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McClernand's Competency

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  • Tony Gunter
    Outside the usual anything Grant has ever done is evil discussion, can we have a real discourse on the competency of McClernand? My opinion of him, aside
    Message 1 of 27 , Jul 28, 2006
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      Outside the usual "anything Grant has ever done is evil" discussion,
      can we have a real discourse on the competency of McClernand? My
      opinion of him, aside from the insubordination and the politics, has
      always been fairly high. He seems IMHO to be a dogged fighter and a
      good military thinker.

      I think he got screwed in 1862, but I think it was Lincoln who did the
      screwing, not Halleck (who was only too happy to use the loopholes
      provided by Lincoln).
    • jaydee2065
      ... ISTM, being a dogged fighter was common and expected. It didn t add anything to your resume. As to being a good military thinker , I ve never seen
      Message 2 of 27 , Jul 28, 2006
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        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
        wrote:
        >
        >
        > Outside the usual "anything Grant has ever done is evil" discussion,can we have a real discourse on the competency of McClernand? My
        > opinion of him, aside from the insubordination and the politics, has
        > always been fairly high. He seems IMHO to be a dogged fighter and a
        > good military thinker.

        ISTM, being a "dogged fighter" was common and expected. It didn't add
        anything to your resume. As to being a "good military thinker", I've
        never seen anything that indicates he was any better or worse than the
        rest of his group. However, he was head n sholders above anyone else
        in "insubordination and the politics". What I see is an average
        commander that is a big pain in the you know what.

        >
        > I think he got screwed in 1862, but I think it was Lincoln who did
        the
        > screwing, not Halleck (who was only too happy to use the loopholes
        > provided by Lincoln).
        >

        I agree. ISTM, if Lincoln had want him to have the command he would
        have made it happen. This was the best of both worlds, for Lincoln.
        He got rid of a problem but the problem could not blame him.
      • Tom Mix
        I think what is meant is that not being any better or worse than the rest is most of us mean. I.e. He was average in those areas. You are certainly right in
        Message 3 of 27 , Jul 28, 2006
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          I think what is meant is that not being "any better or worse than the rest"
          is most of us mean. I.e. He was average in those areas.
          You are certainly right in his being exceptional in the "insubordination and
          the politics". He was an expert egotist.
          Tom

          -----Original Message-----
          From: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com [mailto:civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com] On
          Behalf Of jaydee2065
          Sent: Friday, July 28, 2006 8:50 AM
          To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [civilwarwest] Re: McClernand's Competency

          --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
          wrote:
          >
          >
          > Outside the usual "anything Grant has ever done is evil" discussion,can we
          have a real discourse on the competency of McClernand? My
          > opinion of him, aside from the insubordination and the politics, has
          > always been fairly high. He seems IMHO to be a dogged fighter and a
          > good military thinker.

          ISTM, being a "dogged fighter" was common and expected. It didn't add
          anything to your resume. As to being a "good military thinker", I've
          never seen anything that indicates he was any better or worse than the
          rest of his group. However, he was head n sholders above anyone else
          in "insubordination and the politics". What I see is an average
          commander that is a big pain in the you know what.

          >
          > I think he got screwed in 1862, but I think it was Lincoln who did
          the
          > screwing, not Halleck (who was only too happy to use the loopholes
          > provided by Lincoln).
          >

          I agree. ISTM, if Lincoln had want him to have the command he would
          have made it happen. This was the best of both worlds, for Lincoln.
          He got rid of a problem but the problem could not blame him.








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        • Tony Gunter
          ... discussion,can we have a real discourse on the competency of McClernand? My ... has ... and a ... Okay, I should have added aggressive and bold. Does
          Message 4 of 27 , Jul 28, 2006
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            --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "jaydee2065" <jaydee2065@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@>
            > wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > > Outside the usual "anything Grant has ever done is evil"
            discussion,can we have a real discourse on the competency of
            McClernand? My
            > > opinion of him, aside from the insubordination and the politics,
            has
            > > always been fairly high. He seems IMHO to be a dogged fighter
            and a
            > > good military thinker.
            >
            > ISTM, being a "dogged fighter" was common and expected.

            Okay, I should have added aggressive and bold. Does that clarify my
            position enough?

            One thing about him is for sure, he sure seemed to generate a lot of
            hatred from otherwise reasonable people (i.e. Porter).
          • jaydee2065
            ... It makes no difference if you where his peer, commander or reported to him. He took all the credit, blamed anyone for his errors and lies. This puts him
            Message 5 of 27 , Jul 28, 2006
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              --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
              wrote:
              >
              >
              > One thing about him is for sure, he sure seemed to generate a lot of
              > hatred from otherwise reasonable people (i.e. Porter).
              >

              It makes no difference if you where his peer, commander or reported to
              him. He took all the credit, blamed anyone for his errors and lies.
              This puts him at odds with almost everyone he comes into contact
              with. Lincoln, who is to have authorized his "command" isn't willing
              to do anything to make sure he gets one.

              Competency isn't the issue, his attitue is.
            • josepharose
              ... Outside the usual anything McClernand has ever done is evil discussion, I think that he was quite competent as a commander. As guesstimates of his
              Message 6 of 27 , Jul 29, 2006
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                --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
                wrote:
                >
                >
                > Outside the usual "anything Grant has ever done is evil" discussion,
                > can we have a real discourse on the competency of McClernand? My
                > opinion of him, aside from the insubordination and the politics, has
                > always been fairly high. He seems IMHO to be a dogged fighter and a
                > good military thinker.
                >
                > I think he got screwed in 1862, but I think it was Lincoln who did the
                > screwing, not Halleck (who was only too happy to use the loopholes
                > provided by Lincoln).


