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as and Centreville — formed a fruitful subject of debate in the newspapers and among military men; and the discussion was all the more animated from the fact that whatever plans General McClellan had formed, or was forming, he did not make them known to others. Thus far nothing had, apparently, disturbed the relations between General McClellan and the Administration, or changed the friendly feeling which had inspired the paragraph which has been quoted from the President's message. On the 14th day of January, 1862, Mr. Simon Cameron resigned his position as Secretary of War, and Mr. Edwin M. Stanton was appointed to fill his place. Mr. Stanton had not been in political life, and was known only as a lawyer in large practice, of strong grasp of mind and great capacity for labor. He had been a member of the Democratic party; and the selection of an able and honorable political opponent for such a place, at such a time, seemed an act alike of wisdom and magnanimity, which gave genera
breathes through it a spirit of hostility towards General McClellan, of ominous import to the success of our arms. After reading it, the President of, the United States ought at once to have removed either that officer or Mr. Stanton himself. About the 20th of February, measures were taken to secure the reopening of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The whole of General Banks's division, and two brigades of General Sedgwick's division, were thrown across the river at Harper's Ferry on the 26th, superintended by General McClellan in person, who had gone up from Washington for that purpose. Materials had been collected for making a permanent bridge by means of canal-boats but, on attempting to pass the boats through the left lock, it was found, for the first time, that the lock was too small to permit their passage. This unexpected obstacle deranged the plans; and an order which had been given for the movement of some forces from Washington was countermanded. Every exertion was ma
for making a permanent bridge by means of canal-boats but, on attempting to pass the boats through the left lock, it was found, for the first time, that the lock was too small to permit their passage. This unexpected obstacle deranged the plans; and an order which had been given for the movement of some forces from Washington was countermanded. Every exertion was made to establish, as promptly as possible, depots of forage and subsistence on the Virginia side, to supply the troops. On the 28th, Charlestown was occupied by a strong Federal force; and on the same day General McClellan returned to Washington. In spite of the untoward mischance of the canal-boats,--for which the commander-in-chief could not be responsible,--the design aimed at had been accomplished, and before the 1st of April the railroad was in running order. With General McClellan's return to Washington on the 28th of February, preparations were begun for carrying out the wishes of the President and Secretary of
o the Secretary of War. But we may infer that such a communication would not have been sent to Mr. Stanton unless the committee had surmised it would be welcome,--which inference is strengthened by the fact that the committee, on the preceding day, January 20, had had a conference with the Secretary, at his request, of several hours' duration. General McClellan had been taken ill at Christmas-time, 1861, and was confined to his bed about three weeks. Upon his recovery, in the middle of January, he says in his Report that he found that an excessive anxiety for an immediate movement of the Army of the Potomac had taken possession of the Administration. lie had an interview with the new Secretary of War, soon after the appointment of the latter, in which he explained verbally his design as to the part of the campaign to be executed by the Army of the Potomac; and this was, to attack Richmond by the Lower Chesapeake. The Secretary instructed him to develop his plan to the President
January 3rd (search for this): chapter 6
ement, 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 h
January 20th (search for this): chapter 6
nt in his Annual Message that he had appointed General McClellan to the very office which the committee insinuate does not exist; and had Abraham Lincoln been Andrew Jackson, he would have been a bold man who would have addressed such a letter to the Secretary of War. But we may infer that such a communication would not have been sent to Mr. Stanton unless the committee had surmised it would be welcome,--which inference is strengthened by the fact that the committee, on the preceding day, January 20, had had a conference with the Secretary, at his request, of several hours' duration. General McClellan had been taken ill at Christmas-time, 1861, and was confined to his bed about three weeks. Upon his recovery, in the middle of January, he says in his Report that he found that an excessive anxiety for an immediate movement of the Army of the Potomac had taken possession of the Administration. lie had an interview with the new Secretary of War, soon after the appointment of the latt
February 3rd (search for this): chapter 6
elancholy 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 gi
February 20th (search for this): chapter 6
War. Besides its bad taste and false rhetoric, it involves a contemptuous disparagement of military science, most unbecoming in a man who was at the head of the War Department of a great nation engaged in a momentous war. And there breathes through it a spirit of hostility towards General McClellan, of ominous import to the success of our arms. After reading it, the President of, the United States ought at once to have removed either that officer or Mr. Stanton himself. About the 20th of February, measures were taken to secure the reopening of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The whole of General Banks's division, and two brigades of General Sedgwick's division, were thrown across the river at Harper's Ferry on the 26th, superintended by General McClellan in person, who had gone up from Washington for that purpose. Materials had been collected for making a permanent bridge by means of canal-boats but, on attempting to pass the boats through the left lock, it was found, for the f
February 22nd (search for this): chapter 6
ion for the immediate object of seizing and occupying a point upon the railroad southwestward of what is known as Manassas Junction, all details to be in the discretion of the commander-in-chief, and the expedition to move before or on the 22d day of February next. Abraham Lincoln. These two orders should be considered together and carefully pondered by every candid man who desires to form a correct judgment as to the past, irrespective of political prepossessions. The outposts of an armylling of a civic procession or the arranging of a mock battle on the stage. No man can venture to say that a great army shall move or a great fleet shall sail on a fixed future day, unless he be endowed with 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 i
February 28th (search for this): chapter 6
ssible, depots of forage and subsistence on the Virginia side, to supply the troops. On the 28th, Charlestown was occupied by a strong Federal force; and on the same day General McClellan returned to Washington. In spite of the untoward mischance of the canal-boats,--for which the commander-in-chief could not be responsible,--the design aimed at had been accomplished, and before the 1st of April the railroad was in running order. With General McClellan's return to Washington on the 28th of February, preparations were begun for carrying out the wishes of the President and Secretary of War in regard to destroying the batteries on the Lower Potomac,--though in giving his hand to this movement General McClellan yielded his own judgment to theirs. He was convinced that this operation would require the movement of the entire army, that the extremely unfavorable condition of the roads was a serious obstacle to be overcome, and that it was unnecessary, because the proposed movement to th
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