This Week in the Civil War - 436

Nov 8, 2012

On November 7, 1862 an officer from Washington, D.C. appeared at George McClellan’s Virginia field headquarters with the orders of November 5 removing “Little Mac” from command and turning over his army to Ambrose Burnside.

McClellan later wrote about receiving the presidential order, claiming “I am sure that not the slightest expression of feeling was visible on my face.”  He noted, “Poor Burnside feels dreadfully, almost crazy—I am sorry for him.”  McClellan’s career would end with a final address to his army on November 10.  Burnside, a competent but stodgy professional officer with no desire for the command, would replace McClellan and immediately assume the offensive to satisfy his president.  Within a month he would lead the Army of the Potomac to defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia.