James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
with at least 76,000 to 41,000 of the enemy, would not make in November a movement similar to, but not so extended as, the one he laid down for the Confederates in August. I am not such a fool, he said to the President, as to buck against Manassas in the spot designated by the foe.1
To judge from McClellans private letters at this time, he seemed to think that the men in authority were endeavoring to add difficulties to his task. I am thwarted and deceived by these incapables at every turn, he wrote.2 As a matter of fact, everybody from the President to the humblest orderly who waited at his door3 was helping him according to his means. The fault was not of the President, the Cabinet, General Scott or the senators; it was entirely his own. McClellan fed himself upon the delusion that the enemy had 150,000 men. This estimate would indeed have justified his inaction; but, after an evenings conversation with him it became painfully evident to John Hay, that he had no plan.4
The Presidents attitude towards his General was sublime. They talked sadly over the disaster at Balls Bluff. Alluding to the death of Colonel Baker, McClellan said: There is many a good fellow who wears the shoulder-straps going under the sod before this thing is over. There is no loss too great to be repaired. If I should get knocked on the head, Mr. President, you will put another man immediately in my shoes. I want you to take care of yourself, was the reply.5