McClellan "exhibited a marvelous mind. His capacity for knowledge, coupled with a first-rate education, transformed McClellan into a true intellectual force. By age twelve, he had mastered Latin, French, and the classics, and at fourteen he enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania. Two years later, he entered West Point, where his academic excellence continued. At nineteen and a half years of age, McClellan graduated second in his class. . ."
"Even during his eleven-year Regular Army career, where most officers' minds languished, his reputation for cerebral prowess expanded. And engineer officer, he prepared two papers for the Napoleon Club at West Point (one of them 111 pages long), invented a cavalry saddle, and translated a bayonet manual from French, all in his spare time. His greatest intellectual feat, though, occurred during a three-month leave after observation of the Crimean War, when McClellan taught himself Russian and translated a 300-page book from Russian to English."
It explains why he was such a pussy of a general, he was to intelligent.
He won the battle of Antietam which was like the Stalingrad of the civil war
>to intelligent to win
>McClellan is not in charge of the union army
humiliated at Bull Run despite McClellan winning minor skirmishes and essentially liberating west virginia
>McClellan is now in charge of the Union army
New Orleans captured, North Carolina coastal islands captured, Tennessee invaded, army morale 180'd after threats of mass desertion after bull run, Virginia invaded relieving pressure on Washington.
>gets punked out by Lee but still inflicts more casualties against an enemy that cannot replace them easily
Lincoln spergs out and fires him, Union army is immediately humiliated again, at Bull Run no less.
Immediately moves quickly to 180 morale again, quickly wins skirmishes in Maryland, halts Lee's advance. Waits for supplies for his badly equipped army because every other military official was logistically incompetent after he was fired the first time. Lincoln seethes some more and fires him again
>Union once again without McClellan
defeated and humiliated
defeated and humiliated, literally Lee's greatest victory despite retard strategies "lmao split the army hurr durr"
bretty good, more like Lee "durr attack lmao" autism defeated itself though rather than any great generalship on Meades part.
McClellan is unironically the second best general the north had.
Why his reputation has been so thoroughly smeared is a mystery
>McClellan is now in charge of the Union army
>New Orleans captured, North Carolina coastal islands captured, Tennessee invaded
He had nothing to do with any of these successes.
During that time he wasn't just general of Army of the Potomac, he was in charge of the entire United States army. It was his strategy.
It was Scott's strategy, McClellan ran from the gates of Richmond.
AFAIK the War Department wanted to recall the AoP from the Peninsula by the start of August for fear that malaria season was starting.
>Why his reputation has been so thoroughly smeared is a mystery
He would almost certainly be regarded more highly if his letters had not been published. His failures are judged more severely because people know he was a pompous asshole with delusions of grandeur.
The fact that he ran against (at least nowadays) near universally beloved Lincoln doesn't help.
>defeated and humiliated
Some will say Burnside was fucked over by Franklin, Hooker, and other schemers who wanted his job and also didn't like how he was a Republican.
Meade did his job competently enough for the rest of the war, didn't complain much, and was a Republican so in the administration's good graces. He kind of resented Grant commanding the AOP over his head, but after Grant lobbied to get him promoted to major general in the regular army he was like "wtf? i love Grant now."
lel this goes from very disingenuous to downright falsehood. Little Mac was an excellent administrator and organizer but a poor field commander, could've obliterated the Rebels in the Peninsular Campaign and later on at Antietam if he wasn't such a pussy. He was his own worst enemy, conjuring up imaginary Confederates and blaming Washington for not sending him another million men.
He didn't blame washington for not sending him enough men, he was rightly pissed off that Lincoln stole 40k men that were planned to be part of the peninsula campaign to "defend washington" while later in the war he happily stripped it to give more men to grant
Yeah he definitely had his shortcomings, but looking at the whole picture objectively he was the absolute best commander before Grant was put in charge.
I don't think people today really understand the panic the north was in over Lee's first advance into the northern states. McClellan was hailed at the time as the literal savior of the nation for the Maryland campaign. Even Lee's second invasion was not scene as such a dire threat to the nation as the first was because of the close proximity to Washington.
