Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Halleck Appointed General in Chief

Henry Halleck

150 years ago today Henry Halleck was appointed General in Chief of the Union armies. Halleck had just captured Corinth, Mississippi after an excruciatingly slow campaign, or rather siege as it almost seemed to be. He lacked the dash of Ulysses S. Grant, who had won the battles of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson and Shiloh, but who was now simply Halleck's lieutenant and had little to do, and was even considering resigning from the army. Halleck would not meet Lincoln's expectations. Halleck, known as 'Old Brains,' had been an expert in military tactics before the war. Lincoln had hoped he would be able to prod Union generals into action, but Halleck was unable to do so, the generals at times simply ignoring his messages. Instead of a General in Chief, Halleck became "little more than a first rate clerk." However, Halleck's promotion opened the way for Grant, who was given back command of an army which would allow him to do great things in time to come.


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