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The Spotsylvania Campaign$
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Gary W. Gallagher

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780807824023

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807898376_gallagher

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The Testing of a Corps Commander

The Testing of a Corps Commander

Gouverneur Kemble Warren at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania

(p.61) The Testing of a Corps Commander
The Spotsylvania Campaign

Gordon C. Rhea

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on one of the North's top generals at Spotsylvania, Fifth Corps chief Gouverneur Kemble Warren, whose performance raised the most troubling doubts. Warren was consistently out of step with his superior officers, holding back when they wanted aggressive leadership, and rashly attacking when restraint better suited their plans. Perhaps most damaging, Warren seemed incapable of executing orders without first seeking to adjust them to suit his own tactical ideas—behavior that alienated both Meade and Grant. Deliberate, headstrong, and lacking the offensive spirit preferred by Grant, Warren contributed almost nothing positive to the northern effort at Spotsylvania. In light of behavior such as that he exhibited at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, Warren's eventual removal from corps command at Five Forks should come as no surprise.

Keywords:   Civil War, military campaigns, Fifth Corps, Union

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