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[127] military capacity, his courage, even his patriotism, began to be looked at from a political point of view, and to be called in question by heated political partisans.

When Congress assembled, in December, 1861, President Lincoln announced the appointment of General McClellan to the post of commander of the army, in these terms, which were generally received as expressing no more than the exact truth:--

With the retirement of General Scott came the executive duty of appointing in his stead a general-in-chief of the army. It is a fortunate circumstance that neither in council nor country was there, so far as I know, any difference of opinion as to the proper person to be selected. The retiring chief repeatedly expressed his judgment in favor of General McClellan for the position; and in this the nation seemed to give a unanimous concurrence. The designation of General McClellan is, therefore, in a considerable degree, the selection of the country, as well as of the Executive; and hence there is better reason to hope there will be given him the confidence and cordial support thus, by fair implication, promised, and without which he cannot with so full efficiency serve the country.

Within a few days after the meeting of Congress, the vague discontent and restless impatience of the community found expression in the shape of a Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, consisting of three members of the Senate and four members of the House of Representatives. The first motion towards the formation of the committee was made in the Senate on the 9th day of

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George B. McClellan (3)
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