you are called upon to overcome armed opposition I know that your courage is equal to the task; but remember that your only foes are the armed traitors, and shorn mercy even to them when they are in your power, for many of them are misguided.
When under your protection, the loyal men of Western Virginia have been enabled to organize and arm, they can protect themselves, and you can then return to your homes with the proud satisfaction of having saved a gallant people from destruction. Geo. B. McClellan, Maj.-Gen. U. S. A., Commanding.
I, of course, sent copies to the President, with a letter explaining the necessity of my prompt action without waiting to consult with him. To this letter I never received any reply or acknowledgment; nor did the President, or any of his civil or military advisers, ever inform me whether they approved or disapproved the course I had taken.
I must give to the Washington functionaries at least this much credit — viz., that although they gave me no as
iant movement than that from Urbana, to an attack upon Mannssas.
I know that his excellency the President, you, and I all agree in our wishes; and that these wishes are, to bring this war to a close as promptly as the means in our possession will permit.
I believe that the mass of the people have entire confidence in us — I am sure of it. Let us, then, look only to the great result to be accomplished, and disregard everything else.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, Geo. B. McClellan, Maj.-Gen. Commanding. Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.
This letter must have produced some effect upon the mind of the President, since the execution of his order was not required, although it was not revoked as formally as it had been issued.
Many verbal conferences ensued, in which, among other things, it was determined to collect as many canal-boats as possible, with a view to employ them largely in the transportation of the army to the lower Chesapeake.
The idea was at