Lot 374: Henry W. Halleck

RR Auction

2015-06-29 15:04:08

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Lot 374: Civil War–dated ALS in pencil, signed "H. W. H.," two pages both sides, 5.25 x 8, April 20, 1862. Draft letter to W. S. Latham at the United States Senate. In full: "Your letter of the 6th was read a day or two since at this place. Craig had already been ordered on the O M South. If he should loiter on the way, it will make very little difference, as the troops were ordered to proceed without him. Why did you recommend a man who would 'loiter about a month?' I knew nothing about him, but followed the endorsement of the Cala. delegation. He did not favorably impress me as a man of much energy or capacity. If he should fail to do his duty in protecting the overland mail route, the responsibility must rest upon others rather than upon me. I telegraphed to Col Alexander some time ago to act with more energy in putting down the Indian hostilities, but whether he will do anything remains to be seen. The enemy has concentrated his best troops & ablest generals against me. We have beaten him thus far & hope to continue doing so; but it will require all our strength, caution, & skill. The whole country here is one mass of mud & we are obliged to construct roads before we can move. Officers from the army of the Potomac say that the mud here is even worse than that 'historical mixture' at Manasas. But no mud can stop for a long time the advance of this western army. What we cannot bridge over, we will canal through, and, if necessary, turn the Mississippi. What you say of the Bs I fully appreciate & will act upon when the time comes. I must say, however, that the clamor against McClellan is not well founded. He is a very able military man and no better head of the army can be found. I say this notwithstanding that we disagreed about many things connected with the campaign in the west; but I believe that if he had been here himself, he would have done precisely what I have done. Unless I am greatly deceived in the character & capacity of the man, I could not consent to become his rival. But if his promotion is impossible and an attempt is made to put forward Fremont or Banks, I should be perfectly willing to make the fight. I am satisfied that if the ultra-abolition sentiment of the north should get the ascendency in the administration of the Govt, there can be no peace, but the war will be interminable. The union men of the south will support a constitutional administration, but will never submit to the abolitionists. Moreover, a large majority of our western soldiers will refuse to fight for any such measures. Our only hope is that the President will stand firm in his conservative policy." Halleck also makes several ink corrections to the text. A central vertical fold with tiny edge separations and toning to top and bottom edges, otherwise fine condition. A particularly fascinating letter given Halleck's praise of General George B. McClellan, who faced criticism due to his perceived inaction and timidity in confronting the Confederate troops. President Lincoln had removed McClellan from his position as general-in-chief about a month before Halleck wrote this letter, leaving the position vacant. It was not filled until July 23, 1862, when President Lincoln appointed Halleck himself to the post. RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 453 Sunday, 17th May 2015 Estimate: $1500-2000
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