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Skatch the character of McClellan and his relationship with soldiers from Shadrach's...

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lucky092569 | Honors

Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:59 AM via web

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Skatch the character of McClellan and his relationship with soldiers from Shadrach's letter in Across Five Aprils.

Chapter 8

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 12, 2009 at 2:27 AM (Answer #1)

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According to Shadrach, there are many men in his regiment who "completely (worship)" McClellan.  To these men, their commander can do no wrong - "they may be hungry, wounded, heartsick at the death of comrades, but they forget everything when they see him...they break into cheers as if...(he has) brought them nothing but pure joy".  Shadrach says that McClellan, just by his presence, is inspiring to his men.  He does not deny that there was "disorganizaion and discouragement" among Union troops after the defeat at Bull Run, but notes that "it took only the sight of...McClellan, dashing up and down the lines on horseback to restore confidence and courage".

Shadrach says that the men who are so devoted to McClellan "revile the President when rumors of his impatience with their general get around", and that they are deeply resentful towards those in the company who do not share their opinion of their leader.  Shadrach himself likes McClellan and believes "that he is personally brave and devoted to the cause for which his men are fighting", but he senses a certain deficiency in his character which renders him less than effective as a commander.  Shadrach feels that McClellan "is afraid of something", and "does not have the cold approach to killing, the singleness of purpose, the brutal tenacity, that the winner of this war...must have" (Chapter 8).

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