Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay

By John Hay; Michael Burlingame et al. | Go to book overview

2
1862

[MARCH 1862]

ON THE 27TH DAY OF JANUARY, THE PRESIDENT ISSUED HIS GENeral War Order No. One to those whose direction it was to be. He wrote it without any consultation and read it to the Cabinet, not for their sanction but for their information. From that time he influenced actively the operations of the Campaign. He stopped going to McClellan's and sent for the General to come to him. Every thing grew busy and animated after this order. It was not fully carried out in its details. Some of the Corps anticipated others delayed action. Fort Henry and Ft Donelson showed that Halleck was doing his share. The Army of the Potomac still was sluggish. His next order was issued after a consultation with all the Generals of the Potomac Army in which as Stanton told me next morning, "we saw ten Generals afraid to fight." The fighting Generals were McDowell Sumner Heintzleman & Keyes, and Banks. These were placed next day at the head of the Army Corps.1

So things began to look vigorous. Sunday morning, the 9th of March the news of the Merrimac's frolic came here. Stanton was fearfully stampeded. He said they would capture our fleet, take Ft Monroe, be in Washington before night. The

President thought it was a great bore, but blew less than Stanton. As the day went on the news grew better. And at four oclock the telegraph was completed and we heard of the splendid performance of the Monitor. That evening also we heard of the evacuation of the Potomac batteries, the luckiest of all possible chances, as the most worst thing about the Merrimac's damages was the fact that they would impede the enterprise of taking those batteries. This was McDowell's explanation to me when I told him of it.2

At Evening came the news of Manassas being evacuated; this came through contrabands. McClellan started instantly over the River. The next day the news were confirmed and the next night Manassas was occupied. People said a great deal about it and thought a great deal more.3

-35-

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Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Editors' Introduction xi
  • 1 - 1861 1
  • 2 - 1862 35
  • 3 - 1863 42
  • 4 - 1864 137
  • Appendix 257
  • Notes 267
  • Index 371
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