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[141] the gift of prophecy. And the 22d day of February was named for the combined movement, it may be presumed, simply because it was the birthday of Washington. Thus a sort of melodramatic grace was attempted to be thrown over the stern aspect of war, and the corps of fine writers who were in attendance upon the army were furnished with a theme for a sensation paragraph. It is melancholy to think that the lives and blood of brave men were under the control of those who could be moved by so trumpery a consideration as this.

General McClellan, on receiving the order of January 3, asked the President whether it was to be regarded as final, or whether he could be permitted to submit in writing his objections to the plan of the Executive and his reasons for preferring his own. Permission was granted, and a letter was addressed to the Secretary of War, under date of February 3. But, before it had been submitted to the President, General McClellan received from him the following note:--

Executive Mansion, Washington, February 3, 1862.
my dear Sir:--You and I have distinct and different plans for a movement of the Army of the Potomac,--yours to be done by the Chesapeake, up the Rappahannock to Urbana, and across land to the terminus of the railroad on the York River: mine to move directly to a point on the railroad southwest of Manassas.

If you will give me satisfactory answers to the following questions, I shall gladly yield my plan to yours:--

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