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In his civil war book Commanders of the Army of the Potomac Warren Hassler Jr fantastically recounts the events that transpired between 1861 to 1865 during which seven men were given the reigns of the Norths Army of the Potomac and asked to lead the Union to victory However one of the greatest commanders in history stood in their way Robert E Lee and each was pitted against this great general one by one and given the chance to make history The first Irvin McDowell was regarded in this book as a great soldier in his own right but a terrible leader who displayed visible gaps in his preparedness in his tactics and in his strategy He was the first to take control of the northern army Not much later towards the end of May of 1861 General Lee established a defensive hold along the small stream of Bull Run located in Manassas During the Battle of Bull Run McDowell was crushed by Confederate generals Joseph E Johnston and Pierre Beauregard due to weak planning and it became apparent that this in fact would not be a short-lived war Next up was the most popular and perhaps the greatest of the commanders George B McClellan After the embarrassing defeats at Bull Run he masterfully regrouped and disciplined the AOP as he himself showed outstanding military presence and was constantly increasing his knowledge of offensive tactics From spring of 1862 till July of that year General McClellan was successful in driving the Confederates out of West Virginia and he was inching toward the southern capitol of Richmond when General Jeb Stuart under Lee encircled and outmaneuvered McClellans forces who were driven back and finally held at Malvern Hill during the Seven Days Battle During this time period there was some shifting of control and the AOP was put into the arms of General John Pope This book regards Pope as one of the most pathetic
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