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HALLECK GENERAL-IN-CHIEF

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tion of removing the army underwent considerable discussion, the President left it undecided for the present; but on July 11, soon after his return to Washington, he issued an order:

"That Major-General Henry W. Halleck be assigned to command the whole land forces of the United States, as general-in-chief, and that he repair to this capital so soon as he can with safety to the positions and operations within the department now under his charge."

Though General Halleck was loath to leave his command in the West, he made the necessary dispositions there, and in obedience to the President's order reached Washington on July 23, and assumed command of all the armies as general-in-chief. On the day following he proceeded to General McClellan's headquarters at Harrison's Landing, and after two days' consultation reached the same conclusion at which the President had already arrived, that the Army of the Potomac must be withdrawn. McClellan strongly objected to this course. He wished to be reinforced so that he might resume his operations against Richmond. To do this he wanted fifty thousand more men, which number it was impossible to give him, as he had already been pointedly informed by the President. On Halleck's return to Washington, it was, on further consultation, resolved to bring the Army of the Potomac back to Acquia Creek and unite it with the army of Pope.

On July 30, McClellan received a preliminary order to send away his sick, and the withdrawal of his entire force was ordered by telegraph on August 3. With the obstinacy and persistence that characterized his course from first to last, McClellan still protested against the change, and when Halleck in a calm letter answered his objections with both the advantages and the neces

sity of the order, McClellan's movement of withdrawal was so delayed that fully eleven days of inestimable time were unnecessarily lost, and the army of Pope was thereby put in serious peril.

Meanwhile, under President Lincoln's order of June 26, General Pope had left the West, and about the first of July reached Washington, where for two weeks, in consultation with the President and the Secretary of War, he studied the military situation, and on July 14 assumed command of the Army of Virginia, consisting of the corps of General Frémont, eleven thousand five hundred strong, and that of General Banks, eight thousand strong, in the Shenandoah valley, and the corps of General McDowell, eighteen thousand five hundred strong, with one division at Manassas and the other at Fredericksburg. It is unnecessary to relate in detail the campaign which followed. Pope intelligently and faithfully performed the task imposed on him to concentrate his forces and hold in check the advance of the enemy, which began as soon as the Confederates learned of the evacuation of Harrison's Landing.

When the Army of the Potomac was ordered to be withdrawn it was clearly enough seen that the movement might put the Army of Virginia in jeopardy; but it was hoped that if the transfer to Acquia Creek and Alexandria were made as promptly as the order contemplated, the two armies would be united before the enemy could reach them. McClellan, however, continued day after day to protest against the change, and made his preparations and embarkation with such exasperating slowness as showed that he still hoped to induce the government to change its plans.

Pope, despite the fact that he had managed his retreat with skill and bravery, was attacked by Lee's

THE CABINET PROTEST

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army, and fought the second battle of Bull Run on August 30, under the disadvantage of having one of McClellan's divisions entirely absent and the other failing to respond to his order to advance to the attack on the first day. McClellan had reached Alexandria on August 24; and notwithstanding telegram after telegram from Halleck, ordering him to push Franklin's division out to Pope's support, excuse and delay seemed to be his only response, ending at last in his direct suggestion that Franklin's division be kept to defend Washington, and Pope be left to "get out of his scrape" as best he might.

McClellan's conduct and language had awakened the indignation of the whole cabinet, roused Stanton to fury, and greatly outraged the feelings of President Lincoln. But even under such irritation the President was, as ever, the very incarnation of cool, dispassionate judgment, allowing nothing but the daily and hourly logic of facts to influence his suggestions or decision. In these moments of crisis and danger he felt more keenly than ever the awful responsibilities of rulership, and that the fate of the nation hung upon his words and acts from hour to hour.

His official counselors, equally patriotic and sincere, were not his equals in calmness of temper. On Friday, August 29, Stanton went to Chase, and after an excited conference drew up a memorandum of protest, to be signed by the members of the cabinet, which drew a gloomy picture of present and apprehended dangers, and recommended the immediate removal of McClellan from command. Chase and Stanton signed the paper, as also did Bates, whom they immediately consulted, and somewhat later Smith added his signature. But when they presented it to Welles, he firmly refused, stating that though he concurred with them.

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in judgment, it would be discourteous and unfriendly to the President to adopt such a course. They did not go to Seward and Blair, apparently believing them to be friendly to McClellan, and therefore probably unwilling to give their assent. The refusal of Mr. Welles to sign had evidently caused a more serious discussion among them about the form and language of the protest; for on Monday, September 1, it was entirely rewritten by Bates, cut down to less than half its original length as drafted by Stanton, and once more signed by the same four members of the cabinet.

Presented for the second time to Mr. Welles, he reiterated his objection, and again refused his signature. Though in the new form it bore the signatures of a majority of the cabinet, the paper was never presented to Mr. Lincoln. The signers may have adopted the feeling of Mr. Welles that it was discourteous; or they may have thought that with only four members of the cabinet for it and three against it, it would be ineffectual; or, more likely than either, the mere progress of events may have brought them to consider it inexpedient.

The defeat of Pope became final and conclusive on the afternoon of August 30, and his telegram announcing it conveyed an intimation that he had lost control of his army. President Lincoln had, therefore, to confront a most serious crisis and danger. Even without having seen the written and signed protest, he was well aware of the feelings of the cabinet against McClellan. With what began to look like a serious conspiracy among McClellan's officers against Pope, with Pope's army in a disorganized retreat upon Washington, with the capital in possible danger of capture by Lee, and with a distracted and half-mutinous cabinet, the President had need of all his caution and all his

ORDER OF SEPTEMBER 2·

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wisdom. Both his patience and his judgment proved equal to the demand.

On Monday, September 1, repressing every feeling of indignation, and solicitous only to make every expedient contribute to the public safety, he called McClellan from Alexandria to Washington and asked him to use his personal influence with the officers who had been under his command to give a hearty and loyal support to Pope as a personal favor to their former general, and McClellan at once sent a telegram in this spirit.

That afternoon, also, Mr. Lincoln despatched a member of General Halleck's staff to the Virginia side of the Potomac, who reported the disorganization and discouragement among the retreating troops as even more than had been expected. Worse than all, Halleck, the general-in-chief, who was much worn out by the labors of the past few days, seemed either unable or unwilling to act with prompt direction and command equal to the emergency, though still willing to give his advice and suggestion.

Under such conditions, Mr. Lincoln saw that it was necessary for him personally to exercise at the moment his military functions and authority as commanderin-chief of the army and navy. On the morning of September 2, therefore, he gave a verbal order, which during the day was issued in regular form as coming from the general-in-chief, that Major-General McClellan be placed in command of the fortifications around Washington and the troops for the defense of the capital. Mr. Lincoln made no concealment of his belief that McClellan had acted badly toward Pope and really wanted him to fail; "but there is no one in the army who can man these fortifications and lick these troops of ours into shape half as well as he can," he

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