Saturday, October 19, 2013

Brigadier General George G. Meade to Margaretta Sergeant Meade, November 28, 1861

CAMP PIERPONT, VA., November 28, 1861.

If you remember what I told you before I came here, you will recollect that I always said McClellan had to be tried. That while he had shown in other positions talents and a mental organization leading to the belief that he was one who would make himself equal to the position, yet that fact had yet to be established. I fear he allows himself to be too much biased by personal influences and old associations. He has already in my judgment committed two grave errors. First, in whitewashing Stone, who was and is responsible for the Ball's Bluff disaster, greater in my judgment than Bull Run, inasmuch as it was clearly the result of bad generalship. Secondly, in permitting himself to be biased by tittle-tattle about McCall, and visiting his censure of that officer on the whole division under his command. Both these instances show a want of moral courage, without which no man can be a great commander.

We had a little excitement yesterday, in a scout from our division by our cavalry. They went some fourteen miles in front, capturing one of the enemy's pickets, and on their return were fired into by a party, whom they repulsed, killing several and bringing in eleven prisoners. Colonel Bayard (a young man you may remember at the first review, from the protuberance on his cheek, produced by an arrow wound), the commander, behaved with conspicuous gallantry. One of the prisoners confessed he took deliberate aim at him. He had two balls through his clothes and his horse killed under him.

SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, p. 232

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