Henry Halleck

Henry Halleck

Henry Halleck Quotes

Last Updated May 25, 2010

With quotations by Halleck first followed by others in alphabetical order of the person making the quote.  The first note is the location where I found the quote and the second is the footnote in that work which contains more background information on the quote.

“I will not attempt to hamper you with any minute instructions.”

Henry Halleck

Halleck to Pope concerning Pope’s plan for the capture of Island Number 10

Cozzens, Peter. General John Pope A Life for the Nation. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 2000 pg 60

OR 8

“it is better to retreat than to fight.”

Henry Halleck

Halleck’s instructions to Pope, Buell, and Grant concerning their advance toward Corinth after Shiloh

Cozzens, Peter. General John Pope A Life for the Nation. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 2000 pg 66

Grant, U.S. Memoirs and Selected Letters. Edited by Mary D. McFeely. New York, 1990 pg251

“The education here acquired, is of the highest order but the habits usually contracted are decidedly bad.  If parents [only] knew the hardships and privations their children would have to undergo…& the inducements to vice they must meet, I think they would not be so anxious to get them appointments.  Christmas and New Years here passed in drunkenness and rioting.  It is strange to me that men of talents & education will make beasts of themselves.  I think it is very doubtful about my remaining here.”

Henry Halleck  Jan 7 1836

Halleck to Theodore Miller regarding West Point

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 20

Halleck to Theodore Miller, January 7, 1836, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Chicago

“It is hard for us [cadets] to be placed under citizens who have spent no time in preparation for their commissions, while we have spend four or five years here at hard toil fitting ourselves for the various duties of our stations.” Henry Halleck Jul 16 1838

Halleck to Theodore Miller regarding West Point

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 21

Halleck to Theodore Miller, July 16, 1838, HWH Papers, USMA

“concluded that he no longer wished to act towards me as a friend, and I therefore determined thenceforth to treat him with the respect due to him as an officer and gentleman, but to discontinue all intercourse as friends.”

Henry Halleck   Jan-Feb 1849

Halleck describing his break with WT Sherman in California

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 56

HWH statement January or February 1849, NARA

“It is hard to break up a happy home and…[it] is a great pecuniary sacrifice to leave my business at this juncture; but, I regard the all as one of duty & honor, to which all else must be sacrificed.”

Henry Halleck  Sep 17 1861

Halleck in a letter to George W. Cullum.

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 106

HWH to G.W. Cullum, Sept 17 1861, GWC Papers, USMA

“I believe I can say it without vanity that I have talent for command and administration.  At least I have no one here who can accomplish half so much in twenty-four hours as I do.” Henry Halleck Dec 14 1861

Halleck to his wife on the job he was doing in St. Louis

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 112

HWH to Elizabeth Halleck, December 14 1861, Schoff

“Don’t fail to carry out my instructions.  I know that I am right.” Henry Halleck Mar 19 1862

Halleck to Don Carlos Buell reprimanding him for not sending strength reports

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 121

WHW to DCB March 19, 24, 17 1862

“as the enemy is strongly entrenched and his number equal if not superior to ours, it is necessary to move with great caution.” Henry Halleck May 14 1862

Halleck to Stanton describing the slow progress of the Corinth campaign

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 124

HWH to E.M. Stanton, May 14, 1862

“even the common soldiers now understand what they could not before comprehend & have nack named me ‘Old Brains’.  A rather coarse title, but I am satisfied with it.” Henry Halleck May 31 1862

Halleck to his wife describing the Corinth campaign

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 126

HWH to Elizabeth Halleck, May 31 1862, Schoff

“with very little loss of life.  This to me is the great merit of the whole, although the public will be greatly disappointed that thousands were not killed in a great battle! I have won the victory without the battle!  Military history will do me justice.” Henry Halleck May 31 1862

Halleck to his wife describing the Corinth campaign

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 126

HWH to Elizabeth Halleck, May 31 1862, Schoff

“handle that class without gloves, and take their property for public use.” Henry Halleck Aug 2 1862

