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its judicious choice of topics, its natural eloquence, and manly energy of style.*
In the course of a brief excursion which followed the delivery of the address above alluded to, General McClellan received many gratifying proofs of the affectionate attachment felt for him by the people of the country generally, and of the lively interest with which they follow his movements. On the evening of the 18th of June, at Fort William Henry, on the banks of Lake George, he was serenaded; and, at the close of the music, having been introduced by Judge Brown to the numerous party which had assembled to pay their respects to him, he addressed them, as follows:
"I thank you, my friends, for this welcome and pleasing evidence of your regard. It is a most happy termination of the delightful week I have passed in the midst of this beautiful region, among such warm and friendly hearts. When men come, as you have done, some many miles from the mountains and valleys, it means something more than empty compliment or idle courtesy. At all events, I so regard it, and understand this sudden gathering of men who are in truth the strength of the nation as intended to show your love and gratitude to the gallant men who have so long fought under my command,
* On account of the striking merits both of substance and form of this discourse,-and it is of no more than moderate length,-it is inserted in the Appendix in full, in the belief
hat General McClellan's friends will be glad to possess, in a shape less fleeting than that of a newspaper or pamphlot, a production so strongly stamped with the characteristics of his mind and character.
and as an evidence to any who may dare to doubt, whether abroad, at home, or in the rebellious States, that the people of this portion of the country intend to support to the last the Union of our great nation, the sacredness of its Constitution and laws, against whoever may attack them. I do not flatter myself that this kind demonstration is a mark of personal regard to me, but that it means far more than that. You add to the cogent arguments afforded by the deeds of your sons and brothers in the field the sanction and weight of your opinion in favor of the justice and vital importance of the real cause for which we are fighting, and the cause which should never be perverted or lost sight of.
“It has been my good fortune to have had near me in very trying times many of your near relations. In truth, there must be among you now men who went with me through the memorable seven days of battle that commenced just two years ago to-day. It is only just that I should thank you now for the valor and patriotism of your sons and brothers who were with me in the Army of the Potomac, from Yorktown to Antietam. Yet how could they be other than brave and patriotic? for they first saw the light amid scenes classical in our earliest history, and sprang from ancestors who won and held their mountains in hundreds of combats against the Indians, the French, and the English. After a gallant defence of the now ruined ramparts of William Henry, the blood of many of your grandsires moistened the very ground on which you now stand, in a butchery permitted by the cruel apathy of Montcalm, who, two years afterwards, suffered for his crimes in the great battle under the walls of Quebec, where others of your ancestors bore a most honorable part. Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Saratoga, are all names made sacred to you by the bravery of your fathers, who there made illustrious the name of American troops.
“In this latter and more dreadful war you and yours have proved worthy of the reputation of your predecessors. And, whatever sacrifice may yet be necessary, I am confident that you will never consent willingly to be citizens of a divided and degraded nation, but that you will so support the actions of your fellow-countrymen in the field that we shall be victorious, and again have peace and a reunited country, when the hearts of the North and South shall again beat in unison, as they did in the good old times of the Revolution, when our Union and Constitution shall be as firm as the mountains which encircle this lovely lake, and the future of the Republic shall be as serene as the waters of Horicon when no breeze ripples its surface.”
The final chapter of the biography of General McClellan can find no more appropriate opening than the concluding pages of his Report, in which he gives a brief abstract of the history and fortunes of the Army of the Potomac, comprising what they did, what they failed to do, and the reasons for both.
“In this Report I have confined myself to a plain narrative of such facts as are necessary for the purposes of history.
“Where it was possible, I have preferred to give these facts in the language of despatches, written at the time of their occurrence, rather than to attempt a new relation.
“The reports of the subordinate commanders, hereto
annexed, recite what time and space would fail me to mention here,—those individual instances of conspicuous bravery and skill by which every battle was marked. To them I must especially refer; for without them this narrative would be incomplete, and justice fail to be done. But I cannot omit to tender to my corps commanders, and to the general officers under them, such ample recognition of their cordial co-operation and their devoted services as those reports abundantly avouch.
“I have not sought to defend the army which I had the honor to command, nor myself, against the hostile criticisms once so rife.
“It has seemed to me that nothing more was required than such a plain and truthful narrative to enable those whose right it is to form a correct judgment on the important matters involved.
“This Report is, in fact, a history of the Army of the Potomac.
“During the period occupied in the organization of that army, it served as a barrier against the advance of a lately victorious enemy while the fortification of the capital was in progress; and, under the discipline which it then received, it acquired strength, education, and some of that experience which is necessary to success in active operations, and which enabled it afterwards to sustain itself under circumstances trying to the most heroic men. Frequent skirmishes occurred along the lines, conducted with great gallantry, which inured our troops to the realities of war.
“The army grew into shape but slowly; and the delays which attended on the obtaining of arms, continuing late into the winter of 1861–62, were no less trying to the soldiers than to the people of the country. Even at the time of the organization of the Peninsular campaign, some of the finest regiments were without rifles; nor were the utmost exertions on the part of the military
authorities adequate to overcome the obstacles to active service.
"When, at length, the army was in condition to take the field, the Peninsular campaign was planned and entered upon with enthusiasm by officers and men. Had this campaign been followed up as it was designed, I cannot doubt that it would have resulted in a glorious triumph to our arms and the permanent restoration of the power of the Government in Virginia and North Carolina, if not throughout the revolting States. It was, however, otherwise ordered; and, instead of reporting a victorious campaign, it has been my duty to relate the heroism of a reduced army, sent upon an expedition into an enemy's country, there to abandon one and originate another and new plan of campaign, which might and would have been successful if supported with appreciation of its necessities, but which failed because of the repeated failure of promised support at the most critical and, as it proved, the most fatal moments. That heroism surpasses ordinary description. Its illustration must be left for the pen of the historian in times of calm reflection, when the nation shall be looking back to the past from the midst of peaceful days.
“For me, now, it is sufficient to say that my comrades were victors on every field save one; and there the endurance of a single corps accomplished the object of its fighting, and, by securing to the army its transit to the James, left to the enemy a ruinous and barren victory.
“The Army of the Potomac was first reduced by the withdrawal from my command of the division of General Blenker, which was ordered to the Mountain Department, under General Frémont. We had scarcely landed on the Peninsula when it was further reduced by a despatch reyoking a previous order giving me command of Fortress Monroe, and under which I had expected to