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2. With such supports, on his part, it would be as idle for me, as it would be against the dignity of my years, to be filing daily complaints against an ambitious junior, who, independent of the extreme advantages alluded to, has, unquestionably, very high qualifications for military command. I trust they may achieve crowning victories in behalf of the Union.
3. I have, in my letter to you of the 9th inst., already said enough on the, to others, disgusting subject of my many physical infirmities. I will here only add that, borne down as I am by them, I should unavoidably be in the way, at head-quarters, even if my abilities for war were now greater than when I was young.
I have the honor to be, Sir, with high respect,
A DRAFT URGED BY GENERAL McCLELLAN.
General Scott, very soon after this correspondence, was allowed to retire from active service, in accordance with his request, and General McClellan succeeded to the command of the Army of the Potomac. His attention was first given to recovering the disaster of Bull Run, and placing the army again on a footing for the speedy resumption of hostilities. The defeat of July, and the danger with which that defeat for the moment seemed to menace the capital, had aroused the most intense enthusiasm throughout the country, and volunteers were pouring into Washington with great rapidity. Under these circumstances, General McClellan wrote to the President as follows:
WASHINGTON, August 20, 1861.
SIR:—I have just received the inclosed dispatch in cipher. Colonel
Marcy knows what he says, and is of the coolest judgment. I recom
mend that the Secretary of War ascertain at once by telegram how the enrollment proceeds in New York and elsewhere, and that, if it is not proceeding with great rapidity, drafts to be made at once. We must have men without delay. Respectfully your obedient servant, GEORGE B. McCLELLAN, Maj.-Gen. U. S. A.
DISPATCH FROM Col. R. B. MARCY TO GENERAL M'CLELLAN.
NEW YORK, August 20, 1861. I urge upon you to make a positive and unconditional demand for an immediate draft of the additional troops you require. Men will not volunteer now, and drafting is the only successful plan. The people will applaud such a course, rely upon it. I will be in Washington to-morrow. R. B. MARCY.
THE PRESIDENT'S SUGGESTION FOR AN ADVANCE IN DECEMBER, 1861.
The following is a copy of a memorandum marked by the President, as having been made by him about the first of December, 1861. It was while the army under McClellan was lying in front of Washington, and while the Government and the whole country were impatient for an advance upon the rebel army encamped at Manassas.
If it were determined to make a forward movement of the Army of the Potomac, without awaiting further increase of numbers, or better drill and discipline, how long would it require to actually get in motion ?
[Answer in pencil by McClellan: “If bridge trains ready—by December 15—probably 25th.”]
After leaving all that would be necessary, how many troops could join the movement from southwest of the river?
[Answer in pencil, “71,000.”]
How many from northwest of it?
[Answer in pencil, “33,000.”]
Suppose, then, that of those southwest of the river [supplied in pencil “50,000,”] move forward and menace the enemy at Centerville?
The remainder of the movable force on that side move rapidly to the crossing of the Occoquan by the road from Alexandria towards Richmond; there to be joined by the whole movable force from northeast of the river, having landed from the Potomac just below the mouth of the Occoquan, move by land up the south side of that stream, to the crossing point named; then the whole move together, by the road thence to Brentville, and beyond, to the railroad just south of its crossing of Broad Run, a strong detachment of cavalry having gone rapidly ahead to destroy the railroad bridges south and north of the point. If the crossing of the Occoquan by those from above be resisted, those landing from the Potomac below to take the resisting force of the enemy in rear; or, if landing from the Potomac be resisted, those crossing the Occoquan from above to take that resisting force in rear. Both points will probably not be successfully resisted at the same time. The force in front of Centerville, if pressed too hardly, should fight back into the intrenchments behind them. Armed vessels and transports should remain at the Potomac landing to cover a possible retreat.
The following reply is in General McClellan's handwriting— dated Washington, December 10, and marked “confidential :”
I inclose the paper you left with me—filled as you requested. In arriving at the numbers given I have left the minimum numbers in garrison and observation.