Halleck directing Grant to be tough on guerillas in western Tennessee

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 141

HWH to USG Aug 2 1862

“I feel almost broken down every night with the heat, labor, and responsibility.  I have felt so uneasy for days about Gen. Pope’s army that I could hardly sleep.  I can’t get Gen. McClellan to do what I wish…The President and Cabinet have thus far approved everything I have proposed.  This is kind and complimentary, but it only increases my responsibility, for if any disaster happens hey can say ‘We did for you all you asked’”

Henry Halleck    Aug 9 1862

Halleck in a letter to his wife, weighed down by the responsibility of his position

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 142

HWH to EH; August 9, 1862, Schoff

“It is the strangest thing in the world to me, that this war has developed so little talent in our generals.  There is not a single one in the West fit for a great command.” Henry Halleck Aug 13 1862

Halleck to his wife marveling on the lack of talented western generals

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 143

HWH to EH; August 13, 1862, in Wilson

557-558

“of course in all this, these matters of detail, you, from your local knowledge, are the best judge, and what I say is only in the way of suggestion.” Henry Halleck Aug 22 1862

Halleck to John Pope in response to Popes request for guidance

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 144

HWH to JP Aug 22, 23, 1862

“I beg of you to assist me in this crisis with your ability and experience.  I am utterly tired out.”

Henry Halleck  Aug 31 1862

Halleck asking for help from McClellan at the height of the Second Bull Run campaign crisis

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 146

HWH to GBMc Aug 31 1862

“since you left Washington I have advised and suggested in relation to your movements, but I have given you no orders.  I do not give you any now.” Henry Halleck Oct 26 1862

Halleck in a letter to McClellan after Antietam

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004  pg 153

HWH to GBMc October 26 1862

“In regard to movements, we can not judge here; you are the best judge.  Anything you wan will be supplied as soon as possible.” Henry Halleck Dec 15 1862

Halleck in a letter to Burnside

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004

158

HWH to AEB, Dec 15, 1862

“I am led to believe that there is a very important difference of opinion in regard to my relations toward generals commanding armies in the field, and that I cannot perform the duties of my present office satisfactorily at the same time to the President and to myself.  I therefore respectfully respect that I may be relieved from further duties as General-in-chief.”

Henry Halleck

Jan 1 1863

Halleck’s request to resign following receipt of Lincoln’s letter

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004

164

HWH to AL Jan 1 1863

“domestic traitors, who seek the overthrow of our Government, are not entitled to its protection and should be made o feel its power….Make them suffer in their persons and property for their crimes and the sufferings they have caused to others….Let the guilty feel that you have an iron hand; that you know how to apply it when necessary.  Don’t be influenced by those old political grannies,”

Henry Halleck

Nov 18 1862

Halleck to Horatio G. Wright commanding in Kentucky on dealing with the Rebels

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 168

HWH to Horatio G. Wright Nov 18 1862

“you will not be hampered by any minute instructions from these headquarters.”

Henry Halleck Jun 27 1863

Halleck to Meade upon Meade’s assumption of command

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 176

HWH to GGM, Jun 27, 1863

“Do not be influenced by any dispatch from here against your own judgment.  Regard them as suggestions only,”

Henry Halleck  Jul 9 1863

Halleck to Meade upon Meade’s assumption of command

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 179

HWH to GGM, Jul 9, 1863

“I am simply a military advisor of the Secretary of War and the President, and must obey and carry out what they decide upon, whether I concur in their decisions or not.”

Henry Halleck  Feb 16 1864

Halleck to William T. Sherman

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 196

HWH to WTS, Feb 16, 1864

“there is no possible ground for such an accusation.  Genl Grant is my personal friend, and I heartily rejoice at his promotion.  The honor was fully due to him, and with the honor, he must take the responsibilities which belong to his office.” Henry Halleck Mar 7 1864

Halleck to Francis Lieber on the promotion of Grant

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 196

WHW to Francis Lieber, March 7 1864

“Although I am to perform the same duties as before, the responsibility of deciding upon plans of campaigns & movements of armies must hereafter rest on the shoulders of others.  It will be my business to advise, and theirs to decide.” Henry Halleck Mar 14 1864

