The site of the Berkeley Plantation – the ancestral home of William Henry Harrison, 9th US President – was the location for the Army of the Potomac during July and August after the retreat from in front of Richmond. On this date of July 8, 1862, President Lincoln made a visit.
Lincoln came to assess the condition of the army and found them to be in surprisingly good morale. On the 9th, he visited with General McClellan and five of his corps commanders. Lincoln raised the question about the withdrawal of the army from the Peninsula, but the majority (including McClellan) believed it would be devastating for the broader purposes of the war.
Lincoln, as was often the case, covered any hint of what action or direction he was leaning in terms of any decisions. But upon return to Washington, he appointed Henry Halleck as general-in-chief (more on this in a coming blog post on the 11th).
Naturally, none of this pleased McClellan – who reserved his greatest wrath for Stanton, saying to his wife Ellen in a letter on the 13th that if Stanton “had lived in the time of the Savior, Judas Iscariot would have remained a respected member of the fraternity of Apostles.”
Another minor note: It was here at Berkeley that General Daniel Butterfield composed the familiar tune” Taps”, fist played by his bugler, O.W. Norton.