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. He wrote a letter to Gen. Scott on April 27, four days after assuming command in Ohio, that was the first proposal for a unified strategy for the war. McClellan was given command of that Union army outside Washington, D.C. McDowell was demoted to a division commander. He marched toward Maryland with six of his reorganized corps, about 84,000 men, while leaving two corps behind to defend Washington.  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. Lincoln's order was ambiguous as to whether McClellan might be restored following a successful campaign. pl:George McClellan He was the Democratic Party candidate in … Th… Relations between the two generals became increasingly strained over the summer and fall. tr:George B. McClellan McClellan worked for months on a lengthy report describing his two major campaigns and his successes in organizing the Army, replying to his critics and justifying his actions by accusing the administration of undercutting him and denying him necessary reinforcements. However, the debate over McClellan's ability and talents remains the subject of much controversy among Civil War and military historians. On September 2, 1862, Lincoln named McClellan to command "the fortifications of Washington, and all the troops for the defense of the capital." 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. 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 … $37.99. 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. He was born the son of a prominent surgeon and a loving mother. 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. "Quaker guns" (logs used as ruses to imitate cannons) in former Confederate fortifications at Manassas Junction.  That night, he decided to withdraw his army to a safer base, well below Richmond, on a portion of the James River that was under control of the Union Navy. McClellan surveyed the northern corridor along the 47th and 49th parallels from St. Paul to the Puget Sound. He called a council of war at the White House in which McClellan's subordinates were asked about their confidence in the Urbanna plan. During the battle of Malvern Hill, he was on a gunboat, the U.S.S. George B. McClellan was a controversial military leader and politician during the U.S. Civil War period. Colburn, Gen. McClellan, Lt. Col. N.B. On May 14, he was commissioned a major general in the regular army. He eventually became a writer, defending his actions during the Peninsula Campaign and the Civil War. ... Well, one of these days history will I trust do me justice.". McClellan's army began to sail from Alexandria on March 17. He traveled by special train on the main Pennsylvania line from Wheeling through Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, and on to Washington, D.C., and was overwhelmed by enthusiastic crowds that met his train along the way. (The delay also doomed the federal garrison at Harpers Ferry because the relief column McClellan sent could not reach them before they surrendered to Stonewall Jackson. 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. He replied, "McClellan is to me one of the mysteries of the war. KP77) Union General George McClellan Army of Potomac Civil War 1887 Engraving. On March 8, doubting McClellan's resolve, Lincoln again interfered with the army commander's prerogatives. Nevertheless, McClellan received criticism from Washington for not counterattacking, which some believed could have opened the city of Richmond to capture. Back in Washington, a reorganization of units created the Army of Virginia under Maj. Gen. John Pope, who was directed to advance towards Richmond from the northeast. After the war, Ulysses S. Grant was asked to evaluate McClellan as a general. McClellan's plan for a rapid seizure of Yorktown was foiled when he discovered that the Confederates had fortified a line across the Peninsula, causing him to decide on a siege of the city, which required considerable preparation. I think Lee has made a gross mistake, and that he will be severely punished for it. People spoke about George B. McClellan. The opposing battle lines on the heights were marked by heavier layers of smoke, and columns of Federal troops were visible winding their way up the mountainside, each column ... looking like a 'monstrous, crawling, blue-black snake' ... McClellan posed against this spectacular backdrop, sitting motionless astride his warhorse Dan Webster with his arm extended, pointing Hooker's passing troops toward the battle. He seemed to be a good choice to command the Union armies in the east. Several geographic features and establishments have been named for George B. McClellan. Please take this quiz on McClellans life. Andrew A. Humphreys; 16. Such a villain as he is ought to bring defeat upon any cause that employs him. Template:Governors of New Jersey Ironically, this led to failing to take the initiative against the enemy and therefore passing up good opportunities for decisive victories, which could have ended the war early, and thereby could have spared thousands of soldiers who died in those subsequent battles. Soon after, Winfield Scott stepped aside and McClellan became the General-in-Chief and began the work of building the Army of the Potomac. On August 8, believing that the Confederates had over 100,000 troops facing him (in contrast to the 35,000 they actually deployed at Bull Run a few weeks earlier), he declared a state of emergency in the capital. So you have a major shake-up in the east of the command structure. In, Rowland, Thomas J. On January 27, Lincoln issued an order that required all of his armies to begin offensive operations by February 22, Washington's birthday. He justified his military career in McClellan’s Own Story, published posthumously in 1887. , The dispute with Scott would become very personal. , McClellan's army cautiously inched towards Richmond over the next three weeks, coming to within four miles of it. " On January 12, 1862, McClellan was summoned to the White House, where the Cabinet demanded to hear his war plans. $9.95. The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan: Selected Correspondence, 1860-1865. He kept telling Lincoln, I need more men; I need more equipment before I can move. However, McClellan came under extreme criticism from the press and the Congress when it was found that Johnston's forces had not only slipped away unnoticed, but had for months fooled the Union Army through the use of logs painted black to appear as cannons, nicknamed Quaker Guns. His subordinate commander, William S. Rosecrans, bitterly complained that his attack was not reinforced as McClellan had agreed. Northern fears of a continued offensive by Robert E. Lee were realized when he launched his Maryland Campaign on September 4, hoping to arouse pro-Southern sympathy in the slave state of Maryland. His performance at the bloody Battle of Antietam blunted Lee's invasion of Maryland, but allowed Lee to eke out a precarious tactical draw and avoid destruction, despite being outnumbered. McClellan wired to Washington, "Our victory was complete. In 1861 and 1862, he was in charge of the Army of the Potomac . America's Civil War Magazine. Even though he had built a formidable army in the shape of the Army of the Potomac, he repeatedly delayed proceedings and allowed the Confederates to regroup and bring in reinforcements. He concluded by implying he should be restored as general in chief, but Lincoln responded by naming Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck to the post without consulting, or even informing, McClellan. Well, he overestimated by two or three times how many Confederates were really opposite him, but this is something we’ll see with McClellan again and again. At Antietam, where there was nowhere for him to flee to, he fell into a paralysis of indecision.  He viewed slavery as an institution recognized in the Constitution, and entitled to federal protection wherever it existed (Lincoln held the same public position until August 1862). McClellan's daughter, Mary ("May") (1861 – 1945), married a French diplomat and spent much of her life abroad. 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. 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