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and for the coming of that time General McClellan can afford to wait.
But the saddest of all experiences for a commanding general is to lose the confidence of his army. That cup was never put to General McClellan's lips. His soldiers were intelligent enough to understand what he had done, and generous enough to be grateful to him for it. They had witnessed his toils and exposures, his calm self-reliance, his resolute front, his unaltered brow: they had seen him perplexed but not cast down, anxious but not despairing. The approach of danger, the burden of responsibility, had called forth reserved powers and unrevealed energies. Their common perils, their common labors, the trying scenes they had passed through, the safety they had secured, had created new ties of sympathy between the commanding general and his noble army. No muttered curses
ear, no sullen, averted countenances met his eye; but, as he rode along their lines, shouts of welcome instead, and faces glowing with honest joy, passed a judgment upon his course that enabled him to meet with composure the sneers of the scoffer, the malice of partisan falsehood, and the rash censures of presumptuous half-knowledge.
The history of the Army of the Potomac during the months of July and August, 1862, may be told in a few words. During their retrograde movement to the banks of the James, they bad been fearfully weakened by losses in killed, wounded, and prisoners; but they were not in the least demoralized. They had conducted themselves in a way to move the admiration and win the gratitudo of their commander; and from a full heart, on the 4th of July, be issued to them the following admirable and heartful address :
“HEAD-QUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
CAMP NEAR HARRISON'S LANDING, July 4, 1862. “SOLDIERS OF THE ARTY OF THE POTOMAC:-Your achievements of the last ten days have illustrated the valor and endurance of the American soldier. Attacked by superior forces, and without hope of reinforcements, you have succeeded in changing your base of operations by a flank movement, always regarded as the most hazardous of military expedients. You have saved all your material, all your trains and all your guns, except a few lost in battle, taking in return guns and colors from the enemy. Upon your march, you have been assailed day after day, with desperate fury, by men of the same race and nation, skilfully massed and led. Under every disadvantage of number, and necessarily of position also, you have in every conflict beaten back your foes with enormous slaughter. Your conduct ranks you among the celebrated ar
mies of history. No one will now question that each of you may always with pride say, 'I belong to the Army of the Potomac. You have reached the new base, complete in organization and unimpaired in spirit. The enemy may at any moment attack you. We are prepared to meet them. I have personally established your lines. Let them come, and we will convert their repulse into a final defeat. Your Government is strengthening you with the resources of a great people. On this, our nation's birthday, we declare to our foes, who are rebels against the best interests of mankind, that this army shall enter the capital of the so-called Confederacy, that our national Constitution shall prevail, and that the Union, which can alone insure internal peace and external security to each State, 'must and shall be preserved,' cost what it may in time, treasure, and blood.
“GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN."
The high spirit which breathes through this address, animates also his communications with the Government at Washington. He informs the President, in a despatch of July 7, that his men were in splendid spirits and “anxious to try it again;" and in this anxiety he himself distinctly shared.
Having a brief interval of comparativo leisure, be drew up and addressed to the President a letter, under date of July 7, containing certain views regarding the conduct of the war, which, in bis judgment, were essential to its objects and success. The letter is as follows:
“HEAD-QUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, CAMP NEAR HARRISON's LANDING, VA., July 7, 1862. “MR. PRESIDENT :-You have been fully informed that the rebel army is in our front, with the purpose of over
whelming us by attacking our position or reducing us by blocking our river-communications. I cannot but regard our condition as critical, and I earnestly desire, in view of possible contingencies, to lay before your Excellency, for your private consideration, my general views concerning the existing state of the rebellion, although they do not strictly relate to the situation of this army or strictly come within the scope of my official duties. These views amount to convictions, and are deeply impressed upon my mind and heart. Our cause must never be abandoned; it is the cause of free institutions and self-government. The Constitution and the Union must be preserved, whatever may be the cost in time, treasure, and blood. If secession is successful, other dissolutions are clearly to be seen in the future. Let neither military disaster, political faction, nor foreign war shake your settled purpose to enforce the equal operation of the laws of the United States upon
the people of every State. “The time has come when the Government must determine upon a civil and military policy covering the whole ground of our national trouble.
“The responsibility of determining, declaring, and supporting such civil and military policy, and of directing the whole course of national affairs in regard to the rebellion, must now be assumed and exercised by you, or our cause will be lost. The Constitution gives you power sufficient even for the present terrible exigency.
“This rebellion has assumed the character of war: as such it should be regarded, and it should be conducted upon the highest principles known to Christian civilization. It should not be a war looking to the subjugation of the people of any State, in any event. It should not be at all a war upon population, but against armed forces and political organizations. Neither confiscation of property, political executions of persons, territorial organi
zation of States, or forcible abolition of slavery, should be contemplated for a moment.
“In prosecuting the war, all private property and unarmed persons should be strictly protected, subject only to the necessity of military operations; all private property taken for military use should be paid or receipted for; pillage and waste should be treated as high crimes, all unnecessary trespass sternly prohibited, and offensive demeanor by the military towards citizens promptly rebuked. Military arrests should not be tolerated, except in places where active hostilities exist; and oaths, not required by enactments constitutionally made, should be neither demanded nor received.
“ Military government should be confined to the preservation of public order and the protection of political right. Military power should not be allowed to interfere with the relations of servitude, either by supporting or impairing the authority of the master, except for repressing disorder, as in other cases. Slaves, contraband under the act of Congress, seeking military protection, should receive it. The right of the Government to appropriate permanently to its own service claims to slave labor should be asserted, and the right of the owner to compensation therefor should be recognized. This principle might be extended, upon grounds of military necessity and security, to all the slaves within a particular State, thus working manumission in such State; and in Missouri, perhaps in Western Virginia also, and possibly even in Maryland, the expediency of such a measure is only a question of time. A system of policy thus constitutional and conservative, and pervaded by the influences of Christianity and freedom, would receive the support of almost all truly loyal men, would deeply impress the rebel masses and all foreign nations, and it might be humbly hoped that it would commend itself to the favor of the Almighty.
"Unless the principles governing the future conduct