The Army of the Potomac - Chapter 1
featuring Denton Schucker
The Army of the Potomac has gone down in Civil War history as the premier Union field force. Despite the ongoing difficulty in finding the right leader, it has generally been acknowledged the army's soldiers always fought well. It's massive power would finally be harnessed and unleashed when Ulysses S. Grant came east in 1864, and the tide of the conflict was changed.
Before Grant, though, the Army had to be created. The entire federal army in the spring of 1861 consisted of only about 16,000 officers and men, and most of those were posted in the vast expanses of the western United States. When shots rang out in the morning darkness in Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861, no "Army of the Potomac" then existed.
How did this force come into being? How was it organized? Who would lead it? What was the Militia Act of 1795? And, perhaps most importantly, what role did Abraham Lincoln play in creating the force that came to symbolize, more than any other, the military might of the United States. This program will trace the Army of the Potomac's bumpy history from its birth in the spring of 1861 until it landed at Fortress Monroe a year later to start the Peninsular Campaign.
Denton Schucker is a veteran member of the First Defenders, and this will be his second Round Table program. A lifetime Fleetwood resident where he served as the Borough mayor and emergency management coordinator, Denton and his wife, Gigi, have been married for 50 years (!) and are the parents of three children. A U.S. Army veteran with 30 years on active and reserve duty, Denton had a front row seat with the 1st Cavalry Division during the Vietnam Tet Offensive. Now retired from the Evansville cement plant, Denton spends his spare time mowing grass and shoveling snow.