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On 19.9.2017 at 7:08 AM, Andre Bolkonsky said:

Welcome! 

McClellan loved his army so much he never wanted to see it hurt. RE Lee had nothing but respect for him.  I would like to share a clip from a movie, "In Harm's Way" in which the greatest compare & contrast of McClellan and Grant is made. 

 

Thanks for sharing the clip, Mr Bolkonsky! I wonder why Mr Wayne never fought in the Civil War, or did he?

I cannot help but think that there was something more to Grant than "just" pointing his batallions into the right direction...

At least, didn't General Burnside do the same in Fredericksburg with disputed success?

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No need to start with an easy question, right?   Ok so I'm going to keep this short because its 3 am where I live lol . The short answer to your question is, they tried exactly what you are saying

Lee marched onto Gettysburg and met the Yankees on their own turf.  We all know how that story ends.  And so, 1stVermont slinks back to the USB as Lee did over the Rappahannock River. Though, des

"Hannibalbarca" was banned as spammer (There were multiple reports leading to case that he is our old spammer "1st Vermont").

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18 hours ago, Mr. Mercanto said:

Hiya! Welcome to the thread and thanks for your kind words! This is a really cool question

New historiography has not been much kinder to McClellan, though some scholars have moved away from the answer provided by @Andre Bolkonsky, that being that Little Mac loved his army to much to risk its harm. Military historian John Keegan (A Military History of the American Civil War) and military historian/McClellan biographer Stephen W. Sears (Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam, and To the Gates of Richmond), suggest that McClellan was so afraid to lose, that he did not risk victory. They charge that McClellan, ahving never failed anything in his life, was petrified of failure. This, by extension, plays into recent historiography concerning Ulysses S. Grant, which has at time argued that Grant's success was in part duie to his boldness, which in turn may have been caused by his many failures in life. Having failed in so many ventures, Grant understood that failure was an option, and could be recovered from. 

However, I think new and fascinating light has been shone on McClellan in Richard Slotkin's newest book Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution. The book dissects the political crisis facing the US government in the wake of the 2nd Mannassas,  the challenges posed by the threat of a McClellan coup, and Lincoln's efforts to radically change the direction of the political and military strategy of the war. In the process, Slotkin does much to advance McClellan historiography. 

In essense, Slotkin argues that McClellan viewed the Radical Left Republicans to be as a great a threat, or even a greater threat, to the Union then the Reactionary Secession Right. McClellan was politically a Conservative Northern War Democratic, and believed that the Union must be preserved through a compromise that would maintain the pre-war institutions and power-structures (ie Slavery). He considered Abolitionism politically suicidal, detrimental to the country, and destructive to a restoration of the Union. McClellan could observe that the administration was taking on a more radical policy, and viewed himself as the saviour of the Republic. He felt he must influence the President towards what he considered a wiser conciliation, and bring both parties together with as little conquest as possible. In his Harrison Landing Letter, he reffered to this as fighting the war "on the highest Christian virtues" urging the President to protect property in slavery. 

Slotkin argues that McClellan's belief in himself manifested into a conviction that he was the only man that could save the Union; coupled with a the highly theological school of history that he and his wife subscribed to, McClellan began to view himself as the Divine Instrument of the Union. Were he to lose a battle, then he would be removed from his command, and thus the Union itself would perish. It became imperative that he be retained. No risk could be balanced against his dismissal, which would open the floodgates of Red Republican Radicalism. At Antietam, McClellan sought a limited victory, committing his troops piecemeal in order to guard against total defeat. When the Rebels withdrew, McClellan saw no need to pursue; by winning victory and ensuring his tenure as commander, he had already saved the Republic from the true enemy, Lincoln. 

Slotkin also briefly addresses the Young Napoleon's love of his army. He argues that while Little Mac certainly loved his army, it was ultimately because that army worshiped and adored him, serving as a constant source of validation. It was the belief that he was invaluable to re-uniting the Union and preventing Abolitionist Radicalism, rather then simple love of his men, that prevented him from taking risks on the battlefield. 

Personally, I find Slotkin's argument extremely convincing, and I think it does much to advance the strange historiography of that unusual General, George B. McClellan. 

Thanks Mr Mercanto for your abstract... :)

Mr Slotkin's angle gives an even more tragic edge to General McClellan - his indeciscion fueled by too much weight felt on his shoulders. And while being indecided (and indecisive) in his actions, not lacking in conviction or vision how the Union may be saved. We well know that President Lincoln's vision prevailed - which seems obvious to us in 2017, but probably seemed unlikely to the people of 1861. Even though the exact manifestation of that vision was as much shaped by the escalation of the war as by Lincoln's agenda.