Information recently leads me to believe that the enemy would meet us in front with equal forces nearly—and I have now my mind actually turned towards another plan of campaign that I do not think at all anticipated by the enemy, nor by many of our own people.
GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN.
This is doubtless in allusion to his project of transferring the army to the York River, and advancing upon Richmond by that line.
THE POSITION OF KENTUCKY. Reference is made on page 480 to the efforts of the President to prevent Kentucky and other Border Slave States from joining the Rebel Confederacy. General McClellan, while in command of the Department of the Ohio, had entered into an agreement with General Buckner by which the substantial neutrality of that State was recognized and respected. And in August, 1861, Governor Magoffin had urged the removal
by the President of the Union troops which had been raised
and were encamped within that State.
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 24, 1861.
To His Excellency B. MAGoFFIN, Governor of the State of Kentucky: SIR:—Your letter of the 19th inst., in which you “urge the removal from the limits of Kentucky of the military force now organized and in camp within that State,” is received. I may not possess full and precisely accurate knowledge upon this subject, but I believe it is true that there is a military force in camp within Kentucky, acting by authority of the United States, which force is not very large, and is not now being augmented. I also believe that some arms have been furnished to this force by the United States. I also believe that this force consists exclusively of Kentuckians, having their camp in the immediate vicinity of their own homes, and not assailing or menacing any of the good people of Kentucky. In all I have done in the premises, I have acted upon the urgent solicitation of many Kentuckians, and in accordance with what I believed, and still believe, to be the wish of a majority of all the Unionloving people of Kentucky. While I have conversed on the subject with many eminent men of Kentucky, including a large majority of her members of Congress, I do not remember that any one of them, or any other person, except your Excellency and the bearers of your Excellency's letter, has urged me to remove the military force from Kentucky or to disband it. One other very worthy citizen of Kentucky did solicit me to have the augmenting of the force suspended for a time. . Taking all the means within my reach to form a judgment, I do not believe it is the popular wish of Kentucky that the force shall be removed beyond her limits; and, with this impression, I must respectfully decline to remove it. I most cordially sympathize with your Excellency in the wish to preserve the peace of my own native State, Kentucky, but it is with regret I search for and cannot find, in your not very short letter, any declaration or intimation that you entertain any desire for the preservation
of the Federal Union, ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
THE PRESIDENT TO GENERAL McCLELLAN.
President LIN coln addressed the following letter to General McClellan after the latter had landed his forces on the Peninsula in the spring of 1862. It relates to several points in which the General's action had already excited a good deal of public uneasiness, and been made the subject of public comment, though the letter itself has never before been made public:
- ForTRESS MonROE, May 9, 1862.
MY DEAR SIR:—I have just assisted the Secretary of War in forming the part of a dispatch to you, relating to army corps, which dispatch, of course, will have reached you long before this will. I wish to say a few words to you privately on this subject. I ordered the army corps organization not only on the unanimous opinion of the twelve generals of aivision, but also on the unanimous opinion of every military man I could get an opinion from, and every modern military book, yourself only excepted. Of course, I did not on my own judgment pretend to understand the subject. I now think it indispensable for you to know how your struggle against it is received in quarters which we cannot entirely disregard. It is looked upon as merely an effort to pamper one or two pets, and to persecute and degrade their supposed rivals. I have had no word from Sumner, Heintzelman or Keyes. The commanders of these corps are of course the three highest officers with you, but I am constantly told that you have no consultation or communication with them, that you consult and communicate with nobody but Fitz John Porter, and perhaps General Franklin. I do not say these complaints are true or just; but, at all events, it is proper you should know of their existence. Do the commanders of corps disobey your orders in any thing?
When you relieved General Hamilton of his command the other day, yon thereby lost the confidence of at least one of your best friends in the Senate. And here let me say, not as applicable to you personally, that Senators and Representatives speak of me in their places as they please without question; and that officers of the army must cease addressing insulting letters to them for taking no greater liberty with them. But to return, are you strong enough, even with my help, to set your foot upon the neck of Sumner, Heintzelman, and Keyes, all at once? This is a practical and very serious question for you.
Yours truly, A. LINCOLN.