General McClernand Complains to Lincoln about Mississippi River Command

January 16, 1862

Dismissed from his command on the Mississippi River, General John McClernand, a politicial general from Illinois, reaches out to President Lincoln for redress, sending along a copy of a letter to General Ulysses S. Grant.  McClernand complained to Lincoln: : “I believe my success here is gall and wormwood to the clique of West-Pointers who have been persecuting me for months–

How can you expect success, when men controlling the military destinies of the country, are more chagrined at the success of your volunteer officers than the very enemy beaten by the latter in battle?

Something must be done to take the hand of oppression off citizens soldiers, whose zeal for their country, has prompted them to take up arms, or all will be lost–

Do not let me be clandestinely sacrificed, or what is worse, dishonored without a hearing. The very moment you think I am an impediment to the public service, upon the slightest intimation of it, my resignation will be forwarded– Until then, you may count upon my best endeavors, at whatever peril, to sustain the sacred cause for which we are contending–

In addition to the reasons set forth in the copy of the despatch enclosed, for the Arkansas river expedition, I might assign the order of the Secretary of war, endorsed by you, to open the Mississippi river–

The Mississippi river being the only channel of communication, and that being infested by guerillas, how can Genl Grant, at a distance of four hundred miles, intelligently command the army with me?– He can not do it– It should be an independent command, as both you and the Secretary of war, as I believe, originally intended–

Published in: on January 16, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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