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Rationalizes his actions taken as General and despairs over the administration's present course with some reminiscences.




letter, McIlvaine, McClellan, Civil War


Scrapbook p. 17

Gen. George B. McClellan to Bishop Charles P. McIlvaine

7 Morton Ave. /?/

Nov. 18, 1862 /?/

My dear Bishop,

My wife desires me to reply to your kind note of the 8th to her and at the same time that I acknowledge yours of the 4th to myself.

When you write you little thought, I am sure, that when I received it I would be so far ___ from the troops I so ___ commanded - but so it is. I have no comments to make except to assure one whom I esteem as I do you that my conscience is clear as to the performance of my duty.

That I have made mistakes is certain - no man avoids them; - but I know that I have been true to my Country, and have done the best I could under the circumstances which surrounded me. The statements of Halleck & Meigs etc. are ___tical mis statements that I do not at present feel called upon to answer.

I say this much Bishop, only that you may feel that your confidence has not been misplaced, & that you may be sure that the future will indicate the course you have pursued in bestowing your friendship upon me.

I have ever trusted in God not in myself - then I shall continue to place my faith sure that he will order all things for the best & that it matters little what becomes of me provided the Country is saved.

I do not like the course now being pursued by the administration (I do not allude to my own removal) but altho my heart is sick when I endeavor to look into the future I still hope and trust that all will be well, & that we shall not be punished to the extent we merit. I shall always look back upon your visit to our camp with great pleasure. I enclose with this a photograph of Mrs. McC. which she desires you to accept with her kindest regards. Earl /?/ and Mrs. Marcy /?/ are in New York. The Earl has been quite ill, but is now somewhat better.

Mrs. McC. desires me to thank you for your photograph which she will ever prize, also for the copy of the Pastoral Letter which you are good enough to send.

I am very glad that you had the opportunity of visiting my last battle field - it was indeed on a great scale, & I sincerely trust that it may never be my fate to witness such a scene of carnage again. I am sick of war & blood - would that the almighty would bless us with peace over man & nation this shattered & unhappy nation to its once happy condition.

My wife and I hope to have some day a permanent home in New York where we may have the pleasure of welcoming you. With the hope that happier times are in store for us & that our next meeting not be in the midst of war - to [an] with the highest respects,

Your sincere friends,

Geo. B. McClellan

The Right Rev. C.P. McIlvaine


Notes: On last page of letter is written Gen. McClellan, Nov. 18, 1862.

Gen. George Brinton McClellan (1826-1885) was a Philadelphian. It is probable that he and McIlvaine knew each other before the Civil War. Twice Commander in Chief, he was first superseded by Gen. Halleck and secondly by Gen. Burnside. In 1864 he ran against Lincoln (Republican) as a Democrat. He received 44.94% and Lincoln 55.06% of the popular vote. In 1877 he was elected Governor of New Jersey. Believe it was Major-General H.W. Halleck and Quartermaster-General M.C. Meigs that McClellan referred to.

Letter to Charles Petit McIlvaine



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