1862: “You Must Act”

Washington, April 9, 1862

Major General McClellan.

My dear Sir.

Your dispatches complaining that you are not properly sustained, while they do not offend me, do pain me very much…

…After you left, I ascertained that less than twenty thousand unorganized men, without a single field battery, were all you designed to be left for the defence [defense] of Washington, and Manassas Junction; and part of this even, was to go to Gen. Hooker’s old position. Gen. Banks’ corps, once designed for Manassas Junction, was diverted, and tied up on the line of Winchester and Strasburg… This presented…a great temptation to the enemy to turn back from the Rappahannock, and sack Washington. My explicit order that Washington should, by the judgment of all the commanders of the Army corps, be left entirely secure, had been neglected. It was precisely this that drove me to detain McDowell… Continue reading

1862: “Victory Attends Us”


Headquarters Army of the Potomac

Fairfax Court House, VA., March 14, 1862


For a long time I have kept you inactive, but not without a purpose: you were to be disciplined, armed and instructed; the formidable artillery you now have, had to be created; other armies were to move and accomplish certain results. I have held you back that you might give the death-blow to the rebellion that has distracted our once happy country. Continue reading

1862: “Gradual Abolishment Of Slavery”


March 6, 1862

Fellow-citizens of the Senate, and House of Representatives,

I recommend the adoption of a Join Resolution by your honorable bodies which shall be substantially as follows:

“Resolved that the United States ought to co-operate with any state which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such state pecuniary aid, to be used by such state in it’s discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences public and private, produced by such change of system.” Continue reading

1862: “Now That Begins To Look Like Business”


January 18, 1862

I visited Washington to-day, through such rain and such mud, as no civilized country, save this, can sustain, and preserve its character for purity. Am back tonight. On my return, I find on my table the following:

General Order No. 11

Headquarters, &c.

When the time arrives for the troops of this Brigade to move, the following will be the allowance of the means of transportation: Continue reading

1862: “The Best Man For The Place”


Monday, January 6th, 1862.

…Cabinet Meeting held at night to confer with the Joint Committee of the two Houses of Congress on the Conduct of the War. The members of the Committee, especially Messrs. Chandler, Wade, Johnson, Odell and Covode, were very earnest in urging the vigorous prosecution of the War, and in recommending the appointment of Genl. McDowell as Major-General, to command the Army of the Potomac. Continue reading