                Outside the usual "anything McClernand has ever done is evil"
                discussion, I think that he was quite competent as a commander. As
                guesstimates of his tactical battlefield performances, I posit:

                Belmont B+
                Fort Donelson B-
                Shiloh B
                Arkansas Post B
                Port Gibson B
                Champion Hill C
                Big Black Bridge B+
                Vicksburg Assaults B+

                Keep in mind that his corps' delay at Champion Hill was partially due
                to orders from above and recalcitrance from commanders below him, and
                he only claimed to be partially in the two Vicksburg forts.

                Strategically, McC was mindful of an attack by the rebels at Shiloh.
                He was smart enough to argue for an advance down the Mississippi. He
                suggested crossing the river below Vicksburg back in November 1862.
                He thought that the demoralized army should attack Arkansas Post.

                As an adminstrator, he performed very well. The ORs in many of his
                operations show he took care of many of the details of command.

                He was far from perfect, especially in some areas, such as his
                interpersonal relations with superiors (although due allowance should
                be made for the particular situations).

                I think that his reputation suffers greatly--and unfairly--in many of
                the standard works and memoirs of the war.

                Joseph
              • Tony Gunter
                ... discussion, ... has ... and a ... did the ... loopholes ... At Arkansas Post, he ordered Sherman to march by the flank through an unfordable swamp. If the
                Message 7 of 27 , Jul 29, 2006
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                  --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@>
                  > wrote:
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Outside the usual "anything Grant has ever done is evil"
                  discussion,
                  > > can we have a real discourse on the competency of McClernand? My
                  > > opinion of him, aside from the insubordination and the politics,
                  has
                  > > always been fairly high. He seems IMHO to be a dogged fighter
                  and a
                  > > good military thinker.
                  > >
                  > > I think he got screwed in 1862, but I think it was Lincoln who
                  did the
                  > > screwing, not Halleck (who was only too happy to use the
                  loopholes
                  > > provided by Lincoln).
                  >
                  >
                  > Outside the usual "anything McClernand has ever done is evil"
                  > discussion, I think that he was quite competent as a commander. As
                  > guesstimates of his tactical battlefield performances, I posit:
                  >
                  > Belmont B+
                  > Fort Donelson B-
                  > Shiloh B
                  > Arkansas Post B
                  > Port Gibson B
                  > Champion Hill C
                  > Big Black Bridge B+
                  > Vicksburg Assaults B+

                  At Arkansas Post, he ordered Sherman to march by the flank through an
                  unfordable swamp. If the Confederates had been commanded by an
                  aggressive leader, that could have been a fatal mistake.

                  Some people make a lot over the fact that he allowed his flank to be
                  turned at Port Gibson, and was held up all day by a force 1/4 his
                  size, but I think that was a function of terrain more than anything.

                  At Champion Hill, the O.R. seems to indicate that he didn't quite
                  understand Grant's strategy. The night before the battle, with the
                  enemy in plain sight, he's writing Grant to warn him about the danger
                  to the Union left flank and the possibility of the supply line being
                  cut. If Grant beats the Confederates at that point, however, the
                  next Union supplies would be expected to be drawn from the Yazoo
                  River. McClernand's concern for his left flank during the battle,
                  with a general engagement raging less than a mile from his right
                  flank, seems inexplicable. I think it can only be explained by the
                  fact that Grant and McClernand were not on the same page.

                  It didn't help that Hovey had actually chased 300-500 skirmishers
                  back to the top of Boll's Hill, forcing Osterhaus to refuse his right
                  flank with two regiments. I'm sure part of Osterhaus' hesitancy was
                  having a force of unknown size/origin sitting behind the federal
                  lines. I also wonder if this force didn't contribute to the slow
                  transmission of message between Grant and McClernand, because any
                  messenger attempting to take a direct route between Grant's HQ and
                  McClernand would have run into this force.

                  But the fact that McClernand, when made aware of a Confederate
                  division deploying in front of Hovey's men with the apparent intent
                  of attacking, ordered his lines to contract 500 yards ... is simply
                  inexcusable IMHO. I'd give McClernand a D for Champion Hill, the
                  only thing preventing him from receiving an F- is the mystery force
                  that was hovering on his flank on top of Boll's Hill.

                  At Big Black, I don't think McClernand had anything to do with the
                  engagement. Lawler ordered the charge without consulting McClernand,
                  IIRC.
                • keeno2@aol.com
                  In a message dated 7/29/2006 7:36:05 PM Central Daylight Time, josepharose@yahoo.com writes: Belmont B+ Fort Donelson B- Shiloh B Arkansas Post B Port
                  Message 8 of 27 , Jul 29, 2006
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                    In a message dated 7/29/2006 7:36:05 PM Central Daylight Time, josepharose@... writes:
                    Belmont  B+
                    Fort Donelson  B-
                    Shiloh  B
                    Arkansas Post  B
                    Port Gibson  B
                    Champion Hill  C
                    Big Black Bridge  B+
                    Vicksburg Assaults  B+
                    With lenient grading like that, I wish you had been my teacher.
                    Ken
                  • Jfepperson@aol.com
                    It is difficult, if not impossible, to separate McClernand s politicking from his on-field performance. You couldn t get the one w/o the other. Was he a
                    Message 9 of 27 , Jul 29, 2006
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                      It is difficult, if not impossible, to separate McClernand's politicking
                      from his on-field performance.  You couldn't get the one w/o the
                      other.  Was he a moderately competant combat performer, esp.
                      on defense?  Yes.  But since the politicking came with that, I
                      don't blame anyone for not wanting him on their team.
                       
