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[57] limits, does good rather than harm; but I think that during General Burnside's command of the army, you have taken counsel of your ambition and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you did a great wrong to the country and to a most meritorious and honorable brother officer. I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recently saying, that both the army and the government needed a dictator. Of course it was not for this but in spite of it that I have given you the command. Only those generals who gain success can set up as dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship. The government will support you to the utmost of its ability, which is neither more nor less than it has done and will do for all commanders. I very much fear that the spirit which you have aided to infuse into the army, of criticizing the commander and withholding confidence from him, will now turn upon you. I shall assist you as far as I can to put it down. Neither you, nor Napoleon if he were still alive, could get good out of an army while such a spirit prevails in it. And now, beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless vigilance go on and give us victory.

Yours very truly, (Signed) Abraham Lincoln.

On a subsequent occasion, just before the spring campaign began, in an interview with General Hooker, General Couch being present, Lincoln exclaimed twice in admonition to Hooker, “Put in all your men. Put in all your men.” This admonition showed that the President had come to realize that the strategy which uses only part of an attacking force is not sound. It invites defeat of the whole force in the defeat of its parts successively.

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