This week in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln relieves Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan of his title as general-in-chief of all federal armies.
McClellan is a greater organizer who whipped once-disorganized Union troops into a veritable fighting force. But Lincoln and others in Washington are growing impatient after repeatedly urging McClellan to attack Confederate foes.
Despite Lincolns action, McClellan still commands the Army of the Potomac, a key cog in the federal war machine. Yet Lincoln will have to wait weeks for McClellan to finish preparations to marshal an elaborate campaign against Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, that will later be waged – unsuccessfully – from the Virginia coastal peninsula.
Elsewhere this week, Union forces occupy New Madrid in Missouri, but frequent shelling continues nearby on the Mississippi River.