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Chapter 12:

  • Farewell to the army
  • -- reception at Trenton -- visit to Boston in the winter of 1863 -- oration at West Point in June, 1864


The reasons for this summary and abrupt dismissal of General McClellan, strange to say, have never been distinctly and officially given to the people of the United States. The President, in his annual message to Congress, only twenty-six days later than the date of his order of removal, says nothing upon the subject.

The general-in-chief, in his Report, addressed to the Secretary of War, says,

From the 17th of September till the 26th of October, McClellan's main army remained on the north bank of the Potomac, in the vicinity of Sharpsburg and Harper's Ferry. The long inactivity of so large an army in the face of a defeated foe and during the most favorable season for rapid movements and a vigorous campaign, was a matter of great disappointment and regret. Your letter of the 27th and my reply on the 28th of October, in regard to the alleged causes of this unhappy delay, I herewith submit, marked Exhibit No. 5. In reply to the telegraphic order of the 6th of October, quoted in my letter of the 28th, above referred to, General McClellan disapproved of the plan of crossing the Potomac south of the Blue Ridge, and said that lie would cross at Harper's Ferry and advance upon Winchester. He, however, did not begin to cross till the 26th of October, and then at Berlin.

The passage occupied several days, and was

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