McClellan’s Oversized Ego.

by Daniel Russ on April 4, 2019

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In the last post we made the point that George McClellan could be insufferable. Here are more granular details in the form of letters and statements telegraphed and recorded.

George McClellan, American Battlefield Trust

“There’s a temptation to dismiss this as its own form of theater, as disingenuous as one of Prince John’s log cannons. Only it wasn’t. McClellan’s own private correspondence makes this abundantly clear. As a notorious backstabber, the record of the general’s jibes is voluminous and Lincoln was hardly his only victim (he called Winfield Scott “a perfect imbecile”; War Secretary Edwin Stanton “the vilest man I ever knew”; and “a meddling, officious, incompetent little puppy” were his choice words for William Seward, the secretary of state). But his behind-their-backs treatment of his own soldiers showed a marked departure from this: his daily letters to his beloved Nelly are filled with such sentiments as “every poor fellow that is killed or wounded almost haunts me!””

 

Right after he was commissioned with the Army of the Potomac. “I Have Become the Power in the Land,” General George McClellan writes to Nelly.

 

McClellan wrote another letter to his wife in October of 1861. “The President is Nothing More Than a Well-Meaning Baboon.”

 

Incensed that Lincoln was offering where to move forces, McClellan simply defied him. Lincoln sent him a message that read in part: “the commanding general cannot lightly regard such marked departure from the tenor of his instructions.”

 

 

American Civil War Political Cartoons

Sources: Wikipedia; NYT Paul Krugman; A Fierce Glory: Antietam–The Desperate Battle That Saved Lincoln and Doomed Slavery” by Justin Martin.

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