FAILURE AND FRUSTRATION
WHILE western forces were on the move and fighting, down on the Yorktown Peninsula there was no sound of battle--just the dreary drip of rain. Mist enshrouded the low, flat countryside, blurring the outlines of buildings on the scattered farms and gloomy woods along the swelling Warwick River. The roads became clutching quagmires, and in the army encampments the sick lists began to lengthen. General Joseph E. Johnston, arriving to take over the Confederate command, found that he had only 53,000 troops, and prepared to pull back whenever McClellan started an assault or a bombardment.
Fair weather finally came, and McClellan advised Lincoln not to misunderstand "the apparent inaction here." Though Lincoln kept his impatience in check, an increasingly strident public outcry arose against McClellan. Democratic spokesmen countered with a vicious onslaught on Stanton, stressing the implication that, by reappointing é, the supposedly conservative War Secretary had allied himself with the Republican abolitionists and was trying to cripple McClellan by denying him men and supplies, as he would "tomahawk anyone he disliked," in Sam Ward's words. "If we are disappointed in Mr. Stanton," wrote David Davis to Holt, "the confidence of conservative men will receive a terrible shock."
It was true that Stanton would have liked to remove "Little Mac" from command, but his own and Lincoln's caution held back this decision. But at the same time Stanton supplied McClellan with all that he requested. Assistant Secretary Tucker, sent to the Peninsula by Stanton to help solve McClellan's transportation problems, although recognizing the general's difficulties, reported the roads literally covered with wagons. Hitchcock visited McClellan to see if anything was lack-