To Mary Ellen McClellan
Marietta June 21/61
I must snatch a few moments to write you. We got off about 11 1/2 yesterday morning & had continual ovation all along the road. At every station where we stopped, crowds assembled to see the “Young General.” Gray-haired old men & women; mothers holding up their children to take my hand, girls, boys, all sorts, cheering and crying, God bless you! I never went thro’ such a scene in my life & never expect to go thro’ such another one. You would have been surprised at the excitement.
At Chillicothe the ladies had prepared a dinner & I had to be trotted through. They gave me about 20 beautiful bouquets, & almost killed me with kindness. The trouble will be to fill their expectations, they seem to be so high. I could hear them say, “He is our own general”; “Look at him, how young he is”; “He will thrash them”; “He’ll do,” &c, &c ad infinitum.
We reached here about 3 in the morning, & at once went on board the boat, where I got about 3 hours sleep until we reached Parkersburg. I have been hard at work all day for I found everything in great confusion. Came up here in the boat alone and hour ago & shall go back to Parkersburg in 2 or 3 hours…
We start from Parkersburg at 6 in the morning. With me go McCook’s rgt 9th Ohio), Mack’s Company (4th US Artillery), the Sturgess Rifle Co., a battery of 6 guns (Loomis) & 1 company of Cavalry (Barker’s Illinois).
Two Indiana rgts leave in the morning just after us. I shall have 5 additional rgts at Grafton tomorrow afternoon. I shall have some 18 rgts, 2 batteries, 2 co’s of cavalry at my disposal–enough to thrash anything I find. I think the danger has been greatly exaggerated & anticipate little or no chance of winning laurels…
A terrible storm is passing over us now–thunder & lightning terrible in the extreme…
GEO. B. McCLELLAN
Sears, Stephen W., ed. The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan: Selected Correspondence, 1860-1865. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1989.