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    General McClernand is relieved of command of the 13th Army Corps.

    General John Aaron Rawlins Unsigned Autograph Document Special Order 164 Relieving Major General McClernand of Command After Disastrous Losses at Vicksburg. One page, 7.75" x 9.75", n.p., June 18, 1863, light foxing, else fine. Written entirely in Rawlins' hand, this historic document reads in full: "Maj. Gen. [Rawlins mistakenly writes McClernand's successor's name and crosses it out] J. A. McClernand is hereby relieved from the Command of the 13th Army Corps. He will proceed to any point he may select in the state of Ill. and report by letter to Head Quarters of the Army for orders. Maj. Gen. E. O. C. Ord is hereby appointed to the command of the 13th Army Corps, subject to the approval of the President and will immediately assume the command of same."

    May 22, 1863 was a disastrous day for the Union army outside the rebel-held city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Major General John Alexander McClernand's troops suffered grievous losses as they fought for and briefly held a Confederate strongpoint outside the city. McClernand misinterpreted the momentary foray into the Confederate lines as a sure sign of victory and promptly contacted General Grant requesting more reinforcements to hold the gain made by his men. Grant reluctantly agreed but McClernand's poor tactical abilities and bad judgment promptly squandered the reinforcements, only adding to the appalling casualties. McClernand's performance was roundly criticized by Grant and his fellow officers. Hearing the rumors against him, McClernand wrote a long congratulatory order to his own 13th Army Corps, dated May 30, 1863. In his order, McClernand blamed the failure of the May 22nd assault on Grant's slowness to reinforce his troops. He also claimed a disproportionate share of the success for the entire Mississippi campaign, offending his fellow corps commanders in the process. McClernand sent copies of his order to several western newspapers without Grant's knowledge - a violation of military protocol. McClernand's breach of regulations was all that Grant and fellow officers needed to finally rid themselves of McClernand. On June 15, 1863, Special Orders Number 164 relieved Major General John A. McClernand from duty. Major General Edward Otho Cresap Ord assumed command of the 13th Army Corps. Rawlins maintained a close relationship with Grant during the war, and later served as Grant's first Secretary of War.


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    September, 2011
    13th-14th Tuesday-Wednesday
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