                      JFE

                      James F. Epperson
                      http://members.aol.com/jfepperson/causes.html
                      http://members.aol.com/siege1864
                    • Tom Mix
                      You accidentally hit on the problem right there, Jim. McC was not on a team other than the Team of One: McClernand. This lack of a comprehension of a
                      Message 10 of 27 , Jul 29, 2006
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                        You accidentally hit on the problem right there, Jim.  McC was not on a team other than the Team of One: McClernand.  This lack of a comprehension of a coordinated effort made his limited abilities not worth the hassle.  McC did some adequate things on the field but nothing spectacular to lead a commander to see real potential worthy of tolerating McC’s underhanded political behavior.  Such behavior could break down just the military team coordination that McC simply lacked the ability or desire to understand. He knew what he wanted and expected others to agree, just that simple, even though he might not be right.

                         

                         

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com [mailto:civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jfepperson@...
                        Sent: Saturday, July 29, 2006 8:43 PM
                        To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] Re: McClernand's Competency

                         

                         

                        It is difficult, if not impossible, to separate McClernand's politicking

                        from his on-field performance.  You couldn't get the one w/o the

                        other.  Was he a moderately competant combat performer, esp.

                        on defense?  Yes.  But since the politicking came with that, I

                        don't blame anyone for not wanting him on their team.

                         

                        JFE


                        James F. Epperson
                        http://members.aol.com/jfepperson/causes.html
                        http://members.aol.com/siege1864

                      • josepharose
                        ... [snip] ... Thanks for the response. ... I d agree, in that loess country looks like great defensive terrain. ... There was a long delay in messages being
                        Message 11 of 27 , Jul 29, 2006
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                          --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@>
                          > wrote:

                          [snip]

                          > > Outside the usual "anything McClernand has ever done is evil"
                          > > discussion, I think that he was quite competent as a commander. As
                          > > guesstimates of his tactical battlefield performances, I posit:
                          > >
                          > > Belmont B+
                          > > Fort Donelson B-
                          > > Shiloh B
                          > > Arkansas Post B
                          > > Port Gibson B
                          > > Champion Hill C
                          > > Big Black Bridge B+
                          > > Vicksburg Assaults B+

                          Thanks for the response.

                          > At Arkansas Post, he ordered Sherman to march by the flank through an
                          > unfordable swamp. If the Confederates had been commanded by an
                          > aggressive leader, that could have been a fatal mistake.
                          >
                          > Some people make a lot over the fact that he allowed his flank to be
                          > turned at Port Gibson, and was held up all day by a force 1/4 his
                          > size, but I think that was a function of terrain more than anything.

                          I'd agree, in that loess country looks like great defensive terrain.

                          > At Champion Hill, the O.R. seems to indicate that he didn't quite
                          > understand Grant's strategy. The night before the battle, with the
                          > enemy in plain sight, he's writing Grant to warn him about the danger
                          > to the Union left flank and the possibility of the supply line being
                          > cut. If Grant beats the Confederates at that point, however, the
                          > next Union supplies would be expected to be drawn from the Yazoo
                          > River. McClernand's concern for his left flank during the battle,
                          > with a general engagement raging less than a mile from his right
                          > flank, seems inexplicable. I think it can only be explained by the
                          > fact that Grant and McClernand were not on the same page.

                          There was a long delay in messages being received which was one
                          problem, as you say. But when Grant told McC to attack if an
                          opportunity presented itself, he so ordered his forward divisions.
                          The trouble was, both Osterhaus and AJ Smith--at least, according to
                          Bearss--were very slow and unaggressive in their movements. McC did
                          put on a pursuit afterwards.

                          > It didn't help that Hovey had actually chased 300-500 skirmishers
                          > back to the top of Boll's Hill, forcing Osterhaus to refuse his right
                          > flank with two regiments. I'm sure part of Osterhaus' hesitancy was
                          > having a force of unknown size/origin sitting behind the federal
                          > lines. I also wonder if this force didn't contribute to the slow
                          > transmission of message between Grant and McClernand, because any
                          > messenger attempting to take a direct route between Grant's HQ and
                          > McClernand would have run into this force.
                          >
                          > But the fact that McClernand, when made aware of a Confederate
                          > division deploying in front of Hovey's men with the apparent intent
                          > of attacking, ordered his lines to contract 500 yards ... is simply
                          > inexcusable IMHO. I'd give McClernand a D for Champion Hill, the
                          > only thing preventing him from receiving an F- is the mystery force
                          > that was hovering on his flank on top of Boll's Hill.
                          >
                          > At Big Black, I don't think McClernand had anything to do with the
                          > engagement. Lawler ordered the charge without consulting McClernand,
                          > IIRC.

                          Bearss has McClernand commanding the whole front and pushing up
                          reinforcements to Lawler just before the attack. He may not have
                          ordered it, but McC got everything done, and the other troops moved in
                          right after Lawler to mop up. If he'd ordered the attack, he could've
                          earned an 'A.' It wasn't as if Lawler was there on the battlefield
                          all by himself.

