Lincoln fires McClellan

The autumn of 1862 brought about yet another change in the

Union's military leadership. McClel-lan's failure to pursue Lee's retreating army at Antietam had infuriated Lincoln and many of his advisors. McClel-lan insisted that he had performed wonderfully. "Those on whose judgment I rely," he once stated, "tell me that I fought the battle splendidly and that it was a masterpiece of art." But the Lincoln administration believed that Lee's army could have been completely destroyed if McClellan had contested the Confederate retreat into Virginia.

Nonetheless, Lincoln did not remove McClellan from command of the Army of the Potomac until early November, after the general repeatedly ignored Lincoln's orders to launch another offensive into Virginia. Lincoln replaced McClellan with General Ambrose E. Burnside (1824-1881), who promptly devised a plan to march on Richmond.

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