Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

Lincoln Versus Horace Greeley

There were so many people involved, so who was in charge?

Major-General Henry Halleck, in Washington, was general-in-chief. Lincoln was commander-in-chief. McClellan was general of the Army of the Potomac. It was indeed a complicated scene.

The telegraph allowed for more rapid communication than we might imagine, but there were times when the fighting was in areas that had no telegraph wires. At such times, Lincoln and Halleck were in the dark, and McClellan had full authority to do as he wished. The trouble was that McClellan sometimes acted in that way even when he was in full communication with his superiors.


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