Grant vs Mcclellan Comare and Contrast

1428 words 6 pages
1. Describe the different approaches to waging war of Grant and McClellan, utilizing Grant's campaign in the West and McClellan's maneuvers in Virginia.

During the American Civil War, leadership within the Union’s army was constantly an issue. Within the Union, various generals were found at times to be at odds with the political leaders in Washington. This was especially evident in the relationship between General George McClellan and President Lincoln. This tension was the result of McClellan’s approach to waging war. By examining the differing approaches to waging war of U.S. Grant and George B. McClellan one can gain a better appreciation for the decision making that was necessary by leaders like Lincoln, in selecting military
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(McPherson, 1988, pp. 4-5) However, after the war, he became disillusioned with the monotony of army life, and began drinking heavily. He resigned in 1854 as an alternative to being drummed out of the service for being a drunkard. However, with the onset of the Civil War, Grant volunteered to serve again and began to quickly make a name for himself in the West.
In 1862 Grant succeeded in decisive victories in the West, at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in Tennessee. These victories earned Grant the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” Grant. (McPherson, 1988, pp. 396-402) His tactics were deemed by his critics as too brutal, with little thought to the number of casualties being inflicted upon his own forces. At the Battle of Shiloh, horrific casualties were inflicted on the Union forces by the Confederates in the early days of the battle, causing some to call for Grant’s removal from leadership. Lincoln, refused stating, “I can’t spare this man, he fights.” Ultimately, Grant was able to fend of the Confederates at Shiloh with help from reinforcements. (McPherson, 1988, pp. 407-415) He would later go on to the pivotal victory at the Siege of Vicksburg in July of 1863 and later in the year, help end the conflict in Chattanooga. (McPherson, 1988, pp. 627-638,676-680) These two battles, effectively sealing victory along the Mississippi and in the West, would ensconce Grant in the minds of Lincoln as the man to finish the job in