June 27, 1862
General George B. McClellan offers excuses in a letter to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton: “ I regret my great inferiority in numbers but feel that I am in no way responsible for it as I have not failed to represent repeatedly the necessity of reinforcements, that this was the decisive point, & that all the available means of the Govt should be concentrated here. I will do all that a General can do with the splendid Army I have the honor to command & if it is destroyed by overwhelming numbers can at least die with it & share its fate.”
But if the result of the action which will probably occur tomorrow or within a short time is a disaster the responsibility cannot be thrown on my shoulders — it must rest where it belongs.
McClellan adds: “In addition to what I have already said I only wish to say to the Presdt that I think he is wrong, in regarding me as ungenerous when I said that my force was too weak. I merely reiterated a truth which today has been too plainly proved. I should have gained this battle with (10,00) tn thousand fresh men. If at this instant I could dispose of (10,00) ten thousand fresh men I could gain the victory tomorrow.
I know that a few thousand men more would have changed this battle from a defeat to a victory — as it is the Govt must not & cannot hold me responsible for the result.
I feel too earnestly tonight — I have seen too many dead & wounded comrades to feel otherwise than that the Govt has not sustained this Army. I you do not do so now the game is lost.
If I save this Army now I tell you plainly that I owe no thanks to you or any other persons in Washington — you have done your best to sacrifice this Army.
Although the Seven Days’ Battles are underway outside Richmond, aide John G. Nicolay writes: “So far the week has been pretty quiet, excepting of course the President’s sudden visit to West Point, which set a thousand rumors to buzzing as if a beehive had been overturned. – The Cabinet was to break up and be reformed. The generals were to be removed and new war movements were to be organized. You have no idea how rapidly rumors are originated and spread here…notwithstanding the fact that they are daily served with the most extraordinary Muchausens. My own impression is that the President merely desired and went to hold a conference with General Scott about military matters, and that no immediate avalanches or earthquakes are to be produced thereby. That eventually results will follow I have no doubt.”