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[172] immediate command, and the general is ordered to report to the Secretary of War. Letter by mail.

L. Thomas, Adjutant-General. General McClellan.

This fell with crushing weight upon General McClellan's hopes. Its effect upon him cannot be better described than in his own simple language,--the force of which could not be increased by any attempt at rhetorical embellishment:--

The President having promised, in our interview following his order of March 31, withdrawing Blenker's division of ten thousand men from my command, that nothing of the sort should be repeated,--that I might rest assured that the campaign should proceed, with no further deductions from the force upon which its operations had been planned,--I may confess to having been shocked at this order, which, with that of the 31st ultimo and that of the 3d, removed nearly sixty thousand men from my command, and reduced my force by more than one-third, after its task had been assigned, its operations planned, its fighting begun. To me the blow was most discouraging. It frustrated all my plans for impending operations. It fell when I was too deeply committed to withdraw. It left me incapable of continuing operations which had been begun. It compelled the adoption of another, a different and a less effective, plan of campaign. It made rapid and brilliant operations impossible. It was a fatal error.

General McClellan's plan had been, if the works at Yorktown and Williamsburg offered a serious resistance, that General McDowell's corps should land

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