Tuesday, July 2, 2013

McClellan’s attitude

Yes, McClellan's writings indicate that he had a very bad attitude. I have a problem with that as well. Rowland and Harsh ignore those writings and look at what he actually did. I can appreciate that as producing a more favorable view of McClellan, and if his plans and plans for carrying out his plans are as good as Rowena Reed is purported to describe then a bad attitude might be tolerated, and maybe if that is the case it should have been tolerated a bit longer by Lincoln.

As to McClellan's purported "unreasonable" request for more men, I see most often that McClellan's critics think a slight number advantage ought to be enough for him, but everything I've read indicates that the attacking force is at a numerical disadvantage and so needs many more troops if it is to over-run entrenched defenders. How many more?

On page 210, Rowland writes. "The technology of war had shifted the tactical advantage to the defender. The standard for Civil War engagements now called for three attackers against a single defender. If the defenders were supported by entrenchments, breastworks, and artillery, the ratio increased to five to one."

I'm sure McClellan never had a five to one advantage, but did he ever even have a three to one advantage? If not perhaps his shrieks were not utterly irrational.

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