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ORTRAITS





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BETWEEN TWO MASTERS. i2mo,
$1.50.

THE PRIVATE TUTOR. A Love Story.
Crown 8vo, $1.50.

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO.
Boston and New York.



UNION PORTRAITS




WILLIAM TECU.MSEH SHERMAN



UNION PORTRAITS



EY

GAMALIEL BRADFORD




BOSTON AND NEW YORK

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

^6e Iliitocr^itie prc^i Cambrilioe

1910



THE )JEW YORK
PUBLIC LIDHARY

ASTOR, Li:NOX AND

TlUiiii'i tOUfDATIONS

B 1951 L



COPYRIGHT, I9I4, 1915, BY THB ATLANTIC MONTHLY COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1915, BY THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

COPYRIGHT, I916, BY THE YALE REVIEW

COPYRIGHT, I916, BY GAMALIEL BRADFORD

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



Published April iqib



TO
ELLERY SEDGWICK

WITH

INFINITE GRATITUDE FOR

THE TWO GREATEST KINDNESSES THAT CAN BE SHOWN

BY AN editor: GIVING ADVICE

WHEN IT IS WANTED, AND WITHHOLDING IT

WHEN IT IB NOT






/ don't believe the truth ever will he known, and I have a great
contempt for History.

General Meade



/ hate the " Nil de mortuis," etc. What do men die for, except
that posterity may impartially Judge, and get the full benefit of
their example ?

Samuel Bowles



PREFACE

The use of the word "portraits," as in this
book, has been criticized, and with justice. It is
always a mistake to transfer terms from one art
to another. The portrait-painter presents his sub-
ject at a particular moment of existence, with full
and complete individuality for that moment, but
with only the most indirect suggestion of all the
varied and complicated stages of life and charac-
ter that have preceded. The object of the psy-
chographer is precisely the opposite. From the
complex of fleeting experiences that make up the
total of man's or woman's life he endeavors to
extricate those permanent habits of thought and
action which constitute what we call character,
and which, if not unchangeable, are usually modi-
fied only by a slow and gradual process. His aim
further is to arrange and treat these habits or
qualities in such a way as to emphasize their rela-
tive importance, and to illustrate them by such
deeds and words, as, irrespective of chronological
sequence, shall be most significant and most im-
pressive.

This is a task in which final and absolute results
are obviously impossible and even comparative
success is not easy. None knows this better than the



X PREFACE

psychographer, and his effort is not so much to
achieve final results as to stimulate readers to re-
flect more deeply on the curious and fascinating
mystery of their own and others' lives.

The best name for the product of the psychog-
rapher's art is "psychographs." But "portraits"
has the sanction of high authority and example,
while "psychographs" is shocking to the cautious
imagination of a publisher, and would hardly
allure any but the most adventurous purchasers.

In dealing with men whose characters and
achievements have been the subject of passionate
controversy, it has naturally been impossible to
satisfy every one. The portraits of Hooker and of
McClellan are those which, when first published
in the Atlantic Monthly, called forth the most
energetic protest, and in the case of Hooker a good
deal of evidence has been presented, which has
led me to modify my judgment to a considerable
extent. As regards McClellan, I have been moved
to examine further a number of works by his
defenders and admirers, notably. General Emery
Upton's Military Policy of the United States, The
Life and Letters of Emery Upton by Peter S.
Michie, and Antietam and the Maryland and Vir-
ginia Campaigns by I. W. Heysinger. I am very
glad to call the attention of readers to these books,
in which it is maintained, with more or less elab-
orate argument, that if McClellan had not been
persistently thwarted by Lincoln, and especially by



PREFACE xi

Stanton, he would have crushed the Rebelhon
and ended the war two years eadier. The study
of such writers has not, however, inclined me to
alter my portrait, which stands substantially as
it was printed at first.

To express my gratitude individually to all the
numerous correspondents who have assisted me
with corrections and suggestions would be impos-
sible. Suffice it to say that the aid thus received
has been thoroughly appreciated.

Gamaliel Bradford.

Welleslet Hills, Massachusetts,
October 1, 1915.