                          Joseph
                        • josepharose
                          ... It seems as if Grant disliked McClernand for more than politicking, as McC didn t seem to do all that much of it before Shiloh, and Grant already had it in
                          Message 12 of 27 , Jul 29, 2006
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                            --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, Jfepperson@... wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            > It is difficult, if not impossible, to separate McClernand's politicking
                            > from his on-field performance. You couldn't get the one w/o the
                            > other. Was he a moderately competant combat performer, esp.
                            > on defense? Yes. But since the politicking came with that, I
                            > don't blame anyone for not wanting him on their team.
                            >
                            > JFE


                            It seems as if Grant disliked McClernand for more than politicking, as
                            McC didn't seem to do all that much of it before Shiloh, and Grant
                            already had it in for him by that time.

                            Grant, himself, did some politicking with Washburne, so it's not as if
                            he had clean hands, either.

                            Joseph
                          • bjer50010
                            ... politicking ... esp. ... I think he was somewhat more than moderately competent in combat. One thing about him, which is admirable, was his ability to
                            Message 13 of 27 , Jul 30, 2006
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                              --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, Jfepperson@... wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              > It is difficult, if not impossible, to separate McClernand's
                              politicking
                              > from his on-field performance. You couldn't get the one w/o the
                              > other. Was he a moderately competant combat performer,
                              esp.
                              > on defense? Yes.

                              I think he was somewhat more than moderately competent in
                              combat. One thing about him, which is admirable, was his
                              ability to learn fairly quickly. Don't forget that even West Pointers
                              had very little experience leading large bodies of troops, prior to
                              the war. McClernand learned to do so; and became, as you say,
                              "moderately competent." I think, had he been able to
                              subordinate his ego, he might have become a very good officer.

                              > But since the politicking came with that, I
                              > don't blame anyone for not wanting him on their team.
                              >

                              IMHO it isn't the politicking per se, that was the problem with
                              McClernand. Every general had to have a level of political
                              support in order to be noticed and to gain promotion. But that
                              was a part of the game they knew they had to play. Had
                              McClernand stuck to sending letters to governors, senators,
                              congressmen, etc. I would have no problem with his behaviour
                              (both Grant and Sherman, and most other officers engaged in
                              the same sort of behaviour). What sets McClernand apart, IMO,
                              is that he by-passed the chain of command and wrote directly to
                              Stanton and to Lincoln (in his role as C-in-C) to denigrate fellow
                              officers and to seek an appointment for which he was only
                              marginally qualified. It was his attempts to subvert the chain of
                              command that make his actions reprehensible IMO.

                              JB Jewell

                              > JFE
                              >
                              > James F. Epperson
                              > http://members.aol.com/jfepperson/causes.html
                              > http://members.aol.com/siege1864
                              >
                            • jaydee2065
                              ... Given these grades for McClernand, how would you grade Grant s performance at: Belmont Fort Donelson Shiloh Champion Hill Vicksburg Assaults
                              Message 14 of 27 , Jul 30, 2006
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                                --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@...>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > Belmont B+
                                > Fort Donelson B-
                                > Shiloh B
                                > Arkansas Post B
                                > Port Gibson B
                                > Champion Hill C
                                > Big Black Bridge B+
                                > Vicksburg Assaults B+

                                Given these grades for McClernand, how would you grade Grant's
                                performance at:

                                Belmont
                                Fort Donelson
                                Shiloh
                                Champion Hill
                                Vicksburg Assaults
                              • Jfepperson@aol.com
                                In a message dated 7/30/2006 12:02:11 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, ... Jfepperson@., Jfepper ... It seems as if Grant disliked McClernand for more than
                                Message 15 of 27 , Jul 30, 2006
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                                  In a message dated 7/30/2006 12:02:11 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, josepharose@... writes:
                                  --- In civilwarwest@ yahoogroups. com, Jfepperson@. .. wrote:
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > It is difficult, if not impossible, to separate McClernand's politicking
                                  > from his on-field performance. You couldn't get the one w/o the
                                  > other. Was he a moderately competant combat performer, esp.
                                  > on defense? Yes. But since the politicking came with that, I
                                  > don't blame anyone for not wanting him on their team.

                                  It seems as if Grant disliked McClernand for more than politicking, as
                                  McC didn't seem to do all that much of it before Shiloh, and Grant
                                  already had it in for him by that time.
                                  =====
                                  Such things are subjective, of course, but my quick skim of Kiper's book
                                  shows a couple of instances of McClernand's politicking prior to Belmont,
                                  and of course he did a fair amount of it *at* Belmont, so I don't blame
                                  Grant for being a bit down on him by Shiloh.  Kiper points out that
                                  McClernand tried to take a lot of credit for Belmont, and thus got on
                                  Rawlins's bad side, which no doubt influenced Grant.  It is also worth
                                  noting that McClernand communicated directly with McClellan about
                                  Belmont, which was indicative of his problems and personality.
                                   
