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CHAP. IX. mark or comment. The President spoke somewhat
at length on the matter, and General McClellan
It is a remarkable fact that although the plan recommended by these generals was exactly the plan suggested six weeks before by the President to McClellan, neither of them made the slightest reference to that incident. That Mr. Lincoln did not refer to a matter so close to his heart is a striking instance of his reticence and his magnanimity; that General McClellan never mentioned it would
seem to show that he thought so little of the matter CHAP. IX. as to have forgotten it. He seemed also to have thought little of this conference; he makes no reference to it in his report. He says, referring to this period : “About the middle of January, 1862, upon recovering from a severe illness, I found that excessive anxiety for an immediate movement of the Army of the Potomac had taken possession of the minds of the Administration."
The last words of the phrase refer not only to the President, but to Mr. Stanton, the new Secretary of War, who began as soon as he took charge of his department to ply the commander of the army with continual incitements to activity. All suggestions of this sort, whether coming from the Government, Congress, or the press, General McClellan received with surprise and displeasure; and the resentment and vexation of his immediate friends and associates found vent in expressions of contempt for unmilitary critics, which, being reported, only increased the evil that provoked them. He at last laid before the President his plan for attacking Richmond by the lower Chesapeake, which the President disapproved, having previously convinced himself of the superior merit of the plan for a direct movement agreed upon by Generals McDowell, Franklin, and Meigs, who were ignorant of the fact that it was his. Further delay ensued, the President not being willing to accept a plan condemned by his own judgment and by the best professional opinion that he could obtain, and General McClellan being equally reluctant to adopt a plan that was not his own.
The President at last, at the end of his patience,
CHAP. IX. convinced that nothing would be done unless he
intervened by a positive command, issued on the
nates of land and naval forces, will severally be W.R. held to their strict and full responsibilities for
prompt execution of this order."
Four days later, as a necessary result of this general summons to action, a special instruction, called “President's Special War Order, No 1,” was issued to General McClellan, commanding "that all the disposable force of the Army of the Potomac, after providing safely for the defense of Washington, be formed into an expedition for the immediate object of seizing and occupying a point upon the railroad
southwestward of what is known as Manassas V., p. 41. Junction, all details to be in the discretion of the
Jan. 27, 1862.
Ibid., Jan. 31,
1862. W. R. VOL.