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[79] McClellan's. General McDowell stated that he was in ignorance of any plan of General McClellan's. The President went over the subject of discussion in a general way, and then there was a silence. It was broken by Governor Chase, who asked General McClellan if he had any objection to telling the persons there assembled what his plan for the movement of the Army of the Potomac was. After a long silence the General made a few general remarks, and ended by saying to the President that he knew when his plans had hitherto been told to the Cabinet that they had leaked out, and he would therefore decline to divulge them now, unless the President would order him so to do. Then there was another long silence, and the President broke it by asking the General if he had matured a plan for the movement of the Army of the Potomac. The General answered that he had. After another silence the President said, “Then, General, I shall not order you to give it.” During this time Governor Chase, General McDowell and I were standing in one of the window embrasures. When General McClellan declined to give his plans to the meeting, Governor Chase 1 said to us, “Well, if that is Mac's decision, he is a ruined man.” The President then adjourned the meeting, and this episode was over. About a fortnight after this time the President ordered the Army of the Potomac to move forward on or before February 22d, to take Manassas. This order was countermanded early in February, and toward the end of the month orders were given to collect the transportation necessary to move the army by water.

On the 8th of March I was ordered to repair to headquarters. Assembled there were the General-in-chief, the Engineer of the Army of the Potomac, and all of the division commanders, except General Hooker, who was represented by General Naglee. General McClellan submitted to us his plan for the movement of the army, and then left us to ourselves. Upon the question of approval of his plan the vote was, I think, nine for approval to three against it, although it has been reported as eight to four. I believed then, and still believe, that the main object of the meeting was to obtain a condemnation of the plan by the subordinate generals. Immediately after this meeting we were informed that the President wished to see us. We went to the White House, and found there the President and Secretary of War. They knew the result of our meeting.

1 In thinking over this matter, I find that I cannot be positive whether it was Governor Chase or Judge Blair who was with General McDowell and me, and made this remark. It was one of them, however.

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