Academic journal article Military Review

Command Conflicts in Grant's Overland Campaign: Ambition and Animosity in the Army of the Potomac

Academic journal article Military Review

Command Conflicts in Grant's Overland Campaign: Ambition and Animosity in the Army of the Potomac

Article excerpt

COMMAND CONFLICTS IN GRANT'S OVERLAND CAMPAIGN: Ambition and Animosity in the Army of the Potomac

Diane Monroe Smith, McFarland & Company, Jefferson, North Carolina, 2013, 248 pages, $39.95

The Overland Campaign was the most brutal continuous combat action up to that point of the Civil War. The casualty figures during this condensed period of 1864 consisted of staggering numbers of killed, wounded, and missing. These figures were at least partially due to the divisive relationships between the leaders that were prevalent during this period of the Civil War.

Lt. Gen. Ulysses Grant's Overland Campaign was rife with counterproductive conduct by political appointees, office seekers, senior regular and volunteer army officers, and newspaper correspondents. This did much to foul the plans set forth by the overall commanders--Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck, located in Washington DC; Grant, overall commander of Union forces; and Maj. Gen. George Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac--to bring the war to a more rapid conclusion.

It was common knowledge that the Confederacy had been bent back, but was not broken. However, even with the Unions' vast resources in manpower and the instruments of warfare, it could not take advantage of the situation. Though there were definitive successes, more often than not, command conflicts thwarted Union efforts to prosecute the war efficiently or effectively.

The inability of the Union commanders to work as a productive and supportive team led to the terrible carnage of the Overland Campaign. …

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