Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The Effect of Burnside's Failure at Fredericksburg upon the Army of the Potomac.—His Officers' Interview with Presi

dent Lincoln.—The Effect.—Burnside's Resignation.—The Report of the Congressional Committee on the subject. —Successor of Burnside.—General Joseph Hooker.—“Fighting Joe.”—Life of Hooker.—His Military Career and Services.—His Personal Appearance and Character.—His excessive Self-reliance.—The Effect upon the many.—Effect upon the judicious few.—Hooker's freedom of criticism upon his cotemporaries.—Hooker versus McClellan.—Hooker versus Burnside.—The famous Order No. 8. –The Army of the Potomac inspirited by the appointment of Hooker. -Activity of Hooker.—Cavalry Expeditions.—Mosby's Raids.-The Enemy's Cavalry checked by the Unionists.— Wyndham's Expedition.—Wadsworth's Expedition.— Averill's Expedition.—Hooker determined to give Lee battle at Fredericksburg.—Hooker's plan.—The Army of the Potomac crosses the Rappahannock. —Hooker's confidence. -Battle of Chancellorsville.—Attack of Sedgwick on Fredericksburg. —Its success.-Position of the Enemy.—The Enemy turn upon Sedgwick.—His Defeat at Salem Heights.-Sedgwick retreats across the Rappahannock-Hooker

[blocks in formation]

*tires across the Rappahannock to his old position opposite Fredericksburg.

President the true state of the case.
He was informed by the President that
some general officers from the Army of
the Potomac, whose names he declined
to give, had called upon him and rep-
resented that General Burnside con-
templated soon making a movement,
and that the army was so dispirited and
demoralized that any attempt to make a
movement at that time must result in
disaster; that no prominent officers in
the Army of the Potomac were in favor
of any movement at that time.
“General Burnside informed the Pres-
ident that none of his officers had been
informed what his plan was, and then
proceeded to explain it in detail to the
President. He urged upon the Pres-

ident to grant him permission to carry it out; but the President declined to do so at that time. General Halleck and Secretary Stanton were sent for, and then learned for the first time of the President's action in stopping the movement, although General Halleck was previously aware that a movement was contemplated by General Burnside. General Halleck, with General Burnside, held that the officers who had made those representations to the President should be at once dismissed the service. General Burnside remained here at that time for two days, but no conclusion was reached upon the subject. “When he returned to his camp, he learned that many of the details of the general movement, and the details of the cavalry expedition, had become known to the rebel sympathizers in Washington, thereby rendering that plan impracticable. When asked to whom he had communicated his plans, he stated that he had told no one in Washington, except the President, Secretary Stanton, and General Halleck, and in his camp none knew of it except one or two of his staff officers who had remained in camp all the time. He professed himself unable to tell how his plans had become known to the enemy. “A correspondence then took place between the President, General Halleck, and General Burnside. General Burnside desired distinct authority from General Halleck, or some one authorized to give it, to make a movement across the river. While urging the importance and necessity for such a movement, he

candidly admitted that there was hardly a general officer in his command who approved of it. While willing to take upon himself all the responsibility of the movement, and promising to keep in view the President's caution concerning running any risk of destroying the Army of the Potomac, he desired to have at least General Halleck's sanction or permission to make the movement. General Halleck replied, that while he had always favored a forward movement, he could not take the responsibility of giving any directions as to how and when it should be made. “General Burnside then determined to make a movement without any further correspondence on the subject. He was unable to devise any as promising as the one just thwarted by this interference of his subordinate officers, which interference gave the enemy the time, if not the means, to ascertain what he had proposed to do. He, however, devised a plan of movement, and proceeded to put it in execution. As is well-known, it was rendered abortive in consequence of the severe storm which

took place shortly after the movement began. “General Burnside states that, besides the inclemency of the weather, there was another powerful reason for abandoning the movement—viz., the almost universal feeling among his general officers against it. Some of those officers freely gave vent to their feelings in the presence of their inferiors. “In consequence of this, and also what had taken place during the battle

