However, the debate over McClellan's ability and talents remains the subject of much controversy among Civil War and military historians. When Ulysses S. Grant became general in chief, he discussed returning McClellan to an unspecified position. Lincoln won the election handily, with 212 Electoral College votes to 21 and a popular vote of 403,000, or 55%. George was born on December 3, 1826, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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. This plan, which would have demanded considerable patience on the part of the Northern public, was derided in newspapers as the Anaconda Plan, but eventually proved to be the successful outline used to prosecute the war. He waved the order at his old Army friend, Brig. 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. (McClellan selected Yakima Pass without a thorough reconnaissance and refused the governor's order to lead a party through it in winter conditions, relying on faulty intelligence about the depth of snowpack in that area. Such a villain as he is ought to bring defeat upon any cause that employs him. As he quickly implemented plans to invade the region, he triggered his first serious political controversy by proclaiming to the citizens there that his forces had no intentions of interfering with personal property—including slaves. Peninsula Campaign. vi:George Brinton McClellan. After he was relieved of command, McClellan became the unsuccessful Democratic nominee opposing Lincoln in the 1864 presidential election. Lincoln's share of the vote in the Army of the Potomac was 70%. [24] Nevertheless, these two minor victories propelled McClellan to the status of national hero. [30] He created defenses for Washington that were almost impregnable, consisting of 48 forts and strong points, with 480 guns manned by 7,200 artillerists. McClellan was thus required to give chase without any benefit of the heavy artillery so carefully amassed in front of Yorktown. FROM THE LECTURE SERIES: The American Civil War. 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. There is no man in the Army who can man these fortifications and lick these troops of ours into shape half as well as he. His final words, at 3 a.m., October 29, 1885, were, "I feel easy now. [46], McClellan had also placed hopes on a simultaneous naval approach to Richmond via the James River. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly (November 1861 to March 1862) as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. He telegraphed President Lincoln: "I have the whole rebel force in front of me, but I am confident, and no time shall be lost. 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. Watch it now, on The Great Courses Plus. In fact, he was the General-in-Chief of the Union Army. Secretary Stanton ordered McClellan to report to Trenton, New Jersey, for further orders, although none were issued. He came to consider himself not Lincoln’s subordinate, not Winfield Scott’s subordinate, but their superior—the man who knew better than they, his civilian and military betters, so to speak, what was necessary to win the war. 8. [21], As McClellan scrambled to process the thousands of men who were volunteering for service and to set up training camps, he also set his mind toward grand strategy. [33], The immediate problem with McClellan's war strategy was that he was convinced the Confederates were ready to attack him with overwhelming numbers. "[28] On July 26, the day he reached the capital, McClellan was appointed commander of the Military Division of the Potomac, the main Union force responsible for the defense of Washington. The Battle of South Mountain presented McClellan with an opportunity for one of the great theatrical moments of his career, as historian Sears describes: The Union army reached Antietam Creek, to the east of Sharpsburg, on the evening of September 15. After the war, Ulysses S. Grant was asked to evaluate McClellan as a general. McClellan's army began to sail from Alexandria on March 17. The first major battle, at Mechanicsville, was poorly coordinated by Lee and his subordinates and caused heavy casualties for little tactical gain. Johnston saw that the Union army was split in half by the rain-swollen Chickahominy River and hoped to defeat it in detail at Seven Pines and Fair Oaks. The May 27, 1862, Confederate defeat at Hanover Court House might have spelled doom for the Southern rebellion. (Author mrgrouchy) [65], However, Little Mac soon received a miraculous break of fortune. McClellan was nominated by the Democrats to run against Abraham Lincoln in the 1864 U.S. presidential election. (The information was not used until 1870, when President Ulysses S. Grant unsuccessfully attempted to annex the Dominican Republic.) 