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6515Special Orders 223 and 224

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  • Jim Rosebrock
    Jan 26, 2011
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      I know we shouldn't be indulging in what ifs here but I was reading McClellan's Wartime Papers (Sears) and there are his letters/telegrams of September 6th asking Halleck and Lincoln to suspend Special Orders 223 and 224 that relieved Porter (Fifth), Franklin (Sixth) and Griffin from duty and put Reno in at First Corps and Hooker at Fifth Corps.  As we know, Halleck did suspend the orders leaving Porter, Franklin and Griffin (and Reno) in place and awarding Hooker the First Corps.

      McClellan had Joseph Mansfield enroute from Washington to take command of Twelfth Corps.  What if instead, he gave the Sixth Corps to Mansfield?  I know it is more likely, given his preference for West Pointers that Mansfield would probably have stayed at Twelfth Corps to displace Alpheus Williams.  McClellan would not have trusted him with an independent command as important, and one of the conservative West Pointers already there (Slocum, Smith or even Couch) would have been more likely elevated to command Sixth Corps.  But with Mansfield in command, Crampton's Gap would have been a different fight I believe. 

      And just imagine Sep 17.  With Reno at First Corps, there would have still been an aggressive fight there I think.  Joseph Hooker at Fifth Corps and by George McClellan's side might have injected a little more offensive spirit into the center of the line.

      I already have picked this apart as I write it, but on a snowy Western Maryland day here at home, the intellectual exercise is a bit interesting. Anyone else interested in speculating today?


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