After being wounded at the battle of Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, Dan Sickles never returned to corps command, although he tried. On October 16, he presented himself to Meade and asked to be restored to command of the III Corps. Sickles later admitted that he was “feeling great doubt as to my ability to hold out for permanent command and active campaigning.” Meade, seeing through Sickles’s bravado, came to the same conclusion. It didn’t help that Meade had a burning dislike for Sickles, who was not only not a member of the West Point Club, and not only a political general, but was also someone who had an incredibly seedy reputation. Meade politely but firmly said, “No.”
That left Maj. Gen. William “Blinky” French in command of the III Corps. The men didn’t love him, as much out of spite to support their beloved Sickles as anything, but French soon proved worthy of their scorn. He botched the November Mine Run campaign so badly that Meade had his cachiered.
In retrospect, we recognize that Blinky was a bad idea. From Meade’s perspective in October, Sickles represented a worse alternative.
What would you have done?