“Some of the greatest geese I have ever seen.”
November 1, 1861. After the elderly Winfield Scott resigned on November 1, Lincoln appointed General George B. McClellan, commander of the Army of the Potomac, to also be general-in-chief of all Union forces.
Lincoln cautioned McClellan that “the supreme command of the Army will entail a vast labor upon you.”
McClellan, now famous for his hubris, replied, “I can do it all.”
Lincoln and McClellan’s relation would always be a strained one. Lincoln wanted action, McClellan was hugely cautious and reluctant to engage the enemy. McClellan frequently spoke ill of both the President and the Cabinet behind their backs, complaining that the Cabinet contained “some of the greatest geese I have ever seen.” He referred to Lincoln as “the original Gorilla,” and even snubbed the President to his face on several occasions.