Letters Home From General George McClellan -The Toast

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georgeAugust 19, 1861

Dear Nelly,

A busy day here on the river – I woke before Lincoln himself and was in the saddle until about midnight tomorrow – rode over the entire regiment on both sides of the river, was soundly drowned in a torrential rain, and have been busy ever since my return.

Things are improving daily – I personally beheaded Brigadier General E. Kirby Smith before breakfast this morning, and he thanked me politely for doing it, as a gentleman ought – I hope to have another 144 field guns and some 70 rgts of infantry before the week is out.

My chief obstacle at this point is General Scott, who is incompetent as he is traitorous, and often objects to my having barrels of fresh littleneck clams shipped up  from Connecticut every morning, as has long been my custom. At this point, I fear I will have to write to the President and demand absolute control of the Armies of the Potomac, independently of him. It will likely result in lifelong enmity between us, but I have no choice – the people call upon me to save this country, and I cannot save it without my daily clams.

I receive letter after letter, have conversation after conversation, calling upon me to save the nation (alluding to the Presidency, Dictatorship, &c). George Washington himself threw a handwritten note down from Heaven begging me to assume the oath of office. I, of course, have no such aspirations; I long only to sit once more in our humble little garden and read non-presidential poetry to you, my dearest Mary Ellen.

I would sooner set my own head on fire than become the President, as you well know, and have never practiced saying things like “I am the President” or “President George McClellan is no longer in requirement of your service, Ulysses S. Grant (more like Ulysses S. Can’t)” in my full-length battle mirror.

We were going to attack the Confederates yesterday, but I thought I saw a bug, and decided against it. I will write again tomorrow. Please send another case of champagne; I want to take a bath in it.

yr loving husband,

George (President???? maybe soon :) McClellan


March 27, 1862

My dear Nelly,

It may interest you to learn that I am now seventeen feet tall and made primarily of gold. Still have not yet attacked the Confederates across the Rappahannock. More pressing matters attend me now, like making sure Bragg has seen my new mustache.

All my love,
G. McC

P.S. I have decided to become God.


September 19, 1863

Dearest Nelly,

Everyone died yesterday, but those in whose judgment I rely tell me that I fought the battle splendidly, that it was a masterpiece of art. Stanton himself wandered into my mess-tent sobbing like a little girl and begging my permission to hang himself out of shame. You should see my soldiers now! Though they are dead, morale is extremely high – you never saw anything like their enthusiasm. I have no doubt that if any of them still had legs, they would throw me a parade the likes of which this country has never seen. Tomorrow I ride to Washington, where I have no doubt that the President himself (knock-kneed skulker and armchair general that he is!) will kiss me on the mouth and inform me that I have single-handedly won the war.

My next move shall be to live forever. I cannot wait to see you again, and retire to a very small little humble sea-shell in the ground.

Ever yours,

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