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. Editorial cartoons during the 1864 presidential campaign would lampoon McClellan for preferring the safety of a ship while a battle was fought in the distance. It might be more accurate to say his subordinates had won some little victories in western Virginia, but he got the credit for them, and his reputation rose accordingly. McClellan worked on engineering projects in New York City and was offered the position of president of the newly formed University of California.[80]. 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. sv:George B. McClellan United States presidential election, 1864. 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. You often read that he was short. Thank you." In a telegram to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, reporting on these events, McClellan blamed the Lincoln administration for his reversals. Known within the family as Max, he was also a politician, serving as a United States Representative from New York State and as Mayor of New York City from 1904 to 1909. Despite this show of bravado, McClellan continued his cautious line. 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. Glendale and Malvern Hill found him at the peak of his anguish during the Seven Days, and he fled those fields to escape the responsibility. He quickly realized that he had overstepped his bounds and apologized by letter to President Lincoln. [49], At the end of June, Lee began a series of attacks that became known as the Seven Days Battles. Perhaps no other Union commander’s reputation has been the subject of as much controversy as George B. McClellan’s. Lithograph with watercolor. [48], On May 31, as McClellan planned an assault, his army was surprised by a Confederate attack. He told one of his generals, "He is an able general but a very cautious one. [84], McClellan's son, George B. McClellan, Jr. (1865 – 1940), was born in Dresden, Germany, during the family's first trip to Europe. [52] But McClellan was also tacitly acknowledging that he would no longer be able to invest Richmond, the object of his campaign; the heavy siege artillery required would be almost impossible to transport without the railroad connections available from his original supply base on the York River. George Brinton McClellan Jr. (November 23, 1865 – November 30, 1940), was an American politician, statesman, author, historian and educator. General McClellan also failed to maintain the trust of Lincoln, and proved to be frustratingly derisive of, and insubordinate to, his commander-in-chief. He was broad-shouldered and had deep-set eyes, a nice thick head of hair, and an aura of command about him. "[44] The army's advance from Fort Monroe up the Virginia Peninsula proved to be slow. 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. After the one-year tour, during which time McClellan observed several battles of the Crimean War, McClellan brought back almost 100 books and manuals. “I’m leaving nothing undone to increase our force,” he wrote to his wife in the early fall of 1861, “but the old general always comes in the way.” He meant Scott. Lincoln; 11. George B. McClellan was part of the Union Army. First, McClellan proponents say that because the general was a conservative Democrat with great personal charisma, radical Republicans fearing his political potential deliberately undermined his field operations. McClellan’s Missed Opportunity. Besides this, McClellan is also known for building the Army of the Potomac into a formidable force of more than 100,000 well-equipped and well-trained men. 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. Me with staff and dignitaries (from left to right): Gen. George W. Morell, Lt. Col. A.V. 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. Sweitzer, Prince de Joinville (son of King Louis Phillippe of France), and on the very right - the prince's nephew, Count de Paris. 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. Perhaps no other Union commander's legacy in the Civil War has been the subject of as much controversy as George B. McClellan's. Old Robert Patterson out in the Shenandoah Valley was eased aside completely. Th… He was of medium height. During the battle of Malvern Hill, he was on a gunboat, the U.S.S. [6] He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During the Utah War against the Mormons, he considered rejoining the Army. 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. 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. [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. fr:George McClellan [72] McClellan had no prior knowledge that the plans for emancipation rested on his battle performance. (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. [81], In March 1877, McClellan was nominated by Governor Lucius Robinson to be the first Superintendent of Public Works but was rejected by the New York State Senate as being "incompetent for the position. 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. There’s no question about that. [19], At the start of the Civil War, McClellan's knowledge of what was called "big war science" and his railroad experience implied he would excel at military logistics. Learn more about the prelude to the American Civil War. Wounded men after the Battle of Savage's Station, one of the Seven Days Battles. 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. He was a master organizer, and, by the end of September 1861, he’d built the Army of the Potomac into a formidable force of more than 100,000 well-equipped and well-trained men. When the General came to the corner of the principal street the ladies thronged around him. Evidently the position did not demand his full-time attention because, starting in 1872, he also served as the president of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad. – George B. McClellan, letter to Ellen, July 26, 1861. [46], McClellan had also placed hopes on a simultaneous naval approach to Richmond via the James River. McClellan surveyed the northern corridor along the 47th and 49th parallels from St. Paul to the Puget Sound. McClellan was forced to repudiate the platform, which made his campaign inconsistent and difficult. He replied, "McClellan is to me one of the mysteries of the war. Winfield Scott / Mathew Brady Studio, 1861 / Albumen silver print/ National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. [11], In the fall of 1852, McClellan published a manual on bayonet tactics that he had translated from the original French. With the assistance of his father's letter to President John Tyler, young George was accepted at the United States Military Academy in 1842, the academy having waived its normal minimum age of 16. And he was far too willing to accept cautious advice about saving his reserves, such as when a significant breakthrough in the center of the Confederate line could have been exploited, but Fitz John Porter is said to have told McClellan, "Remember, General, I command the last reserve of the last Army of the Republic."[71]. George B. McClellan had won some little victories in western Virginia early in the war, which is the reason why he was selected as the commander of the Union armies in the east, when President Abraham Lincoln decided to replace Irvin McDowell. No one played as many major roles during the Civil War as Gen. George B. McClellan, nor did any other figure write such candid letters about himself, his motivations, and his intentions. The men cheered him until they were hoarse ... and some broke ranks to swarm around the martial figure and indulge in the 'most extravagant demonstrations'. He made no use of his cavalry forces for reconnaissance. 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. Following the disaster at First Manassas in July of 1861, President Abraham Lincoln knew that Irvin McDowell was not the long-term solution to the Northern problem of defeating the rebellion. Lincoln's Cabinet met on October 18 and agreed to accept Scott's resignation for "reasons of health."[36]. Now outranked everyone in the 1864 presidential campaign. War developed various attitudes that affected his later military political! Of Antietam. by McClellan, George H. 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