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s phenomenal rise was fatal to his usefulness. The dream that he was to be the sole savior of his country, announced confidentially to his wife just two weeks after his arrival in Washington, never again left him so long as he continued in command. Coupled with this dazzling vision, however, was soon developed the tormenting twofold hallucination: first, that everybody was conspiring to thwart him; and, second, that the enemy had from double to quadruple numbers to defeat him. For the first month he could not sleep for the nightmare that Beauregard's demoralized army had by a sudden bound from Manassas seized the city of Washington. He immediately began a quarrel with General Scott, which, by the first of November, drove the old hero into retirement and out of his pathway. The cabinet members who, wittingly or unwittingly, had encouraged him in this he some weeks later stigmatized as a set of geese. Seeing that President Lincoln was kind and unassuming in discussing military
April 19th (search for this): chapter 18
Seward's despatch McClellan at Washington army of the Potomac McClellan's quarrel with Scott retirement of Scott Lincoln's memorandum-all quiet on the Potomac conditions in Kentucky Cameron's visit to Sherman East Tennessee instructions to Buell Buell's neglect Halleck in Missouri Following the fall of Fort Sumter, the navy of the United States was in no condition to enforce the blockade from Chesapeake Bay to the Rio Grande declared by Lincoln's proclamation of April 19. Of the forty-two vessels then in commission nearly all were on foreign stations. Another serious cause of weakness was that within a few days after the Sumter attack one hundred and twenty-four officers of the navy resigned, or were dismissed for disloyalty, and the number of such was doubled before the fourth of July. Yet by the strenuous efforts of the department in fitting out ships that had been laid up, in completing those under construction, and in extensive purchases and arming o
ight the one great battle for which he could never get ready. Sherman was so distressed by the seeming magnitude of his burden that he soon asked to be relieved; and when Brigadier-General Buell was sent to succeed him in command of that part of Kentucky lying east of the Cumberland River, it was the expectation of the President that he would devote his main attention and energy to the accomplishment of a specific object which Mr. Lincoln had very much at heart. Ever since the days in June, when President Lincoln had presided over the council of war which discussed and decided upon the Bull Run campaign, he had devoted every spare moment of his time to the study of such military books and leading principles of the art of war as would aid him in solving questions that must necessarily come to himself for final decision. His acute perceptions, retentive memory, and unusual power of logic enabled him to make rapid progress in the acquisition of the fixed and accepted rules on whi
the fall of Fort Sumter, the navy of the United States was in no condition to enforce the blockade from Chesapeake Bay to the Rio Grande declared by Lincoln's proclamation of April 19. Of the forty-two vessels then in commission nearly all were on foreign stations. Another serious cause of weakness was that within a few days after the Sumter attack one hundred and twenty-four officers of the navy resigned, or were dismissed for disloyalty, and the number of such was doubled before the fourth of July. Yet by the strenuous efforts of the department in fitting out ships that had been laid up, in completing those under construction, and in extensive purchases and arming of all classes of vessels that could be put to use, from screw and side-wheel merchant steamers to ferry-boats and tugs, a legally effective blockade was established within a period of six months. A considerable number of new war-ships was also immediately placed under construction. The special session of Congress crea
mac, which comprised all the troops in and around Washington, on both sides of the river. Called thus to the capital of the nation to guard it against the results of the disastrous battle of Bull Run, and to organize a new army for extended offensive operations, the surrounding conditions naturally suggested to him that in all likelihood he would play a conspicuous part in the great drama of the Civil War. His ambition rose eagerly to the prospect. On the day on which he assumed command, July 27, he wrote to his wife: I find myself in a new and strange position here; President, cabinet, General Scott, and all, deferring to me. By some strange operation of magic I seem to have become the power of the land. And three days later: They give me my way in everything, full swing and unbounded confidence . . W. ho would have thought, when we were married, that I should so soon be called upon to save my country? And still a few days afterward: I shall carry this
August 9th (search for this): chapter 18
