Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan is in his last days as commander of federal fighting forces.
President Abraham Lincoln has testily written McClellan of late, exhorting him to drive after the Confederate army, retreating after the Battle of Antietam in Maryland.
In a letter dated Oct. 13, 1862, Lincoln reminds his top general that he should not shrink from pursuing and vanquishing the rival.
You remember my speaking to you of what I called your over-cautiousness. Are you not over-cautious when you assume that you cannot do what the enemy is constantly doing? Lincoln writes.
Although Lincoln says in the letter that his suggestions of aggressively pursuing the enemy by no means constitute an explicit order, he nonetheless exhorts McClellan to move toward Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, and cut off secessionist forces returning to Virginia under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee. McClellan will ignore the latest call by Lincoln to pounce on the enemy – only to be sacked by Lincoln in early November.