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. You have done your best to sacrifice this army. "[43], Statue in front of Philadelphia City Hall. General George B. McClellan with staff & dignitaries (from left to right): Gen. George W. Morell, Lt. Col. A.V. But the battle had significant impact on McClellan's nerve. The biggest flaw of George McClellan was that he was a chronic procrastinator. The governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, the three largest states of the Union, actively pursued him to command their states' militia. He accomplished this by marching small groups of men repeatedly past places where they could be observed at a distance or were just out of sight, accompanied by great noise and fanfare. On August 20, several military units in Virginia were consolidated into his department and he immediately formed the Army of the Potomac, with himself as its first commander. Although McClellan's subordinates can claim their share of responsibility for delays (such as Ambrose Burnside's misadventures at Burnside Bridge) and blunders (Edwin V. Sumner's attack without reconnaissance), these were localized problems from which the full army could have recovered. During the battle of Malvern Hill, he was on a gunboat, the U.S.S. [84], McClellan's son, George B. McClellan, Jr. (1865 – 1940), was born in Dresden, Germany, during the family's first trip to Europe. By June the expedition reached the source of the north fork of the river and Marcy named a small tributary McClellan's Creek. Galena, which at one point was ten miles (16 km) away down the James River. [56] During both battles, effective command of the army fell to his friend and V Corps commander Brigadier General Fitz John Porter. 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. Yet there was obvious disappointment that McClellan had not crushed Lee, who was fighting with a smaller army with its back to the Potomac River. His wife Ellen died in Nice, France, while visiting May at "Villa Antietam." [1] McClellan's writings after the war were typical of many Northerners: "I confess to a prejudice in favor of my own race, & can't learn to like the odor of either Billy goats or niggers." He told one of his generals, "He is an able general but a very cautious one. Capt. The Confederate forces under General Joseph E. Johnston withdrew from their positions before Washington, assuming new positions south of the Rappahannock, which completely nullified the Urbanna strategy. Military service: US Army; Union Army The American soldier George B. McClellan was born in Philadelphia on the 3rd of December 1826. it:George B. McClellan However, he died before it was half completed and his literary executor, William C. Prime, editor of the pro-McClellan New York Journal of Commerce, included excerpts from some 250 of McClellan's wartime letters to his wife, in which it had been his habit to reveal his innermost feelings and opinions in unbridled fashion. McClellan was given command of that Union army outside Washington, D.C. McDowell was demoted to a division commander. In the years just before the war, he had left the army to become a railroad executive, but then the call to duty brought him back to serve his country. Stephen Sears wrote, One of the reasons that McClellan's reputation has suffered is because of his own memoirs. sh:George McClellan Template:Governors of New Jersey Old Robert Patterson out in the Shenandoah Valley was eased aside completely. As a result, McClellan's leadership skills during battles were questioned by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who eventually removed him from command, first as general-in-chief, then from the Army of the Potomac. 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. George Brinton McClellan (December 3, 1826 October 29, 1885) was a major general during the American Civil War. In doing so, he may have unwittingly saved his army. In school, many of McClellan's close friends, including A.P. Hill. TBA Thomas J. Rowland presents a framework in which early Civil War command can be viewed without direct comparison to that of the final two years. In a telegram to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, reporting on these events, McClellan blamed the Lincoln administration for his reversals. A notable failure of the observers, including McClellan, was that they neglected to explain the importance of the emergence of rifled muskets in the Crimean War, and how that would require fundamental changes in tactics for the coming Civil War. Early in the campaign, Confederate General John B. America's Civil War Magazine. (He reported to Washington that he faced 200,000 Confederates, but there were actually 85,000.)[50]. Currier and Ives print of the Democratic presidential party ticket, 1864. On January 31, he issued a supplementary order for the Army of the Potomac to move overland to attack the Confederates at Manassas Junction and Centreville. George B. McClellan - Civil War - Peninsula Campaign. Th… Ellen accepted Hill's proposal in 1856, but her family did not approve and he withdrew. The son of American Civil War general and presidential candidate George B. McClellan, he was the 93rd Mayor of New York City, serving from 1904 to 1909. McClellan was unable to command the army personally because of a recurrence of malarial fever, but his subordinates were able to repel the attacks. The outnumbered Confederate forces fought desperately and well. Notable figures (from left) are 5. He hoped to be named secretary of war in Cleveland's cabinet, a position for which he was well suited, but political rivals from New Jersey were able to block his nomination. shipping: + $4.99 shipping . The governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, the three largest states of the Union, actively pursued him to command their states' militia. During a temporary armistice in which the forces of Gen. Zachary Taylor awaited action, McClellan was stricken with dysentery and malaria, which kept him in the hospital for nearly a month. List of Confederate Regular Army officers, Pages using duplicate arguments in template calls, Democratic Party (United States) presidential nominees, United States presidential candidates, 1864, People of New Jersey in the American Civil War, American military personnel of the Mexican–American War, New York State