues hardly recommends him either.

Sorry, but Mac brings out the worst in me.


I respectfully disagree. Putting Pope's failure down to McClellan's inaction is historically bogus. McClellan was under orders to park himself in D.C. Lincoln took part of his command and gave it to Pope. Pope, outnumbering Lee, still failed miserably. He didn't just fail, he was beaten. McClellan was never beaten, he just retreated from his line in front of Richmond killing and mutilating thousands of Confederates in his AoP meatgrinder.

Pope lost because of Pope. He thought Jackson was retreating when he wasn't. He forgot about Longstreet's Corps (even when he had intelligence that he was coming up to the line). He blames one of the only competent generals on the day, Fitz John-Porter, for the defeat.

Pope was also wildly despised by most of the officer corps because he was hyper arrogant and a political appointment due to his friendship with Republican radicals in Lincoln's cabinet and in Congress.

Lastly, who cares if McClellan was slow? At least he didn't slaughter his troops with insane frontal assaults like Grant did. Grant couldn't even defeat a weakened AoNV in the summer of 1864. He failed at the same task McClellan failed at, i.e., destroying the Confederates in one summer campaign. McClellan reached the outskirts of Richmond just like Grant did, and he did it without losing a lot of men. He didn't have to siege Yorktown probably, but he did, took Yorktown, saved peoples' lives and took a bunch of Confederate guns. What a bumbling fool.

He also successfully moved the AoP to a new supply line on the James, blunted Lee's attacks during the Seven Days, and successfully retreated from a few miles from Richmond to fight another day.

McClellan also had no support whatsoever from the Lincoln administration. They hated him. Thought he was a traitor, etc... The politics were foisted on him because he was the Commander in Chief effectively and you had radicals who wanted the War over in a couple of months. They were a constant nuisance and he had to deal with them whether he liked it or not.

Robert E. Lee thought him the best Union commander he faced.

Fredricksburg would have never happened if McClellan was in charge. Like Grant said, who knows what he would have done with more time and political support.
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Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:32 pm

Colonel Dreux wrote:Robert E. Lee thought him the best Union commander he faced.


As far as I know (but I'm not historian), Lee stood the ground in Antietam even if he was outnumbered because he knew McClellan was in command.

That's not the kind of thing I would do when facing the best ennemy commander... (or the other ennemy commanders are really a bunch of morons).

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Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:53 pm

Mickey3D wrote:As far as I know (but I'm not historian), Lee stood the ground in Antietam even if he was outnumbered because he knew McClellan was in command.

That's not the kind of thing I would do when facing the best ennemy commander... (or the other ennemy commanders are really a bunch of morons).


Lee stood his ground because McClellan foiled his northern invasion. Lee had no other choice but to stand his ground.

Lee also stood his ground against Grant. Think Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. Lee didn't give a damn who he was fighting.

However, he did say that McClellan was the best Union general he fought against.
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Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:09 pm

Colonel Dreux wrote:Lee stood his ground because McClellan foiled his northern invasion. Lee had no other choice but to stand his ground.


Once again I'm not an historian, but the few I can remember from my readings is that Lee chose to wait several days (September 15th and 16th) seeing the force of McClellan gathering on the other side of the river and being severly outnumbered before September 17th (Longstreet and Jackson were not there).

Politically he was perhaps forced to stand his ground (I can imagine that leaving Maryland without a fight would not have been very glorious), but I don't think he would have done it in front of an ennemy he knew would have taken immediately advantage of CSA army weakness (on the 15th force ratio was 3 to 1).

Grant was perhaps a "butcher" but he would have tried to seize the opportunity knowing that destroying ennemy army was primordial.

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Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:21 pm

Mickey3D wrote:Once again I'm not an historian, but the few I can remember from my readings is that Lee chose to wait several days (September 15th and 16th) seeing the force of McClellan gathering on the other side of the river and being severly outnumbered before September 17th (Longstreet and Jackson were not there).

Politically he was perhaps forced to stand his ground (I can imagine that leaving Maryland without a fight would not have been very glorious), but I don't think he would have done it in front of an ennemy he knew would have taken immediately advantage of CSA army weakness (on the 15th force ratio was 3 to 1).

Grant was perhaps a "butcher" but he would have tried to seize the opportunity knowing that destroying ennemy army was primordial.


No, McClellan put Lee in a bad position at Antietam. Lee didn't wait on McClellan. McClellan defeated part of Lee's army at several South Mountain gaps/passes two days before Antietam (Sept. 14 -- there was no river, but a small mountain chain called South Mountain). McClellan waited a day to bring all his forces over South Mountain and then attacked on Sept. 16. Lee still didn't have all of his forces brought up until later that day. It was a very close call for the AoNV.

