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By James Russell Lowell

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He continued to procrastinate even as he described his actions as careful preparation for a general movement against Richmond. He also found time to argue with Lincoln about the organization of the Army of the Potomac. On May 9, a telegram, written by Lincoln but sent by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, said that rather than be ‘‘trammeled, and embarrassed while in contact with the enemy’’ and ‘‘on the eve of a great battle,’’ the commanding general should organize his army as it best suited him.

He was given to petulance and alternating bouts of arrogance and self-pity, tendencies often revealed in the same letter, if not in the same paragraph. His strategy could be grandiose without being grand, in the sense of being realistically comprehensive. ’’ 2 McClellan was not the only public man to think in terms of a decisive battle in 1861, but he was the least likely or willing to do with what he had. On the Peninsula in 1862, what he had was considerable. That campaign and the army were his, for better or ill.

His strategy could be grandiose without being grand, in the sense of being realistically comprehensive. ’’ 2 McClellan was not the only public man to think in terms of a decisive battle in 1861, but he was the least likely or willing to do with what he had. On the Peninsula in 1862, what he had was considerable. That campaign and the army were his, for better or ill. He neither sought nor accepted advice, counsel, or even encouragement. For all his executive ability and experience, McClellan would not delegate authority, although when circumstances demanded leadership he was quite willing to delegate responsibility.

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