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William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, I. The Army of the Potomac in history. (search)
ly true; yet the statement must be taken with the limitations that belong to it. The most important of these lines are the Peninsula between the York and James rivers, and the route by the south side of the James. The former was adopted by General McClellan in the spring of 1862, and the latter was eventually taken up by General Grant in the summer of 1864, after having, in a remarkable campaign, crossed every possible line of operation against Richmond. But it is manifest that Richmond couldan exposed frontier, profoundly affected the character of military operations in Virginia, and, during the first three years of the war, caused a subordination of all strategic combinations to the protection of Washington. Saving the time when McClellan moved to the Peninsula, and Grant swung across the James River, the Army of the Potomac was never allowed to uncover Washington. Now, in the former case, the first menace by Lee foreshadowing a northward movement caused the withdrawal of the a
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 2 (search)
by General Scott been intrusted to General George B. McClellan, formerly of the Corps of Engineersbeing bounded on one side by the Ohio River, McClellan's attention was naturally attracted to the end menacing in a military point of view, General McClellan, about the end of May, without instructicoming aware of it, abandoned his position. McClellan having determined to occupy the whole regionources of the country are inconsiderable. McClellan: Campaigns in Western Virginia, p. 25. Tram, with a force of about one thousand men. McClellan, whose line of march was from the west, frommmunicating his proposed plan of operations, McClellan adroitly put it that he should seek to repeaance north of the enemy's stronghold, as General McClellan, at Buchanon, with his other two brigade to make good his escape southward, he found McClellan already grasping his line of retreat, and he more than an equal number of men. Hurlbut: McClellan and the Conduct of the War, page 103. Th[8 more...]
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 3 (search)
their qualifications, etc., etc. Though General McClellan was unable to strike at this, he endeavois attack as soon as possible. Though General McClellan used to keep his own counsel, yet Genera of the people and the Administration in General McClellan. And it is precisely in this regard twould be out of the whole affair; and if General McClellan did not want to use the army, he would lef, I conceived, as a common superior to General McClellan and both of us, it was for the Presidentn at the time fixed. It was impossible that McClellan's project could be initiated at the appointerevent its repossession by the enemy. General McClellan immediately began his preparations in acin forming his plan of campaign, assured General McClellan that he had decided to allow the divisiomptly adopted and vigorously executed. When McClellan presented his scheme of a change of base to r the security of the capital, no sooner had McClellan left for his new field of operations, than t[86 more...]
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 4 (search)
e administrative talent, in concert with General McClellan, directed this vast undertaking, that fo be too strong for his available vessels. McClellan: Report, p. 79. It is due to say, that Commoasure is set forth with much emphasis by General McClellan. To me, says he, the blow was most disco the capital, determined, in response to General McClellan's oft-repeated appeals for re-enforcemenll's van. McDowell was eager to advance, and McClellan was equally anxious for his arrival, when thmuch to say that he saved Richmond; for when McClellan, in expectation that Mc-Dowell might still brecited placed the Army of the Potomac. Had McClellan been free immediately after the battle of Wibased on sound military reasoning. What General McClellan should have seen, however, is that his pof the army, placed as between two fires, McClellan: Report, p. 125. and enable Jackson by movinp with columns of infantry; but finding that McClellan had taken up a strong position, he retired o[68 more...]
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, V. Pope's campaign in Northern Virginia. August, 1862. (search)
ing the safety of the national capital. General McClellan brought back to Harrison's Landing betwes to warrant the adoption of the plan by General McClellan much more than by General Grant—for in 1al Pope, who, as soon as the intelligence of McClellan's retreat to the James River was received, bnxiety now cherished by Mr. Lincoln that General McClellan should be allowed his own way, he was noperative. The President, in response to General McClellan's appeals for re-enforcements to enable President Lincoln, during a visit he made to McClellan's camp in July, 1862, an opinion in favor ofer dream, when he was thus laboring to cause McClellan to withdraw, that the generalin-chief of thead reached Fredericksburg, and a part of General McClellan's army was believed to have left Westoveralship! Thus it was that at the very moment McClellan was turning an unwilling back on Richmond anistence, and its corps, united with the Army of the Potomac, fell back into the arms of McClellan. [15 more...]
