Guide Lincoln and McClellan: The Troubled Partnership between a President and His General

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    On the McClellan Go Round- George McClellan and the Antietam Campaign (Lecture)

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    The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of Lee and His Army in Confederate History. Steven Otter. But he was hearing that pounding of the drum in his genes. In , instead of going into the law, he went to West Point. He was legally too young for the academy—not yet sixteen—but he went anyhow. And West Point, knowing an exception when it saw one, waived the rule and enrolled him anyhow.

    In Illinois, Lincoln got into politics. He became a Whig in what was a Democratic state, and in he ran for the state legislature from New Salem in a short and failed campaign. He ran again in , and this time was elected. By , in his second term, he had become a leader of his party in the state assembly. By the early summer of , when McClellan was climbing for the first time from the boat landing on the Hudson River up to the plain at West Point, Lincoln had become a lawyer, self-taught.

    He had moved to Springfield, the new state capital, in to practice his new profession. Still on the rise in politics, he was reelected to the legislature for two more terms. By , he had become a leader of his party statewide. For the next four years, while McClellan and his classmates studied to become engineers and officers in the army, Lincoln immersed himself ever deeper in politics as he continued to shape a career in the law.

    It was not thought inconceivable that he would one day step up to a higher elective office. He had a certain bipartisan appeal, partly because of his gift for telling a story. Recognizing that talent, the Democrats, his political enemies, persuaded him in the summer of to help them entertain the Democratic ex-president, Martin Van Buren, who was traveling through Illinois.

    Lincoln had worked hard to help defeat the "Little Magician" in the presidential election, won by the Whig William Henry Harrison. Now Lincoln was spending an evening swapping stories with his old political target. McClellan, in his first days at West Point in that same summer, found himself in one of the most beautiful settings in America. Savage, majestic cliffs plunged dramatically from the plain to the dark-running river, overhung by "woods climbing above woods, to the clouds and stretching to the horizon.

    LINCOLN AND MCCLELLAN by John C. Waugh | Kirkus Reviews

    None of this mattered to McClellan. He was feeling homesick and abandoned—"as much alone," he wrote home, "as if in a boat in the middle of the Atlantic. But that would pass.