days later: They give me my way in everything, full swing and unbounded confidence . . W. ho would have thought, when we were married, that I should so soon be called upon to save my country? And still a few days afterward: I shall carry this thing en grande, and crush the rebels in one campaign. From the giddy elevation to which such an imaginary achievement raised his dreams, there was but one higher step, and his colossal egotism immediately mounted to occupy it. On August 9, just two weeks after his arrival in Washington, he wrote: , I would cheerfully take the dictatorship and agree to lay down my life when the country is saved ; while in the same letter he adds, with the most naive unconsciousness of his hallucination: I am not spoiled by my unexpected new position. Coming to the national capital in the hour of deepest public depression over the Bull Run defeat, Mc-Clellan was welcomed by the President, the cabinet, and General Scott with sincere friendsh
August 29th (search for this): chapter 18
of Congress created a commission to study the subject of ironclads, and on its recommendation three experimental vessels of this class were placed under contract. One of these, completed early in the following year, rendered a momentous service, hereafter to be mentioned, and completely revolutionized naval warfare. Meanwhile, as rapidly as vessels could be gathered and prepared, the Navy Department organized effective expeditions to operate against points on the Atlantic coast. On August 29 a small fleet, under command of Flag Officer Stringham, took possession of Hatteras Inlet, after silencing the forts the insurgents had erected to guard the entrance, and captured twenty-five guns and seven hundred prisoners. This success, achieved without the loss of a man to the Union fleet, was of great importance, opening, as it did, the way for a succession of victories in the interior waters of North Carolina early in the following year. A more formidable expedition, and still gr
irs existed in the first great military field east of the Alleghanies, the outlook was quite as unpromising both in the second-between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi --and in the third-west of the Mississippi. When the Confederates, about September I, 1861, invaded Kentucky, they stationed General Pillow at the strongly fortified town of Columbus on the Mississippi River, with about six thousand men; General Buckner at Bowling Green, on the railroad north of Nashville, with five thousand;on, by way of the Shenandoah valley, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, between Virginia and the Gulf States, accomplishing in the winter of 1861 what was not attained until two years later. Mr. Lincoln urged this in a second memorandum, made late in September; and seeing that the principal objection to it lay in the long and difficult line of land transportation, his message to Congress of December 3, 1861, recommended, as a military measure, the construction of a railroad to connect Cincinnati, by
September 8th (search for this): chapter 18
placed himself in a similar attitude respecting their inquiry and advice. McClellan's activity and judgment as an army organizer naturally created great hopes that he would be equally efficient as a commander in the field. But these hopes were grievously disappointed. To his first great defect of estimating himself as the sole savior of the country, must at once be added the second, of his utter inability to form any reasonable judgment of the strength of the enemy in his front. On September 8, when the Confederate army at Manassas numbered forty-one thousand, he rated it at one hundred and thirty thousand. By the end of October that estimate had risen to one hundred and fifty thousand, to meet which he asked that his own force should be raised to an aggregate of two hundred and forty thousand, with a total of effectives of two hundred and eight thousand, and four hundred and eighty-eight guns. He suggested that to gather this force all other points should be left on the defe
y in his front. On September 8, when the Confederate army at Manassas numbered forty-one thousand, he rated it at one hundred and thirty thousand. By the end of October that estimate had risen to one hundred and fifty thousand, to meet which he asked that his own force should be raised to an aggregate of two hundred and forty thotnumbering the enemy nearly four to one, would redeem his promise to crush the army at Manassas and save the country. But the November days came and went, as the October days had come and gone. McClellan and his brilliant staff galloped unceasingly from camp to camp, and review followed review, while autumn imperceptibly gave plales of frontier with that small force. In an interview with Secretary of War Cameron, who called upon him on his return from Fremont's camp, about the middle of October, he strongly urged that he needed for immediate defense sixty thousand, and for ultimate offense two hundred thousand before we were done. Great God! exclaimed
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