Halleck to Francis Lieber on the promotion of Grant

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 198

WHW to Francis Lieber, March 14 1864

“We have five times as many generals here as we want, but are greatly in need of privates.  Anyone volunteering in that capacity will be thankfully received.” Henry Halleck Jul 11 1864

Halleck replying to an unemployed brigadier general

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 208

HWH to J.R. West, July 11 1864 quoted in Vandiver, 142

“Nearly all the western Generals that I selected & put forward have turned out Trumps.” Henry Halleck Sep 24 1864

Halleck to G.W. Cullum on the success of the western generals

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 214

HWH to GW Cullem, September 24 1864

“Should you capture Charleston, I hope that by some accident the place may be destroyed, and if a little salt should be sown upon its site it may prevent the growth of future crops of nullification and secession.”

Henry Halleck  Dec 18 1864

Halleck to Sherman regarding the disposition of Charleston if Sherman should capture it.

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 218

HWH to WTS, Dec 18 1864

“Halleck’s a perfect ‘Critter’” A common soldier Apr 3 1862

A common soldier enthusiastically complimenting Halleck, a great man

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 121

Barth, Gunter, ed., All Quiet on the Yamhill:  The Civil War in Oregon-the Journal of Corporal Royal A. Bensell, Company D., Fourth California Infantry; (Eugene:  University of Oregon Books, 1959) April 3, 1862 pg 10

“He was forty six years old, in the prime of life, in perfect health, and full of vigor.  As he peered at us out of his large black eyes, underneath dark heavy eyebrows, and a high massive forehead, he looked wondrous wise.”

A contemporary

A contemporary notes Halleck as he begins work in St Louis

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 110

O.J.V. Men of the Time: Being Biographies of Generals Halleck, Pope, Sigel, Corcoran and Others, Beadles Dime Series No. 1 (New York:  Beadle, 1862) pg 19

 

“weak, shallow, commonplace, vulgar…His silly talk was inconclusive as to his capacity, unless he was a little flustered with wine, an inadmissible apology for a commander-in-chief at a crisis like this.”

A delegation from Pennsylvania  Sep 24 1862

The reaction of a delegation of Pennsylvanians who meet Halleck

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 150

Strong, George Templeton, Diary of the Civil War, 1860-1865, 3 vols., ed. Allan Nevins (New York: Macmillan, 1962) September 24, 1862   vol 3:258

“a short countrified person…who picked his teeth walking up and down the halls Willard’s [Hotel}, and argued through a white, bilious eye and a huge mouth."

a newspaper correspondent

Describing Halleck

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 133

Townsend, George Alfred, Rustics in Rebellion: A Yankee Reporter on the Road to Richmond, 1861-1865 (Chapel Hill:  University of North Carolina Press, 1950) pg 189

"He was a cold, reserved man, not likely to win much affection except from intimate associates."

Alta California Jan 11 1872

Newspaper commenting on the death of Halleck

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 249

Alta California, Jan 11 1872

"you'll find him accessible & frank & I think really anxious to do good & be on the best of terms with the true men of the state."

Edward Bates

Attorney General Bates in a letter to friends in Missouri on the appointment of Halleck to command in the west

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 109

Edward Bates to James O. Brodhead and L.L. Glover, Nov 12 1861, James O. Brodhead Papers, Missouri Historical Society

""was a confirmed opium-eater…That he is sometimes bloated, and with watery eyes, is apparent, but whether from brandy or opium I cannot tell." Edward Bates  May 23 1863

Attorney General Bates reporting rumors of Halleck using opium

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 173

Beale, May 23 1863 pg 293

"At a moment when every true man is laboring to his utmost, when the days ought to be forty hours long, General Halleck is translating French books at nine cents a page; and sir, if you should put those nine cents in a box and shake them up, you would form a clear idea of General Halleck's soul."

