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McClellan always overestimated the number of enemy troops. He was afraid to engage if he did not outnumber Lee; so he wanted more troops.

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Q: What did Gen McClellan ask for before he would attack Richmond?
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What major goal did President Lincoln expect Major General McClellan to accomplish in the Spring of 1862?

General McClellan was urged by President Lincoln to attack the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. Lincoln believed that the fall of the Rebels' capital city would lead directly to the war's end. McClellan also believed the rebellion could be ended quickly if the Rebel capital of Richmond was captured. The idea of attacking the "center of gravity" as Clausewitz would advise, was one key to victory. Lincoln preferred that McClellan plan for a southerly march on Richmond. McClellan convinced Lincoln that a flanking attack would better serve the goal of capturing the Confederate capital. This was the famous Peninsula Campaign where Union troops would land on the peninsula east of Richmond and attack the city from the east. His landing position would have placed him closer to Richmond than a march from Washington DC or Alexandria.

Why was the Peninsula Campaign designed General George B McClellan a brilliant idea?

Union General George B. McClellan believed a southward movement of his Army of the Potomac from Alexandria Virginia would not result in the mission of capturing Richmond. He wanted to take the Southerners by surprise and launch a flanking attack from Fort Monroe which happened to be closer to Richmond than any other likely place. The idea was brilliant, however, McClellan failed to take advantage of his position east of Richmond. His troops actually got to within six miles of Richmond before they were forced to retreat.

How did Confederate General Joseph Johnston alter General McClellan's plans to capture Richmond in 1862?

When Confederate General Joseph Johnston withdrew his forces near Washington DC southwards to protect Richmond, one huge opportunity for General McClellan vanished. McClellan had hoped the Rebel army would remain north of Richmond. Had that happened two favorable elements of his campaign were ended. McClellan's plan was to have a chance to attack Johnston's forces from the rear and he also had the chance to place his army between the Rebel army and Richmond.

What was one advantage the proposal for the Peninsula campaign offered to the Union?

The McClellan proposal offered the Union the advantage of beginning its assault on Richmond from a point only sixty miles away from the Confederate capital. Lincoln had preferred a direct attack by the Army of the Potomac under McClellan from Washington DC. McClellan was concerned that Confederate forces at Manassas, would thwart a direct attack on Richmond. Lincoln reluctantly agreed to the Peninsula campaign if McClellan left behind a sufficient force to guard Washington DC.

What was McClellan's operation know as?

Union General George B. McClellan was an excellent strategist. His plan to not attack Richmond from the north was a 100 mile march. By seeking to land on one of Virginia's peninsulas, his army would be only 60 miles from Richmond. His operation was known as the Peninsula campaign. It was a sophisticated plan.

What did US generals McClellan and Halleck discuss at Harrison's Landing in July 1862?

General Halleck's first assignment was to meet with General McClellan at Harrison's Landing. Each of them had different views on the best way to end the Confederate rebellion. McClellan wanted to cut Richmond's lines of communications by sending troops south of Richmond to do this. Halleck had no intentions of allowing that. Halleck's plan was to have McClellan join forces with General Pope and with this large pair of armies attack Richmond. Also, to protect the endless fear of a Confederate assault on Washington DC, Halleck wanted to keep a sizable force between Washington DC and Richmond. Halleck was willing to compromise. If his plans would not work for McClellan, then he was free to again attempt to capture Richmond with his own army plus some additional 20,000 troops on their way to help McClellan. McClellan, always fearing larger Confederate armies then what existed, asked for 30,000 troops. This left McClellan with two choices. Resume his attempt to capture Richmond or retreat from the Peninsula. McClellan's idea was not to retreat but carry on an attempt to capture Richmond.

Why did General Lee expect to see the Union's plans set by General McClellan change under General Burnside?

Once General George B. McClellan was replaced by General Ambrose Burnside, it was clear to General Lee that McClellan's plans for cutting off Lee from Richmond would be altered.President Lincoln had hand picked Ambrose Burnside to replace McClellan as the commander of the Army of the Potomac. Since Lincoln was focused on the capture of Richmond, more than anything else, Burnside would follow Lincoln's preference to attack the Rebel cap[ital of Richmond. Burnside as Lee predicted shifted the Army of the Potomac to the favorite overland route to Richmond, with Fredericksburg as his first objective. Burnside planned to prevent Lee from moving south to protect Richmond.

How did union general winfield scott respond to the plan of union general george b mcclellan to invade virginia from the west and assault richmond?

In the early stages of the US Civil War, Union General George B. McClellan reported to General Winfield Scott. McClellan wanted to advance his forces from the "West Virginia" area and assault Richmond from the West. General reminded McClellan that his troops were volunteers whose three month volunteer duty would expire before McClellan could find his way to Richmond. Scott also pointed out that McClellan's plan ignored logistics. It would be near to impossible to supply McClellan's troops. Ignoring logistics by a leading military graduate of West Point, remains a mystery.

How did Union General Winfield Scott respond to the plan of General George B McClellan to assault Richmond from western Virginia?

Union General Winfield Scott informed his subordinate, General George B. McClellan that his plan could not be carried out. Winfield pointed out that McClellan's troops were volunteers with a three month enlistment. These troops would never reach Richmond before the regiments would be free to return home. Additionally, Winfield pointed out that McClellan had ignored basic rules of logistics. By crossing western Virginia, he would have no chain of supply for his troops. Winfield scuttled McClellan's plan against Richmond. As an aside, these two men would continue to be at odds with each other, causing Scott to end his control of Union forces.

How did President Lincoln explain his dismissal of General George B McClellan in 1862?

President Lincoln would have several things to say about his dismissal of General George B. McClellan in 1862. Lincoln informed John Hay that McClellan's refusal to obey the order to advance on October 6, 1862 convinced him that McClellan was not to be trusted to defeat the Rebels in the manner Lincoln had wanted. Lincoln also said that he would have been willing to leave McClellan in command if he would advance before the onset of Winter. This would cut Lee's communications with Richmond. It clearly appears that the former reason is why Lincoln dismissed McClellan.

What was General in Chief Henry W Halleck's assessment of the situation in the Eastern Theater?

After speaking with General George B. McClellan at Harrison's Landing, he realized there was a serious weakness in the Union's situation. He reasoned that unless the Confederates perceived that McClellan threatened Richmond with a siege, they would have the liberty to exploit their interior lines to attack either McClellan on the Peninsula or Pope near Washington DC. He therefore ordered McClellan to evacuate the Peninsula and bring his army north to support Pope.

What caused General George B McClellan to alter his initial plans for his Peninsula campaign?

General in chief George B. McClellan had convinced US President Lincoln that an assault on Richmond from Alexandria, Virginia would not be as effective as his plans to attack Richmond from the Chesapeake Bay. His plans, however, were disrupted by the Battle of Hampton Roads and the movement of Confederate General Joseph Johnston south of his position at Manassas. By landing at Urbana, Virginia, McClellan planned to move west and place his army between Johnston's forces and Richmond. As part of a "plan B" he settled on the Union Fort Monroe from which to launch his army east to the mainland of Virginia.