                                  JFE
                                   

                                  James F. Epperson
                                  http://members.aol.com/jfepperson/causes.html
                                  http://members.aol.com/siege1864
                                • josepharose
                                  ... [snip] ... Belmont, ... Grant, in turn, had apparently proposed a reorganization to Washburne where he would get an independent department (according to
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Jul 30, 2006
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                                    --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, Jfepperson@... wrote:

                                    [snip]

                                    > =====
                                    > Such things are subjective, of course, but my quick skim of Kiper's book
                                    > shows a couple of instances of McClernand's politicking prior to
                                    Belmont,
                                    > and of course he did a fair amount of it *at* Belmont, so I don't blame
                                    > Grant for being a bit down on him by Shiloh. Kiper points out that
                                    > McClernand tried to take a lot of credit for Belmont, and thus got on
                                    > Rawlins's bad side, which no doubt influenced Grant. It is also worth
                                    > noting that McClernand communicated directly with McClellan about
                                    > Belmont, which was indicative of his problems and personality.
                                    >
                                    > JFE


                                    Grant, in turn, had "apparently proposed a reorganization to
                                    Washburne" where he would get an independent department (according to
                                    Kiper's dissertation). As McC was working with Grant to get this
                                    independent command set up, they seem to be much closer than what you
                                    have intimated. Do you have any citations for Grant's alleged
                                    annoyance with McC at this early date?

                                    If you look at Grant's 11/20/61 message to Washburne, Grant used his
                                    political channel--as he did throughout the war--to attend to his
                                    military needs. Grant also released a rather bombastic after-battle
                                    address to his troops. He seems little different from McC, who
                                    received a letter from Lincoln before replying to him, above and
                                    beyond the message to McClellan. What did he say to McClellan that
                                    was inappropriate?

                                    If Lincoln was in the habit of corresponding with McC and asking for
                                    information or advice, it would also appear unjust to severely blame
                                    McC for going outside of channels.

                                    Joseph
                                  • jaydee2065
                                    ... Joseph: How do guesstimate Grant s performances for the following battles? Belmont Fort Donelson Shiloh Champion Hill Big Black Bridge Vicksburg Assaults
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Jul 30, 2006
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                                      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@...>
                                      wrote:
                                      >

                                      > I think that he was quite competent as a commander. As
                                      > guesstimates of his tactical battlefield performances, I posit:
                                      >
                                      > Belmont B+
                                      > Fort Donelson B-
                                      > Shiloh B
                                      > Arkansas Post B
                                      > Port Gibson B
                                      > Champion Hill C
                                      > Big Black Bridge B+
                                      > Vicksburg Assaults B+
                                      >

                                      Joseph:

                                      How do guesstimate Grant's performances for the following battles?

                                      Belmont
                                      Fort Donelson
                                      Shiloh
                                      Champion Hill
                                      Big Black Bridge
                                      Vicksburg Assaults
                                    • Tony Gunter
                                      ... Kiper s book ... blame ... that ... got on ... worth ... to ... you ... According to Kiper, the contention between Grant and McClernand didn t begin until
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Jul 31, 2006
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                                        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@...>
                                        wrote:
                                        >
                                        > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, Jfepperson@ wrote:
                                        >
                                        > [snip]
                                        >
                                        > > =====
                                        > > Such things are subjective, of course, but my quick skim of
                                        Kiper's book
                                        > > shows a couple of instances of McClernand's politicking prior to
                                        > Belmont,
                                        > > and of course he did a fair amount of it *at* Belmont, so I don't
                                        blame
                                        > > Grant for being a bit down on him by Shiloh. Kiper points out
                                        that
                                        > > McClernand tried to take a lot of credit for Belmont, and thus
                                        got on
                                        > > Rawlins's bad side, which no doubt influenced Grant. It is also
                                        worth
                                        > > noting that McClernand communicated directly with McClellan about
                                        > > Belmont, which was indicative of his problems and personality.
                                        > >
                                        > > JFE
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Grant, in turn, had "apparently proposed a reorganization to
                                        > Washburne" where he would get an independent department (according
                                        to
                                        > Kiper's dissertation). As McC was working with Grant to get this
                                        > independent command set up, they seem to be much closer than what
                                        you
                                        > have intimated. Do you have any citations for Grant's alleged
                                        > annoyance with McC at this early date?

                                        According to Kiper, the contention between Grant and McClernand
                                        didn't begin until Henry & Donelson ... I can't recall which offense
                                        of several was the one that set Grant off (the self-aggrandizing
                                        reports, renaming the forts without authority, etc.).

                                        Logan, however, was irate with McClernand after Belmont, because
                                        Logan, who had basically led the charge into the Confederate camp and
                                        then led the charge back out, had nearly been written out of the
                                        report by McClernand.

                                        > If you look at Grant's 11/20/61 message to Washburne,

                                        The difference being that Washburne was not in the federal chain of
                                        command.
                                      • bjer50010
                                        ... Kiper s book ... don t blame ... that ... got on ... worth ... to ... Grant to Washburne 11/20/1861. I saw through the press of the country the new
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Jul 31, 2006
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                                          --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@...>
                                          wrote:
                                          >
                                          > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, Jfepperson@ wrote:
                                          >
                                          > [snip]
                                          >
                                          > > =====
                                          > > Such things are subjective, of course, but my quick skim of
                                          Kiper's book
                                          > > shows a couple of instances of McClernand's politicking prior to
                                          > Belmont,
                                          > > and of course he did a fair amount of it *at* Belmont, so I
                                          don't blame
                                          > > Grant for being a bit down on him by Shiloh. Kiper points out
                                          that
                                          > > McClernand tried to take a lot of credit for Belmont, and thus
                                          got on
                                          > > Rawlins's bad side, which no doubt influenced Grant. It is also
                                          worth
                                          > > noting that McClernand communicated directly with McClellan about
                                          > > Belmont, which was indicative of his problems and personality.
                                          > >
                                          > > JFE
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > Grant, in turn, had "apparently proposed a reorganization to
                                          > Washburne" where he would get an independent department (according
                                          to
                                          > Kiper's dissertation).

