The battle of antietam

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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. He served during the war with Mexico and earned three brevets for gallantry and sound professional service. He resigned his commission but returned early during the Civil War and immediately given a high rank. He led a successful campaign in West Virginia. These events fueled General McClellan’s egotistical and elitist attitudes.
After the second Battle of Manassas, the Army of the Potomac was demoralized and President Lincoln needed someone that could reorganize it. President Lincoln liked General McClellan personally and admired his strengths as an administrator, organizer, and drillmaster. Lincoln was aware that the soldiers loved General McClellan and had nicknamed him “Little Mac.” Knowing this, President Lincoln ordered General McClellan to “assume command of Washington, its defenses and all forces in the immediate vicinity.”1 This was not a field command but intended for General McClellan to take the returning demoralized Army and the new soldiers coming into Washington and make them a fighting force, nothing more. Lincoln knew as well that although Ge...

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... General Lee’s defeat at Gettysburg.

Works Cited

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Hull, Bradley Z., and Scott J. Allen. 2012. "Using the 5Ps Leadership Analysis to Examine the Battle of Antietam: An Explanation and Case Study." Journal of Leadership Education 245-262.
2004. Secrets of the Civil War: Antietam. Directed by James Millar. Performed by Gavin MacFadyen.
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