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why didnt reynolds take command? - John Reynolds - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 03:10 am
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csamillerp
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WOW! only 2 threads on Reynolds?

OK i'm sure this is talked about somewhere else on this site but i haven't found it yet...

I've heard that Reynolds was offered command of the AOP before meade was, so why didnt he take it? In all the Union Generals i would say Reynolds, Hancock and Sedgwick were the best in any northern army. Was it because of the politics that would come with the command?

Also how do you think he would have fought the war had he been in command? Would he have Overshadowed Grant? I know alot of ya'll are going to tell me that some generals were better at commanding corps but not armies... i know that and that kind of answer is cheap. I dont see why people would bother even taking the time to post it!

Anyway i'd really appreciate your thoughts on the subject... and any other subject pertaining to Reynolds



 Posted: Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 03:40 am
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Hellcat
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Politics. Supposedly the only reason he turned down command of the Army of the Potomac is that he wanted to be free of all political influence, both Executive and Congressional. Since Lincoln couldn't promise this he had to turn to Meade instead.



 Posted: Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 04:45 am
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csamillerp
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How do you think he would have done during the rest of the war if he had taken command? Very few commanders were talented in both defensive and offensive strategies... reynolds was a very good all around commander, i think he would have been the jackson or Lee of the yankee army



 Posted: Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 05:57 am
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Hellcat
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Hard to say. Seems there was a bit of backstabbing in the Federal army. McClellan did it to Pope, Sickles and Butterfield did it to Meade, Halleck did it to Grant. Seems if a general didn't like someone or felt they might overshadow them they'd do something to either remove them from command or they would discredit them. This latter really seems something some of the subordinate generals would do if they supported a particular general over another. Sickles and Butterfield were loyal Hooker men, they tried discrediting Meade after Gettysburg. Could this anonimity have been in part because Meade argued with Hooker following Chancellorsville that the army should have renewed the attack? If so, then the fact that Reynolds was among those that wanted Hooker removed following Chancellorsville might have awarded him some enemies had he accepted command.



 Posted: Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 06:05 am
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csamillerp
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Well i read the other day that no correspondance has ever been found that talks about reynolds in a negative since... seems like everyone liked him. Which could possibly be why he didnt accept command. I guess he didnt want to spoil his reputation. Do you know of any backstabbing in the confederate armies? I've heard of AP Hill and Longstreet, then AP Hill and Jackson... Johnston and Bragg, but nothing very serious that ive ever heard about. I wonder what would have happened if early in the war a federal general refused to be bothered with washington and fought the way he wanted to? Interesting to think on.



 Posted: Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 06:36 am
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Hellcat
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Congress would have removed him. I think that's why Lincoln didn't promise Reynolds he wouldn't have had to deal with political influences, he couldn't promise anything about Congress. In my view Congress medled just as much as Lincoln.



 Posted: Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 07:19 am
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csamillerp
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I dont remember where i read it but read somewhere that right after antietam when Lincoln replaced McClellan and announced his emancipation proclamation, that there was a rumor through the federal camps that McClellan was going to march on Washington and that rumor reached washington and put on a scare. I dont know if thats true but if you think about it... congress can legally tell you to relingish your command but in all reality you have the army not congress lol. What could they really do anyway?



 Posted: Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 07:47 am
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Hellcat
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And how many would have actually followed that order? Remember most in the Federal army saw the Confederates as being traitors. For McClellan to say "Ok, we're going to take our own capital by force because I've been removed from command" then you have to know there would be soldiers who'd oppose his act of rebellion. In all likelihood most of the Army would have turned against McClellan for rebelling against the country and he would have been arrested as such and then hanged whether Lincoln tried to stop it or not.

Last edited on Thu Nov 24th, 2011 03:30 am by Hellcat



 Posted: Wed Nov 23rd, 2011 07:55 am
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csamillerp
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True good point lol.



 Posted: Thu Nov 24th, 2011 01:52 am
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Doc Ce
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Another point, how many would have followed Hooker to overthrow McClellen at Antietam and to continue the attack on the ANV at the cornfield, west woods, sunken road (had Hooker not been wounded and decided to replace McClellen)?



 Posted: Tue Oct 23rd, 2012 08:03 pm
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Darryl
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Reynolds did want the command but as you gents have said there was plenty of political strings attached. He also found out that he would have no say in the promotion of officers within the army. In other words he as army commander could not promote men as he saw fit.
When the officer came on May 28th to let Meade know he would be offered the command, he warned Meade of the pitfalls and advised him not to take it if he couldn't promote as he saw fit. Meade said yes but under the conditions he outlined. As we know he took command, and it included the promotion condition.



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