President Abraham Lincoln removes Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan from his command of the leading Union army 150 years ago this week in the Civil War.
Long vexed by McClellan’s cautious steps in waging war, Lincoln replaces McClellan with Gen. Ambrose Burnside. The move comes after renewed criticism of McClellan as Lincoln, and the Union, anxiously seeks a commander able to aggressively battle and defeat the foe.
McClellan had failed during his major offensive in the summer of 1862 to capture Richmond, seat of the Confederacy. Now McClellan’s recent refusal to chase Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s outnumbered and battered army back into Virginia after the September 1862 Battle of Antietam, Md., is one of the final straws in eroding Lincoln’s support of McClellan.