General Henry W. Halleck Appointed as Union General-in-Chief

July 11, 1862

“At Presidents in the morning and had an interview with him and Mr Stanton   President had just returned from McClellan’s Army near Richmond,” write Senator Orville H. Browning.  “He told me he did not think from the all the information he could get that our losses in the killed, wounded and missing in the recent battles would exceed 12000.   He says the army is still a large one, and in good condition, although much diminished, consisting when it was sent there of 160,000 men.  They both told me that they intended to adopt a general system of exchange of prisoners.”  General George B. McClellan telegraphs President Lincoln about the war in Virginia:

The enemy have certainly retreated — but it has been in good order & with a fair amount of wagons.  Our Cavalry follow their rear guard closely & have taken a few prisoners but have made no decided impression.  None of the enemy appear to have crossed the Long Bridge — but all to have gone in direction of Richmond — some crossing White Oak Swamp.  None towards mouth of Chickahominy now.  Considerable force of enemy at Haxalls yesterday — probably Cavalry almost entirely.   Stonewall Jackson not dead.  Prisoners all state that I had (200,000) two hundred thousand enemy to fight — a good deal more than two to one, & they knowing the ground.

Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton wrote General Halleck that the President had ordered: “That Major General Henry W. Halleck be assigned to command the whole land forces of the United States, as general-in-chief, and that he repair to this capital as soon as he can with safety to the positions and operations within the department under his charge.  You will please acknowledge the receipt of this order, and state when you may be expected here.  Your early presence is required by many circumstances.”

President Lincoln meanwhile writes Tennessee’s War Governor Andrew Johnson in response to Johnson’s correspondence regarding his state: “Yours of yesterday is received.  Do you not, my good friend, perceive that what you ask is simply to put you in command in the West.  I do not suppose you desire this.  You only wish to control in your own localities; but this, you must know, may derange all others parts.  Can you, not, and will you not, have a full conference with Gen. Halleck?  Telegraph him, and meet him at such place as he and you can agree upon.  I telegraph him to meet you and confer fully with you.”

Illinois Governor Richard Yates writes President Lincoln: “The crisis of the war and our national existence is upon us.  The time has come for the adoption of more decisive measures.  Greater animus and earnestness must be infused into our military movements; blows must be struck at the vital points of the Rebellion.  The government should employ every available means compatible with the rules of warfare to subdue the traitors; summon to the standard of the republic all men willing to fight for the Union; let loyalty and that alone, be the dividing line between the nation & its fores.  Generals should not be permitted to fritter away the sinews of our brave men in guarding the property of traiters and in driving with the federal flag.  Shall we sit supinely by and see the war sweep off the youth and strength of the land and refuse aid from that class of men who are at least worthy foes of traitors and the murders of our government and of our children?  Our armies should be directed to forward [forage] on the enemy & to cease paying traitors and their abettors exorbitant exactions for food needed by the spent and sick or hungry soldier.  Mild and conciliatory means have been tried in vain to recall the Rebels to their allegiance.  The conservative policy has utterly failed to reduce traiters to obedience and to restore the supremacy of the laws.  They have by means of sweeping conscriptions gathered in countless hordes and threatened to beat back and overwhelm the armies of the Union with blood and treason in their hearts; they flaunt the black flag of rebellion in the face of the government and threaten to butcher our brave and loyal armies with foreign bayonets; they arm negroes and merciless savages in their behalf.  Mr. Lincoln, the crisis demands greater efforts and sterner measures.  Proclaim anew the good old motto of the republic – liberty and union now and forever one & inseparable and accept the services of all loyal men and it will be in your power to stamp armies of the earth, irresistible armies that will bear banners to certain victory.  In any event it is already alive with beat of drum, resounding with the tread of new recruits which will respond to your call; adopt this policy and she will leap like a flaming giant into the fight.  This policy for the conduct of the war will render foreign intervention impossible and the arms of the Republic invincible.  It will bring the conflict to a speedy close and secure peace on a permanent basis.”

Published in: on July 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

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