Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 61
James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
Page 61
of the summer is to be renewed,” wrote Hay. “The President defended McClellan’s deliberateness.” On going over to the General’s headquarters the “Jacobins” were discussed. “The President deprecated this new manifestation of popular impatience but said it was a reality and should be taken into the account:—‘At the same time, General, you must not fight till you are ready.’ ‘I have everything at stake,’ replied McClellan; ‘if I fail I will not see you again or anybody.’ ‘I have a notion to go out with you,’ said Lincoln, ‘and stand or fall with the battle.’” 1  21
  On October 31, Scott voluntarily retired from active service and McClellan succeeded him in the command of all the armies of the United States. Next evening, at his headquarters, he read to Lincoln and Hay his General Order in regard to Scott’s resignation and his own assumption of command. The President said, “I should be perfectly satisfied if I thought that this vast increase of responsibility would not embarrass you.” “It is a great relief, Sir!” replied McClellan, between whom and Scott there had been friction. “I feel as if several tons were taken from my shoulders to-day. I am now in contact with you and the Secretary. I am not embarrassed by intervention.” “Well,” rejoined Lincoln, “draw on me for all the sense I have and all the information. In addition to your present command, the supreme command of the army will entail a vast labor upon you.” “I can do it all,” said McClellan quietly. 2  22
  The country had a right to expect an offensive movement. Inasmuch as McClellan was apt to underestimate the number as well as the fighting quality of his soldiers, his 76,000 “disposable for an advance” could likely enough have been increased to 100,000. He ought to have fought Johnston,
Note 1. Ibid., 48. [back]
Note 2. J. Hay, I, 50. [back]


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