How trebly glaz'd, and Curtains drawn betwixt
It was just after the great inaugural and when his head must have been full of cares and his hands of work, that Lincoln took time to write a touching little note that I find in his correspondence. It was addressed to a boy who had evidently spoken with natural pride of having met the President and whose word had been questioned:
'I thankee agen, sir,' he said, heartily shaking hands. 'I know wheer you're a-going. Good-bye!'
“How funny it would be!” cried the Misses Morven.
Lincoln's relations with McClellan have already been touched upon. There would not be space in this paper to refer in detail to the action taken by Lincoln with other army commanders East and West. The problem that confronted the Commander-in-chief of selecting the right leaders for this or that undertaking, and of promoting the men who gave evidence of the greater capacity that was required for the larger armies that were being placed in the field, was one of no little difficulty. The reader of history, looking back to-day, with the advantage of the full record of the careers of the various generals, is tempted to indulge in easy criticism of the blunders made by the President. Why did the President put up so long with the vaingloriousness and ineffectiveness of McClellan? Why should he have accepted even for one brief and unfortunate campaign the service of an incompetent like Pope? Why was a slow-minded closet-student like Halleck permitted to fritter away in the long-drawn-out operations against Corinth the advantage of position and of force that had been secured by the army of the West? Why was a political trickster like Butler, with no army experience, or a well-meaning politician like Banks with still less capacity for the management of troops, permitted to retain responsibilities in the field, making blunders that involved waste of life and of resources and the loss of campaigns? Why were not the real men like Sherman, Grant, Thomas, McPherson, Sheridan, and others brought more promptly into the important positions? Why was the army of the South permitted during the first two years of the War to have so large an advantage in skilled and enterprising leadership? A little reflection will show how unjust is the criticism implied through such questions. We know of the incapacity of the generals who failed and of the effectiveness of those who succeeded, only through the results of the campaigns themselves. Lincoln could only study the men as he came to know about them and he experimented first with one and then with another, doing what seemed to be practicable to secure a natural selection and the survival of the fittest. Such watchful supervision and painstaking experimenting was carried out with infinite patience and with an increasing knowledge both of the requirements and of the men fitted to fill the requirements.
'Upon my word,' rejoined Traddles, greatly delighted, 'if you had seen them running away, and running back again, after you had knocked, to pick up the combs they had dropped out of their hair, and going on in the maddest manner, you wouldn't have said so. My love, will you fetch the girls?'