James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
by nearly every man and women at the North. They were sound indeed. His position could not have been more cogently put. His policy was right and expedient, appealed to the reason of his people and inspired their hopes.1
The months of July and August, 1862, were one of the periods of gloom when the Northern people would probably have abandoned the contest had they not had at their head an unfaltering leader like Abraham Lincoln. The retreat to the James was a rude shock to their confidence in McClellan and the Army of the Potomac. When Norton asked George William Curtis, Do you think the Army on the James river is safe?2 he was expressing the anxious solicitude of many, as Lowell put into words the apprehensions of countless others when he wrote, I dont see how we are to be saved but by a miracle.3
History has answered Nortons question, Will Lincoln be master of the opportunities or will they escape him? Is he great enough for the time?4 Schurz wrote to Lincoln that his personal influence upon public opinion, his moral power was immense:5 this he now used to raise the men necessary to continue the war. From McClellans despatch of June 286 he was convinced that the plan for taking Richmond had failed and that the Union armies must be increased. With a view to starting fresh enlistments he furnished Seward with a letter, making clear the need of additional troops. This letter was used by the Secretary, during his journey to New York City, Boston and Cleveland, in his conferences with men of influence and with the governors of several States. In it Lincoln declared,