The key battle of the "Maryland Campaign" wasn't Antietam, but the several South Mountain battles. That killed Lee's invasion of the North. He had planned to get into Pennsylvania and then turn back towards Baltimore, but didn't make it because McClellan moved fast enough to catch Lee's Army spread out across whatever valley that is in Maryland (some troops were still in Virginia/West Virginia even). In hindsight it is easy to see that McClellan could have destroyed Lee at Antietam if he pushed harder on the right and got all his other attacks coordinated. However, he didn't know where Lee was weak, what he had in troop numbers, etc... Antietam is not much different than the Wilderness or Spotsylvania.
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Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:31 pm

Colonel Dreux I don't have the same perception of the Antietam campaign.

By example, for me Lee invasion was killed before the South Mountain battles, more specifically when McClellan got copies of Lee's plan. South Mountain battles were there to slow the north and allow Lee corps to meet.

But I don't have sufficient knowledge on the ACW to argue. So I'll let other more knowledgeable people give their insight.

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Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:43 pm

Colonel Dreux wrote:I respectfully disagree. Putting Pope's failure down to McClellan's inaction is historically bogus. McClellan was under orders to park himself in D.C. Lincoln took part of his command and gave it to Pope. Pope, outnumbering Lee, still failed miserably. He didn't just fail, he was beaten. McClellan was never beaten, he just retreated from his line in front of Richmond killing and mutilating thousands of Confederates in his AoP meatgrinder.


My statement was concerning the circumstances . . . Pope was only in danger because of Mac's inaction. He had a 100k army sitting at Harrison's landing for two weeks after Halleck had ordered it back to Washington. Knowing Mac's lack of initiative meant that Lee could count on the AoP remaining bystanders while he concentrated against Pope by first sending Jackson then Longstreet. Had Mac decided to advance again, instead of complaining about the lack of reinforcements, being outnumbered 2-1, etc., Lee could never have concentrated against Pope.

Pope lost because of Pope. He thought Jackson was retreating when he wasn't. He forgot about Longstreet's Corps (even when he had intelligence that he was coming up to the line). He blames one of the only competent generals on the day, Fitz John-Porter, for the defeat.


I agree Pope lost the battle fair and square. But for Mac's inaction, the battle would never have occurred.

Pope was also wildly despised by most of the officer corps because he was hyper arrogant and a political appointment due to his friendship with Republican radicals in Lincoln's cabinet and in Congress.


Pope was also despised because he came from the western armies, which had actually had success. He was appointed for the same reason Mac was, a limited success, Island No. 10 for Pope, Rich Mountain for Mac. Pope's personal qualities are irrelevant.

Lastly, who cares if McClellan was slow? At least he didn't slaughter his troops with insane frontal assaults like Grant did. Grant couldn't even defeat a weakened AoNV in the summer of 1864. He failed at the same task McClellan failed at, i.e., destroying the Confederates in one summer campaign. McClellan reached the outskirts of Richmond just like Grant did, and he did it without losing a lot of men. He didn't have to siege Yorktown probably, but he did, took Yorktown, saved peoples' lives and took a bunch of Confederate guns. What a bumbling fool.


Lincoln cared that he was slow. Richmond was relatively undefended but it wasn't after the siege at Yorktown. No where in the course of the war did so few troops hold up so many for so long. Bumbling fool is a good description of his actions during the Penisular Campaign.

He also successfully moved the AoP to a new supply line on the James, blunted Lee's attacks during the Seven Days, and successfully retreated from a few miles from Richmond to fight another day.


That's one way to interpret it. Sitting in front of Richmond for three or four weeks after Seven Pines allowed Lee to seize the initiative which he never gave up, concetrate 2/3 of his army against 1/5 of Mac's (Porter's corps) and attack it. Porter and his troops deserve credit for blunting Lee. During the attack Mac was little more than a spectator. It was Sumner who despatched troops to Porter on his own initiative. Mac's successful retreat was conducted by his subordinates, mostly Keyes and Sumner. Why he even decided to retreat is another matter. Mac then boarded an ironclad and missed the last couple of the Seven Days.

McClellan also had no support whatsoever from the Lincoln administration. They hated him. Thought he was a traitor, etc... The politics were foisted on him because he was the Commander in Chief effectively and you had radicals who wanted the War over in a couple of months. They were a constant nuisance and he had to deal with them whether he liked it or not.


The administration was fully behind him . . . at first. Continually delaying an offensive was bound to lose him some of the goodwill that came with his appointment. Ball's Bluff and the Centerville embarassment cost more. All he had to do was look at pressure that was put upon McDowell for an offensive. Few, if any, thought him a traitor until he ran against Lincoln. Radicals and Moderates wanted the war over in a few months, all AoP commanders would have that expectation upon them. Victory would have served to silence any naysayers, he never achieved it despite having it handed to him on a platter (Antietam).

Robert E. Lee thought him the best Union commander he faced.


I don't know the circumstances of that quote so I won't comment, other than to say Mick Jagger once said Devo's version of Satisfaction was the best he had hear.

Fredricksburg would have never happened if McClellan was in charge. Like Grant said, who knows what he would have done with more time and political support.


