Skip to comments.General McClellan and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Posted on 04/05/2012 5:10:55 PM PDT by Upstate NY Guy
April 5, 1862 (Saturday) Yorktown, VA
The previous day had been a good one for George Briton McClellan, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac. The Rebels to his front gave up ground quickly as he advanced two columns up the Virginia Peninsula. Though a division had been withheld from him a few days ago, he quickly recovered, taking less than two days to get his entire army of 66,700 on the road.
As the dawn drove out the night, he must have felt a renewed optimism. He was certain that Confederate commander General John Magruder had left his back door open wide enough for one wing of the Army of the Potomac to slip around behind Yorktown, the Confederate stronghold. He was also certain that General McDowells First Corps, 10,000-strong, would be joining him in the next couple of days.
But his day went from good to bad possibly even before he left his tent. General Erasmus Keyes, heading up the armys left column, reported early, saying that the back door was blocked by a large force with three guns in position and strong breastworks. McClellan had expected Keyes to face little or no resistance, but it was now Keyes opinion that we shall encounter very serious resistance. There was no way that he was going to be able to best the Rebels with the force he had, so he called for reinforcements. Though they had done no fighting, his artillery was inexplicably low on ammunition. The same was true for the infantry. Also, he wanted some more artillery, and the roads were bad.
(Excerpt) Read more at civilwardailygazette.com ...
Not that McClellen ever needed an excuse for inaction.
Exactly....which is why he was eventually fired by Lincoln and replaced by Grant (who had been a total failure as a civilian). Strange how war plucks otherwise-”losers” from obscurity and propels them to greatness at key times in history.
McClellan had such overwhelming superiority in the Peninsula Campaign, all he had to do was keep moving right up to Richmond but Lee knew him and knew he could and did spook him into thinking he had the superiority in troops.
The USMC Mameluke Sword was adopted earlier, but it was not authorized between 1859 (curiously, the year the McClellan was first adopted) and 1875.
Some credit due to Alan Pinkerton, still famous for his sleuthing skills. Really wish we had a history forum here.
Interesting. I didn’t know that.
In before the LWAT crowd shows up
I have two ancestors who fought in NY Volunteer Infantry Regiments: the 97th and 13th.
What is a LWAT?
Interesting. I've lived in NY State my whole life but have ancestors who in the 8th Virginia Cavalry.
I thought Pinkerton worked for the North.
He did, for McClellan. He was responsible for the vast overestimations of Confederate strength. And became famous. No disrespect intended to Gen Magruder.
...that's David Kincaid doing the lead vocals. He's also the lead singer of the rock group "The Brandos" and big time civil war reenactor.
“McClellan had such overwhelming superiority in the Peninsula Campaign, all he had to do was keep moving right up to Richmond but Lee knew him and knew he could and did spook him into thinking he had the superiority in troops.”
In Grant’s autobiography he reveals one of his battle strategy secrets:
Whenever he got apprehensive about the strength and the ability of the enemy, he would refresh his courage by considering that his opponent over the hill, or across the woods, was just as frightened about His army.
Maybe a little off-topic but here’s another Civil War song by the Brandos.
“Down in Gettysburg”
It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
While in the Navy, I was assigned to a riding stable/ranch attached to NAS Millington (Tenn).
We had a few of the old ‘U.S.’ saddles around. Very comfortable saddle for a long day.
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