James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  of the Army of the Potomac. Those in authority depended for the salvation of Harrisburg, Baltimore and Washington on this army which the public with its half-knowledge of the situation also felt to be their mainstay.  8   On account of a difference with Halleck, Hooker asked to be relieved from his position [June 27]. His request came at a fortunate moment, since only the day before, as Welles records in his Diary, “The President in a single remark betrayed doubts of Hooker to whom he is quite partial. ‘We cannot help beating them,’ he said, ‘if we have the man. How much depends in military matters on one master mind! Hooker may commit the same fault as McClellan and lose his chance. We shall soon see but it appears to me he can’t help but win.’” 1  9   Hooker’s request for relief was received at three o’clock in the afternoon of June 27 and referred to the President, who quickly made up his mind and sent an officer to the Army of the Potomac with an order relieving Hooker and appointing in his place George G. Meade.  10   Although at this time the merit and experience of two men, Reynolds and Meade, clearly pointed them out for the command, it is nevertheless to Lincoln’s credit that he resisted the strong pressure on the one side for McClellan and on the other for Frémont and chose wisely. Reynolds being eliminated by his own refusal, the choice fell upon Meade. Three days previously in a letter to his wife Meade discussed the possibility of his own appointment to the command with attractive modesty but with insufficient comprehension of Lincoln’s wisdom in a great emergency. Replying to hypothetical criticism, Meade wrote, “It is notorious no general officer, not even Fighting Joe himself, has been in more battles, or more exposed than
Note 1. Welles’s Diary, I, 344. [back]