Reading Update and more

I peeked ahead in Bearss to see what information he had on General Hamilton. It was pretty much what I expected. At some point in early 1863 he was passed over when McPherson was made a corps commander on the Mississippi expediton and Hurlbut was made commander at Memphis.  He agitated to get an independent HQ from Hurlbut, or to replace McPherson.  He was offered a subordinate postion under McClernand, which he refused. He eventually was allowed to transfer out and he then resigned.

Hard to say if he had a point. Grant definitely was not interested in satisfying him over McPherson. I’m not sure if Hamilton even ranked McPherson – neither was Hamilton. But within reason, commanders are allowed to jigger matters to enhance the career of superior, but junior officers. Remember, Grant disliked McClernand, so a position under him might well mean a promotion if Grant got him relieved. This actually happened during the siege, of course. 

But even if Grant was promoting his favorite unduly, there was no worse thing to do than play the primadonna about it. Grant valued harmony among his commanders pretty highly. When he was made head of the armies, nothing impressed him about Meade was his request that if Grant wanted to replace him with a more familiar officer, that he would gladly serve anywhere he was placed. This ironically made Grant very unwilling to relieve him!

Well, this is getting ahead of where I am in the book. Sherman is still noodling around Vicksburg, preparing to assault the bluffs under the assumption that Grant is holding the defenders away or is fast approaching. Instead, Grant will soon be leaving him in the lurch to attack high cliffs against fully defended lines. Sherman and Grant have ‘stolen’ McClernands independent army raised to take the city, and are using it themselves. McC is up north on his honeymoon, and hasn’t noticed that his troops have been taken off on the expedition.

I also read a few pages of the Glantz book on Smolensk, but not enough has happened to make it worth going into.

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