McClellan would never have thought of a winter campaign, nor would he have thought the quick march to cross the Rapahannock. Too bad for Burnside and his troops that the pontoons didn't arrive until too late. McClellan seemed to be fixated upon the Peninsula as the only route to approach Richmond.

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My statement was concerning the circumstances . . . Pope was only in danger because of Mac's inaction. He had a 100k army sitting at Harrison's landing for two weeks after Halleck had ordered it back to Washington. Knowing Mac's lack of initiative meant that Lee could count on the AoP remaining bystanders while he concentrated against Pope by first sending Jackson then Longstreet. Had Mac decided to advance again, instead of complaining about the lack of reinforcements, being outnumbered 2-1, etc., Lee could never have concentrated against Pope.


You said it. Halleck ordered it back. He was under direct orders from the Commander in Chief and the President to move back to Washington. He couldn't attack Richmond, because he didn't have the orders to attack Richmond. There wasn't even a coordinated plan for McClellan to move against Richmond again. He was effectively without a command and his own troops weren't under his control. Lincoln and Halleck moved them around as they saw fit. When in Washington McClellan just sat their without even his staff who he had sent to aid Pope.



I agree Pope lost the battle fair and square. But for Mac's inaction, the battle would never have occurred.


See above about Mac's "inaction".


Pope was also despised because he came from the western armies, which had actually had success. He was appointed for the same reason Mac was, a limited success, Island No. 10 for Pope, Rich Mountain for Mac. Pope's personal qualities are irrelevant.


True, Mac got the job based on paper thin successes in West Virginia, but he had as clean a record as their was, had a very successful pre-war record, and was in the right place at the right time after the debacle at Bull Run.

Pope's personal qualities made him less of a commander than Mac. There are lots of quotes from fellow officers about how much Pope was a douchebag par excellance.

Lincoln cared that he was slow. Richmond was relatively undefended but it wasn't after the siege at Yorktown. No where in the course of the war did so few troops hold up so many for so long. Bumbling fool is a good description of his actions during the Penisular Campaign.


I just disagree with this. Bumbling fool? Up until Seven Pines the Penisula campaign was victory after victory. Slow, was it... but Mac and the AoP successfully pushed their way up the Penisula to Richmond with very few losses. Then neither at Seven Pines or during the Seven Days was Mac "defeated". He just made a tactical withdraw from taking on Richmond head on.



That's one way to interpret it. Sitting in front of Richmond for three or four weeks after Seven Pines allowed Lee to seize the initiative which he never gave up, concetrate 2/3 of his army against 1/5 of Mac's (Porter's corps) and attack it. Porter and his troops deserve credit for blunting Lee. During the attack Mac was little more than a spectator. It was Sumner who despatched troops to Porter on his own initiative. Mac's successful retreat was conducted by his subordinates, mostly Keyes and Sumner. Why he even decided to retreat is another matter. Mac then boarded an ironclad and missed the last couple of the Seven Days.


From what I read McClellan ordered Sumner to reinforce Porter because he recognized Porter was in trouble. Sumner's iniative had to do with getting his men over the barely floating bridges in time.

McClelln may not have personally led the retreat, but his subordiantes implemented his plan of retreat which was to switch over to the James River as their line of supply and move out from there.

The administration was fully behind him . . . at first. Continually delaying an offensive was bound to lose him some of the goodwill that came with his appointment. Ball's Bluff and the Centerville embarassment cost more. All he had to do was look at pressure that was put upon McDowell for an offensive. Few, if any, thought him a traitor until he ran against Lincoln. Radicals and Moderates wanted the war over in a few months, all AoP commanders would have that expectation upon them. Victory would have served to silence any naysayers, he never achieved it despite having it handed to him on a platter (Antietam).


This is just not true. He was a Democrat with Southern sympathies and the radicals in Washington used this against him from the get go. Mac was politically naive and got played by smart politicians who were not his friends.

Ball's Bluff wasn't Mac's fault, although it did make him look bad to the politicos... but it happened because of the politicos. The moron of a general in charge at Ball's Bluff was also Lincoln's personal family friend. That man should have never been leading troops (and got killed for it).

Not all the officers in the AoP thought the war would be over in a matter of months. Winfield Scott didn't even think that.



I don't know the circumstances of that quote so I won't comment, other than to say Mick Jagger once said Devo's version of Satisfaction was the best he had hear.


It may not be a direct quote of Lee's. It might actually be a quote from Lee's daughter or daughter-in-law who said he had said that. This quote has been widely published.

Grant also said that Mac wasn't given enough time or political support.

McClellan would never have thought of a winter campaign, nor would he have thought the quick march to cross the Rapahannock. Too bad for Burnside and his troops that the pontoons didn't arrive until too late. McClellan seemed to be fixated upon the Peninsula as the only route to approach Richmond.


Burnside thought up a Winter campaign? Or was he ordered to campaign?

Grant seriously considered attcking Richmond by going up the Penisula again. Some officers thought this the easiest way to take Richmond.
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