while their campaigns were going on, were constantly censured for their slowness.
It is a charge easily made, and not easily answered; for the defence must often rest upon a variety of considerations which the critic is too impatient to listen to. General McClellan
is, by nature and temperament, wisely cautious, prudent, and deliberate,--the reverse of rash and impulsive; and these traits are, of course, shown in his military career.
lie never incurs great risks or plays a desperate game.
He is, besides, a humane man, very careful of the lives of his soldiers, and not needlessly shedding human blood.
And, lastly, he is a man of moral firmness and just self-reliance, who will never be induced by popular clamor to take a step which he deems unwise, or forego a precaution which he deems necessary.
A man like this at the head of an army will often incur the charge of slowness and inertness, and the charge will be made most positively by those who are the least qualified to form a correct judgment in the premises.
Public opinion — that is, contemporaneous public opinion — is not of any great value on a question like this.
Ignorance and prejudice are both obstacles in the way to a correct understanding of military measures and military men. A battle won is a fact which all can understand; but comparatively few are competent to determine how much merit is due,