Controversy Continues in Lincoln Administration over General McClellan

September 6, 1862

President Lincoln holds a series of meetings regarding diplomatic and Military affairs. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase writes in his diary: “After Breakfast, Genl [Irvin] McDowell read me the draft of his letter, which I thought excellent, but suggested one or two modifications which he adopted.  I then went to the Department.”

Soon after, the President came in, and asked what McDowell had determined to do.  I told him.  ‘Where is the letter?’ ‘He took it, intending to have it copied I suppose.’  ‘Well, it ought to be done immediately, for the corps must march, and Gen. Halleck feels that he must be releived [sic], at all events, from command.  Where can he be found?’–‘I cannot tell.  An orderly, no doubt, can find him.’–The President went away, and, later in the day, I heard that Gen. McDowell had been relieved at his own request.  He came in himself, afterwards, stating the fact and adding, ‘I did not ask to be relieved–I only asked for a court.’  I explained as well as I could, and he left me.

General John Pope continues his crusade against those he believes caused the defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run – including General George B. McClellan.  Chase added: “In the evening, Gen. Pope came in.  He expressed strong indignation against Fitz-John Porter and McClellan, who had, as he beleived [sic], prevented his success.  He wanted his Report published, as an act of justice to himself and his army.  I stated my objection to present publication, on the ground of injury to service at this critical time; but said that a General Order, thanking his Army for what they had done ought to be promulgated.  He said this would be satisfactory (partially so, at least) but that Halleck would not publish one.  I said, I would see the President and urge it.”

Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles writes in his diary: “McClellan and his partisans have ascendency in the army, but he has lost ground in the confidence of the country, chiefly from delays, or what the President aptly terms the ‘slows.’” McClellan writes: “I venture to say a few words in regard to a note I have just written to Genl Halleck asking that Genl Hooker may be assigned to the command of McDowell’s Corps instead of Genl Hooker may be assigned to the command of McDowell’s Corps instead of Genl Reno — I ask this altho’ an intimate friend & an admirer of Genl Reno.  Hooker has more experience with troops & is perfectly disposable — to take Reno now is to break up Burnside’s Corps the temporary command of which will fall to Reno the moment I have placed Burnside in command of a wing.  I also asked that the order removing Porter, Franklin & Griffin from their commands may be suspended until I have got through with the present crisis.  I would not ask these things did I not feel that they were necessary in the present crisis.  The Secretary of War (with whom I had a very pleasant interview) promised me that he would cheerfully agree to anything of this kind that I regarded as necessary. “

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Published in: on September 6, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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