This Week in the Civil War - 434

Nov 6, 2012

On Wednesday, November 5, 1862, after weeks of stress President Abraham Lincoln drafted the following telegram: “By direction of the President, it is ordered that Major General McClellan be relieved of the command of the Army of the Potomac; and that Major General Burnside take the command of that Army.” 

After failing to pursue Lee after Antietam and after weeks of “masterful inactivity,” McClellan was finally replaced, ending his controversial military career. Lincoln personally liked “Little Mac” but believed his general to have a perpetual case of the “slows.”  “He is an admirable engineer,” Lincoln was reputed to have said about McClellan, “but he seems to have a special talent for a stationary engine.”   Two days later the general would receive a copy of Lincoln’s order, replacing him.