James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
further delayed by the performance of the Merrimac, but, on the assurance that the Navy Department would hold the iron-clad in check by the Monitor and other war vessels, he proceeded to the execution of his plana plan over which he and the President had differed from the first. The President desired the advance to be made directly overland, while McClellan proposed to go by water to Fort Monroe and advance on Richmond up the Peninsula. It was evident from the discussion that good service could not be had from the General unless the strategy as well as the active command were left to him; Lincoln therefore yielded. But lacking sufficient confidence in McClellan to give him supreme authority, the President relieved him of the command of all military departments except the Potomac [March 11] and directed the organization of the army into four corps, naming the corps commanders himself. Through a misunderstanding with McClellan as to the force necessary to cover Washington, he withheld from him McDowells corps of 35,000 men in order to insure the safety of the capital. He had previously detached from the Army of the Potomac a division of 10,000 and sent it to Frémont who had, owing to the pressure of the radicals upon Lincoln, been unfortunately intrusted with a command in the Shenandoah mountains. It is difficult now to see any way out of the unlucky situation in so far as the command of the Army of the Potomac was concerned. No general in sight was fitted to replace McClellan, who possessed in an eminent degree the love and confidence of his soldiers; moreover Lincoln still held to the belief that when once in the field he would accomplish important results.
During April, 1862, McClellan with 100,000 men was besieging Yorktown; the Confederates were reorganizing their army and strengthening their fortifications about Richmond. On April 6, the President telegraphed to McClellan,