By all accounts the north was objectively more successful with him than without him, until Grant took over of course.
also this. 40K men sent to run around Shenandoah Valley accomplishing absolutely fucking nothing if I remember correctly
Jackson out-generaled his opponents in the Shenandoah, if they'd served their intended purpose of keeping him there he would've never made it to reinforce Lee during the Seven Days. Not that it matters in the larger picture when MacLellan's timidity allowed a paltry Confederate force to hold him up for weeks. That same tendency to always assume his Rebel foes greatly outnumbered him also cost the Union dearly when he spectacularly botched the Antietam campaign, feeding his superior army into the grinder piecemeal at different points throughout the day when the Confederates were divided and vulnerable to destruction in detail. He was even aware of this, a rare gift in a pre-air reconnaissance era that he ultimately squandered with his poor generalship.
Yeah you can argue he was objectively the best they had until Grant but that's hardly saying much. Mac had too much ego and too little tactical sense, plenty of brains but none of that soldier's instinct. If he'd been made quartermaster general or whatever equivalent for the duration he'd have left a much better legacy.
>observation of the Crimean War
And people wonder why he was so cautious
afaik McClellan really did nothing useful in his three months as general in chief which was why in March 1862 Lincoln demoted him back to just command of the AOP
Grant got the first real Union battlefield victory in the war, and he caused Halleck/McClellan/Buell to act like a bunch of catty schoolgirls towards him because they were upset that he'd done something they did not.
McClellan did himself no favors
I've read his book. He acted like a catty schoolgirl to literally everyone.
they were all like that. McClellan, Halleck, and Buell wanted to take their sweet old time with the war and scheme for self-advancement, but the Donelson/Henry victory threw them for a loop and suddenly made Grant the man of the hour, which none of them were super happy about. Halleck spent the next several weeks after Donelson trying to accuse Grant of being drunk/AWOL from his command. It's also apparent that Buell was plotting against him. All because they were that spiteful how he'd been the first guy to win a real battle (moreover, Grant was promoted to major general ahead of Buell as thanks for Donelson).
>they were all like that.
Grant was not like that.
he's relentlessly handsome
Halleck was also a bit sore in late February-early March 1862 because he requested and was denied complete command of the whole Western theater, so he was taking his frustration out on Grant a bit. After McClellan got demoted, however, Halleck did get the command he wanted and his mood improved as a result.
>The Army of the Potomac in early March 1862 contained a total of eleven divisions. As this was too many for one commander to control, dividing the army into corps was necessary. McClellan however did not wish to do this right away; he said he would like to wait until the AoP was battle-tested and only then would he name corps commanders. Instead, on March 8, Lincoln simply went and appointed them himself. The army was divided into four corps commanded by Irvin McDowell, Edwin Sumner, Samuel Heintzelman, and Erasmus Keyes, all generals selected out of seniority and not at all McClellan's choices for command. Later on, after the AoP fought its first battle at Williamsburg, McClellan requested and got permission to make two additional corps and name their commanders himself. He chose Fitz-John Porter and William Franklin, two good friends of his, to command the new V and VI Corps.
McDowell got sent off to Northern Virginia and didn't accompany the rest of the army to the Virginia Peninsula. McClellan wasn't happy about that, either (the Pennsylvania Reserves did later get sent down and were in the thick of the Seven Days Battles). They also detached Louis Blenker's division of German immigrants and sent that to West Virginia, although those guys would prove to be pretty fucking worthless troops anyway.
So McClellan was the brainiac but it’s middlebrow Grant’s memoirs that we still read. Mark Twain was his publishing champion and his clear concise prose influenced American Modernist writers like Hemingway.
I swear 90% of this board thinks commanding armies is like playing an RTS.
McClellan was an objectively poor commander. His peninsula campaign unironically probably would have succeeded if it wasn’t for him. And he wasn’t even present on the field for the greatest union victory of the campaign. Antietam, despite being a victory, was a poorly executed mess that could have been much more. He was a micromanager and perpetually afraid of his own shadow with a toxic command climate. He routinely kept his commanders in the dark