I think it has been already been speculated about in this thread, what would have become of the Union if McClellan had won the 1864's election? Yet I still wonder - what if McClellan had been a tad more succesful... what if he had been a bit more diplomatic and thus had more support in both civil and military administration? Could he have stayed in command throughout '63 and '64 and then challenge Lincoln? In a war less escalted through causalities and Emancipation Act? Could a President McClellan achieve victory not by crushing the CSA but giving the seceding states an option to return to the Union 'in honor'?

Would there have been a third way, besides a triumphant North or an independent South?

 

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6 hours ago, thedauphin said:

Thanks for sharing the clip, Mr Bolkonsky! I wonder why Mr Wayne never fought in the Civil War, or did he?

I cannot help but think that there was something more to Grant than "just" pointing his batallions into the right direction...

At least, didn't General Burnside do the same in Fredericksburg with disputed success?

If you liked the clip, watch the movie; one of the best examples of how the Navy actually works mixed in with a fair to middling story of personal lives in a war zone. 

BTW, John Wayne is in tons of movies dressed in Civil War uniforms. Always Union. Usually cavalry. His usual names are frequently Kirby, Yorke, and Donovan. Or, his masterpiece, Doniphon in 'The man who shot Liberty Valance' - the greatest Western, and the best example of US self-opinion after WWII, ever made.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - Just watch it, you'll thank me later. Just remember: "Link Appleyard done run ya out of town'.

 

 

Of course, John Wayne also played Longinus, the Centurion at Crucifiction in 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'; truly, this was the worst casting ever. 

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On 9/21/2017 at 8:28 PM, Andre Bolkonsky said:

Of course, John Wayne also played Longinus, the Centurion at Crucifiction in 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'; truly, this was the worst casting ever. 

I beg to differ, worst casting decision was having John Wayne play Temujin (Ghengis Khan) in "The Conquerer."  The movie also got most of the cast killed of cancer due to the movie being shot on ground that was highly radioactive due to nuclear bomb testing.

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6 hours ago, Buford Protege said:

I beg to differ, worst casting decision was having John Wayne play Temujin (Ghengis Khan) in "The Conquerer."  The movie also got most of the cast killed of cancer due to the movie being shot on ground that was highly radioactive due to nuclear bomb testing.

I cede the point. 

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 I don't know if this has been asked already, as I haven't seen it asked. I wanted to ask though: What's the difference between Rifled Muskets and Rifles. I've heard there was a difference, but I couldn't find an answer that applied to apply to the Rifled Muskets, but rather only smoothbore muskets.

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On 10/8/2017 at 2:09 AM, McChicken said:

 I don't know if this has been asked already, as I haven't seen it asked. I wanted to ask though: What's the difference between Rifled Muskets and Rifles. I've heard there was a difference, but I couldn't find an answer that applied to apply to the Rifled Muskets, but rather only smoothbore muskets.

I described the difference between minie rifles and minie rifle-muskets in the skirmisher thread:

"From what I have understood 'rifles' in this period had shorter and often heavier barrels and usually sword bayonets. The rifle-muskets were longer for sake of saftey in ranked firing and melee utility (with conventional bayonet), not accuracy."

Specifically the rifles tended to have about 33 inch barrels and rifle-muskets 40 inch one. Usage wise the rifle-muskets were intended for line infantry which had previously carried muskets whilst the rifles were intended for elitish light infantry (like riflemen and jägers) and at least in British case NCOs. At least US, CSA, UK and Austria produced these shorter rifles in the minie era (and both British short rifles and Austrian jäger rifles were imported during ACW, neither are in the game though). If anybody has something to add on the minie long arms of French chasseurs and Sardinian/Italian bersaglieri that would be interesting.

Past the minie era service long arms tended to have the shorter rifle length barrels. E.g. Chessepot, Russian Berdan, Mauser and Martini-Henry.

The term riflemusket is sometimes restricted to those weapons that were manufactured as muskets but re-bored with rifling later on. But often it's used as synonym for rifle-musket.

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Seeing this Whitworth  praise here and knowing that the J.F. Brown is depicted in game as the undeniably superior weapon (damage values not quite withstanding for some reason. They both fire .45, what's with that?) despite myself barely able to find evidence it is even a real weapon, what do you guys know about it? Given that it is a more accurate and faster firing version of the telescoped Whitworth I assume there is something special about it to make it so.

