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1862 December 3: Editorial on George B. McClellan and His Departure from the Army

December 4, 2012

The following editorial is reprinted from The Home League (Hartford, Wisconsin) of November 22, 1862.  It appeared in The Prescott Journal on December 3, 1862.

If you are in Wisconsin and have access to BadgerLink (UWRF students do), you can find digital copies of The Home League, including this issue, in the Access Newspaper Archive.

At Last.

Gen. NcClellan [sic: George B. McClellan] has been removed at last.  The strange spell that has bound the great army of the Potomac to ditiches [sic] and inactivity, has at length been broken, and a new order of things established.

Gen. McClellan has fully demonstrated his utter incapacity to lead a great army to victory, or if that be not true another horn of the dillemma [sic] presents itself which is much worse—that he has no desire to conquer the rebels.  When the excitement of this war is over and the intense partizan spirit of the nation has been molified [sic] or appeased, one of the strangest things to account for will be why such momentous and tremendous interests were so long committed to such weak and incompetent hands.  If inordinate and unlimited puffing could have saved him then he would have been saved ;  for no man has been the subject of so many laudatory paragraphs as himself, Editors, War Correspondents, Special Reporters, and letter writers generally, have vied with each other to lavish upon him the most fullsome [sic] and extravagant praise.  But the potency of printer’s ink could not lift him into the sublime region where heroes are born.  Idolized by the army, lionized by the Press, lyingized¹ by political opponents, yet he sinks like lead to the dead level of military medirocty [sic].  Gen. McClellan was not born great, did not achieve greatness, and there never was a man who so stubbornly refused to have greatness thrust upon him.²  The Cabinet, the Nation, the Army, the People, and the Press, all conspired with one voice and implored him to do and become great ;  but he would not.  The opportunities were ample ;  the means were unlimited ;  the necessities were urgent, and all the forces of the moral universe were clamorous for a hero to fall down and worship ;  but the “Young Napoleon” (?)³ was deaf to all these calls.  One word writes his epitaph—“Incapacity.”—[reprinted from the] Home League.

1.  The Home League editor is making up a word here!
2.  This is a parody of the William Shakespeare quotation: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them,” from Twelfth-Night, Act II, Scene V.
3.  The (?) was not added by us but is in the editorial.

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