Very shortly after the defeat of the First Bull Run General Scott retired from the head of the army. 1 I had, of course, seen him many times during my service in the army and had such a personal acquaintance with him as a man so much younger in years and in rank would be likely to have.
Every old officer or citizen in the country knows very well the strength and the weakness of General Scott's character and it would be a thankless as well as a profitless task to discuss them here; but I shall always remember with special pleasure my last interview with him. I had come to Washington by request of the governor of Illinois, where I was mustering in the volunteers from that state, to consult with the War Department as to the advisability of concentrating the regiments for muster at important railroad points whence they could be directed with the least delay to any place where there might be a demand for them. I called at the general's office and an hour for me to see him was designated by one of the aides. I accordingly was there on time and