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[309] it will be admitted, alike by those who approve and those who disapprove it, that it gave a new character to the war and changed its objects. It is hardly necessary to add that this proclamation became at once, throughout the country, a subject of earnest debate and vehement controversy, which have, indeed, continued to the present time. From the character of the men composing the Army of the Potomac, who were voters and citizens as well as soldiers, accustomed to read the newspapers and talk politics, it was obvious that the same division of opinion upon the President's proclamation would be found among them as was found in the public at large; and there was danger that this conflict of views might impair that unity of action and patriotic zeal which are so essential to the success of all military movements. General McClellan felt himself called upon to remind the officers and soldiers under his command of the relations between the civil authorities and the military forces of the country, and of the duties of the latter in regard to the political questions of the day and the path of civil policy marked out by the Government; and he may have done this with the more promptness and emphasis from the fact that he was known not to belong to that party by whose influence the proclamation had been extorted from a too-yielding President. With these views, the following general order was issued, which may unhesitatingly be pronounced admirable alike in substance and in form, animated by a high-toned patriotism, defining with precision the line where the duty of the citizen

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George B. McClellan (1)
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