Thursday, December 16, 2010

McClellan's Words on Lincoln

Alexander Autographs
George McClellan complains about Abraham Lincoln!

This pithy but pointed letter is up for auction today--December 16th--from Alexander Autographs!

IMPORTANT: THIS LOT IS MISIDENTIFIED AS LOT 42 IN THE PRINTED CATALOG. IT WILL BE CALLED AS LOT 41 AT AUCTION Superb content A.L.S. 2pp. 4to., on "Head-Quarters Army of the Potomac" letterhead, Berkeley, July 26, 1862 to New York financier William H. Aspinwall (1807 - 1875) , marked "Private" continuing his litany of complaints against the Lincoln administration and assuring his correspondent that he would not resign his commission just because Halleck had been appointed General of the Army. McClellan had held the same post from November 1861 to March 1862 when he was removed by Lincoln ostensibly in order to allow him to concentrate on leading the Army of the Potomac. McClellan writes, in most part: "...I hope you did not understand my [last] letter as conveying the idea that I would regard Halleck's appointment to the chief command as a cause for my resignation - it is the loss of the command of the Army of the Potomac which I regard (in the event of its occurrence), as forcing me to leave the service - for I think therefore that my usefulness would be at an end. Halleck was here last night - I think he will cordially support me, so far as least as the Govt. will permit. I assure you that I will not resign in a fit[?] - but will weigh the subject well before acting. I now believe that Halleck will do his best to assist me, & that we will cordially cooperate for the common good. You may be assured that I prefer my country's good to all other considerations - that no sacrifice will be too great for me that will tend to save my country -- I know in my own conscience that I have not for one moment regarded my own interests since I reentered the service - such shall my conduct be to the end. Allow me again to thank you for your kind offer to be my Banker - I do not now need assistance, or I would without hesitation call upon you -- but I am as grateful for your offer as if I had availed myself of it. I wish my faith in the administration was greater - but it seems to me that they are not equal to the irascible rebels on concentrating all their troops from the South upon Richmond - the conscription is being pushed with the utmost energy - we are doing nothing -- half way measure prevail. God help our poor country!..." Amazingly, despite the lack of results on the Peninsula, and continual delays thereafter, McClellan remained in command of the Army of the Potomac for another four months. It was McClellan's failure to pursue Lee aggressively after Antietam, that convinced Lincoln to finally remove him from command. Ex. collection of Harold C. Brooks. Light toning at folds, else very good to fine condition.

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