CONTENTS

I. GEORGE BRINTON McCLELLAN . .'^ . i

McClellan fortunate from the beginning — his own
view of his character — humility — patriotism — self-
satisfaction — confidence in his own organizing ability

— in his own strategy — in his own leadership — in his
own judgment as to enemy's numbers — in his own
achievements — consequent self-exaltation — an instru-
ment chosen by God — considers a dictatorship — such
confidence engenders hostility to others — others' view
of McClellan — his defenders — his critics — they do
not shake his self-confidence — accused of lack of patri-
otism, most unjustly — his high and fine qualities —
most marked among them his power of winning men.

II. JOSEPH HOOKER 33

Hooker's appearance and early career — origin of
name "Fighting Joe" — his popularity and success in
first years of war — his fighting qualities — his defects

— greatest, his tongue — given command of Army of
Potomac — able organizer — plans battle of Chancel-
lorsville ably — but fails in execution — his character
shown in that battle and subsequent conduct — relieved
and sent west — in west able fighting at Lookout Moun-
tain and elsewhere — but does not get along with Grant

— does not get along with Sherman — still the unfortu-
nate tongue — resigns because not given McPherson's
place — finishes war obscurely in west — with all his
faults something of the Homeric hero about him.

III. GEORGE GORDON MEADE .... 65

Meade less known than other generals — reasons for
this to be found in his character as revealed in his biog-
raphy — not without ambition — or indifference to



xiv CONTENTS

neglect — other qualities that lead to greatness — in-
stinct of duty — and sacrifice — and patriotism — also
intelligence of high order — and with intelligence candor

— other qualities less favorable to success — some ami-
able — as modesty — and dislike of military career —
other qualities less attractive, a marked inability to win
men — and an irritable temper — but these defects
really unimportant compared with noble traits — dig-
nity, simplicity, high-mindedness — though remem-
bered only as victor of Gettysburg, this glory enough for
any man.

IV. GEORGE HENRY THOMAS . . . .97

Thomas above all interesting as a Southerner fighting
for the Union — analysis of possible reasons for doing
this — analysis of Thomas's actual reasons — decides
finally in favor of North, in spite of Southern sympa-
thies — difficulty of getting at his political opinions
characteristic — reserved in everything — advantages
of this reserve and self-control — negative advantages,
absence of brag, of criticism — positive advantages, sys-
tem, reliability — defects, punctiliousness, over-sensi-
tiveness as to rank, a certain stolidity leading to slowness

— Thomas's stolidity partly superficial — underneath
deep feeling both professional and domestic — has edu-
cated himself not to feel — glory of Virginia in producing
so many heroic figures.

V. WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN . . 131

Sherman contrasted with Thomas in utter absence of
reserve — a typical American — never quiet — his di-
versified youth — vividness of imagination — in mili-
tary matters — in general policy — extraordinary power
of expression — imagination guided by reason — imagi-
nation makes him tolerant up to a certain point, reason
very intolerant beyond that — combination makes him
thoroughly practical — in military management — in
handling men — in short, American man of business —
business instinct in labor, in fighting, in treatment of
enemy — yet not mere machine — all nerves — in temper,
in enthusiasm and depression, in sympathy — limita-



CONTENTS XV

tiona, excess of purpose, lack of depth, lack of atmosphere

— if a typical American, desirable that there should be
more like him.

VI. EDWIN McMASTERS STANTON . . .165

Problem with Stanton, how he could be so disagreeable
and so successful — evidence as to disagreeable qualities,
ambition, jealousy, arbitrariness, duplicity, cowardice —
manifestation of some of these qualities in official rela-
tions — with subordinates — with Lincoln — yet loved
Lincoln — and Lincoln loved him — reasons for Lin-
coln's trust and affection — Stanton's sensibility —
and tenderness, both domestic and official — his labor,
his organizing power, his enormous energy — illustra-
tions of this — his moral and physical courage — his
sacrifice — not a thinker, but a doer — his deeds in-
spired by lofty patriotism.

VII. WILLIAM HENRY SEWARD . . .197
Difficulty with Seward reverse of that with Stanton —

so pleasant that you wonder if there was anything more

— his power of influencing men — political manage-
ment, amiability, charm, cheerfulness — how far sin-
cere? — but another Seward than the mere politician —
his earnestness — his labor — his profound and passion-
ate love of the Union — various manifestations of this,
in State Department and otherwise — his magnificent
hope for America — also differs from typical politician
in personal honesty and in advocating unpopular causes

— reconciliation of two Sewards — the artist, in words,
in political management, in humor, in vanity, in imagi-
nation — takes imaginative view of political life and
history, as do so few statesmen.

