Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My One Hope Is Now On McClellan

This entry is from A Cycle of Adams Letters 1861-1865 edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford. 

This is a letter from Henry Adams to Charles Frances Adams, Jr.  dated October 25, 1861.  

Henry Adams was in London acting as secretary to his father, Charles Francis Adams Sr., when he wrote this letter to his brother, who was back in the states.  It gives us an idea of the English perspective of the Union at that time. 

You know how much encouragement we have had from your side. Every post has taken away on one hand what it brought of good on the other. It has by regular steps sapped the foundations of all confidence in us, in our institutions, our rulers and our honor. How do you suppose we can overcome the effects of the New York press? How do you suppose we can conciliate men whom our tariff is ruining? How do you suppose we can shut people's eyes to the incompetence of Lincoln or the disgusting behavior of many of our volunteers and officers. I tell you we are in a false position and I am sick of it.
My one hope is now on McClellan and if he fails us, then as I say I give it up. Here we are dying by inches. Every day our authority, prestige and influence sink lower in this country, and we have the mournful task of trying to bolster up a failing cause. Do you suppose I can go among the newspapers here and maintain our cause with any face, with such backing? Can I pretend to a faith which I did once feel, but feel no longer? I feel not seldom sorry in these days that I didn't follow my first impulse, and go into the army with the other fellows. Our side wants spirit. It doesn't ring as it ought,  these little ups and downs, this guerilla war in Missouri and Kentucky, amount to nothing but vexation. Oh, for one spark of genius! I have hopes of McClellan for he doesn't seem to have made any great blunders, but I don't know.

Henry Adams

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