BURNSIDE had been selected to succeed in the command, and the appointment was not a success. This has been urged as an argument that McClellan should have been retained. Ropes says: ' McClellan ought not to have been removed unless the Government were prepared to put in his place some officer whom they knew to be at least his equal in military capacity.' There are some qualifications which can be tested to a certain extent in peace time, such as knowledge, judgement, energy, and power of command. But the crowning qualification for a Commander-in-- Chief is the nerve which can bear heavy responsibility, and this can only be tested in the fire of actual warfare. I think this had been brought home to Lincoln by the strain of responsibility that lay on his own shoulders. At all events he seems to have been guided in his selections by a simple rule of thumb -- to pick the man who had done something in an independent capacity. McClellan, Halleck, Pope, Burnside, Grant were all selected on this principle. In the case of the first four, the choice turned out badly because Lincoln had very little to go on.
At this moment the choice seemed to lie between Burnside (who was the senior), Sumner (a fine soldier but rather too old), Franklin, and Hooker. Burnside had held command in some minor operations which had been planned, with the assistance of the navy, to shut up the ports on the coast of Carolina; his success there earned him the promotion. Besides this,