VIIL CHARLES SUMNER 231

Sumner had a magnificent tongue and one idea —
some think he had many ideas, because vast reader —
this a mistake — nor had he profound feeling as regards
art, or nature, or love, or death, or even humanity — his
self-absorption — grows in later years — his pedantry



xvi CONTENTS

— with these defects how explain vast popularity? —
curiosity, simplicity, kindliness, amiability even in con-
troversy — singular blending of these qualities in his
friendships, in his marriage, and in his literary activity

— the man essentially a voice, delivering the message of
his time on a great moral question — even his limitations
of political service, his immense self-confidence, his ina-
bility to see more than one side — and the voice uttered
nothing base or unworthy.

IX. SAMUEL BOWLES 263

Suitable to conclude with portrait of a journalist —
Bowles representative and of extreme interest because of
his letters — his relation to the Repziblican and life in it

— the paper alive because the man was — his letters
among the best written in America — his sensitiveness
and depth of feeling — towards his family — towards
others — his social charm — his intelligence — not ab-
stract — not academically trained — but keen, vivnd,
practical — intensely nervous temperament — wonder-
ful control of nerves — but abuses that control — and
therefore suffers in health, in spirits, and in temper —
feels failure from ill-health keenly, because of passion-
ate desire to succeed and dominate — this desire to
dominate source of greatest defects, whim, waywardness,
and even tendency to sacrifice friendship to success of
paper — yet withal one of the best beloved of men.

NOTES 295

INDEX 319



ILLUSTRATIONS

William Tecumseh Sherman .... Frontispiece
George Brinton McClellan . .... 6

George Gordon Meade 88

Charles Sumner 244



UNION PORTRAITS

I

GEORGE BRINTON McCLELLAN



CHRONOLOGY

Bom in Philadelphia, December 3, 1826.

Graduated at West Point, 1846.

Mexican War, 1846, 1847.

Taught at West Point till 1851.

Visited the Crimea with MUitary Commission, 1855.

Resigned from service, 1857.

Railroad management till 1861.

Married Ellen Mary Marcy, May 22, 1860.

Commanded in West, summer of 1861.

Commanded in East, July, 1861, to October, 1862.

Candidate for President, 1864.

Governor of New Jersey, 1878.

Died, October 29, 1885.



UNION PORTKAITS



GEORGE BRINTON McCLELLAN
I

Good fortune seemed to wait on McClellan's
early career. He graduated from West Point in
1846, just at the outset of the Mexican War, and
plunged into active service at once. In Mexico
every one spoke well of him. He showed energy,
resource, and unquestioned personal courage. He
was handsome, thoroughly martial in appearance,
kindly, and popular. After his return from Mexico,
he taught at West Point, took part, as an engineer,
in Western exploration, then served as one of the
Government's military commission in the Crimea,
and so acquired a technical knowledge much be-
yond that of the average United States officer. In
the latter fifties he resigned from the service and
went into railroading, which probably gave him
practical experience more valuable than could
have been gained by fighting Indians.

At the beginning of the Civil War, in 1861,
McClellan seems to have been generally looked
upon as a most competent soldier. He was decid-



4 UNION PORTRAITS

edly successful in his first campaign in Ohio and
West Virginia, and when he was called to Wash-
ington to command the Army of the Potomac it
appeared as if a brilliant and distinguished future
were before him.

In studying that future and the man's character
in relation to it, it will be interesting to begin by
getting his own view. This is easily done. He was
one who spoke of himself quite liberally in print,
though reticent in conversation. In his book,
"McClellan's Own Story," he gives a minute
account of his experiences, and the editor of the
book added to the text an extensive selection from
the general's intimate personal letters to his wife.
The letters are so intimate that, in one aspect, it
seems unfair to use them as damaging evidence.
It should be pointed out, however, that while the
correspondence amplifies our knowledge and gives
us admirable illustration, it really brings out no
qualities that are not implied for the careful ob-
server in the text of the book itself and even in the
general's formal reports and letters.