                                          Grant to Washburne 11/20/1861. "I saw through the press of the
                                          country the new assignment of Military Departments and knew that it
                                          would defeat the plan proposed by Gen McClernand and myself." (PUSG
                                          3: p.204). Footnote: "No othr USG correspondence relating to this
                                          plan has been found. Apparently USG had discussed it when Washburne
                                          was in Cairo."

                                          > As McC was working with Grant to get this
                                          > independent command set up, they seem to be much closer than what
                                          you
                                          > have intimated.

                                          Not necessarily. Cheairs points out that at that time, McClernand
                                          was a very powerful politician in IL, which also happened to be
                                          Grant's home state. Because of political considerations Grant was
                                          forced to tred carefully where McClernand was concerned.

                                          > Do you have any citations for Grant's alleged
                                          > annoyance with McC at this early date?
                                          >
                                          > If you look at Grant's 11/20/61 message to Washburne, Grant used
                                          his
                                          > political channel--as he did throughout the war--to attend to his
                                          > military needs.

                                          Not really. For one thing, Grant was replying to two letters from
                                          Washburne. He then goes on to state that he had received telegrams
                                          from McClellan and QM Sibley, "the first calling for a full report
                                          of all my wants as well as everything connected with this command,
                                          and announcing that 3000 stands of arms were to be sent. The latter
                                          enquiring the articles of clothing most needed." He proceeds to
                                          discuss the "plan" as I indicated above.

                                          But he continues, "I asked for nothing for myself. I believed that
                                          Cairo should be the HQ of the Department called upon to act South."
                                          After explaining why, he writes, "The very flattering interest you
                                          have taken in my personal welfare and advancement I know of no way
                                          of repaying." As a PS he asks for Washburne to look into getting a
                                          BG appointment for WHL Wallace. That's the extent of the letter to
                                          Washburne. It can hardly be stated "Grant used his political
                                          channel--as he did throughout the war--to attend to his military
                                          needs." In each instance he is looking out for his men, or for a
                                          trusted subordinate. He asked for nothing for himself, as you seem
                                          to be implying.

                                          > Grant also released a rather bombastic after-battle
                                          > address to his troops.

                                          So what? Are you saying Grant was not permitted to address his
                                          troops after their first battle?

                                          > seems little different from McC, who
                                          > received a letter from Lincoln before replying to him, above and
                                          > beyond the message to McClellan.

                                          Grant was also replying to Washburne, but you seem to be criticising
                                          his behaviour. Strange that you accept certain behaviours in
                                          McClernand that you criticise in Grant.

                                          > at did he say to McClellan that
                                          > was inappropriate?
                                          >

                                          You entirely miss the point. It wasn't what he wrote to McClellan,
                                          it was that he again by-passed the chain of command to send a
                                          message directly to the general-in-chief, instead of sending it
                                          through proper military channels.

                                          > If Lincoln was in the habit of corresponding with McC and asking
                                          for
                                          > information or advice, it would also appear unjust to severely
                                          blame
                                          > McC for going outside of channels.
                                          >

                                          It is wrong for a number of reasons. As pointed out to you already,
                                          it was inappropriate for him to contact Lincoln directly because
                                          Lincoln was part of the chain of command to which McClernand was
                                          supposed to answer. He by-passed that chain of command as he
                                          usually did. OTOH, Washburne was no in the chain of command. As I
                                          stated in a previous post, had McClernand stuck to writing to
                                          senators, governors, etc. no one would care. Instead he took it
                                          upon himself to write directly to superiors without sending the
                                          letters through proper channels. BTW, apparently all Lincoln wrote
                                          to McClernand was a commendation for the performance of his troops
                                          at Belmont. McClernand replied by sending his own version of what
                                          happened, included his OR (which should have been sent through
                                          Grant) and made a number of requests. Lincoln does not appear to
                                          have asked for "information or advice", though McClernand did
                                          provide it. I see no reason, based on your argument, not to
                                          criticise his behaviour.

                                          > Joseph
                                          >
                                        • hank9174
                                          ... don t ... also ... about ... (according ... offense ... IIRC, the Confeds escaped at Ft. Henry through McC s sector. At Ft Donelson he atacked without
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Aug 1, 2006
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                                            --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
                                            wrote:
                                            >
                                            > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@>
                                            > wrote:
                                            > >
                                            > > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, Jfepperson@ wrote:
                                            > >
                                            > > [snip]
                                            > >
                                            > > > =====
                                            > > > Such things are subjective, of course, but my quick skim of
                                            > Kiper's book
                                            > > > shows a couple of instances of McClernand's politicking prior to
                                            > > Belmont,
                                            > > > and of course he did a fair amount of it *at* Belmont, so I
                                            don't
                                            > blame
                                            > > > Grant for being a bit down on him by Shiloh. Kiper points out
                                            > that
                                            > > > McClernand tried to take a lot of credit for Belmont, and thus
                                            > got on
                                            > > > Rawlins's bad side, which no doubt influenced Grant. It is
                                            also
                                            > worth
                                            > > > noting that McClernand communicated directly with McClellan
                                            about
                                            > > > Belmont, which was indicative of his problems and personality.
                                            > > >
                                            > > > JFE
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > Grant, in turn, had "apparently proposed a reorganization to
                                            > > Washburne" where he would get an independent department
                                            (according
                                            > to
                                            > > Kiper's dissertation). As McC was working with Grant to get this
                                            > > independent command set up, they seem to be much closer than what
                                            > you
                                            > > have intimated. Do you have any citations for Grant's alleged
                                            > > annoyance with McC at this early date?
                                            >
                                            > According to Kiper, the contention between Grant and McClernand
                                            > didn't begin until Henry & Donelson ... I can't recall which
                                            offense
                                            > of several was the one that set Grant off (the self-aggrandizing
                                            > reports, renaming the forts without authority, etc.).

