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General McClellan AP US History Essay

Essay Topic:

"The removal of General McClellan represents a lost for the army of the Potomac and a victory for the interfering politicians in Washington."
General McClellan is an officer whom proved to be better at organization and training than at fighting. His removal left the army of the Potomac without a brilliant strategist and organizer, but a victory to the interfering politicians in Washington because of his failure in following executive orders. His failure to follow Lincoln's orders on the Virginia front cost him Richmond during his unsuccessful peninsular campaign. His failure to act and attack allowed Lee to escape in the Battle of Antietam.
President Abraham Lincoln believed that the Union troops should move directly against the Confederates at Manassas, Virginia, but McClellan disagreed and advanced on Richmond from the east. Lincoln agreed with McClellan that an attempt should be made to capture Richmond. Lincoln favored an overland invasion route. McClellan, however, insisted on moving the Army of the Potomac by a roundabout water route, sailing his troops to the York peninsula and advancing on Richmond from the east. The turning point of the peninsular campaign was reached in the Seven Days’ Battle fought between June 25 and July 1, in which the Confederate forces suffered the greater losses, but were able, because of Lee’s adroit maneuvering, to force McClellan to retreat. Several stubborn battles, including the battles of Savage’s Station, Frayser’s Farm, and Malvern Hill, were fought in the course of the retreat, but McClellan was able to lead his troops back to the James River, where he gained the support of gunboats of the Union navy. The campaign was a failure, however, and the Union army was forced to abandon the attempt to take Richmond. The Confederate success in saving the capital gave a new impetus to the Southern war effort. The president was dissatisfied with the campaign, and McClellan was superse…

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