What haunts me most, as I read these domestic
outpourings, is the desire to know what Mrs.
McClellan thought of them. Did she accept every-
thing loyally? Was she like the widow of the regi-
cide Harrison, of whom Pepys records, with one of
his exquisite touches, "It is said, that he said that
he was sure to come shortly at the right hand of
Christ to judge them that now had judged him;



GEORGE BRINTON McCLELLAN 5

and that his wife do expect his coming again"? ^
Or had Mrs. McClellan, in spite of all affection, a
Httle critical devil that sometimes nudged her into
smiling? I wonder. General Meade says she was a
charming woman. "Her manners are delightful;
full of life and vivacity, great affability, and very
ready in conversation. ... I came away quite
charmed with her esprit and vivacity." 2 Remem-
ber this, when you read some of the following
extracts and you v/ill wonder as I do.

But as to the general, and his view of himself.
He considered that he was humble and modest,
and very fearful of elation and vainglory. There
can be no doubt that he was absolutely sincere in
this, and we must reconcile it with some other
things as best we can. How genuinely touching and
solemn is his account of his parting with his prede-
cessor, Scott, whom, nevertheless, he had treated
rather cavalierly. " I saw there the end of a long,
active, and ambitious life, the end of the career of
the first soldier of his nation; and it was a feeble
old man scarce able to walk; hardly any one there
to see him off but his successor. Should I ever
become vainglorious and ambitious, remind me
of that spectacle. I pray every night and every
morning that I may become neither vain nor am-
bitious, that I may be neither depressed by disaster
nor elated by success, and that I may keep one
single object in view — the good of my country." ^

The self-denying patriotism here suggested is



6 UNION PORTRAITS

even more conspicuous in McClellan's analysis of
himself than humility or modesty, and again no
one can question that his professions of such a
nature are absolutely sincere. However one may
criticize the celebrated letter of advice written to
Lincoln from Harrison's Landing, it is impossible
to resist the impetuous solemnity of its closing
words. "In carrying out any system of policy
which you may form you will require a Comman-
der-in-Chief of the Army — one who possesses
your confidence, understands your views, and who
is competent to execute your orders by directing
the military forces of the nation to the accomplish-
ment of the objects by you proposed. I do not ask
that place for myself. I am willing to serve you in
such position as you may assign me, and I will do
so as faithfully as ever subordinate served superior.
I may be on the brink of eternity, and as I hope
forgiveness from my Maker I have written this
letter with sincerity toward you and from love for
my country." ^

It is necessary to bear these passages — and
there are many similar ones — in mind, as we
progress with McClellan; for the leadership of one
of the most splendid armies in the world through
the great campaigns of the Peninsula and Antie-
tam fostered a temper that often seems incompat-
ible with modesty and sometimes even with pa-
triotism. We must remember that he found the
whole country looking to him with enthusiasm.




(JEORGE BRINTON McCLELLAN



GEORGE BRINTON McCLELLAN 7

We must remember that he was surrounded — to
some extent he surrounded himself — with men
who petted, praised, and flattered him. We must
remember that in the war, from the first, he never
had the wholesome discipline of a subordinate
position, but was one of the few generals who began
by commanding an independent army. We must
remember especially the fortunate — or unfortu-
nate — circumstances of his earlier life. As Colonel
McClure says, he would have been a different man,
" had he been a barefoot alley boy, trained to tag
and marbles and jostling his way in the world." ^

The explanation of many things is well given by
a passage in one of his earlier letters. "I never
went through such a scene in my life, and never
expect to go through such another one. You would
have been surprised at the excitement. At Chilli-
cothe the ladies had prepared a dinner, and I had
to be trotted through. They gave me about
twenty beautiful bouquets and almost killed me
with kindness. The trouble will be to fill their
expectations, they seem to be so high. I could hear
them say, 'He is our own general'; 'Look at him,
how young he is'; 'He will thrash them'; 'He'll
do,' etc., etc., ad infinitum" ^

Doubtless there are cool and critical heads that
can stand this sort of thing without being turned,
but McClellan's was not one of them. Even in his
Mexican youth a certain satisfaction with his own
achievements and capacity can be detected in his



8 UNION PORTKAITS

letters. " I Ve enough to do to occupy half a dozen
persons for a while; but I rather think I can get
through it."^ In the full sunshine of glory this
satisfaction rose to a pitch which sometimes seems
abnormal.

