November 7, 1862: McClellan Is Fired. On this date, Gen. Buckingham, on errand from Gen. Halleck, travels to the headquarters of Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, commander of the IX Corps, Army of the Potomac, and hands him a letter appointing him to command of the Army of the Potomac. He is also ordered to relieve McClellan of command. So Burnside and Buckingham board the train to McClellan’s headquarters and deliver the letter relieving him. McClellan writes to his wife about the experience:
I am sure that not a muscle quivered nor was the slightest expression of feeling visible on my face. . . . They [Washington] shall not have that triumph. They have made a great mistake – alas for my poor country – I know in my innermost heart she never had a truer servant.