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McClellan, George Brinton (1826-1885) to Henry Jackson Hunt

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02382.069 Author/Creator: McClellan, George Brinton (1826-1885) Place Written: Trenton, New Jersey Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1 April 1880 Pagination: 3 p. ; 20.4 x 25.3 cm.

Summary of Content: McClellan, governor of New Jersey, writes on the 18th anniversary of the Peninsular Campaign. Discusses plotting against him in Peninsular Campaign, further to Hunt's prior discussion. States that the campaign was affected by "the ill[?] impression that I had political aspirations in those days, & the intention to prevent any [illegible] success until the Emancipation proclamation had been issued & gone into effect." Recalls hearing that in July 1862 Lincoln discussed McClellan's "Harrison Bar" letter with General Francis Preston Blair. Lincoln said, 'I'll tell you what I think of it [McClellan's letter] - it means that McClellan is a candidate for the Presidency." (In his July 7, 1862 "Harrison Bar" letter, McClellan had outlined his advice on the proper conduct of the war and the government. The letter, which he hand-delivered to the visiting president the next day, was considered to be high-handed and presumptuous.) McClellan says that Hunt is correct in his belief that "It was the purpose of Stanton & Co. to prevent success until after Jany 1/63…had I not been relieved when I was, I could in a few days (hours almost) have placed Lee in such a position that we could virtually have thrown him off the [chess board?], have carried Richmond, & cleared the way for an insurrection in the Mountain region. In /61 when in West Virginia - it was part of my plan (after clearing the Kanawha Valley) to move down in [illegible] & raise the Union men of that part of the world…that I could then strike a terrible…blow. The orders which brought me to [Washn.?] prevented this…" Transmits Barry's letters (possibly William F. Barry), and expresses his hope that Hunt will write on the Peninsula Campaign. In McClellan's opinion, the writer Mr. Curtis can not handle the topic of the Peninsula Campaign.

Background Information: Hunt had served as Chief of Artillery for the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. He was military commander at Charleston, South Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia 1875-1880. McClellan ...commanded the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War, before being relieved of command. He was Governor of New Jersey 1878-1881.See More

People: McClellan, George B., 1826-1885
Hunt, Henry Jackson, 1819-1889
Blair, Francis Preston, Jr., 1821-1875
Franklin, William Buel, 1823-1903
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Stanton, Edwin McMasters, 1814-1869
Barry, William Farquhar, 1818-1879
Lee, Robert E., 1807-1870

Historical Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900

Subjects: Union GeneralMilitary HistoryCivil WarBattleUnion ForcesPoliticsEmancipationEmancipation ProclamationGovernment and CivicsCorruption and ScandalElectionPresidentConfederate General or LeaderConfederate States of AmericaRebellion

Sub Era:

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