Let us survey its different manifestations. As
the organizer of an army, it is generally admitted
that McClellan had few superiors. He took the
disorderly mob which fled from the first Bull Run
and made it the superb military instrument that
broke Lee's prestige at Gettysburg and finally
strangled the Confederacy. In achieving this, his
European studies must have been of great help to
him, as setting an ideal of full equipment and fin-
ished discipline. Some think his ideal was too ex-
acting and involved unnecessary delay. He himself
denies this and disclaims any desire for an impos-
sible perfection. ^ At any rate, praise from others
as to his organizing faculty would be disputed by
few or none. Yet even on this point one would
prefer to hear others praise and not the man him-
self. "I do not know who could have organized
the Army of the Potomac as I did."^ It has a
strange sound. And this is not a private letter, but
a sentence deliberately penned for posterity.

And how did he judge himself in other lines
of military achievement? What was McClellan's
opinion of McClellan as a strategist and thinker?
From the beginning of the war he was ever fertile
in plans, which, as he asserted, would assure speedy



GEORGE BRINTON McCLELLAN 9

success and the downfall of the Confederacy, plans
involving not only military movements but the
conduct of politics. He sent these plans to Scott
in the early days, and was snubbed. Later he sub-
mitted them to Lincoln and the last was snubbed
— by silence — even more severely than the first
had been. McClellan worked out these plans in
loving and minute detail. Every contingency was
foreseen and every possible need in men, supplies,
and munitions was figured on. As a consequence,
the needs could never be filled — and the plans
never be executed. The very boldness and grasp of
the conception made the execution limited and
feeble. And the plans were so exquisitely complete
that in this stumbling world they could never be
put into practical effect. I have met such men.
And so have you.

On the other hand, the fact that McClellan's
plans were never realized left them all the more
attractive in their ideal beauty. "Had the Army
of the Potomac been permitted to remain on the
line of the James, I would have crossed to the
south bank of that river, and while engaging Lee's
attention in front of Malvern, would have made a
rapid movement in force on Petersburg, having
gained which, I would have operated against
Richmond and its communications from the west,
having already gained those from the south." ^'^
Oh, the charm of that "would have," which no
man can absolutely gainsay ! Or take a more gen-



10 UNION PORTRAITS,

eral and even more significant passage: "Had the
measures recommended been carried into effect the
war would have been closed in less than one half
the time and with infinite saving of blood and
treasure." ^^ What salve is in "would have" for an
aching memory and a wounded pride! And there
is comfort, also, in repeating to one's self — and
others — the acknowledgment of courteous ene-
mies "that they feared me more than any of the
Northern generals, and that I had struck them
harder blows when in the full prime of their
strength." 12

Well, a general should be a leader as well as a
thinker, should not only plan battles but inspire
them. How was it with McClellan in this regard?
Some of those who fought under him have fault to
find. Without the slightest question of their com-
mander's personal courage, they think that he
was too absorbed in remote considerations to
throw himself with passion into direct conflict.
"He was the most extraordinary man I ever saw,"
says Heintzelman, who was, to be sure, not one of
the general's best friends. "I do not see how any
man could leave so much to others and be so con-
fident that everything would go just right." ^^
With which, however, should be compared Lee's
remark: 'I think and work with all my power to
bring the troops to the right place at the right
time, then I have done my duty. As soon as I
order them forward into battle, I leave my army



GEORGE BRINTON McCLELLAN 11

in the hands of God." '' But McClellan himself
had no doubts about his leadership. There can be
no question but that his grandiloquent proclama-
tions at the beginning of the war spoke his whole
heart, which was not much changed later on.
"Soldiers! I have heard that there was danger
here. I have come to place myself at your head
and to share it with you. I fear now but one thing
— that you will not find foeman worthy of your
steel. I know that I can rely upon you." ^^

In his behef that he had the full confidence of
his men McClellan has the world with him. They
loved him and he loved them. One of the most
charming things about him is his deep interest in
the welfare of his soldiers, his sympathy with their
struggles and their difficulties, though some think
he carried this so far as to spare them in a fashion
not really merciful in the end. When he is tem-


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