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 6 (search)
e presence of the hostile force would detain McClellan on the frontier long enough to render an invic of his name with the soldiers he had led. McClellan's reappearance at the head of affairs had thrmarch from Hagerstown to Hill's support. McClellan, by his knowledge of Lee's movements, was soon the soil of Virginia. This inactivity of McClellan after Antietam, has been made the theme for on, timidity, and consequent inaction. What McClellan knew was that the battle had cost the terrib inspire a circumspect policy on the part of McClellan; for Virginia had been lost, and Maryland wa. Says Hill: Had all our stragglers been up, McClellan's army would have been completely crushed or of Southwestern Maryland. Iii. Close of McClellan's career. The movement from Washington inuct of the War. Thus ended the career of McClellan as head of the Army of the Potomac—an army wtion of that campaign prompted the recall of McClellan as the only man who could make the army effi[51 more...]
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 7 (search)
at responsibility came unsought and undesired. Cherishing a high respect for McClellan's military talent, and bound to him by the ties of an intimate affection, Genry of War; and also, that if things could be satisfactorily arranged with General McClellan, I thought he could command the Army of the Potomac better than any others proved, there was at the moment no man who seemed so well fitted to succeed McClellan. Of the other corps commanders of the Army of the Potomac, no one had yet prrmy generally. To the troops he was recommended as the friend and admirer of McClellan; and in this regard, as representing a legitimate succession rather than the doah Valley—the two wings being separated by two marches; and it had been General McClellan's intent, by a rapid advance on Gordonsville, to interpose between Lee's chmond by the overland route, but had his mind turned towards a repetition of McClellan's movement to the Peninsula; and in determining to march to Fredericksburg he
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 9 (search)
this narrative has already set forth the bold and successful manner in which it was more than once carried out. It was in accordance with this policy that General Johnston, after falling back from Yorktown to the front of Richmond, turned upon McClellan astride the Chickahominy, and dealt him a blow which but for accidental circumstances should have terminated the campaign—a result that, indeed, was accomplished, when Lee, continuing the conception of Johnston, seized the initiative and hurledhave attacked at Williamsport, is really not the proper point at issue. It is one of a larger scope, and turns on the whole history of Lee's retreat and Meade's pursuit. The principles already laid down as those that should guide criticism on McClellan's conduct after Antietam, apply with equal and even greater force to Meade's conduct after Gettysburg. That an army that had moved so far from its base, as that of Lee; that had crossed the frontier; that had been defeated in a great battle of
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 10 (search)
Lee from Maryland into Virginia imposed upon General Meade the necessity of an immediate pursuit. This he undertook with a promptitude that was very creditable, considering the trying campaign that had just closed. On recrossing the Potomac, Lee fell back into the Shenandoah Valley, placing his force on the line of Opequan Creek— the same position he had held during the autumn after his retreat from Antietam. Meade's plan of advance into Virginia was confessedly modelled on that of McClellan in November, 1862; and it was probably the best that could have been adopted. As a problem in that branch of the art of war which is named logistics, or the supplying of armies, it was not considered practicable to subsist a force of the magnitude of the Army of the Potomac by the means available in a direct advance up the Shenandoah Valley. It remained, therefore, to march by the route of the London Valley; and by hugging the Blue Ridge closely, Meade hoped, by vigorous action, to bring
William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 11 (search)
dly on the vital point. Since the time when, for a brief period, McClellan had exercised the functions of generalin-chief—a period during whnced by extrinsic and political considerations (the supporters of McClellan condemning and his opponents favoring the overland route), makes use the line of the York River for an advance similar to that of McClellan, in 1862, or to take up the line of the James and threaten the Co in the minds of those who had made the Peninsular Campaign under McClellan; for it was at Hawes' Shop that the extreme right of the army theing from Hanover Courthouse to make his famous raid, first struck McClellan's outposts. Gaines' Mill and Mechanicsville were within an hour'the battle of Gaines' Mill, the first of the series of actions in McClellan's retrograde movement across the Peninsula, was fought. As the ltive situations of the combatants were quite reversed—Lee holding McClellan's position and Grant Lee's. Lee disposed his force on the hith
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