Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Inspecting the Third Brigade of the Pennsylvania Reserves in the Field of the Maryland Campaign

     In an army of units that saw heavy fighting since the beginning of the Seven Days, fewer Federal divisions suffered worse than the Pennsylvania Reserve Division under the command of John Reynolds. Total casualties during the Seven Days' Campaign total approximately 2,600 men. Another 610 names joined the list at Second Bull Run in late August. On the eve of the Maryland Campaign, the division was a shell of itself.(1)
     While researching in the National Archives today, I stumbled on this incredible inspection report of the division's 3rd Brigade, commanded by Lt. Col. Robert Anderson at the Battle of Antietam. It gives a good glimpse into the state of the brigade, and the division as a whole, on the eve of the battles of South Mountain and Antietam.
Brig. Gen. John F. Reynolds

Monday, April 29, 2019

Killing the Kinks: The Unlikely Command Relationship Between George B. McClellan and Joseph Hooker

     George B. McClellan is sometimes portrayed as one who promoted his advocates and damned his opponents within his own army. When it comes to McClellan's generalship in command of the Army of the Potomac, there is one major exception to that oft-held view--his appointment of Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker to take command of the First Corps during the Maryland Campaign.
     Hooker was an outspoken antagonist of McClellan's generalship and felt slighted by McClellan's report of the Battle of Williamsburg that did not give Hooker and his division enough credit. During the Peninsula Campaign, Hooker confided to a friend about McClellan, "He is not only not a soldier, but he does not know what soldiership is."(1) In the aftermath of Second Bull Run, artillerist Charles Wainwright noted in his diary this quote from Hooker: "if they had left McClellan in command this never would have happened." Wainwright, in his own words, followed up Hooker's remarks by saying, "This was a great deal for Hooker to say, as he had no love for McClellan."(2)
Joseph Hooker (left) and George B. McClellan (right) rarely saw eye to eye.