Benjamin Butler    Jul 20 1864

Butler angry at Halleck's treatment of him says this

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 211

Agassiz, George, ed. Meade's Headquarters, 1863-1865:  Letters of Colonel Theodore Lyman from the Wilderness to Appomattox (Boston: Atlantic Monthly, 1922) pg 193

"The General commanded my sincere respect by the great intelligence and manliness he displayed, and excited great hopes by his obvious purpose to allow no lagging and by his evident mastery of the business he has taken in hand." Salmon Chase   Aug 3 1862

Chase describing his first impressions of Halleck

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 140

Niven, Chase Papers, August 3, 1862 vol 1:357-361

 

"a closet general who in his library will be able to give celerity and potency to military movements which in the field he would be powerless to direct."

Chicago Tribune

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 132

Kinsley, Philip. The Chicago Tribune, 3 vols. (Chicago: Chicago Tribune, 1943) vol 1:243

"Selfish, covetous of renown, unfriendly to and jealous of all naval doings…but…an officer of ability, more of genius; very brave and spirited and energetic"

Samuel Francis DuPont

Du Pont describing his meeting with Halleck

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 60

"I was received with so little cordiality that I perhaps stated the object of my visit with less clearness than I might have done, and I had not uttered many sentences before I was cut short as if my plan was preposterous.  I returned to Cairo very much crestfallen."

U.S Grant  Dec 17 1862

Grant reports on a meeting with Halleck to propose the movement down the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers.

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 117  USG to J.C. Kelton Dec 17 1862

"He is a man of gigantic intellect and well studied in the profession of arms.  He and I have had several little spats but I like and respect him nevertheless."

Grant, U.S.

Grant describing Halleck in a letter to Elihu B. Washburne

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 132

Hattaway, Herman and Jones, Archer.  Why the North Won:  A Military History of the Civil War (Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 1983) pg 237

"one of the greatest men of the age." Grant, U.S. Apr 30 1862

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 187

USG to Julia Dent Grant, April 30, 1862, USG Memoirs pg 1006

"Hell itself, would be too good a place for Halleck; imbeciles are not admitted there." Gurowski, Adam  Dec 15 1862

Gurowski a member of the editorial staff of the NY Tribune and Halleck opponent

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 163

Gurowski, Adam Diary of Adam Gurowski, 1861-1865, 3 vols. (New York: Burt, Franklin, 1968) vol 2:30

"Halleck was my roommate at West Point for two years, and he was very kind to me.  We never had any disagreements. He had few intimate friends, but they were of the best."

Schuyler Hamilton

Halleck's West Point roommate for two years

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 19

"The country expects great things of General Halleck.  His past record and his physiognomy encourage the belief that these expectations will not be disappointed." Harpers Weekly Nov 30 1861

Harpers Weekly

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004  pg 109

Harpers Weekly Nov 30 1861

"He is a handsome and quiet gentleman, who dresses well and talks well."

John Hay Nov 7 1861

John Hay, Lincoln's secretary makes this first impression of Halleck when he arrives in Washington

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 108

Burlingame, Michael, ed., Lincoln's Journalist:  John Hays Anonymous Writings for the Press, 1860-1864 (Carbondale:  Southern Illinois University Press, 1998) Nov 7, 1861 pg 136

"a singed cat-better than he looks."

John Hay

Hay quoting a "Western friend" (probably Lincoln)

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln's Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 133

Burlingame, Michael, ed., Lincoln's Journalist:  John Hays Anonymous Writings for the Press, 1860-1864 (Carbondale:  Southern Illinois University Press, 1998) Nov 7, 1861 pg 288

"great head…[with] vast stores of learning which have drifted in from the assiduous reading of a quarter of a century.” John Hay

Hay quoting a “Western friend” (probably Lincoln)

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 133

Burlingame, Michael, ed., Lincoln’s Journalist:  John Hays Anonymous Writings for the Press, 1860-1864 (Carbondale:  Southern Illinois University Press, 1998) Nov 7, 1861 pg 288

“wide and varied impressions of human nature, gained by the laborious practice of law in the sharp and busy Pacific world…He is a cool, mature man, who understands himself.  Let us be glad we have got him

John Hay

Hay quoting a “Western friend” (probably Lincoln)

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 133

Burlingame, Michael, ed., Lincoln’s Journalist:  John Hays Anonymous Writings for the Press, 1860-1864 (Carbondale:  Southern Illinois University Press, 1998) Nov 7, 1861 pg 288

