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The most song-inspiring Northern general: McClellan? — 2 Comments

  1. It is factually wrong to say that “McClellan turned out to be a weak and indecisive field commander” and that instead of taking the offensive he “lost a series of defensive battles and eventually retreated to Washington, abandoning his attempt to capture Richmond.”

    McClellan did not “retreat” to Washington. He was forced to return to Washington against his will by Lincoln and Stanton–and this after he had beaten Lee in the Seven Days Battles, had successfully relocated his army to Harrison’s Landing so he could continue to threaten Richmond, and had forced Lee to return to Richmond.

    And McClellan was anything but indecisive. There is a big difference between ensuring your troops are ready and your supply lines are secure and being indecisive. McClellan was perfectly willing to launch ferocious attacks when he felt there was a good chance of success. However, unlike Grant and others, he would not use his men as cannon fodder by needlessly hurling them to their deaths by the thousands against fortified, entrenched positions.

    The Smearing of General George B. McClellan
    http://www.mtgriffith.com/web_documents/smearingmcclellan.htm

    • I read a summary of your post on the American Civil War Forum and knew that if you came here, you would defend McClellan. Septimus Winner, I’m sure, would applaud you after all the trouble his song cost him. I haven’t done the research you have done, so I can’t comment, but of course historians constantly reassess historical figures. Thank you for your input.

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