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23 minutes ago, Friedrich said:

Seeing this Whitworth  praise here and knowing that the J.F. Brown is depicted in game as the undeniably superior weapon (damage values not quite withstanding for some reason. They both fire .45, what's with that?) despite myself barely able to find evidence it is even a real weapon, what do you guys know about it? Given that it is a more accurate and faster firing version of the telescoped Whitworth I assume there is something special about it to make it so.

It's one of those heavy American style target rifles mentioned in this overview of Civil War marksman's weapons: http://sharpshooters.cfspress.com/arms.html

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Ive always been curious, of what quality, compared to Europeans, was the Union army just before, during the course of, and immediately following. I know that many European observers did not think much of the prowess of the combatants and it stands to reason that since many of the soldiers were volunteers they would not be as high of quality as a professional soldier but I find it difficult to believe that both the soldiers and their leadership were universally as poor as I have seen some make it out to be. Surely as the conflict continued union training and leadership improved to the point where it would be a force to be reckoned with even for a European army if only on combat experience alone. Also was it not the case that many European nations at the time had manditory military service and would therefore have similar issues of motivation and training as the union would have?

 

I have also seen someone mention that Civil War armies were using outdated tactical doctrines compared to European armies but I have never seen anything to suggest that any European forces were fighting in drastically different ways and I suspect that if they were the US would have probably adjusted their tactics to match new military doctrines. Does the idea hold true?

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thought of extra question
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6 hours ago, The Soldier said:

The J.F. Brown just represents the large variety of target rifles Union sharpshooters could use.   I was about to grab that same link, so use that too. :)

So were these weapons generally better than the Whitworth or is that abstraction largely baseless?

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1 hour ago, Friedrich said:

So were these weapons generally better than the Whitworth or is that abstraction largely baseless?

The Whitworth's 0.85 MOA at 500 yards is kinda difficult to beat (even by today's standards) - don't think a Union target rifle could match that.

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Terse?  I know Turtledove did a series where the South won the Civil War (without time traveling slavers), and what I thought was the most interesting and compelling hypothesis was that the northern states tended to favor Germany, while the southern tended to favor England and France - leading to eventual trenches across N. America during WW1.

Dunno about the immediate effects, though.  A race to the Pacific?  A semi- second war for independence, a la the War of 1812?

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1 hour ago, Powderhorn said:

Terse?  I know Turtledove did a series where the South won the Civil War (without time traveling slavers), and what I thought was the most interesting and compelling hypothesis was that the northern states tended to favor Germany, while the southern tended to favor England and France - leading to eventual trenches across N. America during WW1.

Dunno about the immediate effects, though.  A race to the Pacific?  A semi- second war for independence, a la the War of 1812?

Eh I'm asking how the peace treaty would look like

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18 hours ago, Mukremin said:

I have ordered books about the Civil war based on the recommendation here, are there any good visual documentaries about the civil war. The battles, generals and the war in general.?

I would recommend that you start with, 'Ken Burns: The Civil War'. I believe it's available for viewing on Netflix. You can also purchase the DVD box set.

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40 minutes ago, Captiva said:

 

I would recommend that you start with, 'Ken Burns: The Civil War'. I believe it's available for viewing on Netflix. You can also purchase the DVD box set.

I have Netflix, hope it is available for Dutch netflix region. Thanks buddy.

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On 12/26/2017 at 5:02 PM, Mukremin said:

anyone know the first person Civil War shooter? Its a crowd funding project which uses the Crytek engine. Pretty decent :)
https://warofrights.com/Crowdfunding
 

 

I have ordered books about the Civil war based on the recommendation here, are there any good visual documentaries about the civil war. The battles, generals and the war in general.?

War of Rights is a lot of fun :). A few of us from this forum, including your's truly, are on its Pre-Alpha list. Its a $69 USD investment to get on, and well worth it!


:D I'm glad that this thread has led to some book purchases, and I might hope a few of my suggestions made the cut ;).

Ken Burn's "The Civil War" is...well its ok. Its not a half bad overview of the struggle, but it fails to adequately explore how the war was started. Its reliance on Shelby Foote, who a) is painfully misguided by Lost Cause Mythology and b), was not a historian, bogs its down somewhat. Two stand out documentaries from the top of my head that I would recommend are the National Park Service documentary on the Battle of Antietam, and the documentary "This Republic of Suffering" based on Drew Giplin Faust's monograph of the same name. The Antietam documentary, despite being old, remains highly relevant of an excellent caliber. Plus, you get to hear Darth Vader talk about the Civil War, which is great. Here's a link :)



"This Republic of Suffering" tackles the fascinating and complex questions about how the 19th century culture of death was changed by and adapted to the Civil War. It should hopefully be on Netflix, and its fantastic. 


