Orlando Willcox in Southern Victory Edit
Orlando Willcox had been a lawyer in Detroit when the War of Secession began in 1861. He joined the army and was captured at the 1st battle of Bull Run. He was released and appointed a brevet Brigadier General, joining the Army of the Potomac for its disastrous defeat at the Battle of Camp Hill. After the war, Willcox stayed on in the army, and his position rose thanks in part to his brave actions at Bull Run.
In 1881, Willcox was a proper Brigadier General, when the Second Mexican War began. After the US defeat at Winchester, Willcox was placed at the head of the Army of the Ohio, the largest army the Union had fielded, and prepared for an invasion of Kentucky. Willcox was not an inspiring leader. He chose to surround himself with messengers and aids, rather than a proper staff, like experts and specialists who could give him worthy advice.
During the Siege of Louisville, Willcox's lack of preparedness cost him and his army dearly. He ordered a frontal assault against prepared defensive works at Louisville, then did little but pray that God would deliver him victory while neglecting the actual tactical planning of the battles he commanded.
Although Willcox did show some brilliance, as the armies attack bogged down in the city, he realized that he could destroy the Army of Kentucky by flanking the city, surrounding it and trapping it within the city ruins. Unfortunately, his lack of detailed planning and commanding from the rear ended his gamble.
As Willcox proved unable to break the siege, he lost the confidence of his field commanders and began isolating himself from them. After the Confederate counter-attack that destroyed his salient west of Louisville forced the US to seek an armistice, Willcox met with CS commander, Thomas Jackson. As they spoke, Willcox forgot their past aggression, talking with Jackson like an old friend, and expressing regret that they ever had to come to blows. Although Jackson demanded that Willcox withdraw from the areas of the city he still held, Willcox steadfastly refused. Willcox attempted to defend his failings by blaming politicians, but Jackson knew better. Although defeated, Willcox was more than wiling to keep fighting should he be ordered to.
- ↑ How Few Remain, pg. 192.
- ↑ Ibid., pg. 162 Paperback.
- ↑ Ibid., pg. 196.
- ↑ Ibid., pg. 394-96 Paperback.
- ↑ Ibid., pgs. 498-501.