On today in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln names George Brinton McClellan basic in chief of the Union army, replacing the aged and infirm Winfield Scott. In just half a year, McClellan had opted from commander of the Ohio volunteers to the top of the Union army.
McClellan, a Pennsylvania native, graduated from West Point second in his class in 1846 amd continued toserve with distinction below General Winfield Scott in the Mexican-American War (1846-48). McClellan left his profitable military profession in 1857 for an engineering position with the Illinois Central Railroad, and by enough time the Civil War broke out in 1861, he was president of the St. Louis and Cincinnati Railroad. He resigned that position to simply accept command of the Ohio volunteers with the rank of key common. During the summertime of 1861, McClellan led Union troops in some tiny battles in western Virginia that led to Federal control of the strategic region. He earned a national reputation, though it is debatable how considerably McClellan contributed to these achievements oftentimes just, choices by his subordinates have already been the major purpose for the accomplishment. Nonetheless,McClellan supplied Northern victories if they have been in scarce provide. On July 16, 1861, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an answer recognizing his accomplishments in Virginia.
Just five days later, the major Union force, commanded by General Irwin McDowell, suffered a humiliating defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run, Virginia. In the aftermath of the debacle, a whole lot of considered McClellan to save lots of the war work.He found its way to Washington, D.C.,on July 26 to take command of the disorganized and demoralized Army of the Potomac andquickly began to create a magnificent fighting force, establishing a rigorous instruction procedure and a highly effective command structure. He also demonstrated brashness, pomposity, and arrogance toward a whole large amount of of the nation’s political leaders. He loudly complained about Scott, and treated the president with utter contempt.
Still,McClellan was the only real true choice to displace Scott. No other Union general had achieved significantly of anything at that time in the war. After alienating a lot of the administration by early 1862, McClellan moved the Army of the Potomac to the James Peninsula for an attack on Richmond, Virginia. As a field commander, he became timid and sluggish, and he retreated from the outskirts of the Confederate capital when confronted with a number of attacks by Confederate General Robert E. Lee throughout the Seven Days Battles in June 1862. In July, Henry W. Halleck was named general in chief, and lots of McClellan’s Army of the Potomac was used in General John Pope’s Army of Virginia. After Pope was defeated at Second Bull Run in August, a lot of McClellan’s command was restored to him. Lee invaded Maryland, and McClellan defeated him there at the Battle of Antietam in September. Despite this victory, McClellan’s refusal to pursue the retreating Confederates resulted in his permanent removal in November 1862. In 1864, he challenged Lincoln for the presidency because the Democratic nominee but lost decisively.