“of the most formal and distant character”

Joseph Hooker

Hooker, a West Point classmate of Halleck describes him

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 19

Joseph Hooker to Samuel Bates, Jun 23 1878, Samuel P. Bates Collection Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg

“and trusted that hereafter he would never again make use of me in the execution of his schemes of avarice and plunder.” Joseph Hooker Jun 28 1878

Hooker in a letter to Samuel P. Bates describing Halleck’s actions as a lawyer in California

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004  pg 166

JH to Samuel P. Bates, June 28 1878, typescript, Samuel P. Bates Collection, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg

“If the general-in-chief had been in the rebel interest, it would have been impossible for him…to have added to the embarrassment he caused me from the moment I took command of the army of the Potomac to the time I surrendered it.”

Joseph Hooker

Hooker to the Committee on the Conduct of the War

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 175

“‘never fought a battle & I doubt if he ever heard a shot whistle…on his backsides lifeless within the hearing of the artillery of our enemies.  A woman would not do that.” Joseph Hooker Dec 6 1863

Hooker to Sen. Fessenden in Dec 1863

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 175

JH to William P. Fessenden, Dec 6 1863, Parke-Bernet Galleries, sale 1683

“the impartial student of history will find Genl. Halleck to have been the evil genius of the War.”

Joseph Hooker

Hooker on Halleck long after the war

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 175

JH to Samuel P. Bates, June 28 1878, typescript, Samuel P. Bates Collection, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg

“Halleck was thrifty and persevering, but his distinctive characteristics were obduracy and laboriousness…”

Erasmus Darwin Keyes

Describing the three men of the law firm Halleck, Peachy and Billings

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 76

Quoted in Johnson, Kenneth H., The Bar Association of San Francisco:  The First Hundred Years 1872-1972 (San Francisco:  The Bar Association, 1972) pg 73

“Your military skill is useless to me, if you will not do this.”

Abraham Lincoln   Jan 1 1863

Lincoln dressing down Halleck for repeated refusals to command

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 164

AL to HWH Jan 1 1863

“General Halleck’s habitual attitude of demur.”

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s disparaging comment about Halleck

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 165

Brooks, Noah, “Personal Reminiscences of Lincoln,” Scribner’s Monthly, March 1878

“he shrunk from responsibility wherever it was possible.”

Abraham Lincoln

Mar 24 1864

Lincoln talking about Halleck as Commander of the Army

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 197

Dennett, Tyler ed. Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letters of John Hay (New York:  Dodd, Mead, 1939) pg 167

“I was greatly disappointed in his appearance.  Small and farmer-like he gives a rude shock to ones preconceived notions of a great soldier.” William Lusk Jul 28 1862

A soldier who witnessed Halleck’s first visit to McClellan at Harrison’s Landing

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004  pg 136

William Thompson Lusk to his mother, July 28, 1862, in Lusk, The War Letters of William Thompson Lusk (privately printed, 1911) pg 170

“Halleck is turning out just like the rest of the herd.  The absurdity of Halleck’s course in ordering the army away from here is that it cannot possibly reach Washington in time to do any good, but will necessarily be too late.  I am sorry to say that I am forced to the conclusion that Halleck is very dull and very incompetent.  Alas! Poor country.”

George B McClellan

McClellan to his wife

Cozzens, Peter. General John Pope A Life for the Nation. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 2000 pg 109

Livermore, “Conduct of McClellan and Halleck in August 1862; and the Case of Fitz John Porter.” In The Virginia Campaign of General John Pope in 1862: Papers Read before the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts in 1876, 1877, and 1880, vol. 2 (Boston 1886) pg 320

“He is not a refined person at all, and probably says rough things when he doesn’t mean them.”

George B McClellan Aug 29 1862

McClellan complaining about the tone of dispatches he was getting from Halleck

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 145

McClellan, George B.  McClellan’s Own Story (New York: Webster, 1887) pg 531

“General Halleck in a tent planted in the mud, and lying on a cot with as woebegone countenance as I ever saw.”

