Thursday, December 15, 2016

Diary of John Hay: November 1, 1861

. . . . The night of the 1st November we went over to McClellan’s. The General was there and read us his General Order in regard to Stone’s resignation and his own assumption of command. The President thanked him for it and said it greatly relieved him. He added: — “I should be perfectly satisfied if I thought that this vast increase of responsibility would not embarrass you.” “It is a great relief, Sir! I feel as if several tons were taken from my shoulders, today. I am now in contact with you and the Secretary. I am not embarrassed by intervention.” “Well,” says the President, “draw on me for all the sense I have, and all the information. In addition to your present command, the supreme command of the army will entail a vast labor upon you.” “I can do it all,” McC. said quietly.

Going to Seward’s he talked long and earnestly about the matter. He had been giving a grave and fatherly lecture to McC. which was taken in good part; advising him to enlarge the sphere of his thoughts, and feel the weight of the occasion.

Then we went up and talked a little while to the Orleans princes. De Joinville is deaf and says little. The boys talk very well and fluently. . . .

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 50-1; Tyler Dennett, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letters of John Hay, p. 32-3.

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