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The Battle of Antietam could have been a devastating and fatal blow to the Confederate Army if Gen. McClellan acted decisively, took calculated risks, and veered away from his cautious approach to war. There are many instances leading up to the battle and during the battle in which he lacks the necessary offensive initiative to effectively cripple and ultimately win the war. This paper is intended to articulate the failure of Mission Command by GEN McClellan by pointing out how he failed to understand, visualize, describe and direct the battlefield to his benefit. GEN McClellan may not have been a great war time General but he excelled at training Soldiers, getting his men ready to fight and raising the morale of the Armies he commanded. Multiple historians and various political leaders agreed on this point about McClellan.
Grant was given full control of the army in 1864, when he began his final campaign to end the war (Simpson). Grant had easily proven to Lincoln why he should earn the power to command. Other generals before him just did not make the cut, providing further contrast to Grant’s superior form of leadership. To name a few of the well-known generals that Grant had to surpass is an easy task. Major General George McClellan, a man of great persuasion, excelled greatly in pre-battle tasks.
The Battle of Antietam on September 17th, 1862 was the single, most bloodiest day in American History, where more than 23,000 men became casualties of war. General George Brinton McClellan’s inability to use Mission Command, as a warfighting function was a key reason this battle did not end the American Civil War. An analysis of General McClellan’s Mission Command operational process will show how his personality, bias, and fear were detrimental to the outcome of the Battle of Antietam. General George B. McClellan was born to a prestigious upper class family in Pennsylvania. He attended the Military Academy at West Point and graduated second in his class in 1846.
New York: Facts on File, 2001. Print. Tebbel, John William. The Battle of Fallen Timbers, August 20, 1794; President Washington secures the Ohio Valley,. New York: F. Watts, 1972.
General Robert E. Lee was in Command of the Confederate forces. He [General Lee] was coming off of several victories and carried much momentum as Confederate forces moved to the North. President Lincoln desperately needed a commander who could rally the troops and reorganize the Army of the Potomac. He appointed MG McClellan even though the President knew McClellan to be overly cautious and slow to act. General Lee’s goal was to move into the North and gain a major victory to force President Lincoln into negotiations .