"MCCLELLAN IS TO ME ONE OF THE MYSTERIES OF THE WAR" (ULYSSES S. GRANT)
MCCLELLAN, George B. Report on the Organization and Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac: To Which Is Added an Account of the Campaign in Western Virginia, With Plans of Battle-Fields. New York: Sheldon, 1864. Octavo, original blind-stamped dark brown cloth.
First edition of the campaign autobiography of General McClellan—"one of the most complex and controversial figures in all of American history"—issued during the Civil War, the same year he opposed Lincoln in the 1864 presidential campaign, featuring McClellan's "Account of the Campaign in Western Virginia," with folding frontispiece map of the Battle of Antietam, full-page maps of the Peninsula, Richmond and the Siege of Yorktown, along with two full-page charts, in original cloth.
Hailed as a "Young Napoleon of the West" for his early Civil War victories, McClellan was made General of the Army of the Potomac and then of the entire Union force—all by the age of 34. "One of the most complex and controversial figures in all of American history" (McHugh, George McClellan, vii), "Little Mac" was skilled at the organizational tasks of commander and General Lee viewed him as the best commander he ever faced. Yet McClellan refused to pursue Lee despite advantages, and thus, in Lincoln's estimation, prolonged the war. To historians, "he forged a powerful weapon of war, the Army of the Potomac, yet wielded it weakly… Indeed, McClellan's legacy defies easy categorization and simple judgment. Perhaps Ulysses S. Grant expressed it best when asked after the war to evaluate McClellan as a general. 'McClellan,' he replied, 'is to me one of the mysteries of the war" (Heidler, Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, 1277). In 1864 McClellan ran for the presidency against Lincoln, the man who had fired him. With this campaign autobiography, he sought to persuade voters to remember him as one who left his post "crowned with a victory which saved the nation from the greatest peril it had then undergone" (Broadfoot, 295). With folding frontispiece map of the Battle of Antietam, full-page maps of the Peninsula, Richmond and the Siege of Yorktown, along with two full-page charts. Issued along with a large paper edition, no priority established. With 14-page publisher's catalog at rear. Sabin 43018. Dornbusch III:1555.
Interior fresh with lightest scattered foxing, mild edge-wear, rear joint and spine ends with expert repairs. A handsome copy.