THE SECOND ACT OF THE McCLELLAN DRAMA.
IT is time now to return to the theatre of war in Virginia, where, it will be remembered, we left the Confederate forces in the act of rapidly withdrawing southward from the line of intrenchments which they had so long held at Manassas. This unexpected backward movement upon their part deprived the Urbana route, which McClellan had hitherto so strenuously advocated, of its chief strategic advantages, and therefore reopened the old question which had been discussed between him and Mr. Lincoln. To the civilian mind a movement after the retreating enemy along the direct line to Richmond, now more than ever before, seemed the natural scheme. But to this McClellan still remained unalterably opposed. In the letter of February 3 he had said: "The worst coming to the worst, we can take Fort Monroe as a base and operate with complete security, although with less celerity and brilliancy of results, up the Peninsula." This route, low as he had then placed it in order of desirability, he now adopted as the best resource, or rather as the only measure; and his judgment was ratified upon March 13 by