Superintendents of Public Works, File:George B. McClellan Patriotic Cover 1861.jpeg, Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, File:After Battle of Savage's Station.jpg, File:McClellan riding through Frederick, MD army.mil-2008-09-10-145411.jpg, File:Lincoln and generals at Antietam.jpg, File:Lincoln and McClellan 1862-10-03.jpg, File:Democratic presidential ticket 1864b.jpg, File:McClellan Gunboat Candidate Cartoon.jpg, Our Campaigns - U.S. President - Democratic Convention Race - August 29, 1864, Our Campaigns - New Jersey Governor Race - November 6, 1877, Georgia's Blue and Gray Trail McClellan timeline, Mr. Lincoln and New York: George B. McClellan, Harper's Weekly political cartoon, October 27, 1877, "All Quiet on the Hudson", McClellan caricature in the campaign for governor of New Jersey, New Jersey Governor George Brinton McClellan, American Heritage on George McClellan's appointment, Commanding General of the United States Army. So you have a major shake-up in the east of the command structure. He performed well in both jobs, expanding the Illinois Central toward New Orleans and helping the Ohio and Mississippi recover from the Panic of 1857. This placed him in great demand as the Union mobilized. Scott (along with many in the War Department) was outraged that McClellan refused to divulge any details about his strategic planning, or even mundane details such as troop strengths and dispositions. (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. "George Brinton McClellan." [51] 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. That approach failed following the Union Navy's defeat at the Battle of Drewry's Bluff, about 7 miles (11 km) downstream from the Confederate capital, on May 15. 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. As the war went on, he was promoted to Major General of the normal army. Traveling widely, and interacting with the highest military commands and royal families, McClellan observed the siege of Sevastopol. The Union victory and Lincoln's proclamation played a considerable role in dissuading the governments of France and Britain from recognizing the Confederacy; some suspected they were planning to do so in the aftermath of another Union defeat. McClellan photographed by William S. Warren, circa 1880. 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. [31] The Army of the Potomac grew in number from 50,000 in July to 168,000 in November and was considered by far the most colossal military unit the world had seen in modern historical times. He was elected and served a single term from 1878 to 1881, a tenure marked by careful, conservative executive management and minimal political rancor. [20], On May 3 McClellan re-entered federal service by being named commander of the Department of the Ohio, responsible for the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and, later, western Pennsylvania, western Virginia, and Missouri. Historian Allan Nevins wrote, "Students of history must always be grateful McClellan so frankly exposed his own weaknesses in this posthumous book. The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan: Selected Correspondence, 1860-1865. In June 1851 he was ordered to Fort Delaware, a masonry work under construction on an island in the Delaware River, 40 miles (64 km) downriver from Philadelphia. 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. 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. His mother was Elizabeth Steinmetz Brinton McClellan, daughter of a leading Pennsylvania family, a woman noted for her "considerable grace and refinement". As with the decisive battles in the Seven Days, McClellan's headquarters were too far to the rear to allow his personal control over the battle. [18], In October 1859 McClellan was able to resume his courtship of Ellen Marcy, and they were married in Calvary Church, New York City, on May 22, 1860. McClellan worked on engineering projects in New York City and was offered the position of president of the newly formed University of California.[80]. [92] Second, that as the radical Republicans were the true winners coming out of the American Civil War, they were able to write its history, placing their principal political rival of the time, McClellan, in the worst possible light. His party had an anti-war platform, promising to end the war and negotiate with the Confederacy, which McClellan was forced to repudiate, damaging the effectiveness of his campaign. He began to write another draft of what would be published posthumously, in 1887, as McClellan's Own Story. The Civil War could have ended in the spring of 1862. Childrens Books Phonics Set First Little Kindergarten Grade Homeschool Lot 60. [17], Before the outbreak of Civil War, McClellan became active in politics, supporting the presidential campaign of Democrat Stephen A. Douglas in the 1860 election. You often read that he was short. Bouquets, beautiful and fragrant, in great numbers were thrown at him, and the ladies crowded around him with the warmest good wishes, and many of them were entirely overcome with emotion. In 1861 and 1862, he was in charge of the Army of the Potomac . Perhaps no other Union commander’s reputation has been the subject of as much controversy as George B. McClellan’s. ... Will send you trophies.".