George McClellan said goodbye to his beloved… Army of the Potomac on November 11, 1862. He cared deeply for their well being(much too deeply it turned out) and they repaid him with unwavering affection. Lincoln had to make the decision- The “Young Napoleon” was fighting like the war could go on for decades. But to his troops, he would forever be “Little Mac.” He left them with this thought….
“In parting from you I cannot express the love and gratitude I bear to you. As an army you have grown up under my care. In you I have never found doubt or coldness. The battles you have fought under my command will proudly live in our nation’s history. The glory you have achieved, our mutual perils and fatigues, the graves of our comrades fallen in battle and by disease, the broken forms of those whom wounds and sickness have disabled—the strongest associations which can exist among men—unite us still by an indissoluble tie. We shall ever be comrades in supporting the Constitution of our country and the nationality of its people.”
The Young Napoleon Edition
- George McClellan’s father was a renowned physician and founder of the Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia
- McClellan graduated West Point ranked second in the vaunted class of 1846- his classmates included Thomas J. Jackson, Jesse Reno, Cadmus Wilcox, AP Hill, and George Pickett
- Jefferson Davis was an influential mentor in McClellan’s life- sending him on secret reconnaissance missions into the Caribbean, and to the Crimea as our official observer during the Crimean War
- Small victories in western Virginia would pave the way for West Virginia statehood- a profile of him in the New York Herald brought national attention to the “Napoleon of the present War”
- Winfield Scott cautioned Lincoln against appointing McClellan General-in-chief in addition to his army command- Little Mac’s response was, “I can do it all”
Not an ideal pairing
Neo-secessionists and revisionists struggle uselessly to blame the Civil War… on Federal overreach, inequitable tariffs, and outmoded economic theory- they fail to see the forest for the trees. The historical record settles matters plainly and without ambiguity.
Future Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens delivered the clearest, most definitive explanation… for secession and the existence of a Confederate State. Less than three weeks following Lincoln’s inauguration, Stephens defiantly declared to the nation:
Cadaver with an agenda
“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago.”
Filed under Ephemera, News
Critics of the movie “Lincoln” … continue to hammer home a contentious point about the film’s depiction of slavery. So-called experts are critical of the notion Lincoln freed the slaves(the film never implies this.) Frederick Douglass is often cited as proof that slaves never cared for Lincoln or his deeds. Ignoring context, Douglass is cited as the authoritative critic of Lincoln…. “you (white people) are the children of Abraham Lincoln. We are at best only his step-children.”
This disingenuous, lazy, line of reasoning… has created a terrible myth about the creation of the civil rights movement. Failure to place words in a proper context have terrible implications on historical interpretation. In the same speech, Frederick Douglass explained to his predominately white audience, his true feelings for Abraham Lincoln:
“Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined…. infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than Abraham Lincoln.” Frederick Douglass April 14, 1876
“The hour and the man of our redemption had met in the person of Abraham Lincoln.”
The Lincoln administration arrested 14,401 people… during the Civil War. Most were never indicted and denied a speedy trial. Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus in September of 1861 allowed the detentions to happen. Current Lincoln scholarship trends hold that Lincoln abused civil liberties and that his historical legacy must be drawn into question. A closer examination of the statistics shows that modern researchers are using them merely for shock value and book sales. Compared to other Presidents using the same powers- Lincoln’s actions are clearly justified.
John Merryman was not an innocent victim… of government tyranny as portrayed by Chief Justice Roger Taney. Merryman led a detachment of Maryland militiamen in armed resistance to troops in Federal service. Taney was a partisan Democrat staunchly opposed to Lincoln and supportive of secessionist doctrine. Ex parte Merryman is not legal precedent at all and cannot be cited as such- it is a political document designed to hinder Lincoln’s attempts to protect Washington and preserve the Union. It was issued by Taney alone- scholars often make the mistake of assuming that the Supreme Court concurred with the ruling.
Lincoln faced no mass opposition to these detentions… there were no mass protests, nor mob violence. A closer look into the statistics shows that well over 80% of those arrested were:
- from the Confederacy
- Agitators in border states
- Foreign agents supporting the enemy
- Perpetrators of actual crimes against the Government
Remember Scott vs. Sanford? Didn’t think so.
Far from indiscriminate arrests, the detentions were almost always a direct result of an attributable illegal act. Rose Greenhow WAS a spy and did pass secrets to the enemy. Clement Vallandigham routinely denounced Lincoln on the floor of the House of Representatives and was never arrested for it- but when he publicly incited recruits to desert- he committed sedition and was arrested.