                                            IIRC, the Confeds escaped at Ft. Henry through McC's sector.

                                            At Ft Donelson he atacked without orders and was bloodily repulsed.


                                            HankC
                                          • Tony Gunter
                                            ... I don t think he can be blamed for that, though, after the fighting that his division did that day. ... Kiper points out that Smith did too, without
                                            Message 21 of 27 , Aug 1, 2006
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                                              --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "hank9174" <clarkc@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > IIRC, the Confeds escaped at Ft. Henry through McC's sector.

                                              I don't think he can be blamed for that, though, after the fighting
                                              that his division did that day.

                                              >
                                              > At Ft Donelson he atacked without orders and was bloodily repulsed.

                                              Kiper points out that Smith did too, without rebuke.
                                            • nickrelee@aol.com
                                              But I don t think its any deficiency in McC that they escaped, no Union troops were in position to prevent that escape. The navy took the fort too quickly.
                                              Message 22 of 27 , Aug 1, 2006
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                                                But I don't think its any deficiency in McC that they escaped, no Union troops were in position to prevent that escape.  The navy took the fort too quickly.  Also I thought Henry's commander started to evacuate once the bombardment began, knowing that he couldn't hold the fort too long.
                                                --Nick Kurtz
                                                 
                                                In a message dated 8/1/2006 8:27:59 AM Mountain Daylight Time, clarkc@... writes:
                                                IIRC, the Confeds escaped at Ft. Henry through McC's sector.
                                                 
                                              • Tony Gunter
                                                ... Oops ... thought you were talking about Donelson.
                                                Message 23 of 27 , Aug 1, 2006
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                                                  --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
                                                  wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "hank9174" <clarkc@> wrote:
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > > IIRC, the Confeds escaped at Ft. Henry through McC's sector.
                                                  >
                                                  > I don't think he can be blamed for that, though, after the fighting
                                                  > that his division did that day.

                                                  Oops ... thought you were talking about Donelson.
                                                • Tom Mix
                                                  I think we know those answers with out setting him up for them. The bottom line is that Grant won at 4 of the 5 battles listed and that is what mattered. He
                                                  Message 24 of 27 , Aug 1, 2006
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                                                    I think we know those answers with out setting him up for them. The bottom
                                                    line is that Grant won at 4 of the 5 battles listed and that is what
                                                    mattered. He was not forced from the field of battle in any of them.
                                                    At Shiloh he fought for time first and won. Then, on the next day, he fought
                                                    for ground and won that too. Napoleon said that he could always retake
                                                    ground but he could not retake time. Words that Grant followed to the max at
                                                    Shiloh.
                                                    I would give Belmont a C as it was his first combat command and he did
                                                    adequate and learned tremendously. While not a victory it was not a
                                                    devastating loss and it prepared him for the future. Great Generals learn
                                                    from good and bad experiences and Grant learned. Then he applied that
                                                    knowledge in his future efforts.
                                                    The remaining battles were at least a B for each one. He utilized his
                                                    available resources which includes the talents of his officer corps as well
                                                    as his logistics and man power. At Vicksburg he showed innovation and
                                                    creativity as he tried to go the West with a canal system. It did not work
                                                    but at least he tried something. Then he courageously (b...s out, if you
                                                    will) moved his army by water, at night, down the river in front of the
                                                    enemy guns. To me, all interesting efforts.

                                                    Why don't we study the battle with out getting into one specific member's
                                                    hatred of a specific individual for once. I already know where the hate lies
                                                    around here without needing to revisit it again.
                                                    But every body may do as they please.

                                                    Dog out here.
                                                    Tom

                                                    -----Original Message-----
                                                    From: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com [mailto:civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com] On
                                                    Behalf Of jaydee2065
                                                    Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2006 2:24 PM
                                                    To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
                                                    Subject: [civilwarwest] Re: McClernand's Competency

                                                    --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@...>
                                                    wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    > Belmont B+
                                                    > Fort Donelson B-
                                                    > Shiloh B
                                                    > Arkansas Post B
                                                    > Port Gibson B
                                                    > Champion Hill C
                                                    > Big Black Bridge B+
                                                    > Vicksburg Assaults B+

                                                    Given these grades for McClernand, how would you grade Grant's
                                                    performance at:

                                                    Belmont
                                                    Fort Donelson
                                                    Shiloh
                                                    Champion Hill
                                                    Vicksburg Assaults











