Was McClellan really that incompetetant, or a traitor?

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Was McClellan really that incompetetant, or a traitor?

Postby Brian » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:23 pm

Hi, Everyone.

I've been reading a lot of Civil War history lately. One thing that's been bothering me is what a complete idiot McClellan seems to have been, tactically and strategically. (As an organizer of men, he seems to have been at least good.) He always assumes the Confederates have way more troops than they have. He never presses the fight, and even when a fight is going his way, he always lets the enemy escape, when he could've given them a thrashing. Do you think this was incompetence, or was it sympathy with the Confederacy. I'm thinking that no one could be that incompetent, really.
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Re: Was McClellan really that incompetetant, or a traitor?

Postby Brian » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:14 pm

Not a lot of Civil War buffs here, I guess. :D
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
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Re: Was McClellan really that incompetetant, or a traitor?

Postby MADNOTBAD » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:24 pm

Brian wrote:Not a lot of Civil War buffs here, I guess. :D



Had McClellan been as good a soldier as he thought he was, the Civil War might have come to a much faster conclusion. Unfortunately, the cocky and arrogant general was prone to chronic hesitancy, allowing the enemy to retreat and rebuild time after time. President Lincoln became so frustrated by McClellan's failure to follow through on the battlefield that he eventually removed him from command of the Union army. So I would say more Incompetant than traitor.
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Re: Was McClellan really that incompetetant, or a traitor?

Postby Brian » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:57 pm

MADNOTBAD wrote:
Brian wrote:Not a lot of Civil War buffs here, I guess. :D



Had McClellan been as good a soldier as he thought he was, the Civil War might have come to a much faster conclusion. Unfortunately, the cocky and arrogant general was prone to chronic hesitancy, allowing the enemy to retreat and rebuild time after time. President Lincoln became so frustrated by McClellan's failure to follow through on the battlefield that he eventually removed him from command of the Union army. So I would say more Incompetant than traitor.


I've read criticisms of him to the effect that he didn't hit the South as hard as he could because he had sympathy for them. He also seems to have had little stomach for war (although he was an excellent organizer). Lastly, he seems to have relied on the military intelligence of Pinkerton, which was prone to overestimation. But the fact of the matter is, even when Pinkerton revealed that McClellan's forces weren't outnumbered (i.e., it was an even fight), McClellan wouldn't go through with the battle.

The fact that McClellan ran for president against Lincoln in 1864 leads me to believe that this was a war McClellan hadn't wanted to fight in the first place, and that might be why he pulled punches.
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
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Re: Was McClellan really that incompetent, or a traitor?

Postby silverpop » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:20 pm

really McClellan didn't have much talent as a soldier to start with
but when it came to fighting he couldn't muster the nerve to just
smash the southern armies, incompetent yes he was in the ways of fighting a battle and getting a total win
expect the unexpected

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Re: Was McClellan really that incompetetant, or a traitor?

Postby MADNOTBAD » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:02 pm

Brian wrote:
MADNOTBAD wrote:
Brian wrote:Not a lot of Civil War buffs here, I guess. :D



Had McClellan been as good a soldier as he thought he was, the Civil War might have come to a much faster conclusion. Unfortunately, the cocky and arrogant general was prone to chronic hesitancy, allowing the enemy to retreat and rebuild time after time. President Lincoln became so frustrated by McClellan's failure to follow through on the battlefield that he eventually removed him from command of the Union army. So I would say more Incompetant than traitor.


I've read criticisms of him to the effect that he didn't hit the South as hard as he could because he had sympathy for them. He also seems to have had little stomach for war (although he was an excellent organizer). Lastly, he seems to have relied on the military intelligence of Pinkerton, which was prone to overestimation. But the fact of the matter is, even when Pinkerton revealed that McClellan's forces weren't outnumbered (i.e., it was an even fight), McClellan wouldn't go through with the battle.

The fact that McClellan ran for president against Lincoln in 1864 leads me to believe that this was a war McClellan hadn't wanted to fight in the first place, and that might be why he pulled punches.

I am also of the thinking that this was a fight McClellan didn't want. J

On January 27, President Lincoln issued a war order authorizing the Union to launch a unified aggressive action against the Confederacy. General McClellan ignored the order.

March 1862 --

On March 8, President Lincoln -- Impatient with General McClellan's inactivity -- issued an order reorganizing the Army of Virginia and relieving McClellan of supreme command. McClellan was given command of the Army of the Potomac, and ordered to attack Richmond. This marked the beginning of the Peninsular Campaign.
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Re: Was McClellan really that incompetetant, or a traitor?

Postby sledge » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:33 am

Interesting don't know much about him and his military career and afterwards. I consider myself a keen American Civil War history student and have read much about the Battle of Gettysburg watched the documentary, the film(which has some errors) and books on the subject. this battle is concerned the turning point of the American Civil War as Lee was on the outskirts of Washington.

Just found this history student(british?) video on the Battle of Gettysburg , footage of the Memorial Park today
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Re: Was McClellan really that incompetetant, or a traitor?

Postby Brian » Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:21 pm

Very cool video, Sledge. :woo:
"I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower
Makes you talk a little lower
About the things you could not show her."

-- Counting Crows, "A Long December"
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