The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5 by Abraham Lincoln
Further Reprimand of McClellan
TO GENERAL G. B. McCLELLAN.
FORT MONROE, VIRGINIA, May 9, 1862
MY DEAR SIR:--I have just assisted the Secretary of War in framing part of a despatch to you relating to army corps, which despatch, of course, will have reached you long before this will. I wish to say a few words to you privately on this subject. I ordered the army corps organization not only on the unanimous opinion of the twelve generals whom you had selected and assigned as generals of divisions, but also on the unanimous opinion of every military man I could get an opinion from, and every modern military book, yourself only excepted. Of course, I did not on my own judgment pretend to understand the subject. I now think it indispensable for you to know how your struggle against it is received in quarters which we cannot entirely disregard. It is looked upon as merely an effort to pamper one or two pets, and to persecute and degrade their supposed rivals. I have had no word from Sumner, Heintzleman, or Keyes the commanders of these corps are, of course, the three highest officers with you; but I am constantly told that you have no consultation or communication with them; that you consult and communicate with nobody but General Fitz John Porter, and perhaps General Franklin. I do not say these complaints are true or just; but at all events, it is proper you should know of their existence. Do the commanders of corps disobey your orders in anything?
When you relieved General Hamilton of his command the other day, you thereby lost the confidence of at least one of your best friends in the Senate. And here let me say, not as applicable to you personally, that Senators and Representatives speak of me in their places without question, and that officers of the army must cease addressing insulting letters to them for taking no greater liberty with them.
But to return. Are you strong enough--are you strong enough even with my help--to set your foot upon the necks of Sumner, Heintzelman, and Keyes all at once? This is a practical and very serious question to you?
The success of your army and the cause of the country are the same, and, of course, I only desire the good of the cause.