General McClellan Snubs Lincoln
November 13, 1861. On this date, Lincoln’s secretary John Hay recorded in his diary what he considered “a portent of evil to come.”
He wrote that Lincoln, Secretary of State William Seward, and he had gone that night to General George B. McClellan’s house. When they learned that the General was out but would soon return, they went in to wait for him.
“[A]fter we had waited about an hour,” Hay wrote, “McC. came in and without paying any particular attention to the porter [doorman], who told him the President was waiting to see him, went up stairs, passing the door of the room where the President and the Secretary of State were seated. They waited about half-an-hour, and sent once more a servant to tell the General they were there, and the answer coolly came that the General had gone to bed.
“I merely record this unparalleled insolence of epaulettes [officer in uniform] without comment. It is the first indication I have yet seen of the threatened supremacy of the military authorities.
“Coming home I spoke to the President about the matter but he seemed not to have noticed it, specially, saying it was better at this time not to be making points of etiquette & personal dignity.”
Lincoln, An Illustrated Biography, Philip B. Kunhardt, Jr., ed., p. 163.