Was McCellan a Coward or....

Nov 2019
138
Memphis TN
His passiveness wasn't just in relation to charging fortified positions though. He let the Army of Northern Virginia get away when their backs were to the water at Sharsburg. The civil war would have likely been over. He also didn't move his army for the better part of a year after he got the job.

Ironically McClellan's nickname was Napoleon of the West.
Fair point..

But that said I’m not sure how much ditch digging they did for open field battles..

The attacker is almost always at a disadvantage with the weapons of the day.. just the ability to hide behind a tree would be huge..

I am definitely not claiming to be right for sure lol..


I could just see someone seeing the danger and yet not smart enough to out think it. So he freezes.


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Nov 2019
138
Memphis TN
Well, here are some Federal victories won by attacking--- Mill Springs by counter attack. Fort Donelson by a counter attack that took enemy fortifications. Shiloh by following a day on the defensive with a day counter attacking. Pea Ridge by counter attack. Raymond, Champions Hill and Big Black by attacking. Chattanooga by attacking. Atlanta (the Decatur Rd. battle commonly called the battle of Atlanta) by counter attacking. Jonesboro by attacking. Fort McAllister by attacking. Bentonville by counter attack. Nashville by attack; left jabs and right hooks. Sheridan's Valley fights by attacks or counter attacks. Fort Fisher by attack. Five Forks by attacks. Final fall of Petersburb by attacks. Saylors Creek by attacks. Spanish Fort and Blakely by attacks.
Pyrrhus won every battle too lol

(Drops mic)

Lol just kidding


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Jun 2017
2,996
Connecticut
Fair point..

But that said I’m not sure how much ditch digging they did for open field battles..

The attacker is almost always at a disadvantage with the weapons of the day.. just the ability to hide behind a tree would be huge..

I am definitely not claiming to be right for sure lol..


I could just see someone seeing the danger and yet not smart enough to out think it. So he freezes.


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I think that perception is correct later on in WWI and think Civil War weaponry always made the attacker at a disadvantage. Attacking a fortified position was certainly different than simply engaging in the enemy under different circumstances and attacks were no where near as futile compared to later on when guns especially artillery were better. I think in small scale engagements attacking seems to have went better generally in the Civil War than in the big massive battles with tens of thousands on each side. Then there's the landscape factors of course. But while some generals like Johnston's caution was very understandable given the circumstances and while I think Grant, Hood etc got thousands of people needlessly slaughtered due to their tactics, this doesn't apply to McCllelan. The only time McCllelan showed aggression he literally had the enemy's battle plans and once engaged his caution quickly came back.
 
Jun 2017
2,996
Connecticut
That was Santa Anna's nickname.
Looked it up, it was Young Napoleon for McCllelan. Confused them. Neither of them deserved those nicknames though regardless to the point I've wondered if they are sarcastic 19th century memes where we're just not getting the joke.
 
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Nov 2019
138
Memphis TN
I think that perception is correct later on in WWI and think Civil War weaponry always made the attacker at a disadvantage. Attacking a fortified position was certainly different than simply engaging in the enemy under different circumstances and attacks were no where near as futile compared to later on when guns especially artillery were better. I think in small scale engagements attacking seems to have went better generally in the Civil War than in the big massive battles with tens of thousands on each side. Then there's the landscape factors of course. But while some generals like Johnston's caution was very understandable given the circumstances and while I think Grant, Hood etc got thousands of people needlessly slaughtered due to their tactics, this doesn't apply to McCllelan. The only time McCllelan showed aggression he literally had the enemy's battle plans and once engaged his caution quickly came back.
They used to say you needed 3x the men to take a defensive position... I think that was up to 10x by the civil war and is down right impossible now.. barring subterfuge of course..

I would live to see a casualty breakdown between attacking and defending.


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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,779
Dispargum
3 to 1 ration was 20th century. By the end of WW2 it may have been up to 5 to 1. I think Longstreet said 3 to 1 during the Civil War, but he was a lone voice in the wilderness when he said it. Later, he was seen to be ahead of his time. I haven't heard any ratios for post WW2.
 
Nov 2019
138
Memphis TN
3 to 1 ration was 20th century. By the end of WW2 it may have been up to 5 to 1. I think Longstreet said 3 to 1 during the Civil War, but he was a lone voice in the wilderness when he said it. Later, he was seen to be ahead of his time. I haven't heard any ratios for post WW2.
He was probably quoting the war manual I bet.. whatever textbook West Point was using..

Imho of course..

I think it was the military tradition that got them..


Lots of them came from military families, where ...


“Every forefather you ever had has been doing it this was damn it!!! Everyone knows you line up shoulder to shoulder and try and turn their flank...

Duh!”


And I think it took like 250 years for that to wear off , lol.

The instant guns could consistently kill a deer at 50+ yards.. the game changed...






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Zip

Jan 2018
648
Comancheria
I think Longstreet said 3 to 1 during the Civil War, but he was a lone voice in the wilderness when he said it. Later, he was seen to be ahead of his time.
I don't think Longstreet was ahead of his time at all but was one of the best men of his time. Longstreet was a heavy hitter and delivered 4 of the most smashing assaults of the war at 2nd Bull Run, Gettysburg, Chickamauga and the Wilderness. I think the notion he believed in the primacy of defensive fighting is due to people taking a novel, Killer Angels, as factual.

On the second day at Gettysburg on the attack with only two divisions Longstreet chewed up the Federal 3rd Corps and gave the 5th Corps and a division of the 2nd Corps Hell. At Chickamauga he smashed several Federal divisions and was the main factor in the only major defeat the western Yankees suffered during the war.

Unfortunately out west Longstreet caught the infection of insubordination and lassitude prevalent in the Army of Tennessee and argued with and conspired against Bragg and failed disastrously in his job of defending Lookout Valley. At Knoxville he suffered considerable losses attacking Fort Sanders without having engineers properly scout the fort, rather careless of him.

When he got back to Virginia he perked up and delivered his smashing blow in the Wilderness, only to be seriously wounded and out of the war for several crucial months.