Cabinet Considers Possible Dismissal of General McClellan

November 4, 1962

The case for dismissal of General George B. McClellan builds at a White House cabinet meeting.  Navy Secretary Gideon Welles wrote that Secretary of War Edwin M “Stanton, whose dislike of McC. increases, says that Halleck does not consider himself responsible for army movements or deficiencies this side of the mountains, of which he has had no notice from General McClellan, who neither reports to him nor to the Secretary of War.  All his official correspondence is with the President direct and no one else.

The President did not assent to the last remarks of Stanton, which were more sneering in manner than words, but said Halleck should be, and would be, considered responsible, for he (the President) had told him (Halleck) that he would at any time remove McC. when H. required it, and that he (the President) would take the entire responsibility of the removal.

Mr. Bates quietly suggested that Halleck should take command of the army in person.  But the President said and all the Cabinet concurred in the opinion, that H. would be an indifferent general in the field, that he shirked responsibility in his present position, that he, in short, is a moral coward, worth but little except as a critic and director of operations, though intelligent and educated.

Many states in the North hold elections which go badly for Republicans – as President Lincoln had expected.  Republican congressional majorities in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois were reversed – leaving the party with  only an 18-vote margin in House.

Historian Howard Jones noted: “Although the Democrats as a whole won thirty-four new congressional seats along with the governors’ houses in both New York and New Jersey and a majority in the legislatures of Indiana, Illinois, and New Jersey, the Republicans surprisingly clung to seventeen of the nineteen free state governors’ positions and sixteen of the legislatures.  Indeed, the Republicans added five seats in the Senate and maintained a twenty-five vote majority in the House that marked the smallest loss of congressional seats in an off-year election for twenty years.   Even in the six states held by the Democrats, their margin of victory was so small that if Union soldiers — predominantly Republican enlistees — had been able to vote, they would have reversed the outcome.”

Pennsylvania Governor Andrew G. Curtin finishes meetings with President Lincoln.

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Published in: on November 4, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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