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Ch 1 The Western Campaign, Thunder in the Shenandoah - The appointment...

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Ch 1 The Western Campaign, Thunder in the Shenandoah - The appointment...

Post  Father General on Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:12 am

President Lincoln drew a deep sigh as he sat back in his chair. The stifling June air oppressed him, and his guest, Secretary of War Simon Cameron. Lincoln looked at the paper Cameron had pushed before him while Cameron wiped his forehead with a handkerchief.

“Mister Cameron,” the President softly spoke, “are you sure about this man?”

“Of course Mr. President. He is perfect for the task. His record in dealing with the Mormons shows what sort of character he is. It’s what we need.”

“I’m not sure we need to handle Virginia with a hand as heavy as this.”

Secretary Cameron smirked, “I’m not sure he has a heavy hand so much as light fingers.”

“This man should be a felon.”

“And what general isn’t? Come now, Mr. President,” Cameron shook his head at Lincoln’s apparent naivety. “We’re not asking him to rape and pillage anything, just to secure the Shenandoah for us.”

“Yes, but you’ve mentioned his, uh, reputation as a unique qualification for command. It is, inarguably an issue.”

“So. We’ll tell him to tread lightly.”

“Then why not just appoint another commander?”

Simon Cameron had painted himself into a corner – this backwoods lawyer wasn’t such an idiot anyway, he thought to himself. Of course the good Secretary wasn’t about to remind Lincoln of his personal fortune, nor clue him in on how some of it was made. Instead, he left the question to hang in the air, hoping it would expire from exhaustion before Lincoln signed the order on his desk.

“I’m not signing this, Mister Secretary,” Lincoln pronounced. “Forty-fourth out of 45 at West Point? We need one sharp battle to submit the South. I have no reason to believe this man can give it to me.”

“Mister President, I’ve already wrangled with this issue. This man is the only man suited for this type of work. The orders are to secure the valley and to liberate the materials of war for the Union. Now, you need a man who can do that, I’ve provided him. If you will not accept my judgment on these matters, then why am I your secretary?”

It was a good question, and one that the President would come around to answering within the year. But in the meantime, he didn’t need a fractured cabinet. He studied the paper for another minute, and then looked up at the ceiling to think. After a moment, he leaned forward and took up his pen. He signed the order and pushed it back to the Secretary.”

“It is done, I expect results.”

“You will have them, Mr. President.”

“Good.”

Secretary Cameron rose and saw himself out of the Oval Office. Stepping into his carriage, he carefully reviewed the document. It was an order, appointing one General M.T. Georgia to the rank of Lieutenant General and assigning him the first corps of the Army of the Shenandoah.

As his carriage bumped down the road, his coat, set beside him on the seat, fell to the floor, disgorging a small purse of coins beside itself. The Secretary smiled and returned the purse to its coat-pocket where it would cheer him with its heft for the remainder of the day.


Last edited by Father General on Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Ch 1 The Western Campaign, Thunder in the Shenandoah - The appointment...

Post  Uncle Billy on Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:39 pm

Personal Diary June 30, 1861

Received word today from Secretary Cameron. I am to be promoted to Lieutenant General and be given command of 1st corps in the Army of the Shenandoah! Cousin Mary was right, the Secretary is a man one can do business with. The promotion was expensive enough, but it comes with a much enlarged personal baggage train. One can't have too many wagons when entering unspoiled enemy territory. I'll have to acquire something nice for my cousin to thank her for her advice. Perhaps as we move south, a home in Winchester will donate some fine drapery. Heaven knows that dilapidated house Mary now is in could use a bit of finery. I'll have to draw up a list for my aide, Capt. Evans, to circulate among the men of the 10th NY. They have a keen eye for such things.

Of course there is now the matter of subduing the Valley. The rabble shouldn't be much more trouble than were the Mormons. Although in the territories there was no interference from the contemptuous politicians of Washington City or the press. And then there is this admonishment that I use a light touch when dealing with the civilians. Well, that is a phrase open to interpretation. I'll refrain from putting the torch to their houses and fields, but they must be made to pay for this insurrection. I shall put the issue in Gen. Seitzinger's hands. He's a good commander with an excellent division. Yes, cleansing the Valley of secessionist elements will be on his shoulders. That way if there is an unforeseen setback, I'll be able to foist most the criticism on his tactical handling of the situation. On the whole, I am most optimistic for a profitable autumn for both the fortunes of the Union and the corps.

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