James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
to retire from Manassas. He began his preparations on February 22, started the movement itself on March 7 and four days later had his army safely on the south bank of the Rappahannock river. Here had been an excellent opportunity for inflicting damage, to use McClellans own words, on a large army that was withdrawing in the face of a powerful adversary.1
Let us now return to Grant during the days following the capture of Fort Donelson. In a private letter to Washburne of March 22, he gave an account of his misunderstanding with Halleck. After getting into Donelson, he wrote, General Halleck did not hear from me for near two weeks. It was about the same time before I heard from him. I was writing every day and sometimes as often as three times a day. Reported every move and change, the condition of my troops, etc. Not getting these, General Halleck very justly became dissatisfied, and was, as I have since learned, sending me daily reprimands. Not receiving them, they lost their sting. When one did reach me, not seeing the justice of it, I retorted and asked to be relieved. Three telegrams passed in this way, each time ending by my requesting to be relieved. All is now understood however and I feel assured that General Halleck is fully satisfied. In fact he wrote me a letter saying that I could not be relieved, and otherwise quite complimentary.2 But in his article in the Century Magazine (February, 1885) and in his Personal Memoirs,
Note 1. O. R., V, 51. Authorities: O. R., V, VII, X, Pt. II; B. & L., I; Grant, I; III; Ropes, II; Grants private letters; Life of General Rawlins, J. H. Wilson MS., kindly lent to me by General Wilson. Since the use that I made of the MS. this book has been published. Neal Pub. Co., 1916; N. & H., V; Bruce Milt. Hist. Soc., VII; Swinton; T. L. Livermore; Hosmers Appeal; Johnston; McClellan; Webb. For a characterization of Grant, III, 594. [back]