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Gen. Mcclellan To The President

Gen. Mcclellan To The President image
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Headquarters Army op the Potomac, ) Camp hear Hakb.ison's Landing Va., ' ' ' Móhday, July 7, 1862. Mk. Pkesident : You haye been fully informeel that the rebel army is in front, with tbe purpose of overwhelming us by attackiug our pogition;} ar redueing us by bloekading our river communications. I cannot but regard our cqndition as critical, and I earnestly desire, jn view. of possible contingenciea, to lay before your Excellency, for your private consideration, my general views concerning tbe existing state of the rebellion, altbóugh they do not strictly relate to the situation of the army, or striotly come witbin the scope of my official duties. These views amount to convictions, and are deeply impressed upon my mind and heart. Our cause must never be abandoned - it ia the causo of free institutions and self-government. ïhe constitution and Union must be preservad, whatever may be the cost in time, treasure, and blood. lf secession is suceesaful, other dissolutions are clearly to be seen in the future. Jjec neither military disaster, politieal faction, nor foreign war shake our settled purpose to enforce the equal operatipns of the laws of the United States upon the people of every State. - The time bas coirje when the government must detormine upon a civil aud military policy eovering the whole ground of our natiuual trouble. The rcsponsibility of determining, declaring, and supporting such civil aud military policy, and of directing the vhole course of national alfairs in regar.d to tfc.e, rebellion, must now be assumed aud exeroigad by ou or our cause will be lost. The constitution gives you power sufficisut even for the present terrible exigency. Tjiig rebel lion has assumed the cbaracter of war ; as such it should be regarued, and it should be couducted upon the highest principies ktiown to christian civilization. It should not be a war looking to the subjugatiou of the people of any State in any event. It should not be at all a war upou population, but against armod forces and politieal organizador). Neither confiscation of property, politieal executions of persons, territorial orgauizations of States, or forcible abolition of slavery should be contemplatod for a moment, Jn proaecuting the war all private property and uuarrned persons should be protected, subject only to the nepessity of military operatipns. All private property taken for military use should be paid or receipted for ; pillage and waste should be treated as high crimes, all uunecessary trespasa,,sternly prohibited, and ofïensiye demoanor by the military towards citizens promptly rebuked. Military arrests should not be tolerated except in in places where active hostilities exist, and paths not required by eiiactmonts constitutionally made shoild be neither demanded nor received. Military government fhould be co'jfined to the preservation of pubüp priJer, and the protection of politieal rights. Military power should not be allowed to iuteri'ere with the relations of servitude, eitlier by supporting or iinpairing the tbe authority ot' the master, except for repressiug disorder, as in other cases. - Slaves contraband under the act of Cougress, seeking military protection, should receive it. The right of the government to appropriate permaneutly to its own service claims of slave labor should bc asserted, and the right of the owner to eomppnsation should therefors be recognizei. This priupiple might be extended upon grouuds of military necessity and security to all the slave3 witlijn a particState, thus working manumission in such State; and in Missouri, perhaps in Western Vrirgiuia, also, an'd posaibly eveu in Maryland, the expediency of a measure is only a question of time. A system of policy thus constitutional and conservativo, and pervaded by the infiuenee of Christianity and freedom, would receive the support of' almost all truly loyal roau, would deeply impress the rebel njages and all foreign nations, aud it might be humbly hoped that it would conmiend itself to the favor of the Almighty. Unless the principies governing the future conduct of our struggle shall be made known and approved, the effort to obtaiu requsite forees will be almost hopeless. A declaration of radical views, especially upon elavery, wjll rapidly disintegrate our present nrmies. The policy of the governmeut must be supported by concentration of mihtary power. The national forces should not be dispersed in expeditions, posts of occupatiou aud numerous armies ; but should be mainly colleGtcd into u.sacs and broughl to bear upon the armies of the Southern States. Those armies thoroughly dofcated, the politieal struetorfl whieh they support would soon cease to exist. In carrj'ing out any system of policy which you may form, you will require as Connnander-in-Chiei: of the army, ono who possesses your confldenco, uuderstands 3 our views, and who is ooujpeLent to execute your orders by directing the military forces of ihe nation to the accotnplishnicnt of the objects by you propfiscd. I do not ask that place for myself. I am willing to serve you in such position as you assign me, aud will do so as faitimilly as ever subordínate ssrved superior. I may bo on the brink of eternity, and, as I hope forgiveness from my Maker, I have writieu this letter with sincerity toward jou and and love of my country. (Signed)


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