If you want a Civil War movie, "The Free State of Jones" is probably, from an Academic standpoint, one of the best Civil War films ever made. Glory, Lincoln, and Gettysburg, are also fine choices, though Lincoln, and Gettysburg are fraught with errors (read: artistic licence) :P

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On 12/26/2017 at 2:50 PM, GDSPathe said:

What would a Peace between the Union and the Confederacy look like if President Mcclellan won in 1864 or if the Confederacy had managed to occupy Washington D.C following victory at first bull run

Cool question!

Both scenarios are pretty different. For the record, considering the Federals had about 20 odd thousand troops garrisoned in Washington, seperate from the Army of Virginia, in July, 1861, I'd say Rebel occupation was unlikely; however, let us pretend Joe Johnston had a tactical nuke, or something ;).

A July 1861 occupation of Washington would likely have brought the Confederacy all it desired, access to the New Mexican and Arizona territories, and almost certainly Kentucky and Missouri. The Family of Nations would likely have sided with the Confederacy on the basis that the war was clearly won, and a cessation of hostilities was in the best interest of said nations (especially with the added bonus of the death of Republican Democracy). The United States would therefore likely had to give into all Confederate demands. It is possible that some minor concessions be made, such as the free navigation of the Mississippi River by both parties, and a Free Trade agreement. Such concessions would have aided both parties. Also, the Fugitive Slave Act would likely be repealed, and the US Capitol moved to a Free State. The future of Maryland and Delaware is hard to determine in this scenario. Marlyand might have been partitioned, but more likely wholly annexed by the Confederacy. Delaware would have been disinclined to joining the new nation, but fearing the death of slavery in its borders otherwise, would likely have joined the CSA. 

If Little Mac takes the Presidency in 1864, we must consider a number of factors. The Union armies have advanced much, and in his last few months in office, Lincoln has likely pushed his generals to the extremity to win the war before March 9. If Lincoln is successful, and according to the Blind Memorandum, he intended to be, Sherman is in the Carolinas, ready to pounce on Lee's rear, Wilmington has fallen with Fort Fischer, Johnston's Army of the South is scattered, Kirby Smith is still cut off from the rest of the Confederacy. The situation is, militarily, not great. THis gives the Federals a good deal of power at the negotiation table. McClellan has promised Reunion in his Chicago Platform, but will try to achieve with negotiation. This means an armistice, which is foolishness, as it will be very difficult, or impossible to resume the war from an armistice. In McClellan the Rebels will find a President of weak moral firmness, a poor choice for negotiation. It is possible that the Rebels rest from him a recognition of their independence, however, given the powerful military position Lincoln could place the armies in by March, Old Abe might make such cowardice on the part of the Young Napoleon impossible. 

Thus, a compromise might be reached, an obvious answer might be Mexico. In the midst of her own war against Napoleon III, the US and CS might enter into an alliance to preserve Mexican democracy and the Monroe Doctrine (as insane as this sounds, this idea was optimistically maintained through to Lincoln's 1865 River Queen conference with the Confederate Peace Delegation). Such a scheme might be meant by McClellan to reunify the country, but meant by the Confederates to establish themselves as a separate nation. The result would likely be in the Confederates favour, with a treaty establishing an Alliance Defensive between the two nations, as well as amicable free trade relations and navigation of the Mississippi. Mac might secede New Mexican and Arizona territories, for a price. The purchase, and victory over the French might be used to ausage the sting of defeat for the Union. 

The alternative, of course, is that McClellan might refuse to acknowledge Rebel independence if he inherited a military situation that was undeniably excellent, and force the war to a pro-Union settlement. In this case, McClellan would likely repeal the 13th Amendment, or insure that the slave states re-entered the Union in time to block it. This however, would not be recorded in a "treaty" as a treaty implies two or more legitimate sovereign powers, which in this instance, the CSA does not constitute. 

Obviously, the McClellan case is more complicated, and is largely determinant upon Lincoln's capacity to wage the war after losing the election, and McClellan's moral fiber. Personally, I have more faith in one then the other. 

For more on Confederate efforts to negotiate a peace (or lack thereof) read Steven E. Woodsworth's "The Last Function of Government: Confederate Collapse and Negotiated Peace" in Mark Grimsely and Brooks D. Simpson's collection of edited essays "The Collapse of the Confederacy" (University of Nebraska Press: 2001)
 

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