aariediger wrote:Strategic Rating 2 – McClellan was never accused of acting to fast. Ever. However, in game terms, strategic rating simply deals with the tendency to lead attacks against the enemy. In his term as commander of the Army of the Potomac, McClellan launched four offensive actions: the pursuit of Johnston after Yorktown, the drive north to Hanover to link up with McDowell, the attacks at South Mountain to cross over the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the attacks on Lee at Antietam. If McClellan’s campaigns began in March of 1862, and ended in October with his replacement, that works out to eight months, or 16 game turns, in which he was active at least 4 times. If we remove one opportunity for each major action’s aftermath (one turn where cohesion would be too low to consider an attack anyway), and there were three major actions (Seven Pines, Seven Days, Antietam) than we have 4 confirmed activations in 13 opportunities, or 31%. This matches up pretty well with a 2 Rating, which would mean being active 33% of the time. A 2 Strategy McClellan, combined with the 3 Offensive Rating, should allow the Northern player to attempt campaigns against Richmond in the early years of the war.
aariediger wrote:What happened was one of Rosecrans couriers was captured, and Pegram knew something was going on around his left. He detached a small group of about 350 men to throw up a defensive line. However, this still left 950 with the main line of resistance. Also, although the attack was supposed to start at ten, the climb was much more difficult than expected, and Rosecrans didn’t get into action until 2:30.
Now look at things from McClellan’s point of view. He doesn’t know exactly what is going on for sure, only that Rosecrans is not in the enemy’s rear. He also knows that the route to where ever Rosecrans is, takes at least four hours to get there. He can also see that the majority of the Rebels are still in their entrenchments, and don’t seem to be too concerned with the firefight going on to their left. So what could he do?
1. He could march his two brigades to the sound of the guns, but the earliest he could get there would be 6:30. In the mean time, Pegram is free to march the rest of his men to his left to mass against Rosecrans, and would have about four hours to fight him alone. By the time McClellan was able to join Rosecrans, the issue would likely have already been decided, and there would only be a couple hours left of daylight anyway.
2. He could carry out his assault as previously planned. However, the trenches were still full of gray hats, and that could spell heavy casualties for his two brigades. Rosecrans was counting on this assault to take the pressure off his men. However, because the enemy still had not yet moved many men off of the line, it wasn’t very likely Rosecrans was meeting much resistance. This was true, Rosecrans had over 1,800 men to face the 350 Confederates, and he would end up routing them.
3. He could wait. If Pegram moved part of his force away to join the fight with Rosecrans, McClellan could storm his entrenchments at a moment’s notice, and break his army in two. If instead he kept all his men in the trenches, McClellan would sit and wait for Rosecrans to break his flank.
McClellan chose the last option. In addition, his topographical officer found a position to mount guns so as to bring the entrenchments under enfilading fire. If neither he nor Rosecrans could finish them off today, he would shell them out of their trenches tomorrow. In the event, Pegram kept the rest of his men with him, McClellan held off on the assault, Rosecrans broke their flank, and the Rebels fled. In the pursuit that followed, Pegram and around 600 officers and men surrendered. And as stated before, Garnett retreated from Laurel Hill, Morris caught him at Corrick’s Ford, where Garnett was killed and his force dispersed.
I think he made a pretty good decision, given the situation. As far as 2/3 star ratings, well, even before this battle, he was second in rank only to Winfield Scott himself. I guess I view McClellan as a more popular, slower, Northern version of Bragg. Both were politically supported, were great trainers of soldiers, tended to retreat after battle win lose or draw, were very poor defensively, and all right on the offensive side. Bragg is 5-3-1 backed up with crappy abilities, and I think McClellan should be 2-3-1 with good abilities. A 3 offensive army commander is hard to find, Bragg comes to mind, but other than that I think maybe Thomas? is the only other one I can think of. I think some of the army commanders who did decently on the attacking side deserve a 3, like Bragg, McClellan, and probably Albert Sydney Johnston too.
Oh, and I got the info from the book The Young Napoleon, and the map was modified from one taken from this website: http://www.mikalac.com/civ/map/wvmap.html
aariediger wrote:Well, I don’t think you can split it up. I mean, I understand what an “activity” rating would do as that would basically be what we have now, but what would “strategy” account for? You have to personally plan and carry out the war, the relative strategic prowess of your generals is solely determined by your own ability.
