Abraham Lincoln, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume II.
aspersions; yet that he never fully subjected his own convictions to the educational lectures of the general, and that he seemed at last willing to see him laid aside; then immediately in a crisis restored him to authority in spite of all opposition; and shortly afterward, as if utterly weary of him, definitively displaced him.  Still, all these facts do not show what Lincoln thought of McClellan.  Many motives besides his opinion of the man may have influenced him.  The pressure of political opinion and of public feeling was very great, and might have turned him far aside from the course he would have pursued if it could have been neglected.  Also other considerations have been suggested as likely to have weighed with him,—­that McClellan could do with the army what no other man could do, because of the intense devotion of both officers and men to him; and that an indignity offered to McClellan might swell the dissatisfaction of the Northern Democracy to a point at which it would seriously embarrass the administration.  These things may have counteracted, or may have corroborated, Mr. Lincoln’s views concerning the man himself.  He was an extraordinary judge of men in their relationship to affairs; moreover, of all the men of note of that time he alone was wholly dispassionate and non-partisan.  Opinions tinctured with prejudices are countless; it is disappointing that the one opinion that was free from prejudice is unknown.[32]


[28] The consolidation, and the assignment of Pope to the command, bore date June 26, 1862.

[29] This campaign of General Pope has been the topic of very bitter controversy and crimination.  In my brief account I have eschewed the view of Messrs. Nicolay and Hay, who seem to me if I may say it, to have written with the single-minded purpose of throwing everybody’s blunders into the scale against McClellan, and I have adopted the view of Mr. John C. Ropes in his volume on The Army under Pope, in the Campaigns of the Civil War Series.  In his writing it is impossible to detect personal prejudice, for or against any one; and his account is so clear and convincing that it must be accepted, whether one likes his conclusions or not.

[30] Own Story, 466.

[31] Pope retained for a few days command of the army in camp outside the defenses.

[32] McClure says:  “I saw Lincoln many times during the campaign of 1864, when McClellan was his competitor for the presidency.  I never heard him speak of McClellan in any other than terms of the highest personal respect and kindness.” Lincoln and Men of War-Times, 207.



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Abraham Lincoln, Volume II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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