[66]. Feb 19, 2017 - Explore Civil War Profiles's board "George B. McClellan", followed by 107 people on Pinterest. All rights reserved. He played it safe. Historian and biographer Stephen W. Sears has called McClellan's actions "essentially sound" if he had been as outnumbered as he believed, but McClellan in fact rarely had less than a two-to-one advantage over his opponents in 1861 and 1862. George B. McClellanBorn December 3, 1826 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Died October 29, 1885 Orange, New Jersey Union general known as "the young Napoleon" Commander of the Army of the Potomac in 1861–62 Democratic nominee for the presidency in 1864 Source for information on George B. McClellan: American Civil War Reference Library dictionary. During the summer and fall, McClellan brought a high degree of organization to his new army, and greatly improved its morale by his frequent trips to review and encourage his units. He was appointed as a brevet second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers and served under General Winfield Scott during the Mexican-American War, helping to construct roads and bridges for the army. McClellan wired to Washington, "Our victory was complete. 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. Beagle, Jonathan M. "George Brinton McClellan." His legacy therefore defies easy categorization. When the public heard about the Galena, it was yet another enormous embarrassment, comparable to the Quaker Guns at Manassas. He also neglected to find three greatly superior passes in the near vicinity, which would be the ones eventually used for railroads and interstate highways.) McClellan surveyed the northern corridor along the 47th and 49th parallels from St. Paul to the Puget Sound. He thought there were 150,000 Confederates facing his 100,000 Union soldiers; then he thought there were 200,000. I have never witnessed such a scene. His closest friends were aristocratic Southerners such as James Stuart, Dabney Maury, Cadmus Wilcox, and A.P. McClellan was appointed chief engineer of the New York City Department of Docks in 1870. "[86] This fierce discussion has continued for over a century. After two years, he changed his goal to military service. 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. He was very successful at that and made a handsome living in the Midwest. "[8] He served bravely as an engineering officer during the war, subjected to frequent enemy fire, and was appointed a brevet first lieutenant for Contreras and Churubusco and to captain for Chapultepec,[7] He performed reconnaissance missions for Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, a close friend of McClellan's father. He later wrote that had it been his place to arrange the terms of peace, he would have insisted on gradual emancipation, guarding the rights of both slaves and masters, as part of any settlement. [28] But this was also a time of tension in the high command, as he continued to quarrel frequently with the government and the general-in-chief, Lt. Gen. Scott, on matters of strategy. "[53] Fortunately for McClellan's immediate career, Lincoln never saw that inflammatory statement (at least at that time) because it was censored by the War Department telegrapher. Although McClellan was assuaged by supportive comments Lincoln made to him, in time he saw the change of command very differently, describing it as a part of an intrigue "to secure the failure of the approaching campaign. es:George Brinton McClellan [23], His forces moved rapidly into the area through Grafton and were victorious at the tiny skirmish called the Battle of Philippi Races, arguably the first land conflict of the war. He learned to appreciate the value of flanking movements over frontal assaults (used by Scott at Cerro Gordo) and the value of siege operations (Vera Cruz). Learn more about the common soldiers of the American Civil War. People spoke about George B. McClellan. He chafed at the boredom of peacetime garrison service, although he greatly enjoyed the social life. Federal troops under heavy attack at the Battle of Gaines' Mill, sketched by Alfred R. Waud and published in Harper's Weekly, July 26, 1862. After the United States' embarrassing defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run, McClellan was put in charge of what would soon be the Army of the Potomac (George McClellan). He was a man who thought about military questions as well as participated in military affairs in the real world. In fact, his position was not filled by another officer. But he made no secret of his opposition to the radical Republicans. Hill and Cadmus Wilcox, were from the South and would later become his adversaries during the Civil War.His classmates included future notable generals in Jesse L. Reno, Darius N. Couch, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, George Stoneman, and George Pickett.An ambitious student while at the academy, he developed a great … Generals who proved successful in the war, such as Lee and Grant, tended to be more aggressive and more willing to risk a major battle even when all preparations were not perfect. The reason for McClellan's reluctance was that, as in previous battles, he was convinced he was outnumbered. Although Lincoln believed his plan was superior, he was relieved that McClellan finally agreed to begin moving, and reluctantly approved. [5] He graduated in 1846, second in his class of 59 cadets, losing the top position (to Charles Seaforth Stewart) only because of poor drawing skills. From command on November 1, 1861 / Albumen silver print/ National Portrait Gallery, Institution! Was very successful at that and made a handsome living in the army of Civil... Court House might have spelled doom for the Southern rebellion ’ s reputation as... 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