John Pope Apr 21 1862

Pope describing his visit to Genl Halleck at Pittsburgh on April 21 1862

Cozzens, Peter. General John Pope A Life for the Nation. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 2000 pg 65

39th Cong., 1st sess., “Report of General Pope,” CWSR, vol 2:70-71

“By yielding to and advancing McClellan, you have only put into the hands of the enemy a club to beat your own brains out with,” John Pope Oct 30 1862

Pope in a letter to Halleck warning him about McClellan

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 152

JP to HWH, October 30, 1862

“Halleck’s line was ten miles in length  The grand army was like a huge serpent, with its head pinned on our left, and its tail sweeping slowly around toward Corinth.  Its majestic march was so slow that the Rebels had ample warning.  It was large enough to eat Beauregard at one mouthful; but Halleck crept forward at the rate of about three-quarters of a mile per day.”

Albert D. Richardson

A newsman describes Halleck’s advances in the Corinth campaign

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 124

Eisenschiml, Otto and Newman, Ralph, The American Iliad:  The Epic Story of the Civil War…(New York:  Grosset and Dunlap, 1956) pg 276

“my success in the affairs of California is mainly owing to the efficient aid rendered by Captain Halleck, the Secretary of State.  He has stood by my in all emergencies, to him I have appealed when at a loss myself; and he has never failed me.” Bennet Riley Sep 1849

Brigadier General Bennet Riley the military governor of California acknowledging the service of Halleck in organizing the state government

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 74

Bayard, Taylor, Eldorado, or Adventures in the Path of Empire, 8th ed. (New York:  Richard Bentley, 1857) pg 165-166

“General Halleck was daily expected from California, and…he understood the value of money and finance, and would relieve McClellan.”

Winfield Scott

Sep 1861

Scott anticipating the arrival of Henry Halleck from California for an important command in the Union Army

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 106

Elliott, Charles Winslow. Winfield Scott:  The Soldier and the Man (New York:  Macmillan, 1937) pg 732-733

“I shall try to hold out till the arrival of Maj. Genl Halleck, as his presence will give increased confidence to the safety of the Union.” Winfield Scott Sep 1861

Winfield Scott to Simon Cameron

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 107

Eckenrode, H. J. and Conrad, Bryan, George B. McClellan:  The Man Who Saved the Union (Chapel Hill:  University of North Caroling Press, 1942) pg 35

“When the sea was high & ship rolling, the sky darkened so that daylight did not reach his state room, he stood on a stool, his book and candle on the upper berth and a bed strap round his middle secured to the frame to support him in the wild tossing of the ship” William Tecumseh Sherman May 3 1862

Sherman describing the trip from the East Coast to California

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 49

WTS to Thomas Ewing, May 3 1862

“I will endeavor in the future to merit your good opinion, which I value above all others.  I have abundant faith that you & you alone can grasp the mighty questions of government that are now in issue in America, & only aspire to be one of the instruments to be used in their solution.”

William Tecumseh Sherman Aug 15 1863

Sherman in a letter to Halleck

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 187

WTS to HWH, August 15, 1863

“He is a great sinner against the mass of respectable mediocrities.”

William Tecumseh Sherman May 3 1865

Sherman ridicules Halleck after Sherman’s treaty is abrogated

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 224

Dahlgren, Madeleine V. Memoir of John A. Dahlgren (Boston: James R. Osgood, 1882)  pg 510-511

“We both lived in turbulent times and were both strong natures, and that we should have collided was to be expected, but I have always endeavored to do him in life all possible honor, and in death to cherish in memory his better qualities. William Tecumseh Sherman Mar 16 1873

Sherman to Elisabeth Halleck shortly after Halleck’s death

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 249

WTS to Elisabeth Halleck, Mar 16 1873

“probably the greatest scoundrel and most barefaced villain in America…totally destitute of principle…”

Edwin Stanton

Stanton describing Halleck to McClellan on basis of time Stanton spent in California with Halleck

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 134

McClellan, George B. McClellan’s Own Story (New York:  Charles L. Webster, 1887) pg 137

“a born conservative who lags rather than keeps pace.”