I don’t see how anyone can look at McClellan’s battlefield record and come up with a reason he should have a 2 defensively. He was terrible! He very well could have lost his army in the Seven Days. I also don’t see why a 2 or 3 offensive rating is so out of the question. McDowell, Burnside, Buell, Pope, and Hooker all have Offensive ratings of 2, and all of them were fired after their first battle in overall command. I think McClellan did better attacking than any of these commanders, so I'm okay with giving him a 3, or a 2 if we drop all their attack ratings to 1.
aariediger wrote:Besides Rich Mountain, he had success at Hanover, South Mountain, and Antietam. The only offensive action that didn’t achieve what he set out to do was his pursuit of Johnston after Yorktown.
McClellan planned to cut-off the Rebel retreat by way of an amphibious action at Eltham’s Landing with Franklin’s corps, while he pursued them directly with the main body. However, amphibious assaults are hard to pull off as a spur of the moment thing, and though McClellan caught their rear guard at Williamsburg, Franklin couldn’t get into the blocking position fast enough, and Johnston got away.
On the other hand, I don’t know how you look at the Seven Days as a reason for touting McClellan as a good defensive general. He allowed his forces to be attacked in detail, and the only reason Lee didn’t bag his whole army was the solid entrenchments his subordinates threw up at every opportunity. While Lee did lose a lot of men, that is simply the nature of attacks in the Civil War. In nearly every battle, the attacker suffered more casualties than the defender, regardless of who won.
aariediger wrote:McDowell, Burnside, Buell, Pope, and Hooker all have Offensive ratings of 2, and all of them were fired after their first battle in overall command. I think McClellan did better attacking than any of these commanders
Longstreet writes in From Manassas to Appomattox that when the Army of Northern Virginia concentrated together at Fredericktown on September 9th they had 61,000 and that McClellan had 87,000 at Antietam on September 17th.
aariediger wrote:Ah, well, you and I are talking about different Hanovers. The battle of Hanover Courthouse was part of the Peninsula Campaign.
Following the pursuit after Yorktown, McClellan sent Porter’s corps north to Hanover county Virginia, so that he could link up with McDowell’s corps in Fredericksburg. They drove back what Rebels they found, and won a brief fight, casualties were 397 Union, 930 Confederate (http://www.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/va013.htm). But, it didn’t matter. Banks was routed in the Valley at Winchester, and Lincoln and Staunton held McDowell back in case Jackson tried to take the Capital. This was the last action before Johnston and Lee’s counter-offensive.
Anyway, you can see the battle on the map I posted. Up in the top left hand corner, you can see Porter’s corps and Hanover Courthouse.
Looking at the Maryland Campaign, I think he did an okay job. At South Mountain, he lost less men than the screening force, and although they bought some time for Lee to consolidate his forces a bit, Lee was still in a spectacularly vulnerable position when McClellan got to Sharpsburg two days later. He had his back to the Potomac, and a mistake could mean losing the war right then and there. If South Mountain was really such a successful delaying action, then Lee should have had enough time to slip south of the Potomac where he would be safe. He didn’t, so I think South Mountain was a northern victory, both tactically and strategically.
McClellan did have a sizable advantage in numbers at Antietam, but not overwhelmingly so. A lot of sources will claim Lee had only 37,000 or so at the battle, but this is usually is post-fixed with the term “engaged.” This smaller total doesn’t include some of the brigades that didn’t fight in the battle, or any of the cavalry. Longstreet gives aggregate totals for both sides. It also makes it easier to understand how Lee could somehow have something like 80,000 men at Fredericksburg less than three months after the bloodiest day in his army’s history.
At Antietam, McClellan’s plan was fairly strait forward. He would cross Antietam Creek at the Upper Bridge, the only of the three out of the range of southern cannon, with four corps. The idea was to strike Lee’s left flank with three corps, (Hooker, Mansfield, and Sumner, approximately half of his army), and to exploit the breakthrough with Franklin’s corps. At the same time, he would conduct a diversion at the lower bridge with Burnside’s Corps. The only part of his army not scheduled to be engaged was Porter’s corps, which had just been roughed up at 2nd Manassas two weeks earlier.
That doesn’t sound that bad. So, what happened? Well, a lot of things. Although the assault on the left started well, it bogged down after both Mansfield and Hooker were gunned down. Sumner continued the attack, but was unable to achieve a breakthrough for Franklin to exploit. Burnside had a very hard time trying to capture the lower bridge, and until his men were across, they could be bottled up by a small force. When they did finally make it across, Hill’s division came up and forced them back.
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