                                                    Yahoo! Groups Links
                                                  • Ronald black
                                                    Mr. Rose: The point is that Grant persisted despite any and all battlefield difficulties. He continued to be aggressive both in a battle and in the campaign.
                                                    Message 25 of 27 , Aug 2, 2006
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                                                      Mr. Rose:
                                                      The point is that Grant persisted despite any and all battlefield difficulties.  He continued to be aggressive both in a battle and in the campaign.  The armies that he commanded continued to advance through whatever the confederates threw at him.  The battles were only stations along the track of the civil war, and he continued down that track.  Perhaps, instead of asking for ratings concerning a battle, if instead you asked for a rating during the entire civil war.  How would you rate him?  I rate him as a A and I'm not really a fan of Grant but I recognize a job well done.
                                                      Ron
                                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                                      From: Tom Mix
                                                      Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 1:47 AM
                                                      Subject: RE: [civilwarwest] Re: McClernand's Competency

                                                      I think we know those answers with out setting him up for them. The bottom
                                                      line is that Grant won at 4 of the 5 battles listed and that is what
                                                      mattered. He was not forced from the field of battle in any of them.
                                                      At Shiloh he fought for time first and won. Then, on the next day, he fought
                                                      for ground and won that too. Napoleon said that he could always retake
                                                      ground but he could not retake time. Words that Grant followed to the max at
                                                      Shiloh.
                                                      I would give Belmont a C as it was his first combat command and he did
                                                      adequate and learned tremendously. While not a victory it was not a
                                                      devastating loss and it prepared him for the future. Great Generals learn
                                                      from good and bad experiences and Grant learned. Then he applied that
                                                      knowledge in his future efforts.
                                                      The remaining battles were at least a B for each one. He utilized his
                                                      available resources which includes the talents of his officer corps as well
                                                      as his logistics and man power. At Vicksburg he showed innovation and
                                                      creativity as he tried to go the West with a canal system. It did not work
                                                      but at least he tried something. Then he courageously (b...s out, if you
                                                      will) moved his army by water, at night, down the river in front of the
                                                      enemy guns. To me, all interesting efforts.

                                                      Why don't we study the battle with out getting into one specific member's
                                                      hatred of a specific individual for once. I already know where the hate lies
                                                      around here without needing to revisit it again.
                                                      But every body may do as they please.

                                                      Dog out here.
                                                      Tom

                                                      -----Original Message-----
                                                      From: civilwarwest@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:civilwarwest@ yahoogroups. com] On
                                                      Behalf Of jaydee2065
                                                      Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2006 2:24 PM
                                                      To: civilwarwest@ yahoogroups. com
                                                      Subject: [civilwarwest] Re: McClernand's Competency

                                                      --- In civilwarwest@ yahoogroups. com, "josepharose" <josepharose@ ...>
                                                      wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      > Belmont B+
                                                      > Fort Donelson B-
                                                      > Shiloh B
                                                      > Arkansas Post B
                                                      > Port Gibson B
                                                      > Champion Hill C
                                                      > Big Black Bridge B+
                                                      > Vicksburg Assaults B+

                                                      Given these grades for McClernand, how would you grade Grant's
                                                      performance at:

                                                      Belmont
                                                      Fort Donelson
                                                      Shiloh
                                                      Champion Hill
                                                      Vicksburg Assaults

                                                      Yahoo! Groups Links


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                                                    • bjer50010
                                                      ... Kiper does point out that Smith also attacked. But what he said was that Grant rebuked McClernand, the political general, but not Smith, the former
                                                      Message 26 of 27 , Aug 3, 2006
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                                                        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
                                                        wrote:
                                                        >
                                                        > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "hank9174" <clarkc@> wrote:
                                                        > >
                                                        > >
                                                        > >
                                                        > > At Ft Donelson he atacked without orders and was bloodily repulsed.
                                                        >
                                                        > Kiper points out that Smith did too, without rebuke.
                                                        >

                                                        Kiper does point out that Smith also attacked. But what he said was
                                                        that Grant rebuked McClernand, the political general, but not Smith,
                                                        the former commandant of WP. His sources are the ORs and Grant's
                                                        memoirs. It's unknown whether Grant rebuked Smith or not (certainly
                                                        there is no record of it).

                                                        But I will point out some key differences in the two situations.
                                                        McClernand attacked a defensive redan in the middle of the Confederate
                                                        line. He used 3-4 regiments, which collectively numbered about the
                                                        same as the defenders (even Kiper criticised this action). In
                                                        contrast, Smith attacked near the Confederate right flank and used two
                                                        full brigades. It is possible, though there is no evidence of this,
                                                        AFAIK, that Grant and Smith had discussed the possibility of the attack
                                                        to feel out the rebel defenses. In contrast, McClernand acted
                                                        completely on his own authority and impulsively, to remove an annoying
                                                        rebel defensive point.

                                                        If this is correct, then it makes sense Grant would rebuke McClernand
                                                        and not Smith. Smith's action appears to have made some sense, while
                                                        McClernand's was just a knee-jerk reaction to some annoying enemy fire.
                                                      • keeno2@aol.com
                                                        Have been following this thread with interest. It would seem that McC made the same mistakes as other citizen generals early in their careers. Some of them
                                                        Message 27 of 27 , Aug 3, 2006
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                                                          Have been following this thread with interest. It would seem that McC made the same mistakes as other citizen generals early in their careers. Some of them remained because of their political value. Many of them were given important posts in Montana. McC seemed to be learning the trade. Had he not been so annoying to his superiors, he might have made an able division or corps commander.
                                                          Ken
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