Sunday, January 15, 2017

Generals in Blue Missouri - Henry W. Halleck

Henry Wager Halleck replaced Fremont as commander of the Department of Missouri on November 9, 1861. Halleck was a military theorist and able administrator and quickly sorted out the chaos of corruption, fraud and disorder left by his predecessor. Seldom close to either superiors or subordinates, throughout his career he strove to ensure that credit for good work came to him but that blame for bad fell on others.

While administering the department from St. Louis, Union troops won victories at Pea Ridge, Belmont, Island Number 10 and New Madrid under field generals Samuel Curtis, Ulysses Grant, and John Pope.

Halleck was leery of the talents of his most successful subordinate, Grant. Being risk-averse, Halleck viewed Grant as overly pugnacious, unreliable and carrying a reputation for alcoholism. Grant’s victory at the small battle of Belmont allowed Halleck to give him a bit more leash in Tennessee, after which both their careers pointed south and then east.

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