Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Diary of John Hay, Wednesday, November 13, 1861

I wish here to record what I consider a portent of evil to come. The President, Governor Seward and I went over to McClellan's house to-night. The servant at the door said the General was at the wedding of Col. Wheaton at Gen'l Buell's and would soon return. We went in, and after we had waited about an hour, McClellan came in, and without paying any particular attention to the porter who told him the President was waiting to see him, went up-stairs, passing the door of the room where the President and Secretary of State were seated. They waited about half an hour, and sent once more a servant to tell the General they were there; and the answer came that the General had gone to bed.

I merely record this unparalleled insolence of epaulettes without comment. It is the first indication I have yet seen of the threatened supremacy of the military authorities.

Coming home I spoke to the President about the matter, but he seemed not to have noticed it, specially, saying it was better, at this time, not to be making points of etiquette and personal dignity.

SOURCES: John Hay, edited by Clara Louise Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 52-3; William Roscoe Thayer, John Hay in Two Volumes, Volume 1, p. 124-5; Michael Burlingame, Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 32; Tyler Dennett, editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letters of John Hay, p. 34-5; Paul M. Angle, The Lincoln Reader, p. 378;

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