The President was besieged by importunate cavillers the burden of whose refrain was the defamation of the hero of West Virginia, and it is not surprising, however much to be regretted, that Mr. Lincoln gradually allowed their clamors to disturb him, and eventually partook of some of the distrust with which they endeavored to impress him.
From a legitimate and wise desire to prevent any untimely divulgence of his plans, General McClellan had, up to this time, kept his ideas and opinions to himself and confined his military discussions to but a few of his immediate officers, and those whom he had known and trusted for years. This manner of proceeding was not to the taste of some of the leading men in high places at that time, who deemed themselves competent to confer with and advise the commanding general, as those he had chosen.
In order to soothe their wounded self-pride, they had recourse to a species of revenge not admirable, to say the least. They plied the ears of the President with comments derogatory to McClellan, and with innumerable suggestions of pet schemes of their own conception, which would, in their opinion, undoubtedly end the war with surprising alacrity.
The result of these onslaughts was that McClellan was required by Mr. Lincoln to unfold his own carefully arranged plans to a council of generals, for their consideration and approval. To this "wicked and ignorant clamor" he was obliged to yield, and it is not to be wondered at, that his proposed movements were betrayed, and that not long afterwards he was subject to the mortification of having his army divided into corps, against his wishes, and their commanders appointed without consulting him, and without his knowledge. Subsequently he was compelled to submit to having the conduct of the war in Virginia placed in charge of inexperienced, irresponsible, and jealous-minded officers, whose antipathy to him was well known as it was unceasing and violent.
Pinkerton on the corps commanders
From Allan Pinkerton's The Spy of the Rebellion: