Here the gaunt figure of the Great Emancipator confronted General McClellan in
his headquarters two weeks after Antietam
had checked Lee's invasion of Maryland and had enabled the President to
Emancipation Proclamation. Brady's
camera has preserved this remarkable occasion, the last time that these two men
met each other. "We spent some
time on the battlefield and conversed fully on the state of affairs. He told me
that he was satisfied with all that I had done, that he would stand by me.
He parted from me with the utmost cordiality,"
said General McClellan. The plan to follow up the success of Antietam in the
effort to bring the war to a speedy conclusion must have been the thought
uppermost in the mind of the Commander-in-Chief of the
Army as he talked with his most popular General in the tent. A few days later
came the order from Washington to "cross the Potomac and give battle to
the enemy or drive him South."
McClellan was relieved in the midst of a movement to carry out the order.