Want to save this letter now that you've found it?
It's easy - just create your own collection of letters after signing up for a free account.
Headquarters of the Army,
The Hon. the Secretary of War:
Sir: On the 10th instant I was kindly requested by the President to withdraw my letter to you of the 9th, in reply to one I had received from Major-General McClellan of the day before; the President, at the same time, showing me a letter to him from General McClellan, in which, at the instance of the President, he offered to withdraw the original letter on which I had animadverted.
While the President was yet with me on that occasion a servant handed me a letter, which proved to be an unauthenticated copy, under a blank cover, of the same letter from General McC. to the President. This slight was not without its influence on my mind.
The President's visit, however, was for the patriotic purpose of healing differences, and so much did I honor his motive that I deemed it due to him to hold his proposition under consideration for some little time.
I deeply regret that, notwithstanding my respect for the opinions and wishes of the President, I can not withdraw the letter in question, for the following reasons :
1. The original offense given to me by Major-General McClellan (see his letter of the 8th instant) seems to have been the result of deliberation between him and some members of the Cabinet, by whom all the greater war questions are to be settled, without resort to or consultation with me, the nominal general in chief of the army. In further proof of this neglect - although it is unofficially known that in the last week (or six days) many regiments have arrived and others have changed their positions, some to a considerable distance - not one of these movements has been reported to me (or anything else) by Major-General McClellan ; while it is believed, and I may add known, that he is in frequent communication with portions of the Cabinet and on matters appertaining to me. That freedom of access and consultation have, very naturally, deluded the junior general into a feeling of indifference toward his senior.
2. With such supports on his part, it would be as idle for me as it would be against the dignity of my years, to be filing daily complaints against an ambitious junior, who, independent of the extrinsic advantages alluded to, has unquestionably very high qualifications for military command. I trust they may achieve crowning victories in behalf of the Union.
3. I have in my letter to you of the 9th instant already said enough on the - to others - disgusting subject of my many physical infirmities. I will here add only that, borne down as I am by them, I should unavoidably be in the way at headquarters, even if my abilities for war were now greater than when I was young.
I have the honor to be, sir, with high respect, your most obedient servant, Winfield Scott.
- Winfield Scott
- Great Commanders General McClellan, General Peter S. Michie, 1901