- - --

of Fredericksburg, etc., General Burnside directed an order to be issued, which he styled General Order No. 8. “That order dismissed some officers from the service, subject to the approval of the President ; relieved others from duty with the Army of the Potomac, and also pronounced sentence of death upon some deserters who had been tried and convicted. “General Burnside states that he had became satisfied that it was absolutely necessary that some such example should be made, in order to enable him to maintain the proper authority over the army under his command. The order was duly signed and issued, and only waited publication. “Two or three of his most trusted staff officers represented to General Burnside that, should he then publish that order, he would force upon the President the necessity of at once Sanctioning it, or, by refusing his apProval, assume an attitude of hostility to General Burnside. The publication of the order was accordingly delayed for the time. - "General Burnside came to Wash"gton and laid the order before the *ident, with the distinct assurance that in no other way could he exercise * Proper command over the Army of the Potomac ; and he asked the President to Sanction the order or accept o as major-general. The Burnside * that General decide witho right, but declined to ut consulting with some of

hi r; is advisers. To this General Burnside

replied that, if the President took time for consultation, he would not be allowed to publish that order, and therefore asked to have his resignation accepted at once. This the President declined to do. “General Burnside returned to his camp, and came again to Washington that night at the request of the President, and the next morning called upon the President for his decision. He was informed that the President declined to approve his Order No. 8, but had concluded to relieve him from the command of the Army of the Potomac, and to appoint General Hooker in his place. Thereupon General Burnside again insisted that his resignation be accepted. This the President declined to do ; and, after some urging, General Burnside consented to take a leave of absence for thirty days, with the understanding that at the end of that time he should be assigned to duty, as he deemed it improper to hold a commission as majorgeneral and receive his pay without rendering service therefor. General Burnside objected to the wording of the order which relieved him from his command, and which stated that it was at his own request, as being unjust to him and unfounded in fact; but upon the representation that any other order would do injury to the cause, he consented to let it remain as it then read.” General Burnside, on his resigna- Jan. tion,” turned over his command to *

o Major-Generals Sumner and Franklin were, at the same time, relieved from their commands. The former died on the 21st of March, 1863; the latter was placed in command of a corps under General Banks, in Louisiana.

General Joseph Hooker, an officer who had won by his gallantry a conspicuous position. The title of “Fighting Joe,” by which he was known among his soldiers, proved the popular estimate of his dashing qualities. General Joseph Hooker was born in Hadley, Massachusetts, in 1815. In 1833 he entered the Military Academy of West Point, and graduated in 1837, ranking No. 28 in a class of fifty. On the 1st of July, 1837, he became second lieutenant of the First Artillery, and on the 1st of November, 1838, was promoted to the first lieutenancy. From July 1 to October 3, 1841, he was the adjutant of the Military Academy of West Point, and from 1841 to 1846 was the adjutant of his regiment. He served with distinction in Mexico, and was aidde-camp to Brigadier-General Hamer. He was, in May, 1847, brevetted captain for gallant conduct in the several conflicts at Monterey, which took place on the 21st, 22d, and 23d days of September, 1846. His brevet bore the lastmentioned date. He was appointed on the staff as assistant adjutant-general, with the brevet rank of captain, on the 3d of March, 1847, and in March, 1849, was further brevetted major for gallant and meritorious conduct in the affair at the National Bridge, Mexico, his brevet dating from June 11, 1847. In the same month he received another brevet —viz., lieutenant-colonel—for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Chapultepec. This brevet bore date September 13, 1847. On the 29th of October, 1848, he was appointed a

|-- - -- - - - - -

captain of the First Artillery, and on the same day vacated his regimental commission, retaining his position in the adjutant-general's department, with brevet of lieutenant-colonel. After serving a while in California, he resigned on the 21st of February, 1853, and purchasing some land at Sonoma, on the bay of San Francisco, became a farmer. He was, however, employed by the Government to superintend the construction of the National Road between California and Oregon. While in the latter State, he was urged to accept a nomination for the U. S. Senate, but declined in favor of the late General Baker, who was his personal friend, and whose political interests he warmly advocated. As soon as Hooker heard of the fall of Sumter, he left his farm and hastened to Washington, where, immediately on his arrival, he was appointed a brigadier-general of volunteers, with a commission dating from the 17th of May, 1861. His first service was in Maryland, under General Dix; but he was soon after promoted to * separate command under General McClellan. He showed energy and tact in his management of the rebelliously disposed counties of Prince George and Charles, which he subjected to military control without loss of life. He took possession, at the same time, of - the Maryland shore of the Potomac, and kept his troops actively employ ed in expeditions into Virginia. He subse

quently crossed the river with a po

of his troops, took possession of

« PreviousContinue »