case assumed the form it had done by his disregard of the President's order, and by leaving the capital exposed to seizure by the enemy, I was bound to act, even if I had not been required by the specific written order of the President. Will any man question that such was my duty?
When this order was communicated to General McClellan, it of course provoked his wrath, and the wrath of his friends was directed upon me because I was the agent of its execution. If the force had gone forward, as he had designed, I believed that Washington would this day be in the hands of the rebels. Down to this point, moreover, there was never the slightest difference between the President and myself. But the entreaties of General McClellan induced the President to modify his order to the extent that Franklin's division (being part of McDowell's corps that had been retained) was detached and sent forward by boat to McClellan. This was against my judgment, because I thought the whole force of McDowell should be kept together and sent forward by land on the shortest route to Richmond, thus aiding McClellan, but at the same time covering and protecting Washington by keeping between it and the enemy. In this opinion Major-General Hitchcock, General Meigs, and Adjutant-General Thomas agreed. But the President was so anxious that General McClellan should have no cause of complaint, that he ordered the force to be sent by water, although that route was then threatened by the Merrimac. I yielded my opinion to the President's order; but between him and me there has never been the slightest shadow since I entered the Cabinet. And Excepting the retention of the force under McDowell by the President's order, for the reasons mentioned, General McClellan had never made a request of expressed a wish that had not been promptly complied with, if in the power of the Government. To me personally he has repeatedly expressed his confidence and his thanks in the dispatches sent me.
Now, one word as to political motives. What motive can I have to thwart General McClellan? I am not now, never have been, and never will be a candidate for any office. I hold my present post at the request of a President who knew me personally, but to whom I had not spoken from the 4th of March, 1861, until the day he handed me my commission. I knew that everything I cherished and held dear would be sacrificed by accepting office. But I thought I might help to save the country, and for that I was wiling to perish. If I wanted to be politician or a candidate for any office, would I stand between the Treasury and the robbers that are howling around me? Would I provoke and stand against the whole newspaper gang in this country, of every party, who, to sell news, would imperil a battle? I was never taken for a fool, but there could be no greater madness than for a man to encounter what I do for anything else than motives that overleap time and look forward to eternity. I believe that God Almighty founded this Government, and for my acts in the effort to maintain it I expect to stand before Him in judgment.
You will pardon this long explanation, which has been made to no one else. It is due to york, who was my friend when I was a poor boy at school, and had no claim upon your confidence or kindness. It cannot be made public for obvious reasons. General McClellan is at he head of our chief army; he must have every confidence and support; and I am willing that the whole world should revile me rather than diminish one grain of the strength needed to conquer the rebels. In a struggle like this, justice or credit to individuals is but dust in the balance. Desiring no office nor honor, and anxious only for the peace