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

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02382.062 Author/Creator: McClellan, George Brinton (1826-1885) Place Written: Dresden, Germany Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 10 January 1868 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Mentions Upton (probably Emory Upton, who published a book on infantry tactics in 1867). Praises and discusses Hunt's artillery tactics, a topic on which Hunt had co-published in 1864. Discusses his European tour, including a meeting in Paris with John Love, who is "over here busily engaged in introducing the Gatlin Gun - he has been quite successful, & so far as that weapon is concerned the different Powers will soon be in position to exterminate each other in the most satisfactory manner." Decsribes military strategies used by Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War, mentioning the Prussians' use of Dreyse needle-guns. Refers to General Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke, Prussian Chief of Staff. Also discusses Civil War-related topics, mentioning generals Ulysses S. Grant, John Pope, Fitz-John Porter, William Buel Franklin, and John Adams Dix. "I am rather surprised to hear from one or two quarters quite worthy of credit that Grant desires the Presidency. Had I his place I would not change it for a dozen Presidencies. His is the only place in the public service that I would give a fig for." Regarding his disgust at Grant's inability (or unwillingness) to find Hunt a higher position: "I feel sometimes a fiendish desire to pull some people's ears." The "place" held by Grant to which McClellan refers was commanding general of the U.S. Army. McClellan probably didn't know that at that time Grant had also just been appointed interim Secretary of War, as part of President Johnson's bid to replace Edwin Stanton. Between 12-13 January, Grant became increasingly uneasy about Johnson's instructions to take control of the War Department, and Grant's personal exposure to a $10,000 fine for violating the Radical Republican's new Tenure in Office Act. As soon as he got word early on 14 January of the House vote to impeach Johnson, Grant apparently broke his promise to support the president. Grant dropped his keys off with the adjutant general and sent a messenger to inform Johnson of his actions. Stanton - keys in hand - bolted his inner office door and locked the hallway door shut. Furniture and other articles were added to a defiant hallway barricade. After the impeachment failed, Grant did decide to stand for the presidency, and defeated Democrat Horatio Seymour in the 1868 election.

People: McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885.
Hunt, Henry Jackson, 1819-1889.
Moltke, Helmuth, Graf von, 1800-1891.
Pope, John, 1822-1892.
Porter, Fitz-John, 1822-1901.
Franklin, William Buel, 1823-1903.
Dix, John Adams, 1798-1879.
Upton, Emory, 1839-1881.

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Keywords/Subjects: Military History, Union General, Literature and Language Arts, Artillery, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Travel, Weaponry, Science and Technology, Civil War, Union Forces, President Politics, Government and Civics, Election

Sub Era: Reconstruction