The press

The press criticizes Halleck for his slow advance after Shiloh

Cozzens, Peter. General John Pope A Life for the Nation. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 2000 pg 66

39th Cong., 1st sess., “Report of General Pope,” CWSR, vol 2:71-72

“Put Halleck in the command of 20,000 men and he will not scare three setting geese from their nests.”

Ben Wade  Jul 27 1864

Congressman Ben Wade during Jubal Early’s attack on Washington

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 211

Adam Gurowski, Diary, July 27 1864 vol 2:297

“Destitute of originality, bewildered by the conduct of McClellan and his generals, without military resources, Halleck could devise nothing and knew not what to advise or do.”

Gideon Welles

Welles who saw Halleck occasionally during the late August crisis.

Cozzens, Peter. General John Pope A Life for the Nation. Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 2000 pg 161

Welles, Gideon.  The Diary of Gideon Welles. 3 vols. Boston, 1911 vol I: 118, 122

“concurred in the opinion that H. would be an indifferent general in the field….He shirked responsibility in his present position….He, in short, is a moral coward, worth but little except as a critic and director of operations, though intelligent and educated.” Gideon Welles Nov 4 1862

Welles commenting on the feelings toward Halleck by the cabinet and by himself

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 153

Welles, Gideon, Diary of Gideon Welles.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin, 1911 vol 1:179-180

“Halleck is General-in-Chief, but no one appears to have any confidence in his military management, or thinks him able to advise Burnside….heavy handed; wants sagacity, readiness, courage, and heart.”

Gideon Welles Dec 14 1862

Welles, commenting on Halleck’s capacity as General in Chief

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 158

Welles, Gideon, Diary of Gideon Welles.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin, 1911 vol 1:192, 216

“The army is still at rest.  Halleck stays here in Washington within four hours of the army, smoking his cigar, doing as little as the army…Why does he not remove to headquarters in the field.” Gideon Welles Jul 13 1863

Welles complaining of Halleck’s lack of activity after Gettysburg

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 180

Welles, Gideon, Diary of Gideon Welles.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin, 1911 vol 1:368

“originates nothing, anticipates nothing, …takes no responsibility, plans nothing, suggests nothing, is good for nothing Gideon Welles Jul 26 1863

Welles describing Halleck

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 vol 182

Welles, Gideon, Diary of Gideon Welles.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin, 1911 vol 1:384

“General Halleck has earnestly and constantly smoked cigars and rubbed his elbows, while the Rebels have been vigorously concentrating their forces to overwhelm Rosecrans.” Gideon Welles Sep 26 1863

Welles describing Halleck

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 186

Welles, Gideon, Diary of Gideon Welles.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin, 1911  vol 1:444

“about five nine inches tall, and weighing perhaps one hundred seventy or eighty pounds, he was carefully dressed in a new uniform, wearing his sword, and carrying himself erect, with a distant and somewhat austere manner…as he walked down the steamer’s gangplank.”

James Grant Wilson

Wilson, an army officer and future historian describes the arrival of Halleck at Pittsburgh Landing after the Battle of Shiloh

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 122

Wilson,  pg 549

 

“His fondness of research, and the duties entailed upon him by virtue of his office, have enabled him to obtain a vast amount of information which will be of great service to his clients in all matters where the question of titles is under consideration.”

Oct 25 1851

Newspaper editorial announcing the opening of Halleck’s law firm Halleck Peachy and Billings in California

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 76

certificate Oct 25 1851, Halleck, Peachy and Billings papers

“pacing back and forth [on his headquarters ship] hands in his trousers pockets, and scolding [Grant] in a loud and haughty manner.”

Description of Halleck at Pittsburg Landing observed by an officer

Marszalek, John F.  Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies.  A Life of General Henry W. Halleck.  Cambridge MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.  2004 pg 123

Hemstrett, William,” Little Things about Big Generals,” Personal Recollections of the War of the Rebellion:  Addresses Delivered before the Commandery of the State of New York, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, 3rd ser. (New York:  G.P. Putnam’s, 1907) reprinted (Wilmington NC: Broadfoot, 1992) vol 22:157

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