Friday, April 7, 2017

New Defense of General McClellan

I have web-published the second edition of my article "Answering Some Criticisms of General George B. McClellan." It is a significantly revised and greatly expanded version of the first edition. In some ways it is almost a different article. This edition is about 30% longer than the first one. Here is the link:

And here is an excerpt from the new edition: 

For many people, McClellan’s alleged disrespect and insubordination toward Lincoln are a major reason they are inclined to believe the worst about him. However, the traditional version of McClellan’s relationship with Lincoln does not do justice to the facts.

Let us start with the famous alleged snub on the night of November 13. As the story goes, Lincoln, along with Secretary of State William Seward and presidential secretary John Hay, arrived at McClellan’s home that night to discuss strategy. McClellan’s porter informed Lincoln that McClellan was at a wedding that night and would not be home until later. Lincoln decided to wait. McClellan arrived an hour later but went straight upstairs, even though the porter told him that the guests were waiting. Half an hour later, Lincoln reminded the porter that they were still waiting to see the general. The porter went upstairs to check with McClellan and then returned and informed the group that McClellan had gone to bed for the night.

To those who have studied McClellan’s life, this account does not sound anything like the courteous and considerate Christian gentleman that McClellan’s friends and family described him as being. Moreover, those who are not inclined to assume the worst about McClellan can think of at least two ways to view this alleged incident that do not require McClellan to be seen as rude and disrespectful.

However, did the alleged snub really happen? Did Lincoln even go to McClellan’s house that night? Some might be surprised to learn that the one and only source for this story is John Hay, an avowed McClellan hater who was determined to smear McClellan. Neither Lincoln, nor McClellan, nor Seward ever said a word about this alleged event in any known writing or conversation.

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