Battles & Leaders of the Civil War
McCLELLAN ORGANIZING THE GRAND ARMY
NO one has denied that McClellan was a marvelous organizer. Every veteran of the Army of the Potomac will be able to recall that extraordinary time when the people of the North devoted all their native energy and spirit of initiative to the raising of enormous levies of future combatants and their military equipment, and when infantry battalions, squadrons of cavalry, and batteries of artillery sprung, as it were, from the earth in a night, and poured in from all sides upon the barren wastes of vacant building-lots that then went to the making up of fully three-quarters of the Federal capital.
It was in the midst of this herculean task of organization that two French aides-de-camp were assigned to duty as military attachés on McClellan's staff. His brilliant operations in Western Virginia against Lee,--- who had not yet revealed the full extent of his military genius, and whom McClellan was destined to find again in his front but a year later,--- the successes of Laurel Hill and Rich Mountain, gave evidence of what might be expected of the inexperienced troops placed in McClellan's hands. | He had already shown rare strategic ability, and the President had confided to him the task of creating the Army of the Potomac from the disorganized bands who had fallen back on Washington under the brave and unfortunate McDowell. Surrounded for the most part by young officers, he was himself the most youthful of us all, not only by reason of his physical vigor, the vivacity of his impressions, the noble candor of his character, and his glowing patriotism, but also, I may add, by his inexperience of men. His military bearing breathed a spirit of frankness, benevolence, and firmness. His look was piercing, his voice gentle, his temper equable, his word of command clear and definite. His
PROVOST GUARD, WASHINGTON. FROM A SKETCH MADE IN 1862.