July 23, 1862
The new military leadership team gathered at the White House after new General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck arrived from his former command along the Mississippi River. Historian Curt Anders,“Once the [train] cars reached Washington on July 23, 1862, Old Brains soon found himself in a conference with Abraham Lincoln: Edwin Stanton; and, later, Major Generals John Pope and Ambrose Burnside.” Further south, General George B. McClellan writes New York attorney Samuel L. M. Barlow: “I will briefly reply to both [recent letters] at once. I have not been in any manner consulted as to Halleck’s appointment & it is intended as ‘a slap in the face.’ I do not think it best to reply to the lies of such a fellow as Chandler — he is beneath my notice, & if the people are so foolish as to believe aught he says I am content to lose their favor & to wait for history to do me justice. I am in my own satisfied that I will be relieved from the command of this Army, & shall then leave the service.
I am weary, very weary, of submitting to the whims of such ‘things’ as those now over me — I have suffered as much for my country as most men have endured, & shall be inexpressibly happy to be free once more…
From a remark in your last letter I infer that you think that Burnside’s troops are under my control — they are not, he having been withdrawn from my control by the order of the Presdt — I have several times asked for him but cannot get him.
I have not received 10,00 fresh troops since I reached this place — have had none for a long time, am receiving none, & see no chance of getting any except Burnside’s. When the Presdt was here he asked for no explanations, expressed no dissatisfaction — treated me with no confidence, & did not ask my opinion except in three questions —
1st . ‘How many troops have you left?’
2nd. ‘How many did you lose in the late actions?’
3rd. ‘Can you move this Army still further in retreat?