RELENTLESSLY AND WITHOUT REMORSE
UNSURE of what to do and whom to trust, Lincoln left for Harrisons Landing to appraise the condition of McClellan's army for himself. The general brashly handed him a letter of advice on political matters. Admitting that he was transcending the scope of his official duties, he asserted that his views amounted to convictions and he felt obliged to speak out. First of all, the war should be conducted on the highest Christian principles. Lincoln must adopt a conservative policy and assure the people of the South that they would not be subjugated. "A declaration of radical views, especially upon slavery," the general warned, "will rapidly disintegrate our present armies." McClellan suggested that a general in chief be appointed to command the armies on all fronts. "I am willing to serve in such position as you may assign me," he added.
McClellan informed Stanton that he had given Lincoln his views on general policy. "You and I during the last summer so often talked over the whole subject," he wrote the Secretary, "that I have only expressed the opinions then agreed upon between us."
Whatever opinions on these matters Stanton may once have expressed to McClellan, he no longer agreed with him on the advisability of waging a "soft" war. From the time he became Secretary of War his purpose had been to put new drive into the war effort, to smash the enemy decisively and as quickly as possible. To that end Stanton had come to favor the use of any and every instrument and resource available to the government--and the amazing thing about it was that McClellan was ignorant of any change in Stanton's views and never