Monday, April 30, 2012

May 1, 1862 (Tuesday): The Insufferable Lincoln

Parrott Gun

EXECUTIVE MANSION, Washington, May 1, 1862.
    Major-General McCLELLAN:
Your call for Parrott guns from Washington alarms me, chiefly because it argues it argues indefinite procrastination. Is anything to be done?


HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Camp Winfield Scott, May 1, 1862-9.30 p. M.
    His Excellency the PRESIDENT, Washington, D. C.:
I asked for the Parrot guns from Washington for the reason that some expected had been two weeks nearly on the way, and could not be heard from. They arrived last night. My arrangements had been made for them, and I thought time might be saved by getting others from Washington. My object was to hasten, not procrastinate. All is being done that human labor can accomplish.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 51, Part 1, Page 589.
Lincoln and McClellan should not have been yoked together. It had been obvious since December Lincoln had little or no confidence in McClellan.  But he could not easily remove McClellan without alienating Democrats in Congress.  And McClellan should have resigned, on principle, when Lincoln went behind his back during his illness in late December and January and continued to question his judgment and interject himself into day to day military operations.  In this instance, the Parrot guns were a key part of McClellan's siege train (with maximum range of over 5,000 yards), and it was not unnatural he would want them to be in place before attacking.


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