Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 56
James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
Page 56
“What meaneth this burning of the President in effigy by citizens who have hitherto sincerely and enthusiastically supported the war? … Why this sudden check to enlistments?… The public consider that Frémont has been made a martyr of.… Consequently he is now, so far as the West is concerned, the most popular man in the country. He is to the West what Napoleon was to France; while the President has lost the confidence of the people.” 1  11
  Meanwhile, McClellan was at work with energy and talent, erecting fortifications around Washington and organizing the “Army of the Potomac.” He had good executive ability, and aptitude for system, and, being in robust health, an immense capacity for work. All these qualities were devoted without stint to the service. In the saddle from morning to night, he visited the several camps, mixed with the different brigades and regiments and came to know his officers and men thoroughly. Himself a gentleman of sterling moral character, having come to Washington with the respect and admiration of these soldiers, he soon gained their love by his winning personality, and inspired a devotion such as no other Northern general of a large army, with one exception, was ever able to obtain. Overrating his successes in western Virginia, he was called “the young Napoleon,” for he was believed by the army, the administration and the country to have military genius of the highest order. And at first he seemed to have an adequate idea of what was required of him, for he wrote to the President on August 4: “The military action of the Government should be prompt and irresistible. The rebels have chosen Virginia as their battle field, and it seems proper for us to make the first great struggle there.” 2  12
Note 1. Oct. 20, Nov. 7, III; N. & H., IV; O. R., III; C. W., Pt. III; J. Hay, I; Nicolay; Pierce; Grimes. [back]
Note 2. O. R., V, 6. [back]

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